A survey of collection development methods in public libraries

Native American literature for young people: a survey of collection development methods in public libraries

Renee Tjoumas


The American cultural tapestry is composed of a rich weave of numerous ethnic heritages and linguistic groups. The librarian’s professional obligation is to develop balanced collections to support culturally pluralistic programs which reflect this diversity. Therefore, one of the most challenging responsibilities for library personnel is the selection of appropriate resources to meet the educational and recreational needs of children and adolescents. Exposure to such materials fosters in young people a positive regard for individual and group differences which, in turn, enhances the communication links among members of our multicultural society.

A carefully constructed collection of Native American literature can function on a variety of levels. For Indian youth, this literature could assist them in becoming aware of their own heritage and the unique contributions of Indian people to the world at large. On the other hand, these materials could open an aperture of understanding for non-Indian patrons to respect the rights of American Indians. These resources could also facilitate the work of librarians in formulating innovative outreach programs and services (Kuipers, 1991, pp. 3-4).

The purpose of this article is to provide a preliminary strategy for determining to what degree public librarians outside of the reservation context are actively engaged in collecting Native American literature for young patrons. A second objective is to identify the criteria and resources librarians use in selecting these materials. For clarification, the designations Native American and American Indian will be used interchangeably throughout the text, and they are employed here to include Eskimo and Aleut populations. The structure of this article consists of four segments: (1) literature survey; (2) research methodology and data collection; (3) analysis and interpretation; and (4) recommendations and conclusions.


An examination of the professional literature revealed two significant themes. The first topic pertained to library services specifically designed to meet the needs of Native American patrons. Embedded in the context of these publications, information was located on public library programs and, to a lesser extent, collection development issues. The second subject identified in these writings concerned Native American literature for young patrons. A number of these publications reflected the biases and stereotypes of ten contained in these materials. In other publications, these concerns and issues were translated into a set of criteria for evaluation and/ or selection.


Charles T. Townley (1978) described the role of libraries in the lives of American Indians as “inconsequential” until the mid-twentieth century (p. 142). At that point in time, the concept of self-determination, which emerged from the Native American community, was finally accepted by federal policymakers. As American Indians assumed maximum participation in managing their communities, the need for information sources to assist them in decision-making processes was recognized. Coupled with this trend, library professionals had become increasingly concerned with widening their service base to a broader audience. These factors stimulated an innovative phase in American Indian library services during the period 1957 through 1973 in all types of information environments including the public library outside the reservation setting.

June Smeck Smith (1971) conducted a study, which was implemented during this first phase of development, to ascertain the state of library services for Indian patrons. Letters of inquiry were sent to a variety of institutions and included: (1) education agencies and state libraries in states with large Indian populations; (2) urban libraries where Indian communities were located; (3) colleges and schools with a sizable ratio of Indian student enrollments; and (4) the United States Bureau of Indian Affairs. An analysis of the collected data revealed that “library service to Indians, whether public, school or academic, is generally an integral part of the library service being provided for students or the general public” (p. 228).

Smith proceeded to discuss the developments within each type of library environment. In terms of public or community libraries, she commented on a variety of projects designed specifically to expand services to reservation areas and identified a range of problems encountered in implementing these programs. Among the difficulties enumerated were the natural suspicions and shyness of the Indian community, linguistic barriers, and patrons’ diverse literacy levels. These factors, according to the author, could be counteracted by tact and a search for the appropriate materials.

In the urban environment, Native Americans often encountered cultural confusion and a sense of displacement when separated from their tribal communities which often resulted in making them invisible. These factors made it especially difficult for public librarians to reach this user group. Among the programs described by the author were: 1. The St. Paul Public Library’s assistance to the local American

Indian Center in developing their own library. 2. The Cleveland Public Library’s use of LSCA Title I funds for

a program, coordinated by an Indian staff member, to develop

relevant services to Native Americans and to make non-Indians

more aware of the problems confronted by Indians residing in

the area. 3. The Chicago Public Library’s work with that city’s American

Indian Center to provide services and special programs. 4. The Sioux City Public Library’s promotion of an interstate project

involving Iowa and Nebraska designed to facilitate the growth

of public library services in both urban and rural areas. Resources

collected for this program emphasized Indian culture and history

(Smith, 1971, pp. 232-33).

In another segment of her article, Smith addressed a variety of selection issues. The author directly showed the need for accurate materials for supporting service activities for both Indian and non-Indian users. Three suggestions were offered to library professionals to facilitate the development of these resources. First, librarians were encouraged to pressure trade and other publishers to produce valid materials. Second, the reading of Akwesasne Notes, a Mohawk publication, was recommended for obtaining current information about the Indian world. Third, regarding materials for and about Native Americans, Smith advocated the preservation of the oral literature, the publication of resources in indigenous languages, and the procurement of collections for Indian users which were relevant and meaningful to their reality of existence.

The author alerted readers that guidelines for evaluating Indian materials needed to be formulated but cited two publications as excellent sources for assessing materials for young people. Compiled by Native Americans, these standards appeared in Textbooks and the American Indian and American Indians: An Annotated Bibliography of Selected Library Resources. The evaluative criteria established in the latter source were the basis for a statement submitted in 1971 by the Subcommittee on Indian Materials for approval to the American Library Association’s (ALA) Adult Services Division. Smith quoted these guidelines in her article and they are duplicated here because of their relevancy to the focus of this study.


Truth and art are two criteria of evaluation which can be

applied to all types of material. Truth includes accurate sources

and treatment of material and qualified authorship. Art is

concerned with the quality of presentation–creative power,

sincerity, originality and style. Although both of these criteria

are embodied in the guidelines listed below, greater emphasis

is given to truth because of the misrepresentation of the American

Indian in much of the materials existing today.

The first three guidelines are basic principles. The additional

guidelines reinforce the basic ones. It is hoped that the following

statement will be valuable and useful to publishers and producers

of adult materials as well as to librarians working with adults.


1. Is the image of the Indian one of a real human being, with

strengths and weaknesses, acting in response to his own

nature and his own times? If material is fictional, are the

characters realistically developed? Are situations true or

possibly true to Indian ways of life?

2. Does the material present both sides of the event, issue,

problem, or other concern? Is comparable information

presented more effectively in other material?

3. Are the contributions of American Indian culture to Western

civilization given rightful and accurate representation and

is this culture evaluated in terms of its own values and

attitudes rather than in terms of those of another culture?


1. What are the author’s or producer’s qualifications to write

or produce material dealing with American Indians?

2. Does the material contain factual errors or misleading


3. Does the material perpetuate stereotypes or myths about

the American Indian? Does the material show an obvious

or subtle bias?

4. Do illustrations authentically depict Indian ways of life?

5. How might the material affect an Indian person’s image

of himself?

6. Would the material help an Indian identify with and be

proud of his heritage?

7. Does the material express Indian values and might it help

an American Indian to reconcile his own values with

conflicting ones?

8. Does the material present a positive or negative image of

the American Indian and how might the material affect

the non-Indian’s image of Indian people?

9. Are loaded words (i.e. buck, squaw, redskin, etc.) used in

such a way as to be needlessly offensive, insensitive, or


10. Does the material contain much of value but require

additional information to make it more relevant or useful?

(Library Services Institute for Minnesota Indians,

1970, pp. iv-v)

Townley (1978) marked the year 1973 as the point of closure for the first phase of Indian library development. A coinciding event which occurred that year was the publication of a joint policy statement by the National Indian Education Association and ALA titled, “Goals for Indian Library and Information Service.” One of the goals stipulated the acquisition of library resources in the following terms:

Goal–Materials which meet informational and educational needs and

which present a bi-cultural view of history and culture, must be provided

in appropriate formats, quality, and quantity to meet current and future

needs. The library should produce its own materials, if they are not

available, in a language or format used by most of the community.

(National Indian Education Association & ALA, 1974, n.p.) These guidelines reflect earlier statements about the types of materials required to appropriately fulfill the informational needs of Indian patrons. But, on a profound level, these goals embody universal criteria that should be implemented in selecting materials pertaining to Native American literature for all types of users.

In terms of American Indian library development, Townley (1978) investigated the period between 1973 and 1978. Brief case study reports were provided by the author which described developments in a variety of settings and library types. In terms of the public library context, the Indian Library Project of the Sioux City Public Library, mentioned earlier, was again cited as an outstanding example of an urban institution striving to improve Indian information access. In Arizona, the Tucson Public Library helped the Papago Tribe to operate four media centers and county libraries throughout the state and extended bookmobile routes to Indian communities within their realm of responsibility. The Brown and Outagamie County Public Libraries in Wisconsin sponsored a small branch library at the Oneida Tribal Center in response to requests by Oneida leaders (pp. 159-64).

Townley (1978) identified the events after 1973 as a time which enhanced practical knowledge regarding American Indian library service. At this point, librarians could pinpoint specific elements which were essential in meeting the informational needs of Native American patrons (p. 168). Two goals which he identified for the future were: “(1) the establishment of a national policy commitment; and (2) the development of a continuing and adequate funding base for American Indian library service” (p. 172).

The year 1979 was a pivotal point in the development of library services for Indian people living in rural, urban, and reservation communities. The White House Conference on Library and Information Services forwarded to the United States President a resolution requesting passage of a National Indian Omnibus Library Bill. The impetus for this resolution originated during the White House Pre-Conference on Indian Library and Information Services On or Near Reservations held October 19-22, 1978 (Mathews, 1980; Metoyer, 1978a; Metoyer-Duran, 1979).

The climate was depicted as a new era of awareness and sensitivity toward cultural diversity. Society at large also understood that Indian people had some brilliant leaders who not only value literacy but command a range of intellectual aptitudes as well” (Mathews, 1981, p. 4). Furthermore, there was an enhanced understanding that Native Americans also valued libraries as viable information sources for their people.

The creation of new libraries on reservations and the expansion of services to Native Americans in existing libraries stimulated the formulation and implementation of a research study by Richard G. Heyser and Lotsee Smith (1980). The purpose of this investigation was to ascertain the level of public library services available to Native Americans living in the continental United States and Canada.

To identify the institutions providing services to Native Americans, the authors contacted both state libraries in the United States and provincial agencies in Canada. A total of 252 libraries was identified. Some served only American Indians and others furnished information services to both Indian and non-Indian patrons. Of the 122 questionnaires mailed to Canada, twenty-three responses were received. In terms of the United States, 130 surveys were sent and 60 were returned.

The data elements collected on this survey pertained to such topics as funding, facilities, personnel, collections, and services. The researchers concluded that the programs designed to serve Native Americans specifically, in reality were used by Indian peoples. Adults and children had a nearly equal rate of use, “with the lowest amount of usage by teenagers” (Heyser & Smith, 1980, p. 366). In terms of materials collection activities, the researchers recommended that: “More materials by, for and about Native Americans must be made available. Native Americans have a strong interest in obtaining information on their cultures. Publications should be made available in both English and the languages of the individual tribes” (Heyser & Smith, 1980, p. 367). This recommendation echoed elements stipulated in “Goals for Indian Library and Information Service” published in 1973.

President Ronald Reagan, on October 17, 1984, signed into law Title IV of the Library Services and Construction Act (LSCA). The purpose of Title IV was to “(1) promote the extension of public library service to Indian people living on or near reservations, (2) provide incentives for the establishment of tribal library programs, and (3) improve the administration and implementation of library services for Indians by providing funds to establish and support library programs” (Beaudin, 1986, p. 47). The contents of Title IV reflected the work done earlier during the White House Preconference on Indian Library and Information Services On and Near Reservations and the White House Conference on Libraries and Information Services (Mathews, 1985). Tribes were eligible to apply for grants, and, by 1986, a number of Indian reservation communities had developed libraries with staffs who continued to seek funding to maintain services (Beaudin, 1987). Virginia H. Mathews (1989) described the effect that the development of these libraries had on their communities:

Most important to Indian people on reservations were the benefits of

community library services as an essential ingredient of effective

programs for early childhood, literacy, employment, adult education,

and the elderly. LSCA IV has engendered self-esteem and a sense of identity

to young and older Indians alike. Having their own libraries has lent

impetus to parents’ efforts to participate in their children’s learning and

to continue their own. (p. 25)

The members of the National Commission on Libraries and Information Science (NCLIS) met in Santa Fe, New Mexico, during january 1989 to assess the state of Native American libraries. Members of the commission visited four pueblo libraries–Laguna, Cochiti, Santa Clara, and San Ildefonso–and the next day heard formal testimonies from witnesses representing a variety of tribal communities nationwide. From these sources of information, it was ascertained that funding was “never adequate or consistent” and “remains perhaps the principal problem for native American facilities” (Pelzman, 1989, p. 58). In some cases, libraries were temporarily closed and those that remained open stretched meager resources to serve local communities. Commissioners learned that many children had access to school or public libraries, but, because of distance and transportation factors, their ability to use these outside resources was limited. It was also noted that most youngsters came from homes with televisions but few had books and, therefore, they needed a place to study and do their homework. These libraries served an additional function. As community centers, elders had a nurturing environment in which to share the stories, language, and culture of their nation with tribal youth.

The end result of this review process was an acknowledgment that nearly every representative indicated that their tribe had benefited from Title IV funds. However, a number of problems, needs, and recommendations were identified. The importance of a preconference on Native American libraries was also stressed as a precursor to the next White House Conference.

The literature survey pertaining to the development of Native American libraries revealed four important themes for the period examined. First, these years reflected a time where information services were extended to Indian peoples living in a variety of localities–reservations and rural and urban areas. Public and community libraries played a major role in this process. Second, the profession became more informed about the importance of acquiring materials pertaining to Native American literature for Indian and non-Indian patrons. Third, selection criteria for choosing Native American literature for children and young adults had evolved during this period. Fourth, general studies had been implemented which explored the growth of American Indian libraries, services, and resources in a variety of environments, but little information had been generated on collection development practices of public librarians in acquiring Native American literature for children and young adults. In an attempt to locate information on this theme, the literature pertaining to Native American materials for young people was investigated within two categories: (1) periodical articles, and (2) essays and specialized bibliographies.


Rey Mickinock (1971) explored the misconceptions and inaccuracies in juvenile literature pertaining to Native Americans. Examples included children’s “easy” books whose illustrators combined the “hair styles of the Eastern tribes with the tipis of the West, the pottery of the Southwestern tribes with the travoix of the North” (p. 46). The author supplied a list of recommended titles noted for their accuracy and intelligent perspective in relating Indian life and culture. Mickinock also suggested that librarians personally examine each author and their published works in the selection process.

Mary Gloyne Byler (1974) evaluated the literature created by non-Indian writers. She concluded that most of these materials presented Native American characters in a depersonalized fashion and consistently parodied Indian customs. Byler cited a variety of titles that made a sincere effort to offset negative images portrayed in children’s materials, but even these sources were problematic because Indian protagonists were depicted as either “noble superhumans, or as depraved, barbarous subhumans” (p. 39). The author then called upon publishers, librarians, and school administrators to re-examine children’s resources and conscientiously separate fact from fiction. She concluded her article by stating: “Only American Indians can tell non-Indians what it is to be Indian. There is no longer any need for non-Indian writers to ‘interpret’ American Indians for the American public” (p. 39).

Laura Herbst (1975), after examining the children’s literature of the period, echoed many of the citicisms expressed by other commentators. Native American characters were consistently stereotyped and outdated views communicated. In her view, most of the resources investigated were “objectionable–objectionable in their treatment of both the Indian individual and the Indian culture” (p. 192). Native Americans were portrayed as either savage and noble or childish and helpless. Furthermore, Indian cultures were consistently depicted as: (1) inferior to white culture; (2) savage and therefore warranting annihilation; or (3) superficial without human warmth and vitality. Herbst placed much of the responsibility for these serious flaws on white authors who perpetuated the notion of Western civilization’s superiority and the need to reshape the world to fit this ethnocentric perspective.

Michael Dorris (1978) discussed two American holidays–Halloween and Thanksgiving–as the “annual twin peaks of Indian stereotyping” (p. 6). Greeting cards, posters, children’s costumes, and school projects were identified in conveying images which lacked cultural authenticity and historical accuracy. Examples of instructional materials, program illustrations, and library resources were also cited which consistently communicated damaging information about Native American peoples. The author encouraged parents to become articulate advocates in sensitizing the attitudes of principals, teachers, and librarians. Dorris also emphasized the role of the home environment where children “must be encouraged to articulate any questions they might have about |other’ people, and |minority’ children must be given ways in which to insulate themselves from real or implied insults, epithets, slights or negative stereotypes” (p. 9).

In response to the damaging images conveyed during major holidays, Arlene Hirschfelder and Jane Califf (1979) formulated a Thanksgiving lesson plan to offset false impressions about Native Americans. Ten learning activities were outlined that could be adapted for various age levels. Recommended resources were also noted that could be used by instructors. Among the materials listed were two Native American publications titled Akwesasne Notes and the Weewish Tree which the authors considered extremely valuable for classroom use. The importance of juvenile literature was underscored in the objectives of the lesson plan where it was stipulated that one of the desired outcomes for these activities was to “develop critical thinking by analyzing the accuracy of children’s books about Pilgrims, Native Americans and |The First Thanksgiving'” (p. 6). To increase the reader’s sensitivity and enhance the success of this objective, Hirschfelder and Califf included illustrations from children’s books that depicted Native Americans as wild savages and graphics from greeting cards which featured animals dressed as Indians. Both of these treatments were perceived as examples which dehumanized Native Americans.

Further investigation of historical themes was done by Joel Taxel (1981). The author examined thirty-two children’s novels portraying the American Revolution and concluded that they embodied a disregard for justice by the manner in which minorities were depicted. Even though this analysis focused upon the portrayal of blacks, Taxel noted that a number of works demonstrated a colonial America where tremendous opportunities existed for personal advancement. On the other hand, these resources failed in explicitly communicating that this freedom was restricted “to whites, and even then, not to all whites. And, of course, none mention that this ‘advancement’ was achieved at the expense of Native peoples who were either killed or dispossessed” (p. 8).

Juvenile historical fiction was the focus of the analysis conducted by Katharine Everett Bruner (1988). She discussed a number of well-known books and revealed stereotypical depictions of both blacks and Native Americans. Bruner remarked about the excessive use of such damaging terminology as “awful savages,” “red devils,” and crazy Indians” who “hardly looked like men” (p. 125). The author concluded that the fact that stereotypes “abound in books from the past that are still read today bears witness to both authors’ and readers’ willingness to accept generality as specificity, one-sidedness as whole coin, contemporary provincialism as forever justice” (p. 125).

Barbara D. Stoodt and Sandra Ignizio (1976) initiated their article in agreement with other critics by stating the claim that the American Indian in children’s literature is “misrepresented, distorted, romanticized, idealized, and victimized” (p. 17). They then proceeded to present a set of criteria accumulated from articles and books pertaining to the representation of Native Americans in juvenile literature. These guidelines were stated in the form of twelve questions:

1. Are the illustrations realistic?

2. Are authentic Indian customs mentioned?

3. Is a specific tribe mentioned, or are all Indians treated as one group?

4. Does the author describe the main character as an individual, with

thoughts, philosophies and problems or is he or she a stereotype?

5. Does the author accurately describe the life and situation of the

American Indian in the world today?

6. Does the male dominate with little or no mention of the female

role in Indian life?

7. Is the Indian portrayed as a savage and a murderer?

8. Is the Indian portrayed as a friend?

9. Is the Indian portrayed as a victim of the white man’s world?

10. Is the Indian portrayed as a noble hero?

11. Is degrading vocabulary used to describe the Indian?

12. Is the story credible? (p. 17)

Using these criteria, the authors evaluated seventy books selected from reviews appearing in Elementary English and Horn Book. Their examination revealed three problematic areas associated with authenticity, characterization, and stylistic language in the depiction of Indian life.

Evaluation criteria were also an important ingredient of jane Califf’s (1977) article where she described her experiences in sensitizing fourth and fifth graders to Native American stereotypes. Her strategy of approach consisted of two distinct phases. The first component focused upon Native American culture and history as well as the interaction of Indian peoples with European settlers. The second instructional segment pertained to an examination of children’s books. To stimulate student discussion, Califf brought materials collected from local libraries to class and presented the following set of questions:

1. Look at the illustrations. Do they show all Native Americans looking

alike, red in color or as savages?

2. Listen to the words. Do they imply that Native Americans were/are

naturally wild, warlike and bothered peaceful settlers or other Native

peoples for no reason?

3. From what you’ve studied about Native American peoples, does the

author seem to be portraying their lives accurately?

4. Does the author give the national name of the people such as Navajo,

Hopi, Mohawk, or Cherokee; or does the book just say “Indians”,

implying that all Native Americans are the same?

5. Do the Native people speak in pidgeon English, in grunts, or do

they speak in sentences as all people do? (p. 5) Another evaluative standard generated from the class interaction was that her students generally agreed “that Native American people would be more likely to know about their own cultures than someone who was an outsider to these cultures” (p. 5).

The periodical literature clearly identified the problem areas encountered in children’s and young adult literature in the treatment of Native American peoples. Consistently, authors have attempted to sensitize readers to such issues as stereotypical characterizations, historical inaccuracies, prejudicial use of illustrations, insensitive stylistic language, and cultural ignorance. Another theme reflected in these articles was the debate pertaining to authorship. Namely, the belief that only Indian writers effectively relay an understanding of the Native American reality. These issues have also been restated in a series of criteria for assessing materials. Many aspects of these evaluative standards mirrored criteria established in the professional literature pertaining to library services. However, the extent to which these guidelines are used in the selection process has not been studied, nor have collection development techniques been investigated.


The remaining portion of the professional literature can be classified in two categories. The first grouping are essays contained in monographs concerning cultural pluralism and juvenile literature. The second category are annotated lists or bibliographies of American Indian literature prepared for librarians and teachers. A common thread interwoven throughout these publications comprises discussions pertaining to selection criteria. These evaluative standards are articulated either to inform readers of the reasons for materials to be included or excluded in a particular compilation or to establish guidelines in creating and managing collections.

Cheryl A. Metoyer’s (1978b) chapter on “American Indian People and Children’s Resources” was written primarily for public and school librarians. The author strongly suggested that individuals responsible for choosing American Indian materials need to develop an expertise in the issues, culture, and history affecting these peoples. Such a background, she explained, would allow collection development officials to accurately interpret the criteria developed at the Library Services Institute for Minnesota Indians. These guidelines were one and the same as the standards published by ALA’s Adult Services Division Subcommittee on Indian Materials and adapted from the work, American Indians: An Annotated Bibliography of Selected Library Resources, quoted previously in this literature survey.

A spectrum of sources was suggested by Metoyer to facilitate the selection process. Similar to the recommendations made by Hirschfelder and Califf (1979), the Native American publications Akwesasne Notes and The Weewish Tree were suggested as helpful. A third publication, Wassaja, was also noted. Both Akwesasne Notes and Wassaja were considered significant because they included book reviews and other information of interest. The Weewish Tree, published by the American Indian Historical Society, was designed for young people (K-12) and featured stories, games, legends, and articles of historical and contemporary opinion.

In another portion of her essay, Metoyer described the results of surveys pertaining to library programs for American Indian children. A number of issues were elucidated including the factors which contribute to program effectiveness, reading interests of Indian children, and staff training. However, these investigations did not report selection practices and the implementation of assessment criteria.

Althea Helbig (1980) in another essay described the teaching of American literature and the importance of including Native American stories. The author underscored their instructional value not only as sources of entertainment but also as revealing the imaginative vitality of the American Indian oral tradition. It is interesting to note that among the selection aids identified by Helbig was Anna Lee Stensland’s compilation, Literature by and about the American Indian: An Annotated Bibliography for Junior and Senior High School Students.

Stensland (1973), in her introduction, alerted readers to the fact that the most challenging aspects of using these materials was how to evaluate them. Criteria applied to assessing any body of literature such as characterization, style, and originality were perceived as relevant in this context; however, “the difficult question if the teacher is non-Indian is whether the story is true to the Indian way” (p. 16). In response to this dilemma, Stensland based her compilation on reviews authored by Indian scholars and bibliographies developed by Native American organizations. The published product of her efforts included items written by both Indians and non-Indians. An implied justification for this methodological approach was furnished:

Some of the books in this bibliography give the white man’s point of

view, which often is not a very accurate picture of the Indian. Yet, in

order to understand what happened to the Indian, it does seem that

the reader should understand some of what the white man thought,

erroneous though it was. (Stensland, 1973, pp. 17-18) When the second edition of her bibliography appeared, Stensland was impressed by the increasing numbers of non-Indian authors who treated Native American topics with sensitivity and accuracy.

Mary Gloyne Byler (1973), in contrast, compiled a selective bibliography for young readers limited exclusively to American Indian authors. Byler’s explanation was that “non-Indians lack the feelings and insights essential to a valid representation of what it means to be an American Indian” (p. 3). She faulted non-Indian works for perpetuating stereotypical characters, for committing acts of cultural vandalism, and for creating cliched historical fantasies.

Marjorie F. Gallard (1975) compiled an annotated list of Native American literature for a work titled, Words Like Freedom: A Multi-Cultural Bibliography sponsored by the California Association of School Libraries. The creation of this chapter was based upon a perspective attained through Gallard’s experiences of living and working on Indian Reservations in New York, Arizona, and New Mexico. Materials included were either those written by American Indians or those in which the major protagonists were Native Americans.

Mary Jo Lass-Woodfin (1978) edited a bibliographic guide for librarians, educators, and parents in choosing materials for young people pertaining to American Indians and Eskimos. Arranged alphabetically by author, more than 800 titles were rated as good, adequate, or poor based on reviewers’ (both Indian and non-Indians) experiences working with youngsters. She also identified an important issue. If one were to purchase materials “that were written by knowledgeable tribal members, that never used stereotyping, that contained illustrations showing in exact and minute detail the dress, life, and environment of the group depicted, and that were, in equal measure, well written, well illustrated, and accurate in every word, the final collection would be small indeed” (p. 3).

Her response to this predicament was to suggest that the criteria used for purchasing books in less controversial fields be implemented in choosing materials pertaining to Native Americans. Following this strategy, Lass-Woodfin

itemized six points to be considered during the selection process: (1) expect controversy because it is impossible to select items that will be agreeable to all readers; (2) become more knowledgeable about Native Americans, different tribal cultures, history, and lifestyle; (3) read other opinions, bibliographies, and book reviews; (4) use a rating scale created by Native Americans to evaluate children’s materials; (5) balance minor deficiencies against redeeming qualities by evaluating the item on the basis of overall literary quality; and (6) select according to the specific purposes of the collection.

Ruth Blank (1981) created a bibliography to serve as a “starter guide” for teachers and Native American parents to help young readers. Even though this compilation listed both Indian and non-Indian authors, asterisks were used to identify books and anthologies either authored or published by American Indians.

Books Without Bias: Through Indian Eyes, edited by Beverly Slapin and Doris Seale (1988), included an assortment of collected essays, reviews, poetry, a directory of Native American publishers, and a recommended bibliographic list. Another component of this work was the inclusion of a set of criteria composed by Slapin, Seale, and third contributor, Rosemary Gonzales. These standards were designed to aid individuals “to choose non-racist and undistorted books about the lives and histories of the People” (p. 117). The checklist was structured in a series of queries grouped under relevant headings. Illustrations and quotes from the published literature were incorporated to assist selectors in distinguishing between negative and positive attributes. A portion of this checklist is duplicated here to demonstrate the depth of analysis stimulated by the questions posed:

Look at Picture Books

In ABC books, is “E” for “Eskimo”?…

In ABC books, is “I” for “Indian”?…

In counting books, are “Indians” counted?…

Are children shown “playing Indian”?…

Are animals dressed as “Indians”?…

Do “Indians” have ridiculous names, like “Indian Two Feet,” or “Little


Look for Stereotypes

Are Native peoples portrayed as savages, or primitive craftspeople, or

simple tribal people, now extinct?


Are Native peoples shown as human beings, members of highly defined

and complex societies?…

Are Native cultures oversimplified and generalized? Are Native people

all one color, one style?


Are Native cultures presented as separate from each other, with each

culture, language, religion, dress, unique?…

Is the art a mishmash of “generic Indian” designs?


Is attention paid to accurate, appropriate design and color; are clothes,

dress, houses drawn with careful attention to detail?

Look for Loaded Words

Are there insulting overtones to the language in the book?

Are racist adjectives used to refer to Indian peoples?


Is the language respectful?

Look for Tokenism

Are Native people depicted as stereotypically alike, or do they look just

like whites with brown faces?


Are Native people depicted as genuine individuals? (Slapin & Seale, 1988,

pp. 118-28) Eight additional criteria headings with relevant queries concluded the checklist. These evaluative standards encouraged the selector to (1) “Look for Distortion of History”; (2) “Look at the Lifestyles”; (3) “Look at the Dialogue”; (4) “Look for Standards of Success”; (5) “Look at the Role of Women”; (6) “Look at the Role of Elders”; (7) “Look for the Effects on a Child’s Self-Image”; and (8) “Look at the Author’s or Illustrator’s Background” (pp. 129-44).

This checklist reflects a sophistication and discriminating precision not encountered previously. Benefiting from time’s progression and the accompanying evolution of ideas, these criteria perform a profound function. They act as change agents in the selector’s conceptual understanding of the issues while the decision-making process of what to purchase is implemented. Enhanced with illustrative quotes and pictures, a selector can internalize each criterion query and comprehend the Native American perspective from both intellectual and visceral levels.

An evaluative checklist was also formulated by Barbara J. Kuipers (1991) in the introduction of American Indian Reference Books for Children and Young Adults. Prior to its presentation, Kuipers supplied an informative overview of criteria used in assessing Native American literature for young people from the perspective “of educators, social critics, bibliographers, anthropologists, ethnologists, historians, and librarians” (p. 6). She highlighted the fact that experts had recommended the Indian publications, Wassaja, The Indian Historian, The Weewish Tree, and Akwesasne Notes as important review sources. Bibliographies prepared by individuals of

Indian ancestry and standard selection sources were also suggested by Kuipers. Among the compiler’s bibliographic recommendations were Lass-Woodfin (1978), Byler (1973), and Slapin and Seale (1988).

Based on the examination of the literature, Kuipers (1991) was able to identify four fundamental areas of concern: “(1) the authorship of entries, (2) the recommendation of entries by Indians, (3) the value system of the American Indian, and (4) the treatment of American Indian life in the literature” (p. 26). This distillation was then reinterpreted in the formulation of an evaluative checklist designed to assist information professionals in selecting American Indian reference items.

The first portion provided open items for recording complete bibliographic information as well as the address of the publisher. Following this section, six criteria sections were listed with relevant assessment subsets identified. A response code was supplied for the librarian to check as assessments were made for each criterion element. The evaluative options included E = excellent, F = fair, P = poor, and N/A = not applicable.

Item 1 pertained to the issue of authority, and Kuipers recommended that materials of Indian and non-Indian authorship which satisfy these standards (i.e., author’s qualifications, publisher’s reputation, and quality of edition) should be included. Other criteria categories incorporated were scope (item 2, i.e., purpose, recency, scholarship), presentation (item 3, i.e., creative, sincere, original, readable), and format (item 4, i.e., physical make-up, arrangement of contents). The treatment of the text (item 5) encompassed the criteria subsets of accuracy, authenticity, and objectivity. These assessment standards were identified as the most critical for detecting bias and stereotypical myths. Criteria for judging illustrations (item 6) incorporated such issues as visual quality and whether American Indians were depicted authentically. Special features (item 7) were assessed in the form of two open questions: (1) “Does the book have distinctive features?” and (2) “Has the publication been recommended by a person or group knowledgeable about American Indians?” (Kuipers, 1991, p. 31). The checklist ended with an overall appraisal where the selector would judge the book as having significant, marginal, or no value.

Even though this checklist is more condensed than the assessment model formulated by Slapin, Seale, and Gonzales, it is a device that can be easily implemented in the daily selection process of the workplace. The tool provides for a feasible approach for acquiring books that are “meaningful, realistic, and representative of American Indian” life (Kuipers, 1991, p. 28). Designed to evaluate reference items, Kuiper’s checklist criteria are also applicable to a variety of printed sources.

Elaine Goley (1992) prepared an annotated bibliography on Native American literature for students from preschool levels through the twelfth grade. Her goal was to capture the cultural diversity of the Native American experience. Reflecting the views of previous bibliographers, Goley included materials written by American Indians but, when resources were not available, items were selected that possessed a high degree of cultural validity due to the creator’s expertise. Goley also consulted with scholars of Native American cultures in locating authentic materials.

This portion of the literature survey revealed the further elaboration and refinement of the selection criteria that can be implemented in acquiring Native American literature for young people. Three important sources were identified to facilitte this process: (1) standard review media; (2) specialized bibliographies compiled by individuals of Indian ancestry; and (3) periodicals emanating from Native American presses. Reliance upon the expertise of subject specialists was also recommended to ensure collected materials were accurate and lacked stereotypical images. Yet two fundamental questions remain unanswered. First, to what degree are librarians actually engaged in collecting these materials within the public library context? Second, what criteria and sources are used in guiding selection choices?


An instrument was created consisting of five data categories to investigate these research questions (see Appendix). Initial items (I through 4) were dedicated to accumulating information on collection policies, holdings’ characteristics, budgets, and selection responsibilities which pertained specifically to the acquisition of American Indian literature authored for young people. The next questions (items 5 through 6) were created to identify the resources used by librarians to facilitate their decisions. Title options included standard review media and bibliographies compiled by Native Americans. Prior to their inclusion, the American Indian periodicals (Akwesasne Notes, The Indian Historian, and The Weewish Tree) were searched in reference directories (Ulrich’s International Periodicals Directory and The Standard Periodical Directory) to confirm they had not ceased publication. The next query set (item 7) was structured on an abbreviated version of Kuipers’s (1991) evaluation checklist to capture data on selection standards used (pp. 29-31). The next questions (items 8 through 9) were formulated to ascertain if expert recommendations and Native American authorship were important criteria to librarians. The final query (item 10) was included to elicit selector’s attitudes about the availability of Indian literature for young patrons.

Since this study is a preliminary one and could not be implemented on a national basis, geographical limitations were imposed. Two states, Alaska and Oklahoma, were selected for identifying the institutional pool where questionnaires would be mailed. This decision was based upon the examination of the 1990 census. Statistical calculations demonstrated that Oklahoma had the largest American Indian, Eskimo, and Aleut populations. Alaska had the highest percentage of this group in relation to the total number of state residents (see Table 1). These population configurations were linked to the working assumptions of the research design. Namely, public libraries in states with a high number of Native Americans would be the most likely to collect specialized materials. This acquisition activity would reflect a desire to: (1) provide resources of interest to the Indian community, and (2) increase non-Indian patrons’ understanding of Native Americans residing in their state.



Total Number of Percentage of

American Indians, Total State

Eskimos, or Aleuts Population

State Number State Percentage

Oklahoma 252,420 Alaska 15.6

California 242,164 New Mexico 8.9

Arizona 203,527 Oklahoma 8.0

New Mexico 134,355 South Dakota 7.3

Alaska 85,698 Montana 6.0

Washington 81,483 Arizona 5.6

North Carolina 80,155 North Dakota 4.0

Texas 65,877 Utah 1.9

New York 62,651 Washington 1.7

Michigan 55,638 Nevada 1.6

Source: United States Department of Commerce. Economics and Statistics

Administration. Bureau of the Census. (1991). 1990 Census of Population and Hous


Characteristics (Issued August 1991). Calculations based upon data located from


3, “Sex, Race, and Hispanic Origin.”

The population of this study consisted of participants located through an examination of the American Library Directory. Institutions identified as public libraries and their respective branches were incorporated in the address list. No attempt was made to locate or isolate branches that resided on reservation sites because these installations were listed as components of larger library systems. They were not exclusively governed and maintained by tribal governments. When the names of librarians were provided who worked with young patrons, envelopes and letters were specifically addressed to these individuals. Otherwise, the generic identifier “Children’s/Young Adult Librarian” was used. On February 14, 1992, the questionnaires (198) were mailed. An introductory letter accompanied the test instrument explaining how the population was derived, the purpose of the study, and that individual respondents and their respective institutions would remain anonymous. A total of forty-nine instruments (24.7 percent) was received. The response rate was deemed adequate because of two factors: (1) the preliminary nature of the investigation, and (2) no inferential statistics would be used in the analysis.

The recorded answers supplied in the questionnaires were extracted and placed on a spreadsheet. This matrix provided a format by which the data could be organized. Each item was then analyzed by applying descriptive statistical methods. Certain responses for related data queries were compared and placed in rank order to begin developing a profile of collection development practices.


To the query, Is Native American Literature for young people a specific topic addressed in the library’s collection development policy? fifteen respondents (30.6 percent) answered “yes” and thirty (61.2 percent) indicated “no.” Four individuals (8.1 percent) did not answer the question. The data seem to indicate that the majority of institutions polled do not stipulate the acquisition of these specialized resources in their policy statements. This finding is further confirmed with the responses gathered in the following two queries.

When asked to indicate the percentage of the children’s/young adult collection dedicated to Native American literature, four librarians (8.1 percent) chose the “none” category and thirty-two (65.3 percent) selected the lowest range level (I percent to 9 percent). These data are further verified in the responses collected regarding the allocation of funds. Seventeen respondents (34.6 percent) reported low levels of funding (1 percent to 9 percent) and twenty-one (42.8 percent) responded that no specific allocations were designated for the purchase of these resources. Despite the fact that these libraries are located in states with large American Indian populations, anemic levels of acquisition activity seem to occur in the procurement of related materials.

In an open item, respondents were asked to designate who was responsible for selecting materials for children’s/young adult collections. An analysis of the answers did not reveal a consistent pattern. Selection assignments varied in accordance with the unique hierarchy of each library or institutional system. A sample of these responses include: “Branch Librarian,” “Library Director and Children’s Librarian,” “Selection Team,” “Materials Selections Officer,” and “Youth Services Librarian.”

In the next query, librarians were asked to rate selection sources in choosing American Indian literature for children. A Likert scale was provided with a range from one (least important) to five (most important). From the responses received, a rank order of titles was formulated based on the calculation of mean scores. This computation involved summing each participant’s rating for a specific title and then dividing the resulting figure by the number of respondents. A zero value was applied in cases where no assessment was provided. This resulted in a ranked list of sources as shown in Table 2.

Table 2

Rank Order of Responses Rating the Importance of Selection Sources

in Acquiring Native American Literature for Young People

Title Average Rating

Booklist 3.08

Children’s Catalog 2.53

School Library Journal 2.38

Library Journal 2.29

Horn Book Magazine 2.04

Public Library Catalog 2.02

Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books 1.97

Publishers Weekly 1.93

Fiction Catalog 1.89

Junior High School Catalog 1.71

Book Links 1.46

Voice of Youth Advocates 1.46

Senior High School Catalog 1.42

Kirkus Review 1.36

The Indian Historian 0.93

Book Report 0.87

ALAN Review 0.79

The Weewish Tree 0.71

Six titles received the highest mean scores (Booklist, Library Journal, Children’s Catalog, School Library Journal, Horn Book, and Public Library Catalog). In the view of the librarians polled, these materials were rated at average or below average levels of usefulness in facilitating the selection process. No title received an average rating above 3.08. The American Indian periodicals received some of the lowest ratings of the titles listed in the questionnaire: The Indian Historian (0.87); The Weewish Tree (0.67); and Akwesasne Notes (0.63). In the “other” category, some isolated additions were noted. Examples of these responses are: “bibliographies supplied by the state library”; “newspaper reviews”; and “publishers’ catalogs”.

The data seem to demonstrate that practitioners perceived only a few standard sources as barely adequate in assisting them. On the whole, they were not familiar with nor did they use the Native American periodicals recommended in the professional literature. To some extent, these depressed ratings may be linked to the low level of collection development activity associated with the acquisition of Native American materials.

Many librarians left responses blank when asked to rate (on the same Likert scale) the specialized bibliographies in terms of their importance in the selection process. Twenty-one (42.2 percent) to twenty-five individuals (46.8 percent) did not answer each of the title options supplied. Some librarians wrote unsolicited marginal notes stating that they were unfamiliar with these sources. For the titles rated, the analysis indicated that they were not considered essential in choosing materials. The following mean scores were calculated: Byler (1.10), Kuipers (1. 32), Lass-Woodfin (1.24), and Slapin and Seale (1.32). Converging with the findings pertaining to Indian periodicals, it seems that librarians are not familiar with the specialized information sources associated with Native American literature and cultures.

In the next query, librarians were asked to assess the importance of the listed criteria in deciding what American Indian materials should be included in the collection. The same Lickert scale was used as in the previous query items. Mean scores were calculated for each standard, and a rank order of responses was formulated. This configuration is displayed in Table 3.

Table 3

Rank Order of Responses Rating the Importance of Criteria in Selecting

Native American Literature for Young People

Criteria Average Rating

Readability 4.06

Authenticity 3.85

Accuracy 3.81

Objectivity 3.42

Recency 3.38

Purpose Fulfilled 3.38

Author’s Reputation 3.10

Illustration 2.95

Range of Subject Matter 2.93

Sincerity 2.85

Creativity 2.77

Originality 2.77

Physical Make-up 2.75

Arrangement 2.73

Bibliography, Scholarship 2.57

Publisher’s Reputation 2.22

The criterion receiving the highest mean score was “readability” (4.06). This response indicates librarians’ desire to build collections that would maintain the reading interests of young patrons. The criteria next in rank are “authenticity” (3.85), “accuracy” (3.81), and “objectivity” (3.42). These data are significant because Kuipers considered them “the most critical evaluation criteria for American Indian printed materials” (Kuipers, 1991, p. 28). However, it is important to note that her checklist included a variety of other subtopics to be assessed for each of these three criteria. The data seem to indicate a sensitivity to issues related to multicultural publications in general and not specifically to Native American literature. This finding is supported because the previous data demonstrated that respondents were unfamiliar with resources dedicated to Native Americans. Furthermore, librarians did not include in the open categories any of the subcriteria stipulated by Kuipers (i.e., “avoidance of stereotypes,” “positive values,” “sensitive language” [p. 30]).

The next criteria assessed in rank order are: “recency” (3.38); “purpose” (3.38); and “author’s reputation” (3.10). These assessment standards are used in evaluating all types of literature and are not specifically related to American Indian materials. The remaining criteria were ranked with average scores of 2.95 or below. Very few librarians responded to the “other” options. Among the selection criteria included were: “need and demand,” “patron requests,” “materials associated with local tribes,” and “regional interest.” No additional input was provided regarding the evaluation of illustrations. Kuiper’s checklist incorporated a variety of subcriteria associated with assessing the quality of pictorial representations which reflected the commentaries within the professional literature. The lack of these responses in the open items is a further indication that children/young adult librarians do not possess a general consciousness of the standards associated with Native American literature.

On the same Likert scale, respondents were asked to assess how important were the criteria of having a publication: (1) recommended by a person or group knowledgeable about American Indians, and (2) authored or prepared by an American Indian. In the respondent’s view, recommendations by those knowledgeable of the Indian reality mean score of 3.69) were more significant than the criterion linked to Native American authorship (mean score of 2.61).

The last query item was also constructed on a Likert scale. Respondents were asked to rate the availability of American Indian literature for young people. The response options ranged from I (extremely accessible) to 5 (not accessible). From the data collected, a mean score of 2.61 was calculated which indicated that librarians perceived these materials to be at levels of accessibility barely above average.


The data analysis seems to reveal the following collection development practices employed in procuring Native American materials for young people: 1. The acquisition of these materials is not a stipulated policy goal

in a majority of cases. 2. Native American literature is not emphasized in children/young

adult collections. 3. Budget allocations for acquiring these specialized materials are

either low or nonexistent. 4. Regarding selection sources, librarians indicated that most titles

were either of average or below average use in assisting them

in choosing American Indian literature to purchase. Titles

identified as the most helpful were standard bibliographies and

traditional review media. 5. Librarians were not familiar with specialized bibliographies and

Native American periodicals recommended in the professional

literature as valuable selection aids. 6. The depressed ratings regarding selection sources (general and

specialized) may be linked to the low levels of collection

development activity associated with the acquisition of Native

American materials. 7. The criteria considered most important to librarians in the

selection process were readability, authenticity, objectivity,

accuracy, recency, purpose, and author’s reputation. 8. Librarians seem to employ selection criteria that are relevant to

all types of materials and to a lesser extent on evaluative standards

associated with multicultural literature. Yet the data do not

demonstrate a rigorous employment of selection criteria

pertaining specifically to American Indian resources. 9. Recommendations by those knowledgeable of the Indian reality

were regarded to be more important criteria than those related

to Native American authorship. 10. Librarians perceived Native American literature for young people

to be available at levels of accessibility barely above average.

The data seem to demonstrate a rather anemic portrait of collection development activities dedicated to procuring Native American literature for young people in the public library context. These findings are particularly disturbing because these institutions are located in areas with large Native American communities. Admittedly, these results are preliminary, but the question must be asked, Is this snapshot of collection development practices a current trend nationwide? Further investigation is warranted to either refute or support these findings.

A follow-up study needs to be conducted on the collection development practices of the public libraries in Oklahoma and Alaska. This investigation also needs to be extended to other community libraries in states where large Native American populations reside. Will the collection of additional data furnish an overall picture that depicts a greater vitality in the procurement of these specialized materials? Or, will this preliminary sketch be confirmed?

Studies investigating acquisition patterns in community libraries located on reservations need to be implemented. Do collection development strategies differ in these localities? Despite funding shortages, are these techniques more effective in locating appropriate materials? If so, could this paradigm then be transferred to public libraries outside the reservation context?

What are the collection development practices in school library media centers serving both Indian and non-Indian patrons? Are Native American resources overlooked or is there a concentrated effort to provide children and young adults access to unbiased materials? Should our schools not be the generators of human understanding and respect for ethnic diversity? On the other hand, are stereotypical and damaging views of the American Indian perpetuated in young minds because materials are either not collected or selected in uninformed ways?

Since six standard sources (Booklist, Library Journal, Children’s Catalog, School Library Journal, Horn Book, and Public Library Catalog) were viewed as the most important in the selection process, to what degree do Native American materials appear in these publications? These tools need to be examined to ascertain the number of relevant citations listed. What is the quality of the titles located?

A pool of citations could be isolated and physically located spanning a specified time period. An analysis could then be implemented using Kuipers’s evaluative checklist. In this fashion, the quantity and quality of the Native American resources highlighted in these selection aids could be assessed.

Another factor to consider is the fact that so few studies exist in the professional literature pertaining to collection development strategies in acquiring Native American materials, not only for young patrons but also for adults. Does this trend exist because there is a lack of interest in the concerns and issues of the Indian community? Is it that these specialized sources are deemed as irrelevant for non-Indian readers as well?

Other relevant questions warrant investigation. Are the patterns reflected in this study repeated in the procurement practices of other multicultural materials? Do young people have access to thoughtfully constructed collections that relay positive unbiased treatment of the black, Hispanic, or Asian experience? Is it only Native American resources that are acquired in a haphazard fashion? More profound issues are: To what extent does the profession pay lip service to the concept of multicultural collections but in reality uses selection criteria and sources formulated by the white-oriented establishment? Have the political awareness and consciousness raising decades of the 1960s and 1970s been overshadowed by the self-indulgent and self-centered 1980s, propelled by government policies of neglect? Has this malaise been translated into the ways we collect materials for patrons? This query is posed specifically about Native American literature but is also expressed in terms of all multicultural materials.

These questions need to be researched and answered. If the findings demonstrate that there is a divergence between philosophical intent and reality, the profession needs to realign itself with the cultural diversity of the American landscape. Our society is a richly diverse tapestry of cultures and peoples. Libraries and librarians can enhance interlocking social patterns by furnishing materials that will facilitate communication and cooperation. On the other hand, the profession could elect an easy passive role and evolve into another dysfunctional outdated American component that ruins hopes for bright tomorrows.



Instructions: Please circle responses that reflect the collection development activities of your institution in acquiring American Indian literature for children and young adult patrons. In some cases, response items include blank spaces to allow the recording of individualized answers. 1. Is Native American Literature for young people a specific topic addressed

in the library’s collection development policy?

Yes No

2. What percentage of your children’s/young adult collection is dedicated

to American Indian literature?

50%-59% 40%-49% 30%-39% 20%-29% 10%-19% 1%-9% none 3. What percentage of your 1991/1992 children’s/young adult budget is

allocated for acquiring Native American literature?

50%-59% 40%-49% 30%-39% 20%-29% 10%-19% 1%-9% none 4. Who selects materials for the children’s/young adult collection in your

library? 5. Please rate the selection sources listed below with I being the least

important and 5 being the most important in terms of assisting you

in choosing American Indian literature for children and young adults:

A. Children’s Catalog 1 2 3 4 5

B. Fiction Catalog 1 2 3 4 5

C. Junior High School Catalog 1 2 3 4 5

D. Public Library Catalog 1 2 3 4 5

E. Senior High School Catalog 1 2 3 4 5

F. Akwesasne Notes 1 2 3 4 5

G. ALAN Review 1 2 3 4 5

H. Booklist 1 2 3 4 5

I. Book Links 1 2 3 4 5

J. Book Report 1 2 3 4 5

K. Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books 1 2 3 4 5

L. Horn Book Magazine 1 2 3 4 5

M. The Indian Historian 1 2 3 4 5

N. Kirkus Reviews 1 2 3 4 5

O. Library Journal 1 2 3 4 5

P. School Library Journal 1 2 3 4 5

Q. Publishers Weekly 1 2 3 4 5

R. Voice of Youth Advocates 1 2 3 4 5

S. The Weewish Tree 1 2 3 4 5

T. Other 1 2 3 4 5

U. Other 1 2 3 4 5

6. Please rate the specialized bibliogaphies listed below with 1 being the

least important and 5 being the most important in terms of assisting

you in choosing Native American literature for children and young adults:

A. Byler, Mary Gloyne. (1973). American Indian Authors for Young

Readers: A Selected Bibliography.

least important 1 2 3 4 5 most important

B. Kuipers, Barbara J. (1991) American Indian Reference Books For

Children and Young Adults.

least important 1 2 3 4 5 most important

C. Lass-Woodfin, Mary Jo (ed.). (1978). Books on American Indians and

Eskimos: A Selection Guide for Children and Young Adults.

least important 1 2 3 4 5 most important

D. Slapin, Beverly and Doris Seale. (1988). Books Without Bias: Through

Indian Eyes.

least important 1 2 3 4 5 most important

7. What criteria do you use in deciding what materials pertaining to

American Indian literature should be included in the children’s and young

adult collection? Please rate each criterion listed below with 1 being

the least important and 5 being the most important in making your

selection choices:

A. Author’s reputation 1 2 3 4 5

B. Publisher’s reputation 1 2 3 4 5

C. Purpose fulfilled 1 2 3 4 5

D. Range of subject matter 1 2 3 4 5

E. Recency, up-to-date 1 2 3 4 5

F. Bibliography, scholarship 1 2 3 4 5

G. Creativity 1 2 3 4 5

H. Sincerity 1 2 3 4 5

I. Originality 1 2 3 4 5

J. Readability 1 2 3 4 5

K. Physical Make-up

(type, binding, paper) 1 2 3 4 5

L. Arrangement

(Preface, Table of Contents, Index,

Appendices 1 2 3 4 5

M. Accuracy 1 2 3 4 5

N. Authenticity 1 2 3 4 5

O. Objectivity 1 2 3 4 5

P. Illustration

(Quality, Placement) 1 2 3 4 5

Q. Other 1 2 3 4 5

R. Other 1 2 3 4 5

8. When selecting materials, how important a criteria is it to have a

publication recommended by a person or group knowledgeable about

American Indians?

least important 1 2 3 4 5 most important

9. When selecting materials, how important a criteria is it to have a

publication authored or prepared by an American Indian?

least important 1 2 3 4 5 most important

10. How would you rate the availability of materials on American Indian

literature for children and young adults?

extremely accessible 1 2 3 4 5 not accessible


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