CHICAGO — As part of its commitment to furthering diversity in the school library profession, the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) chose Latanya Ingraham as its 2010-2011 Spectrum Scholar. Ingraham will attend the Clarion University School of Library Science.
As a teacher in an underserved community, Ingraham recognizes firsthand what a dynamic school library program can offer underprivileged students.
"Becoming familiar with students' backgrounds and understanding the particular needs of the community has allowed me to relate to students and create a successful and culturally relevant learning environment for them," said Ingraham, who has seven years teaching experience. "As a librarian, my goal is to make the library a welcoming place that is an integral part of the school and community.”
Upon graduation, Ingraham's goal is to work with underserved communities to create a dynamic school library that allows students to reach their full potential despite their financial circumstances. "A library program that is responsive to the needs of the community will serve the dual purpose of creating a love of reading while helping to improve the socioeconomic conditions of the patrons," said Ingraham.
Since 2001, AASL has provided more than $49,000 to the Spectrum Scholarship Program. In addition, AASL supports Spectrum Scholars through conference assistance and mentoring. Working with sponsors, AASL has been able to offer Spectrum Scholars travel and registration grants to support their attendance at the AASL 2008 Fall Forum, the AASL 13th National Conference and Exhibition and at the upcoming AASL 2010 Fall Forum. Experienced AASL members serve as conference mentors to assist the Spectrum Scholars in navigating the conference and getting more involved in AASL. In addition, AASL annually provides all interested Spectrum Scholars with a one-year complimentary student membership.
"Latanya's commitment to creating a dynamic school library program for low income and minority students aligns perfectly with AASL's 'Standards for the 21st-Century Learner,'" said Nancy Everhart, AASL president. "One of the key elements of these standards is that, 'All children deserve equitable access to books and reading, to information, and to information technology in an environment that is safe and conducive to learning.' Through the Spectrum Initiative, AASL is fortunate to have the opportunity to support new and emerging school librarians to fulfill their professional goals and ambitions and help children learn to succeed."
Established in 1997, the Spectrum Scholarship Program is ALA's national effort to increase diversity in the profession by recruiting and providing scholarships that allow students from racially and ethnically diverse backgrounds to become librarians. Spectrum Scholars improve service at the local level because they reflect the communities served by libraries in today’s changing world. Spectrum has provided more than 680 scholarships to qualified applicants enrolled in an ALA-accredited graduate program in library and information studies or an ALA-recognized NCATE School Library program. To learn more about the Spectrum Scholarship Program, visit www.ala.org/spectrum.
For more information about the Spectrum Presidential Initiative or to make an online donation, visit http://spectrum.ala.org. To learn more, get involved, or to make a pledge to the Spectrum Presidential Initiative, contact Miguel A. Figueroa, Director, Office for Diversity & Spectrum at email@example.com, or Kim Olsen-Clark, Director, Development Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The American Association of School Librarians, www.aasl.org, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), promotes the improvement and extension of library services in elementary and secondary schools as a means of strengthening the total education program.Its mission is to advocate excellence, facilitate change and develop leaders in the school library field.