Topic: Tribal Libraries, Funding, Professional Organizations
Guest Lecturer: Janice Rice
The world is as small as you make it.
Consider this: the more individuals you meet in your professional field, the more connections you make. These connections lead you to meeting more individuals. And soon, you discover that the people you meet in one place know the people you met in another place. Perhaps they’ve worked together on a past project. Maybe they networked at a national event or conference.
“It’s a small world,” Janice Rice, senior academic librarian at College Library, observed, after describing to TLAM how individuals she has met in her remarkable career as librarian ended up knowing each other. These connections are invaluable. It would be no surprise to discover just how many people know Janice. A member of the Ho-Chunk Nation, Janice Rice has worked as:
- a public librarian;
- an archivist;
- the AILA (American Indian Library Association) president;
- an academic librarian;
- an outreach coordinator;
- and an ethnic studies liaison (just to name a few of the many!).
Speaking not only about her personal history in librarianship, Janice explained the evolution of Wisconsin tribal libraries and national movements to promote the existence of these vital institutions. She stressed the importance of being involved in the professional community – for support, for ideas, and for new opportunities.
Janice’s description of her transition from a focus on public librarian to archivist was especially thought-provoking. After serving some years as a public librarian in Wausau, she received a Wisconsin Humanities Grant to archive photos of the Ho-Chunk Tribe. Archiving, she noted, was received differently than tribal librarianship. In tribal librarianship, she sometimes felt alone, struggling to find support and commitment from other individuals and the government. Archiving, on the other hand, was where everyone’s interests were. It was a process for the tribe, by the tribe, and was defined by the tribe.
I felt honored to hear Janice speak to our class. Her name is consistently mentioned in conversations about American Indian Studies and tribal libraries, both of which I have a passion for. She offered the TLAM class a selected bibliography on tribal libraries, which I am slowly making my way through. I feel very grateful.
Janice suggests that those who are interested in tribal libraries join the American Indian Library Association, which offers a quarterly newsletter and a listserv on information pertaining to tribal libraries as well as book reviews. Follow this link for more information: http://www.ailanet.org/membership/index.htm
Janice also recommends attendance at the Joint Conference of Librarians of Color in September of 2012. She is a Co-Chair on the committee and is working hard to ensure a successful gathering. Find more information here: http://jclc-conference.org/
PS – Here’s the selected bibliography Janice provided our class: Tribal Libraries bibliography