Bridge Building, Intersectionality and Inclusion
Indigenous Studies scholars utilize methodologies that often challenge dominant Western conceptualizations of knowledge and research. Consequently, these approaches necessitate library services that diverge from Western models of research support. This creates a unique opportunity for academic librarians to create meaningful relationships with Indigenous communities and to work alongside Indigenous Studies scholars to rectify historic and ongoing practices of colonization.
To this end, librarians are collaboratively identifying tools, policies, and practices to improve services for this user group. With representatives from four participating institutions, this session will discuss preliminary findings from a research project conducted by academic librarians from 12 institutions across Turtle Island (North America) and Hawai’i in collaboration with Ithaka S+R, a non-profit research organization. This in-depth qualitative study also incorporates Indigenous methodologies to inquire about the research practices of Indigenous Studies scholars. The insights gleaned will be used to identify improvements to pre-existing research support services and new research support services for Indigenous Studies scholars at participating institutions. These 12 institutions will write their individual final reports outlining their localized findings; later, Ithaka S+R will develop a report (which will be made publicly available) that draws upon the findings from all 12 final reports.
This project is of particular interest to academic libraries since it demonstrates how research, as a form of community engagement, can inform new approaches to developing academic library collections, programs, and services that are inclusive of Indigenous histories, cultures and world views. In addition, at the core of this study is the commitment to approach research from an Indigenous perspective, utilizing methodologies that include Indigenous peoples in the planning, decision-making, design and analysis associated with the research project. It is anticipated that after attending this session, participants will leave with a more meaningful understanding of how mainstream cultural institutions can foster and successfully develop Indigenous approaches to librarianship.