Nitra Amelia Eastby Selected as the 2017 Tony B. Leisner Scholarship Recipient

For Immediate Release
Tue, 07/25/2017


Kimberly Redd

Program Officer for Education & CEU Registrar

Office for Human Resource Development and Recruitment (HRDR)

(312) 280-4279

The American Library Association (ALA) has selected Nitra Amelia Eastby of Roanoke, Virginia as the recipient of the 2017 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.

In reflecting on her career path, Eastby said, “When I first envisioned my career in librarianship, I imagined a position with the national intelligence community. Both during and after college, I studied Chinese language and culture, and thought the only way to foster a connected and collaborative world was to work in an international capacity. Now, particularly in our current sociopolitical atmosphere, I am discovering it is equally imperative to guide people with diverse backgrounds in our local communities through the complexities of information discovery. I believe that I can not only navigate the technical demands of information sharing across diverse communities, but also process and organize the material so that others can utilize and learn from it.”

One reference said, “I've supervised support staff in (public and academic) libraries for almost twenty years now and I have a very good sense for when an exceptional staffer comes along. I relish the rare arrival of one and I lament the fact that any such employee is too good to keep for more than 3 or 4 years, even under the very best of circumstances. Without reservation, I can say that Nitra Eastby is one of these rare employees. Since joining Fintel Library of Roanoke College, she has done so very much to help the department I oversee --- and our library, as a whole --- look great.”

She continues by stating that, “Nitra is super reliable, she has tremendous attention to detail, her work is always done at a high level, she's socially polished, and she is very steady in the quality of her work and the way that she interacts with people on both sides of the desk.  With respect to leadership, I am very pleased with the way she leads student assistants gently, but with clarity. She's well respected by everyone!”

Another reference said, “I was Ms. Eastby's supervisor and I would hire her again in a heartbeat. When she first came to Greenwood Library, she had only briefly worked as a volunteer in another library, but I saw a true commitment to improving her skill set in order to best serve our students, faculty, staff, and community patrons. She was never one to rest on her laurels and if she had completed her assigned tasks, she would come to me asking how else she could help. When we experienced staffing shortages, she stepped in to make sure projects were completed and she took the lead on a massive inventory project of our bound periodicals, going through thousands of pages to make sure our holdings were accurate. In addition to her leadership behind the scenes, she also displayed great customer service skills while staffing our single-service desk. Our library is a busy place on campus, and her ability to adapt to ever-changing demands was crucial to her successful management of patron needs. She always remained calm, patient, and poised.”

She goes on to say that, “I believe Ms. Eastby would make an incredible librarian. She has practical skills developed as a professional associate, along with a strong interest in academic pursuits, but it is her people skills that will make her successful. As a librarian, building relationships with patrons is key. I have seen her interact with everyone from tenured faculty to community patrons struggling with technology issues. She always made them feel heard and respected, offering them the help they needed no matter where they may have ranked in the university hierarchy. I am excited for her next steps in the library world and eagerly anticipate the amazing contributions she will make to the profession.”

Currently, Eastby works as a senior library associate at Roanoke College in Salem, Virginia, and plans to attend the University of Tennessee - Knoxville.

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.