Monday, November 21, 2005

Endangered Languages Annual Meeting

Today, Amy Price and I presented at the 3rd Annual Meeting of the Digital Endangered Languages and Musics Archive Network, sponsored by the Archive of the Indigenous Languges of Latin America here at UT-Austin. Other presenters were from the Smithsonian, U of London, U of Sydney, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, Columbia's national archives, U of Alaska, and U of Costa Rica. We spoke about "If I Can Read, I Can Do Anything" and "Honoring Generations." We brought a number of publications from Salina Bookshelf as our exhibits. Salina Bookshelf (Flagstaff, Arizona) specializes in bilingual, Navajo and English language text. We brought one title for adults ("Dine' Bizaad: Speak, Read, Write Navajo") and three juvenile titles, including the popular board book, "Baby's First Laugh." We've learned that, in Navajo culture, the first person who makes a baby laugh then hosts a feast in honor of the child.

Dr. Amelia Zepeda has said that one person can make a difference in recovering language. Model indigenous communities in language recovery efforts include Maori and Native Hawaiian educators. Many of the tribal schools and tribal colleges we work with offer opportunities to strengthen languages, efforts that range from immersion summer camps to participation in language competitions such as those sponsored by the Indigenous Languages Institute of New Mexico.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Honoring Generations

Last night I wrote the semi-annual narrative report on Honoring Generations (HG), our IMLS funded scholarship program for Native students. Funded in the first round of Librarians for the Librarians for the Twenty-First Century Grants, HG provides financial support for six indigenous students to enter our program and complete their requirements for the MSIS degree. Four students are currently enrolled with one student awaiting final word on his admissions. We are communicating with a number of students, any one of whom may be our sixth HG student. We hope that our funding may be renewed since we continue to receive inquiries from prospective sudents around the country interested in entering our strong residence program.

Together, we have been able to develop a community of librarians who will be, in line with our program promise, the next generation of Native librarians. Rob Yazzie (Navajo/Slovenian) is leading the way as a cataloger and punk-rock musician. Sandy Littletree (Navajo/Shoshone), a certified teacher and our second Graduate Research Associate for HG, is our writer, organizer, and digital media artist. Elias Tzoc (Maya-K'Oiche fom Totonicapan, Guatemala) is our tri-lingual visionary who is poised to establish new centers of learning for Maya. Amy Ziegler (Yuchi Creek) is our academic archivist who will create inroads in providing access to and organizing historical collections.

We take our role as ambassadors to HG seriously. This involves communicating with community groups, participating in professional conferences, providing service on our own campus, and extending our message and learned lessons through print. Earlier this week, Elias Tzoc and I gave an invited talk to staff at the U.S. Treasury Department, Financial Management Service-Austin Financial Center. We provided information on our service-learning activities and on our Native cultures. Afterwards, staff gave us a guided tour of the facility, including a view of the machines that print and package all FEMA checks to support assistance programs for people affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Over the past year, HG sudents have
also presented at:
*the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association Southwest/Texas regional meeting;
*the second national conference on tribal museums, libraries, and archives;
*the Fourth International Indigenous Librarians Forum;
*the Sequoyah Research Center Symposium.

HG students are preparing for several upcoming speaking engagements and organizing their own half-day conference here in Austin in March 2006. "Native Expressions" will be a public meeting featuring Native writers and digital media specialists. The HG students plan to attend ALA/Midwinter in San Antonio. There, they'll also meet Mike Martinez, Native iSchool graduate who completed his degree from UT-Austin under a Department of Education grant in the 1990s. He now directs an academic library in Georgia. The spring issue of "Public Libraries" will feature an article that PhD student Tony Cherian and I wrote on HG, highlighting our recruitment activities.

Reading (viewing and listening) Circle:

My favorite 15 year old recommends his favorite manga series, Bleach. The series features a young man named Ichigo, a soul reaper who conducts good souls to the soul society. Along the way, he and his friends fight hollows, evil ghosts/monsters. Bleach is funny and has good action. Books on Tape now distributes the Living Language study series. I picked up "Ultimate Japanese, Beginner-Intermediate" at the Hawaii Library Association annual conference last week. Many manga and anime fans are interested in Japanese language study and this set is a nice way to start a self-study program. Living Language now has a series for babies and toddlers called Baby's First Steps. Recordings are available in French, Italian, and Spanish.

I watched a documentary last evening, "Children of Brothels." A photographer from New York, Zana Briski, provides children of prostitutes in Calcutta with disposable cameras and lessons in photography. They take pride in their outstanding work, changing their lives and ours.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

A Visit to the Genealogy Collection at the Texas State Library and Archives

Today I ventured to the Lorenzo de Zavala State Archives & Library Building with students in "Information Resources in the Social Sciences" class. There, the able and friendly staff in the Genealogy collection introduced us to their many resources--the Federal Census schedules, Texas Convict Record Ledgers and Indexes, the city directories, passenger lists, and vital statistics. While only a 15 minute walk from our building, it had been at least a year since I visited the genealogy collection. The one noticeable difference was the change in patron use patterns. Genealogists, long among the most motivated of library users, are taking advantage of the rich resources available to them in electronic format. Where once we saw a room full of patrons viewing the Census materials on microfilm, we now saw one patron using the microfilm readers. Most now find the information online through HeritageQuest. Library staff and skilled volunteers still provide assistance to the beginning researcher, and access to resources not available electronically. For more about HeritageQuest, see the tutorial that iSchool student Lore Guilmartin created in the fall 2004 "Information Resources in the Social Sciences" class. You'll find it online, linked through the FAQ section of the "Bridge to TexShare for Small/Rural Libraries" ( Texas State Library and Archives staff are using the handout at training across the state. My students are involved in this and other service-learning experiences.

Reading Circle:

I recently examined one of the newer titles in the Genreflecting series: "African American Literature: A Guide to Reading Interests," edited by Alma Dawson and Connie Van Fleet (Libraries Unlimited, 2004). You'll find some familiar genre categories--detective/crime fiction and romance fiction--and also some lesser known genre such as life stories and inspirational literature. Entries for individual titles include a brief quote from the texts that illustrate the genre along with keywords.

Monday, November 14, 2005

The Gathering Tree

At the Fourth International Indigenous Librarians Forum in Regina this past September I viewed the galley proofs of Larry Loyie and Constance Brissenden’s latest picture book, “The Gathering Tree.” I just received my copy, direct from Larry and Constance in Vancouver, BC. Larry, a Cree elder, received the Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children’s Nonfiction for his first children’s title, “As Long as the Rivers Flow,” describing his life prior to the time he entered residential school at age 10. Constance is a freelance author/editor. She and Larry formed the Living Traditions Writers Group. Those of you who attended ALA/Toronto in 2003 may have met Larry and Constance at a program on material for children on indigenous peoples.

“The Gathering Tree” presents the topic of HIV from the perspective of a First Nations family. Tyler and his sister Shay-Lyn welcome their 21-year-old cousin, Robert, back home to participate in an annual marathon. Community elders invite Robert, who is HIV positive, to help his community become more aware about HIV/AIDS, how to prevent it, and how to support those affected by it. The book includes a Q&A section prepared by an educator from the Squamish Nation.

See for more information about Larry and Constance’s work.

“My vision is libraries full of books written by First Nations People.” Larry Loyie.



Sunday, November 13, 2005

Address to the Hawaii Library Association on 11 November 2005:

Today I'll post the notes for the brief address I gave to the HLA at it's recent annual conference in Kona.

Boozhoo (hello), Hawaii Library Association,

Greetings to the planners of the HLA. Chi megwitch, thank you very much for this outstanding invitation.

I also thank the indigenous peoples of this land and send greetings to those of you who are here today. I celebrate with you your tenacity, your joy of life, and applaud your many efforts to maintain and sustain your indigenous lifeways.

I stand before you, an indigenous person.
I am Anishinabe. You also know my people as Ojibwe or Chippewa.
And, in accordance with Native protocol, I will identify my homelands, my tribal band, and my clan affiliation. I am enrolled on the White Earth Reservation and am a member of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe. My mother is Pembina Band. My father was Mississippi band and makwa or bear clan.

Because I am with you on indigenous lands, I know that I can speak with all of you in ways that are self-sustaining, that come from a deep place in my being. And because I feel akin with you, I invite you to stand with me today and make history. Here, within this circle of land, we mark the start of a new journey for me and a new journey for the American Library Association. I am deeply honored and deeply humbled to be the first indigenous person to accept the nomination for the office of President of the American Library Association. And it feels right tolaunch this campaign today with you here in Hawaii.

Makwa or bear clan are those who protect and set things right.

I pledge to protect ALA’s Five Key Action areas—diversity, education and continuous learning, equity of access, 21st century literacy, intellectual freedom.

I vow to set things right as an advocate for
• free access to libraries, free expression of thought, and protection of privacy;
• equitable salaries and benefits for library workers;
• recruitment and retention of new talent into schools of library and information science;
• promotion of library work and workers to the citizenry at large;
• training and retooling of library workers to meet changing patron needs;
• including all peoples into the circle of knowledge through literacy.

My campaign theme is Celebrating Community, Collaboration and Culture. I hope that you will join our efforts.

I will carry my experiences here back with me, to my family and to the Student Circle who are involved in helping me with my campaign. Balloting starts on 15 March 2006. Please visit my current faculty Web site. You’ll soon see my campaign Web site at I have a blog,, where I post statements of concern, descriptions of my activities, identify key individuals, and provide a little reader’s advisory. And I can be reached through email at

Anishinabe people do not say goodbye. Instead, we say thank you, megwitch. I welcome your support. Megwitch.

Reading Circle:

I returned to Austin with several items from HLA's Silent Auction, including the following three titles:

1. Noyes, Martha H. Then There Were None. Honolulu: Bess Press, 2003. [survey of Native Hawaiian history]
2. Hall, Sandra Kimberley. Duke: A Great Hawaiian. Bess Press, 2004. [biography of Duke Paoa Kahanamoku, Hawaiian Olympic athlete]
3. Desha, Stephen L. Trans., Frances N. Frazier. Kamehameha and His Warrior Kekuhaupi'o. Honolulu: Kamemameha Schools Press, 2000. [boxed set reprint of 174 articles published in the Ka Hoku o Hawaii between 16 December 1920 and 11 September 1924]

Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana
Ka po'e i aloha i ka 'aina.

Tell the story of the people who love their land.

Source: "Kaulana Na Pua" by Helen Keho'ohiwaokalani Prendergast, cited in Noyes.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Can library services be designed along indigenous ways of thinking?

I attended a interesting evening program at the Hawaii Library Association on "Managing with Aloha, Bringing Hawaii's Universal Values to the Art of Business." Business consultant Rosa Say introduced the concepts from her book, "Managing with Aloha," a title I'll order once I return to the mainland. She discussed concepts like ho'omau, persistence and lokahi, the Hawaiian value of teamwork. She asks, do you hana (work) or do you ho'ohana (work with passion, intention, and purpose)? Kulia i ka nu'u: seek to do your best, always.

Today's events were scheduled from 4 p.m. - 10:30 p.m., featuring a reception, afternoon program, dinner on the grounds near the ocean, evening program, and the first annual anime festival, complete with movie snacks. Programs start anew at 8:15 in the morning and wrap up with an 8:00 - 9:00 p.m. closing reception replete with heavy pupus.



Thursday, November 10, 2005

Aloha, y'all!

Last January the Hawaii Library Association invited me to attend their annual conference. I left Austin yesterday, 9 November, and arrived in Kona, via Los Angeles, late last night. Chi megwitch (thanks very much), Hawaii Library Association for your wonderful hospitality and the financial support covering my airfare, hotel room, registration, and meals. This year's conference theme is "Mixed Plate: A Diversity of Ideas for Hawaii's Libraries." I'm scheduled to give a talk early on 12 November. I've chosen the focus of "Building Bridges: Supporting and Creating Library Servies for Indigenous Population." I also have an opportunity to give my first five-minute campaign pitch at the conference dinner. Three great programs are scheduled during my program slot so I'll miss learning about the experiences of an orchestra librarian and a librarian reporting on the flood in the U of Hawaii Library as well as a program on RFID by a representative from 3M. I'll send a report on more of the events in the next entry. The conference kicks off tomorrow afternoon, 11 November. Who wouldn't want to attend an event in Hawaii--a wonderful venue for a future ALA conference, IFLA event, or International Indigenous Librarians Forum?

One of the first things I've learned in my ALA Presidential campaign is that prospective voters like to define candidates by work environment. Someone sent me an email describing me as the youth and public libraries candidate. Library introduced me as an academic candidate. Another member of the press described me as a school librarian. Perhaps I perform part of all of these roles; my views, contacts, interests, and energies extend across work settings. Today I communicated with a tribal archivist, faculty colleagues, MSIS and PhD students, several prospective students, two international journal editors, a state journal editor, an ALSC representative, two public library directors, a researcher at a computer company in the Bay Area, a computer science professor, a state library consultant, a program manager for a program documenting indigenous languages, a public librarian, a Maori specialist in cultural heritage/archives/genealogy, and a professor in curriculum and instruction in Illinois. Each of us forges linkages across settings, time and space. In future entries I'll introduce some of these settings and individuals and highlight work in tribal colleges, international connections and initiatives, the role of libraries as laboratories of discovery, and cross-disciplinary collaborations that can help us enhance services to library patrons.

Reading Circle:

If you're worried that people may not be reading, just take a long airplane flight. Fellow travelers serve as reader's advisors, letting me know about series, authors, titles that I may have missed. And the travelors I encounter hold libraries and librarians in high regard. My guides on this trip included a Canadian whose current job is running karaoke parties in nursing home facilities, a two-year old who could floss her teeth on her own, and a retired police commissioner with a new career in government arbitration. When not writing, I spent my in-flight time reading a romance by Maeve Binchy. In "Genreflecting" Betty Rosenberg categorized Binchy as a contributor to the subgenre of the `womanly romance,' a category that also includes my two other favorite romance writers: Rosamund (and her son, Robin) Pilcher and LaVyrle Spencer. What is appealing about these works? Perhaps the largely rural settings, nostalgic reflections, and visible impact of making large life decisions. Remember Rosenberg's First Law of Reading: "Never apologize for your reading tastes."



Tuesday, November 08, 2005

More Curricular Matters: Balancing Required and Elective Classes

In my last post, I described the required Capstone that all of our MSIS students complete. How do they arrive at the point where they are ready for a Capstone?

In our 40 graduate credit hour MSIS degree, students complete thirteen 3-credit courses and one 1-credit survey or introductory course. Of the thirteen 3-credit courses, five classes are required, covering the core areas of organization, management, understanding/serving users, research, and the Capstone. How do students acquire general mastery of content areas while developing a strength, possibly even a specialty--all within 8 courses? Given a rich curriculum, with over 100 courses offered within the iSchool and a larger number of possible electives in other departments on campus, the issue is usually not one of locating relevant coursework but one of choosing among many options.

At Orientation, students are challenged to think broadly, investigate new areas, consider new career paths. Students then schedule individualized sessions with a faculty member who, more often than not, advises him or her to seek a focus and plan a program of studies around it. Students in some career paths have clear directives. Those preparing for school librarianship select their coursework with the aim of meeting the standards required for the Standard School Librarian Certificate and prepare to take a state-wide required examination, all on top of their school certification and two-years of class-room teaching. Preservation and conservation students likewise have clear course sequencing. How do other students choose among the course offerings that range from Competitive Intelligence Resources and Strategies, Introduction to Usability, Semantic Web, Survey of Digitization, and Collection Management?

The best answer to this question, is to consider each student individually. We learn, together, the most likely career path and work setting. Some students enter programs with library related experience. With an increasing number of students under 25 years old, fewer have much life experience. In this case, students often spend one or two semesters completing their required coursework while setting the stage for more focused electives. Along the way, we identify at least three strongly connected courses that help define a student's preparation, select a second tier of courses that support this focus, and consider one outlier course that is just too tempting to resist. We consider aptitude, ability to relocate, desire to focus versus interest in preparing for a wide range of employment options. The best course advising is predicated on mutual responsibility. The student must reflect deeply, explore options, and place him/herself in close proximity with working professionals. The faculty member must guide, suggest, and listen.

At a future time, I'll talk about another time of advising: professionalization. Each year I work with a number of students on joint publications, presentations, and professional service opportunities. The iSchool provides non-course related opportunities for socialization and skills acquisition. MSIS students twice recommended a faculty member for an excellence in advising award; I was honored to receive this award both times.

Reading Circle:

I picked up a non-fiction title while in Canada in September. Warren Goulding's "Just Another Indian: A Serial Killer and Canada's Indifference," introduces the lives--and deaths--of four Native women. The stories of these crimes are only more shocking when it becomes apparent that some were assaulted under the gaze of the police and that their deaths were largely ignored by the media. As Goulding writes ... "we have to ask ourselves 'what is news?' And 'who determines whom and what we care about?"



Monday, November 07, 2005

The Capstone

John N. Berry III focused on "The Practice Prerequisite" in his 15 September 2005 editorial in "Library Journal." He noted that few LIS programs require students to complete a practical experience. Not so, here in the School of Information.

Our MSIS students complete a required Capstone near the completion of their degrees. Students preparing for careers in school librarianship or in preservation or conservation complete a required practicum or internship. In fact, you can view the conservation portfolios online at A few others opt to complete a master's report or a master's thesis. Most students select the Professional Experiene Project, a field-based project completed with a field supervisor and under the direction of a faculty supervisor. Students agree to spend at least 125 hours with their Capstone project; many devote more time.

I typically supervise three to ten Capstone students each semester. We meet weekly and students submit weekly written reports as well. Some of these Capstones have included:
  • weeding the Boerne (Texas) Public Library;
  • cataloging rare materials in the theater collection of the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center;
  • establishing and continuing the student liaison program in;
  • creating curriculum materials for authors/titles featured at the Texas Book Festival;
  • evaluating the culinary and travel collections in a local community college;
  • developing services for a Wired For Youth center in a public library branch in a Hispanic neighborhood;
  • launching an international celebration of reading in schools that serve indigenous children;
  • designing and delivering a computer skills after-shool program for fifth graders;
  • planning a stacks move in an academic departmental library.
All students present their Capstone results to a large audience of students, faculty, and field supervisors. See the iSchool Web site for more information on the Capstone. Consider serving as a field supervisor; you'll find the Capstone Database on the Web site and information on how to post a new listing.

Reading Circle

I picked up a number of titles at the Fourth International Indigenous Librarians Forum in Regina, Saskatchewan in September. I recently read "Silent Words" by Ruby Slipperjack, a novel set in the 1960s that features a teen Ojibwe boy who runs away an abusive family environment. He finds shelter with elders and other community members and strengthens his connection to culture, building his sanctuary with silent words of understanding and, finally, deep affections.

Have you subscribed to the Writer's Almanac? I receive a daily email with a poem and notes about important anniversary events in literary history. You can also listen to clips in RealAudio.



Sunday, November 06, 2005

Indigenous Graphic novels

Those of you working with younger readers know that graphic novels are popular. Last month, at the Sequoyah Research Center Symposium in Little Rock, I met Patricia Wade, Media Director for the Chickaloon (Alaska) Village Traditional Council. She shared news abut the Ya Ne Dah Ah School in Chickaloon. You'll find out more about the school at I bought copies of three graphic novels illustrated by tribal member, Dimi Macheras. These titles are:
  • Besiin (I'll translate this to little bad boy!)
  • Tsaani (The Grizzly Bear Story)
  • C'eyiige' Hwnax (Magic House)

The English-language texts are traditional stories that teach tribal protocol. All stories end with with a wishful greeting: Let winter be short. Let summer be long!



Saturday, November 05, 2005

"If I Can Read, I Can Do Anything"

I've received a few questions over the past several days about "If I Can Read, I Can Do Anything," the reading club we run for Native children as a service through the iSchool. We started "If I Can Read" in fall 1999 with financial support from ALA President Sarah Long. We partnered with the Pueblo of Laguna's (New Mexico) Technology Challenge grant called Four Directions. Now, six years later, the program is still in operation. A number of fine iSchool students have served as Graduate Research Associate for the program, including Sara Joiner, Frances Ramberg, Sarah Cunningham, Heather Ball, Vanessa Chavez, and Amy Price. These women have gone on to take professional positions in school libraries and public libraries. One heads the architecture library for a university, another is a specialist in audio preservation and now teaches graduate classes in this area, and a third is preparing for the next step in her career as a law librarian and is in law school. Many other students have donated their time to support the project.

The program has expanded from the pilot test at the Laguna (New Mexico) Elementary School to twenty-four sites, including twenty-two tribal schools and two tribal community libraries in nine states. We're fortunate to have a number of supportive partners including the Tocker Foundation of Texas, the American Indian Library Association, sponsors such as the Chandler (Arizona) Public Library, individual site liaisons, and many donors.

We work with the sites on a variety of efforts. For many sites, this involves donating new materials for their circulating library collections. We've been able to deliver over $100,000 in new book donations. Other sites are interested in incentives for children. We've also helped plan reading promotion events such as family reading nights and scary story open mikes. We've co-written grants, arranged for speakers and special guests to visit sites, given many story-time events, weeded collections, helped develop policy documents, and cataloged. This fall we've made several site visits to a library located in Hurricane Rita's path. Many locations continue to have great needs for materials and support. Our vision for "If I Can Read" is to extend the program nationally--and even internationally--to support literacy among tribal members. We would like to plan more intergenerational iniatives and work with schools to support indigenous language revitalization efforts.

We're often asked for recommended titles, especially publications on Native peoples. In general, we recommend any title listed through Oyate ( If evaluating books on Native culture is new for you, we suggest that you take a look at Doris Seale's and Beverly Slapin's new book "A Broken Flute: The Native Experience in Books for Children," just published by AltaMira Press. You can order a copy directly from Oyate. The format is similar to their well-received title, "Through Indian Eyes."

Reading Circle:
What else am I reading?
I recently read Stuart Y. Hoahwah's (Comanche) second collection of poetry, "Black Knife," published through the Sequoyah Research Center's new chapbook series. Hoahwah weaves contemporary life with cultural history. He writes of traditional Native societies, the trickster within his culture, of tribal colors and an Indian every man named Velroy.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Boozhoo! I use this Ojibwe greeting for hello to welcome you to my blog!
Please visit this site to learn about how my students and I are living my campaign phrase of Celebrating Community, Collaboration and Culture.

Let me use this first message to introduce students in our community of learning here in the School of Information at the University of Texas at Austin. You can find out about more programs in the iSchool through the Web site at

Our community in the School of Information includes several PhD students focusing on documenting underrepresented voices in cultural heritage sites, community informatics, and public access computing in public libraries. You'll hear more about the outstanding work of Tony Cherian, Arro Smith, and Pedro Reynoso. And, you can meet them all at the ALISE conference this January.

MSIS (Master's of Science in Information Studies) students in our circle are interested in public services in public and academic libraries, youth services, and tribal librarianship. Typically, about half of my advisees are seeking positions in public libraries with the other half interested in careers in academic librarianship. I also advise students with diverse interests--including a few students interested in archives, organization of information/cataloging and classification, school librarianship, and special librarianship.

Like other faculty here in the iSchool I teach the standard course load of four graduate classes a year. My current rotation includes teaching "Public Libraries" each fall, "Library Instruction and Information Literacy" each spring and two advanced reference classes--one in the social sciences and the other in the humanities. I hold a strong belief in service-learning and students are involved in citizen engagement through most of my classes. Today, three of my students in our Honoring Generations scholarship program drove to the Alabama-Coushatta reservation in east Texas to help the tribal librarian evaluate her collection. There, our iSchool students will also meet with tribal youth in their after-school program. Let's talk more about service-learning in another posting!

As in many locations around the country, this month Austin is hosting events highlighting American Indian culture. Austin is home to the largest one-day, free powwow in the US on Saturday, 5 November. Powwows provide an opportunity for pan-Indigenous expression, a time to reflect on the nature of service, to share stories, enjoy Native foods, visit vendors, and reaffirm cultural identity.

Watch for my new campaign Web site. You'll soon find a link to the Campaign Preview Site linked from my regular Web site at

Please feel free to send me a note!

Megwitch (thank you),

Loriene Roy

Reading Circle: What's the last book I purchased? Last Sunday I attended the Texas Book Festival, attending a program and helping staff the iSchool booth. I purchased Ted Allen's cookbook, "The Food You Want to Eat: 100 Smart, Simple Recipes." Ted signed the book! As usual, I'm reading about five other books, including listening to an audio book. This week the audio book is "The Adventures of Guy Noir," featured stories about Garrison Keillor's radio program character.