California Indian Library Collections

The California Indian Library Collections Project is now located at the Ethnic Studies Library, Native American Studies Collection, 30 Stephens Hall, U.C. Berkeley, 94720. Continuing bibliographies are not currently under development. The collection is available to researchers.

The California Indian Library Collections has collected, duplicated, assembled, and shipped more than 11,000 textual documents, nearly 25,000 photographs, and over 3,400 audio tapes. There is reward and satisfaction in having prepared over 17,000 manuscript pages for finding guides to the collections and publishing these in 44 volumes. Now a Native Californian in a remote area of northern California may find a photograph of his or her grandmother or hear, for the first time, his grandfather sing or tell a story. Researchers in rural areas are using the collections for legal defense as well as research material for documentation of an important period in California history.

The California Indian Library Collections (CILC) was funded from 1988 through 1994 by the federal Library Services and Construction Act, administered by the California State Library in Sacramento. CILC is now located at the Native American Studies Library, University of California, Berkeley. In 1987, Gary Strong, the California State Librarian, recognized the growing needs of the state's underserved communities as well as the steady growth of a diverse population. At that time he called for a "rethinking of public library services, a broadening of awareness and valuing of the diversity of the people that compose and will compose California." The California Indian Library Collections project was funded as an adjunct to this vision with the aim of returning unique cultural materials to Native Americans and making the collections available to all citizens through their local libraries.

Few specialists in the cultural materials exist outside major museums and universities, and research on California's Native Americans has been mostly published in obscure scholarly sources. To make the resources collected by scholars and housed in archives at the University of California, Berkeley available to the public, an alliance was formed between the California State Library (CSL) and the Hearst Museum.

Collections composed of copies of unpublished manuscripts and field notes, obscure scholarly articles, turn-of-the-century photographs as well as rare sound recordings of songs and dances were placed in county libraries. Each CILC county collection reflects the culture of the particular Native American tribal units who live, or lived, in that county. A composite set was installed in the California Room of the California State Library. Finding guides to assist in accessing the collections were published and are currently available through the California Indian Library Collections or the California State Library Foundation. The composite set, Finding Guide to the California Indian Library Collections: California State Library, is available at 110 depository libraries throughout the state. Rancherias and reservation tribal houses were also given finding guides pertaining to their geographic region. For reference, a correlation of tribal units by county and county by tribal unit was prepared. A listing of addresses of the county libraries where CILC collections are located may be found in the document "Libraries Where California Indian Library Collections Are Located."

In 1993, new concepts in developing collections at the California Indian Library Collections were envisioned. The California State Library accepted a proposal presented by CILC to change the methodology for collecting. The proposal was partially predicated on the high cost of duplicating extensive hard copy collections and partially upon new electronic techniques becoming available which facilitate access to information. Instead of the traditional methods of hard-copy duplicating materials for all tribal units in a given county, the collections would be tribal specific and would be electronically assembled. Publishing would be on CD-ROM (compact disk, read only memory). Additional information to bring the culture into present time would be added by Native Californians belonging to a specific tribe. The collections would be multimedia, and would represent a cross-section of the culture, not necessarily including a representation of every artifact or photograph known to exist. However, texts relevant to a tribe would continue to be added to the California Indian Library Collection at CSL. During 1993 and 1994, two electronic tribal collections, The Pomo Indians: California Indian Library Collections on CD-ROM and The Miwok Indians: California Indian Library Collections on CD-ROM, were assembled and published on CD-ROM.

Many people have worked on the California Indian Library Collections. The first director, Dr. Lee Davis, the CILC staff, and University of California, Berkeley, and student interns under her direction were responsible for collecting materials and assembling collections pertaining to four counties. Dr. Lee Brumbaugh duplicated photographs from the Hearst Museum archives. Otis Parrish, Pomo Indian and son of the Pomo doctor, Essie Parrish, served as CILC advisor. He was assisted by Richard Hitchcock and Rebecca Dobkins, Ph.D. candidates, U.C. Berkeley, Department of Anthropology.

In 1992, the CILC staff and U.C. Berkeley interns, under the direction of Jeannine Davis-Kimball, Project Manager, began to organize the voluminous materials. The data from the photographs, sound recordings, and the citations which would become bibliographies were entered into computerized databases. Maggie Law, computer specialist, was responsible for manipulating data and generating the camera-ready manuscript copy for the finding guides. Under Librarian Randal Brandt's direction, the bibliographies published in the finding guides and in northern and central bibliographies were completed. The CILC collection is now searchable on Melvyl, the University of California library system-wide database. As the original bibliographic database expanded, nearly four-fold, Jay Cunningham, then CILC's liaison with the California State Library, suggested that we publish Bibliographies of Northern and Central California Indians as a service to scholars, students, and the Native Californian community. Professor Thomas Duncan and his staff at the Museum Informatics Project, located at U.C. Berkeley, have supplied technical support and, subsequently, are responsible for placing the bibliographies on the Internet.

The California Indian Library Collections is eager for users of collections, bibliographies, or our electronic publications to give us their reactions. It is with use and additional input that the California Indian Library Collections and its publications will be validated.

The CILC project was discontinued in 1995 as project funding ran out. The director at that time, Jeannine Davis-Kimball, Ph.D. left U.C. Berkeley at that time and is no longer connected with the CILC project. Mr. Randal Brandt, the CILC project cataloger is now at the Bancroft Library on the U.C. Berkeley Campus and is no longer connected with the CILC project either. The Ethnic Studies Library now houses the CILC collection, after years in U.C. Berkeley Museum storage. Should you wish to use the collection for research or have question about the collection, please contact: Melissa S. Stoner, Native American Studies Librarian, Ethnic Studies Library, 510-642-0941. E-Mail is:

Jeannine Davis-Kimball, Ph.D.
Berkeley, California
January 1995

Melissa S. Stoner
Native American Studies Librarian
Ethnic Studies Library, U.C. Berkeley