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:
  • Applicant must be a citizen or permanent resident of the U.S. or Canada.
  • Applicant must be American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian, Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino or Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander.
  • Applicant must attend an ALA-accredited graduate program in library and information studies or an ALA-recognized NCATE School Library Media program.
  • Applicant must be enrolled in an accredited program and begin school no later than September 1st or the Fall Semester immediately following the award (awards are announced each June).
  • Applicants may have full or part time status.
  • Applicants must be able to meet the requirement to maintain a minimum courseload of two classes per semester (the Fall and Winter/Spring semesters following the award notification) during their scholarship year and should not anticipate graduating prior to the May following their award.

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.

Contact Information

Displaying active committee roster as of 08/21/2017. Last retrieved on 08/21/2017. Members can log in to view full contact information for committee members.

Selection Criteria

The following items are required for all scholarship applications. Be sure to check the requirements of the specific scholarship for which you are applying because you may need to mail additional documents.

  1. Required. Completed online application (which includes a personal statement).
  2. Required. Completed references (only references on the official online form will be accepted).  A total of three references must be submitted. You will be prompted to indicate your professional references within the online application.
  3. Required. Official academic transcripts from institutions where you received your bachelors degree and from institutions where you are currently enrolled in a MLIS program. These can be submitted directly from the institution, or mailed in the unopened envelope as received from the degree-granting institutions along with any other materials you may need to submit. Only official (sealed) copies will be accepted. Electronic transcripts will not be considered. 
  4. Required.  The completed online application, personal statement,  and three references must be received in the ALA Scholarship Clearinghouse by March 1st to be considered. 

The mailing address is: ALA Scholarship Clearinghouse, 50 E. Huron St., Chicago, IL 60611.


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