Thursday, December 05, 2013

2013 Virginia Mathews Scholarship Awarded to Debbie Reese

In today's email, I received the Fall 2013 newsletter of the American Indian Library Association. In it is an announcement that I was selected as the recipient of the 2013 Virginia Mathews Scholarship Award.

Receiving the scholarship means a lot to me. There are a lot of terrific Native people in library school. Within that context, I'm humbled and honored to be recognized by the scholarship committee.

Here's a screen capture of the newsletter page. For your convenience, I'm including the full text below the screen capture.

The purpose of the Virginia Mathews Memorial Scholarship is to provide tuition to an American Indian individual who lives and works in an American Indian community, and who is enrolled, or has been accepted and will enroll, in a master's degree program at a university with a library and/or information sciences program accredited by the American Library Association for the 2013-2014 academic school year. The scholarship has been named to honor Virginia Mathews, one of the original founders of AILA. 

Further details and scholarship criteria are available at 

The American Indian Library Association is pleased to announce that its 2013 Virginia Mathews Memorial Scholarship has been awarded to Debbie Reese. Debbie is an enrolled member of Nambe Pueblo and is pursuing her Master of Library and Information Science at San Jose State University School of Library and Information Science. 

Debbie exemplifies the scholarship criteria of “sustained involvement in the American Indian community and sustained commitment to American Indian concerns and initiatives,” and she has specific intentions and vision for returning to her community as a librarian. She has a track record of making an impact on the community and the profession. As one committee member stated, “Her blog, American Indians in Children's Literature, is one of the best resources available for discussions, book reviews, etc. In addition, her publications are hard-hitting truths on what libraries should and should not have in their collections concerning Indigenous literature, and she lectures extensively on the issues. Not only does she work with the Nambe community, but she also strives to inform the dominant culture about issues facing Indian people today.” 

In 2012, the American Library Association published a press release about the scholarship. It reads, in part:

In 1971, Virginia Mathews, Lotsee Patterson and Charles Townley formed a Task Force on American Indians within the Social Responsibilities Round Table of the American Library Association. She was a member of the first OLOS Subcommittee on Library Service for American Indian People, which led to the founding of the American Indian Library Association in 1979. She was involved with the Library Project at the National Indian Education Association, which supported three demonstration library projects — Akwesasne Library and Cultural Center, the Rough Rock Demonstration School and the Standing Rock Tribal Library—and all three served as models for the early development of tribal libraries on reservations. She worked tirelessly with the National Council of Library and Information Services to create the first White House Pre-Conference on Indian Library Services in 1978 whose delegates attended the 1979 White House Conference on Libraries and Information Services. She was responsible for inclusion of Title IV for tribal libraries in the Library Services and Construction Act Reauthorization in 1984. This special status and funding for tribal libraries is retained in current Library Services and Technology Act legislation. She was the first American Indian to seek candidacy for the ALA presidency and was a proud member of the Osage Nation.
While I never knew Ms. Mathews, I do know Lotsee Patterson and the work they did in the 1970s. Lotsee's work, in particular, touched my life through the librarianship programs she provided to the Pueblos. My aunt was one of her students. 

Kundawho'haa (thank you) AILA committee members, for your confidence in what I strive to do in my professional work. 


Mrs. Wright said...

Congratulations Debbie! As a librarian I have used your resources to make my libraries better.

Misha said...

Congratulations! Your work is really wonderful. I look to it often for books to recommend to the children I work with. So glad you're being recognized.

Beverly Slapin said...

Congratulations, Debbie! A well-deserved honor.

Ruby Hansen Murray said...

Congratulations,Debbie. I remember seeing Virginia at an Osage Writers' Summit some years ago. She was enthusiastic in supporting writers. I'm happy for you, and thank you for your work.