Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Native American Literature in Collection Development

Buentello, Ruby

Christopher Shaffer, (2007) "Native American literature in collection development", Collection Building, Vol. 26 Issue: 4, pp.127-129, https://doi.org/10.1108/01604950710831933

Summary: This article provides reasons why libraries should and continue to develop their Native American collection in a positive and contemporary way, addresses issues collection developers may come across and suggests other connections to explore. Developing a collection in a modern style means, of course, making sure current books in the collection and future purchases do not include racist terminology or perpetuate negative stereotypes of Native Americans. The issue of how to tackle adding material to the children’s collection and balancing out purchasing titles by Native American authors and titles about the culture by non-natives is addressed, as well as making sure all groups are represented, and the real history is said. Regarding connections, there is mention of acknowledging that many the  oral tradition of storytelling and suggests that libraries invite tribal elders to share this tradition at the library.

Evaluation: I pay careful attention to the Native American history/culture section at libraries when I visit because I’m interested to see what’s in the collection and I like to see in what perspective the story a told. I have come across books in the juvenile section that refers to natives a “savages” or makes it seem like there are no more Native Americans, which goes to show how neglected a collection can get. Despite encountering this, there has been significant progress in incorporating Native American literature into our collections. There are more native American authors publishing books and libraries celebrate and display Native American Heritage Month and continue the tradition of oral storytelling through programs such as Story Time or Bi-lingual Story Time.

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