Investigating the Archive: American Indian and Indigenous Studies at the Newberry

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Jan 21, 2023


Newberry Library
60 W Walton St
Chicago, IL 60610

The Newberry Library’s Edward E. Ayer Collection is one of the strongest collections on American Indian and Indigenous Studies in the world. In the process of experiencing firsthand the varied Native American and Indigenous experiences and narratives in this archive, participants of this workshop will have a chance to examine the ways archives in the 21st century can transform, educate, and inspire us through diverse stories and experiences from the past and present.

The Library’s collection is an expression of how traditional archives can celebrate one way of knowing about the world, while potentially overlooking others. Nowadays, the Newberry seeks to illustrate the many layers of Native American and Indigenous experiences, as well as the painful legacies of colonialism, by investigating its own collections.

This workshop will be hosted at the Newberry Library by Dr. Kara Johnson, Director of Teacher Programs, Analú María López, Ayer Indigenous Studies Librarian, and Lisa Schoblasky, Instruction and Outreach Librarian. To attend, register below. Space is limited.

About Your Host

Kara Johnson received her PhD in English and a certificate in Gender Studies from Northwestern University in 2017.

An award-winning teacher and former professional dancer and teaching artist, Kara was Visiting Assistant Professor of English and Gender Studies and a faculty member of Chicago Field Studies at Northwestern before joining the Newberry, first as Program Assistant in the Smith Center for the History of Cartography, and then as Manager and Director of Teacher Programs. She also has extensive experience working at various educational nonprofit institutions in the Chicago area, including Open Books and The Odyssey Project.

Analú María López (Guachichil/Xi’úi) is the Ayer Librarian and Assistant Curator of American Indian and Indigenous Studies at the Newberry Library. As the Ayer Librarian and Assistant Curator, she helps steward the Indigenous studies collection while guiding library users through, connecting them with, and interpreting materials linked to the Indigenous Studies collection. She is interested in uplifting historically underrepresented Indigenous narratives dealing with identity, language, and decolonization. She is also passionate about intentional community collaborations for access to materials within colonial institutions, and the preservation, revitalization, and instruction of Indigenous languages. She holds a Master of Library and Information Sciences with a certificate in Archives and Cultural Heritage Resources and Services from Dominican University and a Bachelor of Arts in Photography with a minor in Latin-American Studies from Columbia College Chicago.

Mrs. López began her career with the Newberry in 2004. After working for other libraries and museums in Chicago for 13 years, Mrs. López returned to the library in her current role in September 2017.

Lisa Schoblasky is the Instruction and Outreach Librarian at the Newberry Library and is committed to finding new and exciting ways to connect the public with primary source materials.

She has worked at the Newberry for over 20 years as the Reference Librarian, General Collections Services Librarian, and Special Collections Services Librarian before taking on her current role in September 2022.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English with an Emphasis on Writing from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Master of Library and Information Sciences from Dominican University.

Directions and Parking

The Newberry does not have visitor parking, but there is street parking available. There is also a parking garage located at 100 W Chestnut, for which we can provide a validation. The Library is located near the Clark/Division Red Line stop, as well as the #22 and #36 buses.


Masks are optional.


This event is made possible by the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.


This event is a part of The NEA Big Read: Indigenous Stories, a series of free book groups celebrating contemporary Native writers. Book groups, events, and hands-on workshops are being held throughout the Chicago area from November 2022 to April 2023. Learn about other events and join a book group at

National Endowmentof Arts