CHICAGO - The American Library Association (ALA) has selected Haneen Ali-Samad of Boardman, Ohio as the 2017 recipient of the Mary V. Gaver Scholarship.
The $3,000 scholarship was established to honor the memory of a past ALA president and Rutgers University professor, who made many contributions to library youth services. The scholarship is awarded to a person pursuing a master's degree in library and information studies, with a specialty in youth services.
In reflecting on her career path, Ali-Samad stated, “As a child of immigrants from the Middle East, I first learned the traditional rhymes and songs at our local library's story time. It was only natural my first job was a page, shelving books at the young age of fifteen. My former supervisor always used to tell me, library school was where I was headed, seeing the way I engaged with our younger patrons. Now, if only I had listened to him sooner.”
Currently, Ali-Samad is employed as a Youth Services Library Assistant at the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County (PLYMC). She said, “Each day is a treat when I go into the city for story times. In the city of Youngstown, we serve children that often come from low socio-economic households, and each story time is another step towards bridging barriers. My passion is to serve people with diverse backgrounds and bring them into the library. I plan to do this by offering traditional story times with diverse twists. For example, in September during an Islamic Holiday, I planned a special program to appeal to Muslim children in our community. The attendees were excited to see the library offer programs for children of the Islamic community. Eventually, I want to become more versed in other diverse communities and offer programs that will appeal to them and open the door to reading and what the library has to offer.”
One reference commented that, “Haneen Ali-Samad is a reliable and knowledgeable professional. Even though she is classified as Youth Services Librarian, she assists customers of all ages. She is friendly and very helpful in meeting customers' educational and recreational needs. Recently, Haneen proposed and presented a Family Story Time program based on her Middle Eastern heritage: Eid-ai-Adha. This intergenerational debut program drew a record attendance. Haneen has also strengthened the sparse Muslim juvenile collection in the library. She has helped us all to gain insight into the cultural, social, and political issues facing Muslims today.”
Another reference stated, “As Haneen's supervisor, I have worked with her since she began at PLYMC. In that time, she has shown herself to be intelligent, resourceful, creative, diligent, trustworthy and conscientious. She consistently comes up with novel programming ideas and shows great enthusiasm for her work. She is eager to learn new things and engage in new projects. She has instituted many original programs in her short time here, and continues to search out new ideas to expand library service to our community. She is interested in all aspects of library work and approaches everything with enthusiasm and dedication. She is also a very kind, cheerful person who gets along with everyone. I particularly like the fact that she is proactive and can recognize potential issues and then takes action to make them easier for everyone. I have rarely been so impressed with a relatively new employee. I enjoy working with her, and expect that she has a very bright future in the library profession.”
Ali-Samad attends Kent State University (Ohio).
For information on the ALA Scholarship program, visit our scholarship page.
The ALA Office for Human Resource Development and Recruitment (HRDR) manages the ALA Scholarship Clearinghouse.