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NLM Partners with the American Library Association to Travel “Native Voices: Native Peoples’ Concepts of Health and Illness”

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) is proud to announce a partnership with the American Library Association (ALA) through which ALA’s Public Programs Office will manage a national tour of a traveling adaptation of Native Voices: Native Peoples’ Concepts of Health and Illness, to America’s libraries and other Native-serving cultural institutions beginning in 2016. Four copies of the traveling exhibition will tour nationally for four years to dozens of sites around the country.

Native Voices: Native Peoples’ Concepts of Health and Illness logo

Native Voices: Native Peoples’ Concepts of Health and Illness explores the interconnectedness of wellness, illness, and cultural life for Native Americans, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians. Visitors discover how Native concepts of health and illness are closely tied to the concepts of community, spirit, and the land. Stories examine both past and present, and show how the determinants of health for American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians are tied to community, the land, and spirit. Speaking in their own voices, Native People tell how individual and community wellness were affected during the nineteenth and twentieth century. Individual stories show how epidemics, federal legislation, the loss of land, and the inhibition of culture affect the health of Native individuals and communities today. The exhibition also presents a contemporary story about renaissance, recovery, and self-determination, and how the Native Peoples of the United States use traditional and Western methods to enhance wellness.

The online version of the Native Voices exhibition includes interviews, lesson plans, a timeline of Native Peoples’ health that chronicles the survival and resurgence of traditional ways to promote well-being, and career-planning and educational resources.

As a project partner, the ALA Public Programs Office will create a project website for librarians, recruit applications from sites nationwide, manage the peer-reviewed application process, select venues for the exhibition tour in consultation with NLM, plan online training sessions for participating libraries, coordinate exhibition shipping, and manage the four-year tour to host venues. The ALA website will complement current NLM online resources.

Additional information about NLM’s partnership with ALA, including details of the site-selection process, will be available later this year.

The current tour of Native Voices: Native Peoples’ Concepts of Health and Illness to pilot sites and Regional Medical Libraries around the country will conclude in December 2015, making way for the ALA-managed national tour in 2016.

The onsite version of Native Voices: Native Peoples’ Concepts of Health and Illness, located in NLM’s rotunda gallery, will close to the public on Friday, July 17, 2015. The Exhibition is open to visitors from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday–Friday, except for the July 3 federal holiday. Admission is free. Visitors are welcome to view the exhibition independently, as well as request a guided tour via the online tour request form, or by calling (301) 594-1947, at least two weeks prior to the planned visit. The NLM is located on the campus of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland. Exhibition visitors must undergo a security screening at the NIH Gateway Center, before proceeding to the Library’s building 38. Directions to the NIH and the Library, parking options, and maps are available online to help you prepare for your visit.

The world’s largest biomedical library, the NLM maintains and makes available a vast print collection and produces electronic information resources on a wide range of topics that are searched billions of times each year by millions of people around the globe. It also supports and conducts research, development and training in biomedical informatics, and health information technology.

ALA is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with approximately 58,000 members in academic, public, school, government, and special libraries. Through its Public Programs Office, ALA provides leadership, resources, training, and networking opportunities that help thousands of librarians nationwide develop and host cultural programs for adult, young adult, and family audiences. The mission of the ALA Public Programs Office is to promote cultural programming as an essential part of library service in all types of libraries.

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Since its founding in 1836, the National Library of Medicine https://www.nlm.nih.gov has played a pivotal role in translating biomedical research into practice and is a leader in information innovation. NLM is the world's largest medical library, and millions of scientists, health professionals and the public around the world use NLM services every day.

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