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Posts by AILA

Book Review of Hungry Johnny

By Cheryl Minnema. Illustrator Wesley Ballinger. Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2014.

HJ Cover

Review submitted by SaraJane Tompkins
Reference Librarian/Pre K-12 Collection, Olson Library, Northern Michigan University

In Hungry Johnny, Minnema presents a believable character throughout the story. Johnny is like many children: a busy, hungry little boy who must learn patience from his family members, but I sensed that the story is both ordinary and special because it includes reminders of the traditions and generosity of Native Americans. Ballinger’s colorful illustrations bring life to each page. The details of Johnny’s moccasins, his little plastic buddy, Grandma’s beaded earrings, and the community that Johnny is part of today reflect Ballinger’s understanding of life from Johnny’s point of view.

I had the pleasure to read this to my 5- and 3-year-old grandchildren. Two things stood out for me. First they enjoyed Johnny’s repetition, “I like to eat eat eat” (a lot). Second was their discovery of Johnny’s Community Centre. “Look, we have a community center, just like Johnny”. I can imagine Johnny sharing other stories with readers.

As the story and illustrations were created by tribal members, I applaud the publisher and hope to see more support for books from and about Ojibwe children. The glossary even includes an invitation to the Anishinaabe language. I would recommend this book as an addition to any collection.

Member Spotlight: Gary McCone

Gary 2012 crop

Gary McCone

Retired Associate Director of the NAL, Information Systems Division

What do you do?
I retired from federal service in 2010, having spent my entire library career at the Library of Congress and the National Agricultural Library, with the final 15 years as Associate Director of NAL in charge of the Information Systems Division. I now volunteer for the American Indian Higher Education Consortium consulting on issues of library and information systems and seeking out consortia pricing for digital resources (thus far remarkably unsuccessful)

What brought you to AILA?
Other than growing up in eastern Wyoming and getting my MLS from the University of Arizona, my first real contact with tribal librarians was through Kathy Kaya and Mary Anne Hansen, Montana State University, and their outstanding Tribal College Librarians Institute in the late 1990s. I was so impressed with the librarians I met at the Institutes and with the challenges they faced in serving such a neglected community that I joined AILA as soon as I discovered it and have been lurking about ever since.

What other interests do you have?
My four pre-teen grandchildren live about ten minutes away and I spend as much time as possible spoiling them. I put on a dozen table tennis tournaments every year, even though I play rather poorly. I’ve been interested in languages since my Army Security Agency days when I translated Chinese Mandarin and Vietnamese and recently completed a three-year term as President of the National Museum of Language. One very nice perk to the book giveaway is that all these terrific books pass through my hands on their way to the tribes . . . and some of them linger awhile so we can get to know each other a little better.

Is there a resource or project you’d like to alert us to?
One program I’ve been working on for about 16 years is my Great Book Giveaway which has provided tens of thousands of books to tribal entities, primarily to tribal college and university libraries. I accumulate books from a wide variety of sources: Library of Congress Surplus Books Program, the National Museum of the American Indian library, the District of Columbia Chapter of the Special Libraries Association, the National Agricultural Library, the U.S. Dept. of Education, Fannie Mae, Barbed Wire Books in Longmont, CO, private donations, and many others who hear about the program and want to help. Several times each year I distribute an author/title list to TCU librarians and divvy up the books to send out. Fortunately, NAL pays for the shipping costs, so there is never any charge to receiving libraries. If more people know that there is a procedure to provide tribal libraries with quality books, we’ll be able to enhance their collections even more.

Why is AILA important to you?
Because I’m not at a tribal library nor associated with a Native American studies program, the AILA listserv and Newsletter provide me with a deeper understanding of pertinent issues in the community and also provide knowledgeable contacts whenever I feel like posing a question.

Member Spotlight: Naomi Bishop

Naomi Bishop

Naomi Bishop

Research Librarian, Ventana Medical Systems, Tucson, AZ

What do you do?
I’m a solo research librarian at an international company that manufactures instruments for cancer diagnostics. I provide research support, online literature searches, and instruction to support company information needs. My main customers are scientists, engineers, and pathologists, but I support all areas of the company including research & development, sales & marketing, and manufacturing. Some of my most popular services are targeted literature searches, reference requests, and weekly literature updates. I also assist with post-market surveillance for existing products. Ninety-eight percent of our library collection is electronic, but I still have a few bookshelves.

What brought you to AILA?
I volunteered to be a part of AILA while I was a student at the University of Washington. I was the only Native student in the MLIS program in Washington, so I joined AILA to meet other Native librarians and archivists.

What other interests do you have?
Sports! I’m a huge Arizona Wildcat fan . Basketball and Baseball are my favorite sports to watch. I also love children’s and youth literature. I’m a member of the AILA Youth Literature Awards Committee and love finding great books to read. I also enjoy walking with my Great Dane, Blue!

Is there a resource or project you’d like to alert us to?
Yes, I think everyone should be aware of the Resources list on the AILA website. These resources are for everyone and there is so much good stuff on the list.

Why is AILA important to you?
AILA is important to me because it encourages me to stay involved and work for change in the field. My mother always took us to the library when I was a child, and I want to make sure that libraries are relevant, fun, engaging, and accessible for the next generation. I especially want to see more fiction and picture books from Native authors and illustrators. I stopped reading in junior high and didn’t get back to reading until graduate school. I appreciate AILA being there for me and helping me to grow and help other librarians.

Book review of Xiipúktan (First of All)

Bryant, George and Miller, Amy. Xiipúktan (First of All): Three Views of the Origins of the Quechan People. Cambridge, UK: OpenBook Publishers, 2013. DOI: 10.11647/OBP.0037

First of All Cover

Review submitted by Naomi Caldwell, PhD
Associate Professor and Coordinator, Library Education Media Program, Alabama State University

First of All is a remarkable collaborative work by George Bryant, a fluent native Quechan researcher, and Dr. Amy Miller, linguist, University of California, San Diego. Their combined expertise enables the reader to examine three traditional stories: two previously recorded in English by J.P. Harrington (1908), and one extended recalling by Bryant (1995). Notably, Bryant’s perspective differs from Harrington’s. The Bryant version synthesizes his childhood memories and the results of his research. Bryant tells of the Bering Strait migration of the Quechan people, elaborates on early events of creation, and fully integrates Quechan language rhetorical devices such as repetition, syntactic parallelism, and narrative time. In many ways, Bryant’s recalling completes the Harrington stories by infusing more Quechan cultural perspectives into the narrative. All three views of the origin of the Quechan are printed in parallel Quechan and English formatted text. The meticulous transcript review process is evidenced by notes at the end of each retelling. This single volume is made complete by providing a practical orthography along with pronunciation tips and grammar. The elegance of the three retellings illuminates the copious ingenuity and progression of Quechan literature. First of All is the fifth volume in the World Oral Literature series and is available in print, PDF, and digital eBook and mobi formats. It was made possible by National Science Foundation and Institute of Museum and Library Services Native American/Native Hawaiian Museum Services grants. Highly recommended for Native language and traditional story collections. First of All is freely available to read on-line.

Editor’s Note:

OpenBook Publishers is a non-profit organization committed to providing open access to high-quality research internationally. All manuscripts are peer-reviewed by at least two subject specialists in the relevant field. Published works are available in hardback, paperback, PDF, and ebook editions and are also available to read and download—for free—on their website.

2014 AIYLA Announced

The American Indian Youth Literature Awards are presented every two years. The awards were established as a way to identify and honor the very best writing and illustrations by and about American Indians. Books selected to receive the award will present American Indians in the fullness of their humanity in the present and past contexts.

2014 American Indian Youth Literature Award

A color brochure of the 2014 award recipients is available to print and share.

The American Indian Library Association (AILA), an affiliate of the American Library Association, has selected “Caribou Song, Atihko Oonagamoon” (2012), written by Tomson Highway, illustrated by John Rombough; “How I Became a Ghost: A Choctaw Trail of Tears Story” (2013), written by Tim Tingle; and “Killer of Enemies” (2013), written by Joseph Bruchac, as recipients of the 2014 American Indian Youth Literature Awards. One title was selected as an Honor Book in the Middle School category and one title was named as an Honor Book in the Young Adult category.


Picture Book

Caribou Song, Atihko Oonagamoon
Caribou Song, Atihko Oonagamoon
by Tomson Highway,
John Rombough (illustrator)
Fifth House, 2012

Middle School

How I Became a Ghost
How I Became a Ghost: A Choctaw Trail of Tears Story
by Tim Tingle
The Roadrunner Press, 2013

Young Adult

Killer of Enemies
Killer of Enemies
by Joseph Bruchac
Tu Books, 2013

Honor Books

Middle School

Danny Blackgoat, Navajo Prisoner
Danny Blackgoat, Navajo Prisoner
by Tim Tingle
7th Generation, 2013

Young Adult

If I Ever Get Out of Here
If I Ever Get Out of Here
by Eric Gansworth
Arthur A. Levin Books, 2013

LaFromboise Named AILA Emerging Leader

The American Indian Library Association (AILA) has selected Aaron LaFromboise, a member of the Blackfeet Nation, for the 2014 ALA Emerging Leaders program. As sponsor, AILA provides a stipend of $1,000 to support her attendance and participation in the Emerging Leaders program at the 2014 ALA Midwinter Meeting and Annual Conference.

Aaron earned her undergraduate degree in Liberal Studies from the University of Oklahoma in 2013. She is a first-year MLIS student at the University of Wisconsin – Madison who works for Blackfeet Community College as a Library Technician at the Medicine Spring Library in Browning, MT.  She is obtaining her LIS degree to help move the Medicine Spring Library forward both as an academic library and also as a community and tribal facility.  Her goals for Medicine Spring Library are to cultivate the small archives and set up a clear mission for the space.  She is also working to help the library become a depository for Blackfeet language and stories through recording and written documentation.

“We are excited to have Aaron as our 2014 Emerging Leader.  She is working full-time while pursuing her MLIS, and we are glad that we can support her in pursuing her goals of learning more about librarianship and networking through participating in the Emerging Leaders program,” said Heather Devine, 2013-2014 AILA President.

The Emerging Leaders program enables librarians and library staff from across the country to participate in project planning workgroups; network with peers; gain an inside look into ALA structure; and have an opportunity to serve the profession in a leadership capacity early in their careers. Emerging Leaders receive up to $1,000 each to participate in the Midwinter Meeting and Annual Conference, and each participant is expected to provide years of service to ALA or one of its units.  For the complete list of the 2014 class of Emerging Leaders, please visit

Founded in 1979, the American Indian Library Association is composed of individual and institution members interested in working to improve library services to American Indians and Alaska Natives in every type of library. AILA is committed to disseminating information about these issues to the broader profession and publishes the American Indian Libraries Newsletter two times per year.  For more information about AILA, visit

Toyota Financial Services Continues Sponsorship of AILA/APALA’s Talk Story Project

December 14, 2012

The American Indian Library Association (AILA) and the Asian/Pacific American
Librarians Association (APALA) Announce Continued Sponsor, Toyota Financial

The American Indian Library Association (AILA) and the Asian/Pacific American Librarians
Association (APALA) are pleased to announce their continued sponsorship from Toyota
Financial Services. Toyota Financial Services will sponsor the Talk Story: Sharing
stories, sharing culture program by providing funding for the second year for mini-grants
that will be awarded in early 2013.

Talk Story: Sharing stories, sharing culture ( is a literacy
program that reaches out to Asian Pacific American (APA) and American Indian/Alaska
Native (AIAN) children and their families. The program celebrates and explores their stories
through books, oral traditions, and art to provide an interactive, enriching experience. 2013
will be the fourth year that AILA and APALA have partnered on the Talk Story project and
allocated grant funding to libraries to implement programs geared towards the APA/AIAN
communities. To date, thirteen Talk Story grants have been awarded.

This will be the second year that Toyota Financial Services has sponsored grant funding for
Talk Story and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to continue to work with them now
and in the future. “Toyota Financial Services has been such a wonderful sponsor to work
with and their continued support will allow us to fund deserving libraries for another year”
said Liana Juliano and Lessa Pelayo-Lozada, chairs of the Talk Story committee for AILA
and APALA.

Grant applications will be available beginning in December and will be due February 15,

An affiliate of the American Library Association (ALA), the American Indian Library
Association is a membership action group that addresses the library-related needs of
American Indians and Alaska Natives. Members are individuals and institutions interested
in the development of programs to improve Indian library, cultural, and informational
services in school, public, and research libraries on reservations. AILA is also committed to
disseminating information about Indian cultures, languages, values, and information needs
to the library community. Additional information about AILA can be found at

The Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA) was established in 1980 by
librarians of diverse Asian/Pacific ancestries committed to create an organization that would
address and support the needs of Asian/Pacific American librarians and those who serve
Asian/Pacific American communities. In addition, over the years, APALA has granted
numerous scholarships and awards. Additional information about APALA can be found at

Talk Story: Sharing stories, sharing culture is a joint project between the American
Indian Library Association and the Asian Pacific American Librarians Association that
started as part of ALA 2009-2010 President Camila Alire’s Family Literacy Focus
Initiative. The project is sponsored by Toyota Financial Services.

2012 Talk Story Grant Winners Announced

The American Indian Library Association (AILA) and the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA), supported by Toyota Financial Services, are pleased to award the Baranov Museum in Kodiak, Alaska, Carson Regional Library in Carson, California, the Jamestown S’klallam Tribal Library in Sequim, Washington, the Mzenegen Tribal Library in Dorr, Michigan, and White Mesa Library of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe in Towaoc, Colorado each a $500 grant to host a Talk Story program at their library. Read more here.

Statement on Ethnic Studies Programs in Arizona

The American Indian Library Association (AILA) wishes to publicly express its strong disapproval of the elimination of the Tucson Unified School District (TUSD) Mexican American Studies classes and removal of books associated with the program due to the State of Arizona Revised Statutes Sections 15-111 and 15-112. We write this statement in support of all students, educators, and families who have been negatively affected by this action. Read the full statement here. This version was edited on February 2, 2012.

AILA Names Scholarship in Honor of Virginia Mathews

The American Indian Library Association has named its library school scholarship the Virginia Mathews Memorial Scholarship to honor the memory of one of the original founders of AILA. Virginia Winslow Hopper Mathews, member of the American Library Association for 50 years and recipient of the American Library Association’s Honorary Membership in 1994, died on Saturday, May 7, 2011. Read more about Virginia’s contributions to AILA.