The Directory of Cultural Resource Libraries is intended to serve as a guide to locating cultural resource materials held by libraries, museums, and other repositories throughout the Americas. A member of an Indigenous community anywhere from Canada to Chile is likely to experience similar difficulties in locating information on the history of their culture, ancestors, or materials produced by their culture. The vast majority of materials having been collected by individuals and organizations from outside the documented communities, who then deposited materials into repositories dozens to thousands of miles away without reporting any detail on the chain of custody to the communities described. Further, where the materials ended up may be difficult to identify, access restrictions may have been or may still be in place, and a sufficient familiarity with locating or searching within library databases may be prohibitive in attempts to locate the necessary materials.

Whether an Indigenous individual or community is interested in cultural revival, has been required to provide evidence in support of a legal claim for tribal status or land rights, or seeks to create vocabulary from a Native language that’s use was prohibited or suppressed in recent decades—resources relevant to these and many other uses are located in libraries dispersed throughout the Americas.For greater ease of access to cultural resource materials held in these repositories, this centralized directory of libraries has been developed through a partnership between the UC Davis Indigenous Research Center of the Americas (IRCA) and Caura Futures.

Library entries include descriptions and tags for identifying various types of material collections by culturally specific search criteria based on the needs of diverse potential user groups. In combination with other support services, the Directory will enhance the capacity for independently led community and indigenous research, and facilitate more efficient allied research where researcher affiliations might be used to access restricted materials in repositories identified through the directory. Users may also contribute additional information on repositories and submit entries for new and lesser-known collections, resulting in more details available for targeted searches, greater visibility of small and independent collections, and connectivity and knowledge sharing between libraries and users. Through this participatory model, the value and scope of the Directory will continue to grow over time.