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Great point, Debbie!

However, to be fair to the reviewers I'd like to say that often these
individuals are practicing school librarians who may not be experts in the
field of American Indian culture (although that does not mean that they
should not be responsible enough to check facts and dig a little deeper).
Depending upon the journal that is publishing the review, some of these
reviewers are paid little or nothing to provide written commentaries about
the books that they read and review. Many times the only payment is the
opportunity to see their writings published and the ability to keep the

I agree that there should be some serious investigation about topics such as
those dealing with various cultures or historical events.  Some authors do a
great job, others don't.  I appreciate your "watch-dog" ethics in making
sure that the materials we present to our students accurately reflect the
American Indian culture.  In fact, your comments make me take a long look at
even the academic materials that we currently have on our shelves and make
note to speak with my faculty regarding those items that might be

I know it's hard to write a review and I'm not sure which is worse---
hearing negative comments from the publishers when a review isn't positive
or hearing negative comments from the public when the review leads them to
make the wrong selection for their libraries.  Many times the reviewer (as
an independent voice) has to make a decision that can be painful
(especially for themselves).  However, it is also a very humbling
responsibility to realize that as a reviewer, my comments are often used to
promote a product and used in a compilation of "best choices" for libraries
(such as the H.W. Wilson catalogs or other selection tools).  It is not
until the reviewer realizes the power of their words (and their review) does
it become evident that their decision DOES impact others.

I appreciate your reviews and insights, as well as those of other
professionals who are specialists within the field.  I hope that we, as
professional librarians, continue to draw upon your expertise to help us not
only review materials with honesty and professionalism, but also remember to
seek out the advice of those with more background experience than our own to
determine all sides of the issue surrounding any materials that might impact
the understanding of other cultures, ideas, thoughts, or behaviors.

Thanks for keeping us informed and for bringing insight into areas that we
might not otherwise understand.


Shonda Brisco
Assistant Professor / Curriculum Materials Librarian
Mary L. Williams Curriculum Materials Library
001 Willard Hall
Oklahoma State University
Stillwater, OK 74078

"Digital Resources" columnist
School Library Journal

"Libraries will get you through times of no money better than money will get
you through times of no libraries." ~ Library Poster

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