The American Library Association (ALA) has selected Susan O’Connell of East Hardwick, Vermont as the 2017 David H. Clift Scholarship recipient.
The David H. Clift Scholarship was named for a former director of the American Library Association. The $3,000 scholarship is awarded to a person pursuing a master's degree in library and information studies.
In reflecting on her career path, O’Connell said, “At the age of 36, I returned to college to obtain a bachelor's degree. For sixteen years I had run my own horticultural farm, which was a successful and rewarding livelihood, but I was ready for a change. Substituting in the local elementary school library, I found my next career. In the following years, I pursued my undergraduate degree while also obtaining a school library teaching endorsement and certificate of public librarianship. I worked several part time jobs in small library settings, and decided that public library work was where I wanted to focus my efforts.”
One reference for O’Connell said, “Susan has won the respect and admiration of the Vermont library community for her role both as a library leader and in her willingness to help other public librarians. She is passionate and fully committed to public library service. She has a tireless commitment to do all that she can to advance the role of public libraries in Vermont.”
Another reference stated that “Susan has been doing remarkable things at the Craftsbury Public Library for many years. She is passionate about creating a place where everyone is welcome and provides open learning spaces for all ages. She's smart, creative, and works tirelessly to make things happen. She's an excellent writer, collaborator, and an over-all wonderful person to be around. Susan is known statewide as someone who is always eager to help with library automation training and has stepped up many times to present at conferences or workshops. I believe her consistent success with all of this (and more) not only promise her success in graduate school; but also speak to her future contributions to the library profession.”
O’Connell stated, “As I have become more active in the library community, I have begun to realize that I would like to effect change on a broader scale. Vermont has a patchwork of small libraries in small communities. Many of these libraries are run by part-time librarians who do not have library training or background. I would like to share the skills that I have gained, through classes and experience, with other rural communities and libraries in Vermont by working at the state level.”
Currently O’Connell serves as the Library Director at the Craftsbury Public Library (Vermont), and attends the University of North Texas (Denton, TX).
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.