The Native American collection at the Del Norte County Library will soon be available at the click of a mouse thanks to the help from its library foundation.

Del Norte library staff member Kathy Morgan said she has spent more than 100 hours since the beginning of July digitizing documents, books and photographs on everything from basket making to stories and legends.

The library’s collection houses information about most Northern California tribes including those found in Del Norte County, Morgan said Monday. It includes audio recordings, which the library also plans to digitize.

“There’s information about languages in there, clothing, tattooing, basketry, things they used for food, dyes, kayaking, even paper dolls that people created that you can copy,” she said. “There’s a lot of very neat stuff.”

The library received $10,359 from the foundation this year, according to manager Shane Pipinos-Gausepohl. In addition using $2,859 of that money to make the Native American collection available to patrons via computer, the library will also make legal information and automotive information available on its website, Pipinos-Gausepohl said.

The library’s annual $2,000 contribution to the Wonder Bus also came from the Del Norte Library Foundation this year, Pipinos-Gausepohl said.

According to Pipinos-Gausepohl, the library district wanted to scan its collection of photos, documents, books and audio recordings on Native Americans to a computer as a way of protecting it from a potential tsunami. The documents will be stored on a server off site, he said.

The library’s documents comes from the University of California, Berkeley’s former Lowie Museum of Anthropology, Pipinos-Gausepohl said.

Although he wasn’t sure exactly how long the library has had a Native American collection, Pipinos-Gausepohl said they have been there for years.

“We’re hoping to get a kiosk out on the floor, but right now we’re focusing on getting all this stuff scanned in,” Pipinos-Gausepohl said, adding that patrons who want access to the catalog have to go in the library’s back room. “A lot of people don’t realize we even have this. I’m hoping for one central place (and to) have it searchable. If you’re looking for basketry or another specific thing, hopefully you will find it with ease.”

Despite the countless hours she’s worked scanning documents and photographs onto a computer, Morgan said she has learned a lot.

“I’m getting an exposure to what we have to offer patrons as well as getting an education myself,” she said. “I wish I had more time to read it.”

The Del Norte County Library Foundation is a private nonprofit organization that for more than 30 years has raised and allocated more than $65,000 for books, furniture, computers and other library services.

For more information about the library foundation, visit www.delnortecountylibrary.org and click on the donate link on the left.

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