Iowa Tribe Librarian Receives National Honor, See Ceremony Live Online June 11

June 10, 2013

The director of the Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma Library is among 12 people being honored by the President as museum and library Champions of Change, the White House said in a press release on June 10.

Sandy Tharp-Thee Perkins, an enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation, oversees “an indigenous library that profoundly demonstrates outstanding service to its community,” the White House said in announcing the awards.

“In three short years, the library evolved from an organization with no budget and no viable programs to a well-funded organization that is considered an ‘essential service,’ ” the White House said. “The library now is widely recognized for its work in advancing print and digital literacy among young and old, providing resources in employment and health, as well as activities to help preserve the Iowa people’s culture and history, and much more.”

The Champions named all work at libraries and museums that “make a difference for their neighborhoods and for our nation,” the White House said in its statement. “The honorees are providing powerful learning experiences. They are reaching young children and their families with early learning opportunities, offering exciting experiences for teens to develop skills in science, technology, engineering and math, helping immigrants learn English and pursue citizenship and providing services for hard-to-reach populations so that everyone can succeed in school and in life.”

Perkins and Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma chairperson Janice Rowe-Kurak were honored in 2012 with a Library Institutional Excellence Award from the Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries, and Museums.

“The Champions of Change program was created as an opportunity for the White House to feature groups of Americans – individuals, businesses and organizations—who are doing extraordinary things to empower and inspire members of their communities,” the White House said.

The ceremony will be webcast from the White House starting at 4 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on June 11. More information is available about the White House Champions of Change program at its website.