Naomi Bishop is a lively, enthusiastic, energetic and cheerful person whose “greatest strength is in making people smile.” Because of her delightful disposition, her nickname is “Sunshine” and her trademark is a pair of yellow framed sunglasses that she wears especially on overcast days. Naomi was born in Phoenix, Arizona of Native American descent. She earned a BA in German and Political Science with concentrations in Tribal Native American Government and International and U.S. politics from the University of Arizona at Tucson, followed by a Masters Degree in Library Science from the University of Washington in Seattle. Naomi explains the reason for pursuing a career in Library Science. “I like a lot of different things: Science, Languages, Health Sciences, and Political Science. In library science I can combine all my passions; everything that I love.”
Naomi is the sixth recipient of the collaborative, Kresge Law Library and University Libraries, Librarian-In-Residence Program at Notre Dame since its inception in 2000. This two-year program began at the University with a desire for diversity advocated by Roger Jacobs and Jennifer Younger, former Directors of the Kresge Law Library and the Hesburgh Libraries, respectively. The program recruits a recent library school graduate who can contribute effectively to the diversity of the profession and to the University while gaining meaningful work experience and developing career interests in academic librarianship. Laura Bayard, Head of Documents Access & Database Management at the Hesburgh Library is Chair of the Diversity Committee which selects the recipients, along with committee members Dwight King, Kresge Law Library Reference Department Head; Margaret Porter, Hesburgh Reference Librarian; and Andy Boze, Head of Desktop Computing and Network Services at the Hesburgh Library.
There are numerous personal reasons why Naomi chose to participate in the Librarian-in-Residence program beyond the academic and professional experience. She is impressed with Notre Dame’s reputation as a great research University with an excellent Engineering Department and Law School. She is also excited to have the opportunity to work in the different libraries on campus, and very content that her interest areas seem to be well suited for the various aspects of the program. On the familial level, Notre Dame’s geographical location is perfect, for her father was born in South Bend and she has extended family living in Columbus, Indiana, where her father grew up.
Naomi sees the program’s relevancy in meeting her goals and aspirations as a librarian especially in regard to her interests and gaining professional experience in an academic library system that has a law library and branch libraries like Special Collections and Engineering. “I think getting this type of experience and going into different areas of librarianship will be helpful to me in finding the type of work I want to do.” The library work most appealing to Naomi includes archives, reference, interacting with people, and teaching. However, the profound driving force in Naomi’s life is her desire to encourage and help others achieve their endeavors and go on to higher education. These same goals and values are what attracted Naomi to Notre Dame. “I really like the University’s mission in helping students get an education so that they can serve communities, use that education in a good way, and in the service of God.”
This fall, Naomi will work at the Kresge Law Library in the Technical Services and Reference Departments under the tutelage of the respective department heads, Joe Thomas and Dwight King. Her responsibilities in Technical Services will include application of computer technology to library programs and services as well as wiki instruction. In the Reference Department, she will engage in legal research and reference services. General experience with Research, Technical Services, and the Law Library will be gained through participation in administrative assignments, library committees, specialized training, and professional activities.
During the following Spring Semester, Naomi will move to the Hesburgh Library working in the Digital Access and Information Architecture Department (DAIAD). She will assist with the implementation of the new campus-wide wiki, Confluence, helping to migrate the Libraries’ internal web content into this more collaborative, easily updated, and accessible interface.
The second year of the program, defined and predicated on the needs of the libraries as well as the interests of the Librarian-in-Residence, will place Naomi in the Engineering library, where she will complete a research and writing project. Naomi hopes that she will be exposed to special collections, museum, and archival training as well.
When the program is over, Naomi would enjoy working in a public library, but she is most interested in working in an academic institution that is dedicated to building bridges with tribal communities in Arizona. Because most of her family lives in Arizona in the broad native community there, Naomi sees herself working in the Southwest region. “I see myself in a small tribal community library there involved with archival work, or at a tribal college where I can encourage native youth to go on in school, to a higher education. I could possibly facilitate a partnership between the tribe to which I belong and local institutions with native collections, or work directly with a museum or archive.” In the summer of 2009, Naomi interned at the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) in Washington, D.C. This internship program provides educational opportunities for students interested in a museum profession and related fields. Interns complete projects using the resources of the NMAI and other Smithsonian offices. Internships are an opportunity for students to learn about the museum’s collections, exhibitions, programs, and methodologies, and to meet professionals in the museum field.
Naomi is very proud of her Native American heritage. She is a member of the Gila River Indian Community, composed of two tribes, the Pima and Maricopa tribes, in the Phoenix area of Southern Arizona. Her grandfather is a Pima and her grandmother a Sioux from Montana. She is also very proud of her family’s academic successes and involvement. Her mother, an Akimel O’odham (Pima) and Assiniboine Sioux, is currently a PhD student at Arizona State University pursuing her PhD in Nursing and Health Care Innovation. Her younger brother Elisha is studying Economics and Urban Planning with a focus on Sustainable Community Development at Northern Arizona University while her oldest sister, Charity, is currently in medical school at the University of North Dakota, and her sister Joy is studying nursing at Mesa Community College in Arizona.
For Naomi, of all the personages in contemporary American history, there are two who stand out the most due to their dedication to social justice and improving the lives of millions of people; values she admires greatly and would like to emulate. They are Martin Luther King, Jr., American clergyman, activist, and prominent Afro-American leader, and César Chávez Estrada, a Mexican-American worker, labor leader, and the most well known Latino civil rights activist. Both men strove to improve the lot of others, which impacted Naomi’s sense of social responsibility in helping those struggling to achieve.
Naomi also likes to have fun. She is a sports enthusiast and proudly possesses autographs from two former Major League baseball players: Luis Emilio Gonzalez, a Cuban American nicknamed “Gonzo”, who spent his best years with the Arizona Diamondbacks, and Mark Eugene Grace, who played sixteen seasons with the Chicago Cubs and the Arizona Diamondbacks. Naomi, herself, enjoys baseball, basketball, soccer, and live music, and used to play the violin. Cooking, reading, camping, and hiking are also among her recreational activities in addition to being a big sister volunteer.
Welcome to Notre Dame, Naomi, we are blessed to have your sunshine!