The Knowledge River program (KR) at the University of Arizona School of Information Resources and Library Science (SIRLS) celebrated its 10-year anniversary at an event held in Tucson, AZ on November 4-5, 2011. Begun in 2001 with support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Knowledge River program is a Tucson-based educational experience that focuses on educating information professionals who have experience with and sensitivity to Latino and Native American populations. The program has graduated over 120 students since its inception.
Alumni traveled from all over the US to be part of the celebration. The reunion started with a Friday evening dine-around at local Tucson restaurants, where alumni, current students, friends, faculty, and supporters of Knowledge River were able to meet, eat, and mingle. Saturday's events started with an alumni town hall meeting, where alumni had the opportunity to reflect on their experiences and provide feedback for the future direction of the program. The afternoon's activities included a series of workshops titled "Knowledge River Leadership: Perspectives from Students, Alumni, and Distinguished Guests". A panel of alumni shared their experiences for job-hunting in a session called "How I Landed My First Librarian Job And What I Did 'In Between". Another panel shared advice and encouragement in a session titled "Taking It Up A Notch: Career Advancement for Diverse Mid-Career Professionals.” The Saturday workshops concluded with a conversation on leadership with Dr. Camila Alire, Dean Emeritus at the University of New Mexico and Colorado State University, and Dr. Cheryl Metoyer, Associate Professor and the Associate Dean for Research, University of Washington Information School. Saturday's evening event was a fundraising reception Sponsored by the REFORMA Tucson Chapter, where the proceeds of the very successful silent auction benefited the Knowledge River scholarship fund.
The reunion served as a time to reflect on our history and imagine the future as we move into the next years of the program, thanks to an $850,000 IMLS grant awarded earlier this year. A newly designed logo was unveiled during the festivities, which includes an imagery of a sun made of 10 stocks of corn representing the 10 years of history and the inherent symbolism to both cultures. Cultural competency is the program's most valued asset, which is richly reflected in the program’s unique diversity focus and our faculty expertise, including Dr. Patricia Montiel-Overall and adjunct faculty members Richard Chabran, Marty De Montaño, Annabelle Nuñez, Elizabeth Martinez, and the late Pat Auflick. At the reunion, the KR Alumni Network Committee pledged to spearhead a sustainable model for giving back using a mentoring program slated to start in January 2012.
Knowledge River is funded largely by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation's 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The Institute's mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas. The Institute works at the national level and in coordination with state and local organizations to sustain heritage, culture, and knowledge; enhance learning and innovation; and support professional development. To learn more about the Institute,please visit www.imls.gov
Knowledge River wishes to thank all those who have helped shape the program throughout the years, from its creation by Patricia Tarin, Brooke Sheldon, and Carla Stoffle, to its continued development under the leadership of Dr. Jana Bradley. We would also like to thank all the students, alumni, mentors, friends and supporters of KR who have helped the program develop into its current state. We invite you toread more about KR at http://sirls.arizona.edu/KR/