American Indian and Alaska Native Students Thrive in COL Program


Working with the Public Library Association’s (PLA) subcommittee to plan the 2014 PLA Conference is an experience Jennifer Himmeleich says will benefit her throughout her career.

“The PLA project offers me the opportunity to gain the valuable skills and experience of planning a national conference,” said Himmeleich, a Circle of Learning (COL) scholar and member of the American Library Association (ALA) Emerging Leaders Class of 2013.

Himmelreich is profiled on the cover of the COL Spring 2013 News, a biannual newsletter that showcases the academic, professional, and community service accomplishments of the COL scholars, who are earning their Master of Library and Information Science degrees online at the San José State University School of Library and Information Science (SJSU SLIS).

The COL scholars are preparing for future positions in the tribal library and archival fields. Many currently volunteer or work in information settings. The COL program supports them in achieving their educational goals.

Student Merida Kipp, who is also the library administrator at Yakama Nation Library in Toppenish, WA, is grateful to be a COL scholar. “One thing I could have never done is attend the ALA Conference in New Orleans or ATALM in Tulsa,” she said. Kipp was so inspired by a mobile literacy program featured at ATALM that she developed a similar program at local Head Start branches within the Nation.

The COL Spring 2013 News’ articles highlight the many achievements of several COL scholars, including Himmelreich and Kipp. The newsletter is freely available on the SJSU SLIS website. Download PDF

About the Circle of Learning Program

In 2010, the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) awarded the School of Library and Information Science at San José State University, in partnership with the American Indian Library Association (AILA), a Laura Bush 21st Century Librarians program grant to launch the Circle of Learning project, which supports 19 American Indian and Alaska Natives earning their Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) degrees.

Circle of Learning provides students with personalized mentoring and advisement, tuition and technology support, specialized workshops from leaders in the field, yearly face-to-face meetings at professional conferences, and support for local conference travel and memberships to professional organizations.

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