On the afternoon of April 8 the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) Librarian, Lynne Altstatt, provided a tour for a group of thirteen recently graduated students from the Emporia State University’s School of Library and Information Management and three faculty members. The students were part of the Emporia Diversity Initiative (EDI) program, a 3-year long (2006-2009), multi-partner project led by Emporia State University’s School of Library and Information Management to recruit and educate local minority library staff in Kansas, Colorado and Oregon.
The EDI is funded with $857,754 dollars as a part of the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) Laura Bush 21 st Century Librarian Program awards of 2006. The students were attending a week-long seminar "Preserving Cultural Identity: Treasuring America’s Diversity through Librarianship" in Washington, DC. The seminar was planned to introduce the students to the importance of maintaining cultural legacies within their community. By encouraging the creation of oral histories and the preservation of cultural property, diverse ethnic and cultural differences will be saved, thereby encouraging positive community-based action through library service.
Altstatt gave the group a tour of the NMAI Cultural Resources Center, with special attention paid the the NMAI Library. In the Conservation Department two Mellon fellows discussed their current projects and answered the student's questions. Altstatt also provided to the group the history of the National Museum of the American Indian and its predecessor, the Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation. She also talked about the responsibilities and daily work life of a museum librarian and shared stories about working in the museum library. The tour ended with a short presentation about the NMAI Archives by the Head Archivist, Jennifer O'Neal.