American Indian Library Association names scholarship in honor of Virginia Mathews
For Immediate Release
CHICAGO - The American Indian Library Association (AILA) has named its library school scholarship the Virginia Mathews Memorial Scholarship to honor the memory of one of the original founders of AILA. Virginia Winslow Hopper Mathews, member of the American Library Association for 50 years and recipient of the American Library Association’s Honorary Membership in 1994, died on Saturday, May 7, 2011.
“We wanted to honor Virginia’s dedication to American Indian library services by renaming our scholarship in her name,” said Sandy Littletree, 2011-2012 AILA president. “Her leadership and vision for improved library services for our Indian communities will live on through new generations of LIS students.”
In 1971, Virginia Mathews, Lotsee Patterson and Charles Townley formed a Task Force on American Indians within the Social Responsibilities Round Table of the American Library Association. She was a member of the first OLOS Subcommittee on Library Service for American Indian People, which led to the founding of the American Indian Library Association in 1979. She was involved with the Library Project at the National Indian Education Association, which supported three demonstration library projects — Akwesasne Library and Cultural Center, the Rough Rock Demonstration School and the Standing Rock Tribal Library—and all three served as models for the early development of tribal libraries on reservations. She worked tirelessly with the National Council of Library and Information Services to create the first White House Pre-Conference on Indian Library Services in 1978 whose delegates attended the 1979 White House Conference on Libraries and Information Services. She was responsible for inclusion of Title IV for tribal libraries in the Library Services and Construction Act Reauthorization in 1984. This special status and funding for tribal libraries is retained in current Library Services and Technology Act legislation. She was the first American Indian to seek candidacy for the ALA presidency and was a proud member of the Osage Nation.
The purpose of the Virginia Mathews Memorial Scholarship will be to provide tuition to an American Indian individual who lives and works in the American Indian community and who is enrolled, or has been accepted and will enroll, in a master's degree program at a university with a library and/or information sciences program accredited by the American Library Association.
An affiliate of the American Library Association (ALA), the American Indian Library Association is a membership action group that addresses the library-related needs of American Indians and Alaska Natives. Members are individuals and institutions interested in the development of programs to improve Indian library, cultural and informational services in school, public and research libraries on reservations. AILA is also committed to disseminating information about Indian cultures, languages, values and information needs to the library community. Additional information about AILA can be found at www.ailanet.org.