Circle of Learning

American Indian and Alaska Native Librarians for Tomorrow

imls logoaila logoA partnership between the SJSU School of Information and the American Indian Library Association (AILA) funded by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

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Read the news story SJSU iSchool Circle of Learning Graduates Bring Their Skills to Diverse Information Careers from the iSchool's News page.

The Circle of Learning grant concluded on Aug. 28th, 2014. Congratulations to all the graduates and continuing MLIS students.

Congratulations to the Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association (APIA) which was awarded a $63,000 Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) grant for its Aleut Heritage Library and Archive. The grant will allow APIA to process and digitize the collection, which is comprised of books, articles, audio and visual files, photographs, maps, journals and research notes related to the history of Unangan (Aleut) people, their history, traditions, culture and environment. Circle of Learning MLIS graduate Lisa Dirks (’13) worked on the grant application in her LIBR 282 Grant Writing class.

Circle of Learning congratulates graduate Gena Peone ('13)  on her new position as archivist for the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission in Olympia, Wash.

COL graduate Merida Kipp ('14) was interviewed for Indian Country Today's story about a landmark IMLS-funded study examining the role of tribal libraries in digital inclusion. Kipp was recently awarded the S&K Technologies, Inc. Scholarship. Kipp attends Central Washington University's Information Technology and Administrative Management online graduate program.

Congratulations to student Alyssa Peterson who is working as a records analyst at Sealaska Heritage institute in Juneau.

Debbie Reese is the student recipient of the 2013-14 Committee to Enhance Equity and Diversity (CEED) Award presented by SJSU College of Applied Sciences and Arts! The CEED Distinguished Service Award honors a student whose efforts and activities have made an important contribution to enhance equity and diversity. Reese, a children's literature consultant was recently interviewed by CNN for their article, 'Where's the African-American Harry Potter or the Mexican Katniss?'

Congrats to the first COL graduates who are profiled in this new iSchoolweb News story!

Valarie KingslandCongratulations to Valarie Kingsland who was recently awarded the 2014 SJSU iSchool Ken Haycock Award for Exceptional Professional Promise in a graduating student. Kingsland is the Library Museum Director for the Seward Community Library & Museum in Alaska.

Big Congratulations to Merida Kipp, Library Administrator of the Yakama Nation Library, and COL student, whose library received a $20,000 2014 Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) Great Books Giveaway Grant!


Newsletters and Presentations

Spring 2014 Newsletter thumbnailThe project is proud to present the fifth and final issue of our COL program newsletter for your enjoyment!




Fall 2013 Newsletter thumbnailOur Fall 2013 newsletter has arrived! Enjoy reading about our scholars’ professional achievements and awards.




Spring 2013 Newsletter thumbnailThe Spring 2013 newsletter profiles the leadership accomplishments of many of our scholars as well as our popular workshop series.




Fall 2012 Newsletter thumbnailOur Fall 2012 COL Program Newsletter is filled with news and updates from our COL scholars.

Thanks to the support of our funder, the IMLS, the COL project was extended for a 4th and final year! It will conclude in August of 2014.


COL Presentation thumbnailEnjoy our updated COL Presentation, featuring photos from our professional development events at annual COL face-to-face meetings. Learn about our program’s students, staff, advisory board, and professional mentors.


Spring 2012 Newsletter thumbnailOur first issue, Spring 2012 COL News, proudly showcases the academic, professional and community service awards and achievements of seven COL scholars.


Upcoming Events


Susan Gehr will be presenting a poster at the 2015 Linguistic Society of America conference session, "How are language communities using archives?"

Past Events

COL Staff, Students and Graduates convened for a final grant Assessment and Outcomes Evaluation meeting at the 2014 Conference of the Association of Indigenous Archives, Libraries and Museums, (ATALM) in Palm Springs in June. Student Tawa Ducheneaux was a session presenter at the conference.

COL Staff attended ALA Midwinter in Philadelphia in January of 2014 where they met with Advisory Board members.

COL Staff conducted their Advisory Board Teleconference on October 28th.

COL Staff attended the 2013 ALA conference in Chicago in June and met with COL Advisory Board members at their annual meeting.

Circle of Learning scholars and staff presented sessions at the 2013 International Conference of the Association of Indigenous Archives, Libraries and Museums, (ATALM) in Albuquerque, NM in June. More information about the COL-led sessions can be found in our Spring 2013 Newsletter.

Several COL students attended the Eighth International Indigenous Librarians' Forum in May in Bellingham, WA.

COL advisory committee member and UW PhD candidate Marisa Duarte spoke on April 18th, 2013 at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her talk was entitled, "Network Sovereignty: Building the Infrastructure Toward Intellectual Freedom in Indian Country."

COL Students Tawa Ducheneaux and Gena Peone attended the week-long Native American Museum Studies Institute at U.C. Berkeley in January.

COL leaders met with the COL Advisory Board in January at the ALA Midwinter meeting in Seattle.

COL Project Co-Directors Jane Fisher (iSchool) and Liana Juliano (AILA) presented: Circle of Learning: Virtual Indigenous Community Development for MLIS Students together with COL students Valarie Kingsland and Tawa Ducheneaux at the Library 2.012 Worldwide Virtual Conference on Wed. Oct. 3.

COL Students Jennifer Himmelreich and Jerry Flanary presented Cultivating Culture: Promising Virtual Practices for Indigenous Communities at the Library 2.012 Worldwide Virtual Conference on Thur. Oct. 4th.

Many COL students attended the 2012 Joint Conference for Librarians of Color held Sept. 19-23 in Kansas City, MO with funding support from the Circle of Learning Program.

COL Students and staff held their annual meeting at the International Conference of Indigenous Archives, Libraries, and Museums (ATALM) in Tulsa, OK in June. COL scholars presented at panel sessions: Communication and Collaboration in Tribal Communities and Developing Culturally Responsive Community Research Partnerships, Top 100 Books Every Museum and Library Should Have on their Shelves and many presented their research at the COL sponsored Student Research Forum. In addition, the COL program sponsored a Career Options Fair open to all conference participants.

The IFLA Presidential Programme Indigenous Knowledges: Local Priorities, Global Contexts was held at the First Nations House of Learning on the campus of the University of British Columbia on April 12-14, 2012 in Vancouver, BC. Several Circle of Learning students attended the conference.

COL program leaders met with the COL Advisory Board, IMLS program officers and attended AILA meetings at the 2012 ALA Midwinter Conference in Dallas, TX in January. COL student Shannon Rosenbaum also attended to begin her ALA Emerging leaders project.

Student and Graduate Spotlights

Jonna PadenJonna Paden graduated in 2014. She interns with the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center Library & Archive in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She recently was featured in this story by the New Mexico State Library, New Mexico Native Americans Receive Masters in Library and Information Sciences Degree


During her MLIS studies, Paden completed the UW Madison Library and Information Sciences Study-Abroad Course: Australian Contributions to Archival Theory and Practice in Melbourne.


Debbie ReeseDebbie Reese's award-winning blog offers critical perspectives and analysis of Indigenous peoples in children's and young adult books, the school curriculum, popular culture, and society: American Indians in Children's Literature

Reese serves on the IMLS Campaign for Grade Level Reading: Early Learning Taskforce

Learn more>>

Lisa DirksLisa Dirks, a research manager with the Southcentral Foundation in Anchorage prepared a grant for the Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association's Aleut Heritage Library and Archive. She was one of several COL students who graduated in December of 2013. 

Amy MooreAmy Moore has begun a contract position in health information outreach with the National Network of Libraries of Medicine - New England Region. Most recently, she was awarded the 2011-2012 SJSU iSchool Kaiser Permanente Medical Librarianship Scholarship.

Gena PeoneGena Peone graduated in 2013. She is now archivist for the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission. Previously, she worked as Assistant Collections Manager for the Spokane Tribe of Indians. She has worked with archival and material culture collections in a number of organizations. She won a scholarship to attend the HiPSTAS Institute at University of Texas.

Shannon RosenbaumShannon Rosenbaum presented "Youth Services: Programs, Outreach and Creative Funding," at the 2014 ALA Conference in Las Vegas. She works as the library specialist - youth services for Nisqually Indian Tribe.She was selected as the 2012 AILA Emerging Leader. Rosenbaum's ALA Emerging Leaders 2012 Group Project, a 35th Anniversary Celebration oral history of the LIRT can be found on the group's website

Susan Gehr completed her MLIS thesis in 2014. She received the Outstanding Thesis award from the iSchool. She was elected to the Advisory Circle of the Institute on Collaborative Language Research.

Previously, Gehr was featured in an article in North Coast Journal about the Karuk language.