Jamestown S’Klallam Tribal Library wins national award

Brennan LaBrie
blabrie@ptleader.com
Posted 6/19/19
It turns out Celeste Dybeck isn’t the only person who loves the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribal Library. In May, the library was announced as one of ten recipients of the 2019 National Medal for Museum and Library Service.

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Jamestown S’Klallam Tribal Library wins national award

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It turns out Celeste Dybeck isn’t the only person who loves the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribal Library. In May, the library was announced as one of ten recipients of the 2019 National Medal for Museum and Library Service. When Representative Derek Kilmer nominated the library for the medal last year, the library asked Dybeck, a tribal elder and Port Townsend resident, to write a letter of recommendation for them. They picked the right person, as it was easy for Dybeck to gush over the library’s outstanding selection and services. She has used the library for research many times in the past, including an Earth Day service relating to indigenous people that she worked on with Quimper Unitarian Universalist Fellowship and in research for the Chetzemoka Trail, an interpretive trail through Port Townsend that chronicles the story of Chetzemoka and the S’Klallam people through important landmarks associated with them. She is helping lead this project with the Native Connections Action Group of the QUUF. In both of these experiences, Dybeck said that the librarians “bent over backwards” to help her in her research. Dybeck, in both her letters and in a recent interview, raved about the resources and programs that the library offers, including books, audiobooks, newspapers, CDs, DVDs and other documents, with a focus on Native American authors, both contemporary and historical, especially those from the Pacific Northwest. Selected from 30 national finalists by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the 31-year-old institution features artifacts in display cases that line the walls of the cozy structure, tucked at one end of the growing Jamestown S’Klallam campus at the head of Sequim Bay. The Institute describes the medal as the “highest honor given to museums and libraries that make significant and exceptional contributions to their communities.” One of the main reasons the library came away with a national medal is the diversity in what they offer, extending beyond a traditional libraries’ services into a museum and cultural center. “A number of important Tribal artifacts are prominently displayed in exhibits throughout the year, helping us all to learn about the longstanding relationship of our people to this place,” Dybeck wrote in her letter. In addition, the library hosts Native Film Nights several times a year, which are open to the general public. “These films, with accompanying speakers – often the directors and producers – generate important discussions between Native and non-Native people that helps us reach a higher understanding together of our shared complicated history,” Dybeck wrote. The library also hosts a book club, children’s events and classes ranging from basket weaving to S’Klallam language classes. Dybeck has participated in the basket weaving classes in the past. “After so much of our culture was lost or suppressed, these activities are helping to revitalize our community’s connections to culture,” Dybeck said in her letter. “All of these programs, events, and activities help the Tribe to fulfill its mission and vision of self-sufficiency and self-reliance for ‘The Strong People’ of the S’Klallam Tribes.” Dybeck encourages Jefferson County residents to visit the library and check out some books. “The doors are open to all,” she said. “Community institutions like the Tribal Library are so critical to ensuring that we collectively make every effort to preserve and provide access to vital materials and resources that honor the cherished history of Native American Indians ” Kilmer said in a press release. Tribal Librarian Bonnie Roos led a small delegation to Washington, D.C. for the award ceremony. “We are honored to have been selected from among the thousands of worthy libraries in the country, for our small but mighty institution, which reflects the culture of the S’Klallam people, whose name, nəxwsƛ̕áy̕ əm̕, means “the strong people,” said Roos. Traveling with Roos for the June 12 ceremony were assistant librarian Jan Jacobson, Dybeck, and Tribal Council Vice-Chair Liz Mueller. There, they provided accounts to ceremony attendees of the impact the library has had in its community, and met with Senator Patty Murray.

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Tom Camfield
Congratulations, Jamestown, not only for your outstanding contributions to the preservation of history—but also to the preservation of the environment and your outstanding contributions to area society in general. You of that community truly are "strong people."
Wednesday, June 19