Contact: Wendy Prellwitz
For Immediate Release
July 15, 2004
ALA Diversity Office receives nearly $1 million IMLS grant to recruit librarians
(CHICAGO) The American Library Association (ALA) Office for Diversity has received a $928,142 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).
The grant will be used to double the number of ALA Spectrum scholarship recipients; provide programmatic support for initiatives including: national coordination of diversity recruitment and education initiatives and corresponding data; promote dialogue among library and information science educators and practitioners; and establish an outreach component providing support services to schools of library and information science.
ALA established the Spectrum Initiative in 1997 to address the under-representation of critically needed ethnic librarians within the profession while serving as a model for ways to bring attention to larger diversity issues in the future.
"To be their best, our libraries and profession must reflect both the communities we serve and the larger global community," said ALA President Carol Brey-Casiano. "With almost 58 percent of professional librarians reaching retirement age between 2005 and 2019, the recruitment need is greater than ever. I am thrilled the ALA was selected to receive such a significant grant to support our national efforts to build a more diverse profession."
Spectrum's major drive is to recruit applicants and to award scholarships to American Indian/Alaska Native; Asian; Black/African American; Hispanic/Latino; and Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander students for graduate programs in library and information studies. The ALA Spectrum Scholarship provides a one-year $5,000 scholarship and over $1,500 in professional development opportunities to eligible recipients each year.
To date, 276 scholarships have been awarded under the Spectrum Initiative, including 22 last year. The IMLS grant will match scholarships funded by the ALA over the next three years, providing up to a total of 105 new additional scholarships for individuals from under-represented communities of color.
The funding also will be used to:
- create and institutionalize mechanisms for gathering information about and raising the visibility of national, regional, state and institutional level diversity recruitment and education initiatives (such as New Jersey's becomealibrarian.org Web site);
- host, in collaboration with library and information science educators and practitioners from all types of libraries, a national-level dialogue to discuss the educational experiences and pre-professional development opportunities necessary to produce the ready and well-equipped librarian of the 21st century; and
- build an outreach/support services component to provide library schools with information and marketing resources, access to a national portal, specialized programming, active consultation, and ongoing support in expanding capacities to attract, matriculate, and successfully graduate underrepresented students from the MLIS program.
The IMLS awarded more than $14.7 million this year to library schools and library service organizations to recruit and educate new librarians to help offset a looming national shortage. The IMLS is an independent federal grant-making agency dedicated to creating and sustaining a nation of learners by helping libraries and museums serve their communities. To learn more about the Institute, please log onto: http://www.imls.gov.
"Librarians make accessible the resources and services that help to stimulate and support learning throughout life," said IMLS Director Robert S. Martin. "The grants IMLS makes will ensure the future of librarianship in America that creates and sustains our nation of learners."
For more information on the Spectrum Initiative's scholarships, recruitment and retention efforts, or how you can contribute, please contact the Office for Diversity at 1-800-545-2433 ext. 5048 or visit www.ala.org/spectrum.