George Gottschalk


Muscogee (Creek) Nation

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign Library

JCLC 2022 (Co-Chair)

How did you decide to become a librarian?

Perhaps it is cliché, but I became a librarian because while I did want to earn an income, I wanted to be motivated by my work in knowing it accomplished more than just a paycheck. Librarians value both collections and cafés.  That is, we embrace tradition, even while embracing change.  We value lofty ambitions, such as preserving the cultural record for humanity.  However, we also know such lofty ambitions only bear fruit through people living their daily lives, such as a mother reading to her toddler, a job-seeker drafting a resume, or a researcher working on language preservation.

What is your AILA passion?

American Indians are not a static, nor homogeneous group of one people.  We are a rich diversity of cultural differences, with sometimes wildly different world views.  If there is a primary commonality among us, however, it is a shared commitment to sustaining our communities, and doing so across the long span of generations.  My AILA passion is working on behalf of AILA members to remind others that we can serve as role models for their own efforts to achieve inclusion and shared purpose across similarly diverse communities, cultures and world views.

What is your story?

When I reflect on anything in my life I can point to as a success, all of my accomplishments exist only as a by-product of the extraordinary forgiveness, support and encouragement of all the people around me in my life.  That is, all of my successes are not mine alone, but are shared, communal successes that would not be possible for me without so many others.