National Agriculture Library donates thousands of books to tribal colleges

Posted by Kelly A. Harmon, Digital Communications Manager, National Agricultural Library in Research and Science

November 26, 2021

For nearly 25 years, the USDA National Agricultural Library (NAL) has donated thousands of books on Native American agriculture and culture to Tribal College libraries across the United States. Books are selected from the NAL Collection Reserves and the Library of Congress Surplus Books Program.

NAL sends a list of titles to Tribal College librarians, who choose which books they want to add to their collection.

“Most tribal college libraries also serve as public libraries for their communities,” said Valerie McBeth, library director at the Lummi Library at Northwest Indian College in Washington state. “So, in addition to the excellent materials we receive to support our academic missions, we also receive popular and general works that we would not normally purchase, and which support our public missions.”

According to Gary McCone, who created the program at NAL in 1998, “The thousands of books provided by NAL over the years have enabled (tribal) libraries to significantly expand their collections and meet the accreditation standards required by colleges.

Aaron LaFromboise, Director of Library Services, Medicine Spring Library, Blackfeet Community College, says, “This is a wonderful program, which has added depth to our collection. I look forward to the continued collaboration between NAL and Tribal College Libraries.

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