UAS Egan Library Selected for Competitive Federal Humanities Grant
The William A. Egan Library has been selected as one of 200 libraries nationwide for the American Library Association’s American Rescue Plan: Humanities Grants for Libraries opportunity, an emergency relief program to assist libraries that have been adversely affected by the pandemic.
American Rescue Plan: Humanities Grants for Libraries is an initiative of the American Library Association (ALA) made possible with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. The competitive award comes with a $10,000 grant that will help the Egan Library and the UAS Alaska Native Languages and Studies program to convert the Cyril George Indigenous Knowledge Collection to an Indigenous knowledge organization system.
More than 370 libraries applied for the grant, according to ALA.
The participating libraries, selected through a competitive, peer-reviewed application process, include public libraries, academic/college libraries, K-12 libraries, and tribal, special and prison libraries. The recipients represent 45 states and Puerto Rico and serve communities ranging in size from 642 residents in Weir, Kansas, to the city of Los Angeles. Libraries were chosen with an emphasis on reaching historically underserved and/or rural communities.
“We are thrilled to be selected for this opportunity,” said UAS Library Dean Elise Tomlinson. “According to the Library of Congress Classification System, most items about Indigenous Alaskans are located in the history section, indicating that these thriving cultures are a thing of the past. This grant will allow our library to organize materials in a more accurate way as we come out of the pandemic.”
Egan Library will use the grant funds to work directly with the materials in the Cyril George Indigenous Knowledge Collection, applying new call numbers using a UAS-modified version of the Brian Deer Classification System. Reorganizing the Cyril George Collection will help decolonize these materials and make them easier for students and researchers to use, and help provide guidance for other Alaskan libraries to pursue similar projects with their materials.
“Libraries have faced significant hardships throughout the pandemic — from budget cuts to staff furloughs to building closures — especially in our communities of the greatest need,” said ALA President Patty Wong. “This crucial support from NEH will enable our beloved institutions, and the dedicated people who run them, to rebuild and emerge from the pandemic stronger than ever.”