CHICAGO - The American Library Association (ALA) has chosen Madeline Grace Bentley of Springfield, Mo., as the recipient of the 2010 Tony B. Leisner Scholarship.
The $3,000 scholarship, named for an active ALA member and former member of the ALA Council, is awarded to a library support staff member pursuing a master’s degree in library and information studies. The scholarship was established with funds donated by Leisner.
Bentley has worked in public libraries since she was 17 and has never envied her friends’ job-hopping: “I stayed with libraries because no matter what my title was, I’ve always thought I had the best job.” Like many, Bentley was drawn to library work by her love of books, but stayed because of her love of public service. “I’ve had hundreds of conversations with patrons about John Grisham, and I’ve had singularly bizarre conversations with patrons researching cow birthing, the symbolism of prison tattoos, and alien abduction conspiracies.” Bentley is delighted to work in a profession that is “like being a teacher and a bartender and a social worker all at once.”
It is only natural that Bentley would be drawn to stories, both literary and personal; she graduated Cum Laude with a degree in professional writing and in 2005 won the Henry York Steiner Prize for Short Fiction. She also enjoys bringing people together to share and discuss stories; at her current position she creates and runs adult programming that includes book discussion groups, Open Mic nights and film screenings.
Bentley will attend the University of Missouri-Columbia.