Librarians Communicate with Inter-College Link

May 15th, 2002 | By | Category: 13-4: The Many Faces of Leadership, Tribal College News

Tribal college and university staff and faculty rarely have the opportunity to meet their counterparts at other tribal colleges to trade ideas. Thanks to a listserv, however, tribal college librarians share information with their colleagues across the nation several times a day. Montana State University-Bozeman initiated the service specifically for tribal college librarians.  A listserv is an electronic discussion group in which a message goes out via email to the mailbox of each member.  Each individual reads the message, and responses go to all members’ mailboxes.  Members do not have to be online at the same time.

MSU started the service at the request of librarians who attended the Tribal College Librarians Professional Development Institute, according to Kathy Kaya of MSU. The university usually hosts the annual conference, which is now in its ninth year.  On their evaluations following the conferences, librarians expressed their gratitude for the opportunity to network and share questions, concerns, experiences, ideas, and expertise with colleagues who share the same unique work environment. Responding to this need, Kaya developed the listserv to allow the tribal college librarians to continue their interactions.

Participation in TCLib-L began slowly but increased as the librarians gained access to technology and became more comfortable. Today, discussions include evaluating books, cataloging techniques, software recommendations, and reference questions.

As the moderator of the listserv, Kaya facilitates efficiency, including maintaining the member list, correcting addresses, and troubleshooting.  She shares general announcements and news, but the discussions are left to the librarians.  The librarians have chosen to keep this a closed list, i.e., membership is strictly controlled and limited only to tribal college library staff.

Tribal college librarians often work alone, and they are asked to provide sophisticated services to not only the tribal college community but also the reservation beyond.  The listserv helps to create a community among professionals who are widely scattered and isolated geographically. For more information, contact Kathy Kaya at <>.

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