Leveling the Professional Development Playing Field: Opportunities and Challenges in Providing Knowledge, Skill Building and Targeted Programming for Tribal College Librarians and Other Underserved Library Professionals

Leveling the Professional Development Playing Field: Opportunities and Challenges in Providing Knowledge, Skill Building and Targeted Programming for Tribal College Librarians and Other Underserved Library Professionals

James Thull (Montana State University, USA) and Mary Anne Hansen (Montana State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4675-9.ch013
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Abstract

Tribal college librarians comprise a unique group of library professionals who typically serve in a dual role as both academic librarians and public librarians. Most tribal college libraries are the only library in their respective tribal community, and thus they serve the information needs of both their academic clientele and those of the general public. Additionally, their location in tribal communities necessitates that these library professionals have a deep cultural understanding and appreciation in order to work effectively with their largely Native clientele, whether they themselves are Native or not. This chapter describes the unique professional development needs of tribal college librarians and successful efforts to meet these needs. Advice on grant writing, tips and information on grant seeking with a look towards future trends is also provided.
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Background

Native American Reservations are often some of the least populated and most underserved and geographically isolated communities in the United States. While reservations vary in terms of economic success, size and population density in general, current US Census Bureau reports show that they fall well below the economic and educational levels of the general population (US Census, 2013a). The reasons for this are varied, including the movement from a communal culture to one based on individual wealth and achievement, the reservation systems themselves which have kept the tribes separate from mainstream society in some respects, and possibly other factors have resulted in the hard reality today of these often struggling communities.

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