Tribal libraries in the United States have become sites of cultural and language renewal, gathering places, and places to collect, preserve, and share Indigenous knowledge. They have become important sites of decolonization and places where sovereignty and self-determination are paramount. Tribal libraries are relatively recent tools that Native (and non-Native) people have begun to employ to collect, preserve, and transmit Indigenous knowledge for current and future generations. Despite the important role these institutions play in many Native communities, their presence is relatively unknown in the library world. This presentation will guide you through one library and tribal community; challenges faced and overcome, successes and barriers yet to be breached.
Aaron LaFromboise, Blackfeet, is currently the Director of Library Services at Medicine Spring Library, the academic library for Blackfeet Community College and the community library/archives for the Blackfeet Nation. Medicine Spring Library is the 2018 recipient of the ATALM Institutional Excellence Award. Aaron has been at Medicine Spring Library for eleven years, and the director for four. Aaron is a 2014 ALA Emerging Leader, sponsored by AILA. A former (2014-2020) commissioner for the Montana State Library, Aaron is the first Native American to sit on the commission. Aaron is active in the Montana Library Association, American Indian Library Association (Vice-President), and ALA where she currently serves on the ALA Presidential Committee for Julius Jefferson Jr. Aaron’s biggest library passion is to encourage Native people and communities to support and hire Native librarians, thus bringing representation to the field of librarianship and to their communities. Representation matters. Beyond the library Aaron loves to craft, she is a beader, a quilter, a card maker, and is trying her hand at painting, drawing, and carpentry.