Spectrum Scholarship

About the Spectrum Scholarship
The Spectrum Scholarship Program is ALA's national diversity and recruitment effort designed to address the specific issue of 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.

Administered by:

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Award and Frequency

A one-time, non-renewable $5,000 scholarship paid in two installments and $1500 for professional development support. Awarded annually.
This award is given out on an annual basis.


To be eligible for a Spectrum Scholarship, you should:

  • be a citizen or permanent resident of the U.S. or Canada
  • identify as American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian, Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, Middle Eastern/North African, and/or Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander
  • attend an ALA-accredited graduate program in library and information studies or an AASL-recognized  School Library Media Program
  • be enrolled in an accredited program and begin no later than September 1st or Fall Semester
  • have full or part-time status
  • plan to maintain a minimum course load of two classes per semester while receiving your scholarship funds

Applicant Responsibility

Spectrum recipients are required:
  • To maintain a course load of at least two classes per semester throughout the scholarship year (Fall Semester and Winter/Spring Semester).  Failure to register for and complete two courses in the Fall Semester will result in full forfeiture of Spectrum Scholarship status.  Failure to register and complete two courses in the Winter/Spring Semester will result in forfeiture of the January scholarship installment and may result in a request for the return of distributed funds.
  • To attend the Spectrum Leadership Institute.  This is a 3-day all-expense paid Institute designed specifically for the Spectrum Scholars. 
  • To become member of the American Library Association.  The Spectrum Scholarship Program will provide a student membership for all Spectrum Scholars. (Reimbursements will be made to those who are already members)
  • To complete a master’s degree in librarianship from a program accredited by the American Library Association OR a master’s degree with a specialty in school library media from an education unit accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).

Application Instructions

Apply online through the ALA Scholarship Program at www.ala.org/scholarships.

Applications for the Spectrum Scholarships are accepted through the ALA Scholarship Clearinghouse which allows applicants to apply to multiple scholarships offered through the American Library Association.  Applications for all ALA Scholarships are accepted annually from September  to March 1.  To submit an application for a Spectrum Scholarship, the following items are required:

  • Three professional references (only references on the official online form will be accepted). You will be prompted to indicate your professional references within the online application.
  • Official academic transcripts from institutions where you received your bachelor’s degree and/or are currently enrolled in a MLIS program. Only official (sealed) copies will be accepted. ​

The ALA Scholarship Clearinghouse (50 E. Huron St., Chicago, IL 60611) must receive the completed online application, personal statement, three references, and transcripts by March 1st to be considered.  Recipients will be contacted by phone after June 1st. All other applicants will be notified by email after July 1 st.

Contact Information

Displaying active committee roster as of 07/05/2020. Last retrieved on 07/05/2020. Members can log in to view full contact information for committee members.

Selection Criteria

Applicants are evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Community Building 
  • Commitment to Equity & Inclusion
  • Commitment to the Profession
  • Leadership Potential
  • Academic  Ability 


Recipients will be notified by phone on or before June 1st.  All other applicants will be notified by email after July 1st.