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Friday, February 23, 2024

The Navajo Nation Library has an extensive history that spans the decades. Here’s an overview:


The Window Rock Public Library of the Navajo Nation Library was established as a volunteer library with primarily donated materials, and was originally operated by the Window Rock Homemakers Club.


The library was moved to the former Recreation Hall location in Window Rock.


Administrative control of the library was turned over to the Navajo Nation government.


Window Rock Public Library was condemned and closed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs; however, a portion of the public library collection was moved to the Navajo Education Center for the purposes of providing public library services.


The Public and Research Library collections were moved to the Navajo Nation Museum, Library and Visitor Center and officially opened on October 31st.


The library received a grant award in the amount of $33,000 from the Gates Library Foundation and allowed the library to purchase 10 computers, a printer and a server.

The Navajo Nation Library’s grant application opened the door that allowed the Navajo Nation to get 3 – 4 computers for every Navajo Nation Chapter on the Navajo Nation.

It was an opportunity for every Chapter, Headstart Center have Internet access via satellite dishes through funding from the Gates Library Foundation.


In October, the Library received $15,000 to automate the Library, $9,000 to purchase a Book Theft Detection System, and $10,000 for Internet Access.

The Library received additional permanent general funds to implement the evening and weekend library service hours. Ms. Genevieve Jackson, former Executive Director, Division of Dine Education made the decision to give the additional general funds to the library.

The first book was entered into the automation system on December 1, 1999.

By December 2000, 21,000 books were in the automated system.


The library secured Internet access for the Gates computers through a T-1 line. In 2002, the library changed its Internet access from a T-1 line to a satellite dish.


The Navajo Book Project was shut down by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The Navajo Book Project delivered 1.3 million books during its 13 years of operation under the Navajo Nation Library – an average of 100,000 books a year.


In May, the Torreon Community Library also known as The Torreon/Star Lake Community Library and Youth Center opened its doors after encouraged by the State of New Mexico Tribal Libraries Coordinator Alanna McGratten. The Torreon Community Library had started with a volunteer library director and volunteer library assistants. One of their earliest volunteer library director being Mario Atencio, a PhD student and part-time instructor at the University of New Mexico.


In October, the Kayenta Community Library was established with one permanent staff member; Ms.Trina Lipscomb was hired as a Library Assistant. The ONNL’s work and relationship building with Assets for Education Network Worldwide (ANEW) Foundation, had led to a secured a semi-truck load of library furniture and equipment. The truck was unloaded at the Kayenta Community Library in November 2008 and the furniture and equipment were placed in the branch library.


In May, the Navajo Times Collection was digitized and stored in the Main Library of the Navajo Nation Library.


In June, the Library conducted Bid Openings to select a vendor for the ONEO Oral History Digitization Project. The Navajo Nation Council approved legislation and President Russell Begaye signed the $190,645 legislation into law. The digitization project was finished in October 2020.

In July, Navajo County Library District worked on migrating Navajo Nation Library’s holdings into their SirsiDynix Automation System. Navajo Nation Library used Winnebago Spectrum for several years until the software was discontinued.


In June, Mr. Irving Nelson provided 43 years of services to the Navajo Nation Library.

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