On Wednesday, December 10, on my way back to the Twin Cities from the Iron Range after doing training at Arrowhead Library System, I paid an informal site visit to the Ruth A. Myers Library at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College.
I met with Nancy Broughton, the Library Director and Diane Rauschenfels the Library Technician and quickly learned that a lot has been happening at the college. Enrollment has doubled in the last four years and construction was recently completed on the second expansion of the college’s main building since it opened in the early 1990s.
We began with a tour of the library. Recently expanded to twice its formal size, it is spacious and full of light. There are public computers, study rooms, a staff workroom, comfortable furniture, and a fireplace, and plenty of room on the shelves for additions to the collection. With the expansion also came space for archives and a large classroom for library instruction. In addition to its general holdings the library includes Minnesota and Anishinaabe/Ojibwe collections and long runs of several Native American serials which Nancy hopes to digitize someday. In recent years the library has received significant donations of Native American materials.
We also took a tour of the college’s main building. Located in a grove of towering red pines this building is in the shape of a thunderbird with sections in each of the four sacred colors of the Anishinaabe/Ojibwe people—white, yellow, red, and black. Many large windows connect the interior to the outside world. There is also a residence hall for 100 students. In addition to liberal arts, the college offers programs in nursing, law enforcement, and American Indian Studies and its halls and classrooms were busy. The college also recently began an athletics program.
Nancy and Diane gave me a warm welcome and were quite forthcoming in our conversation. Although the library has a full OCLC membership, they currently do not use either Connexion Client or WorldCat Research Sharing. Their cataloging is done by Kim Johnson at Mesabi Range Community and Technical College; their ILL is done through MnPALS. We talked mainly about the expansion of the library.