CHICAGO - As part of its commitment to furthering diversity in the school library profession, the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) has named Ina Laguerta as its 2013 Spectrum Scholar. The Spectrum Scholarship fund is the American Library Association’s (ALA) national diversity and recruitment effort designed to address the specific issue of under-representation of critically needed ethnic librarians within the profession. AASL supports Spectrum Scholars through conference assistance and mentoring.
Laguerta is currently working on her master of library and information science degree through San Jose State University's online program with a focus on children's services and teacher librarianship. She is also pursuing a graduate degree in public administration at California State Polytechnic University, focusing on services in public library and public school library settings. She is employed as the library clerk at Wallen L. Andrews Elementary School in Whittier, Calif. and hopes to continue working in a school library or public library with children.
“There is nothing comparable with the feeling of making a child’s day by simply handing him or her a free bookmark, reading a funny story, or laughing about the same favorite titles,” said Laguerta. “It is refreshing to see children come to the library to hang out with me and some old books over their iPads and other electronics. I see why many librarians do it for forty years!”
Since 2001, AASL has provided more than $62,500 to the Spectrum Scholarship Program to fund scholarships. Working with sponsors, AASL has been able to offer Spectrum Scholars travel and registration grants to support their attendance at AASL professional development events, including the AASL National Conference & Exhibition and the AASL Fall Forum. Experienced AASL members serve as conference mentors to assist the Spectrum Scholars in navigating the event and becoming more involved in AASL. In addition, AASL annually provides all interested Spectrum Scholars with a one-year complimentary student membership.
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 830 scholarships to qualified applicants enrolled in an ALA-accredited graduate program in library and information studies or an AASL-recognized School Library program. To learn more about the Spectrum Scholarship Program, visit www.ala.org/spectrum.
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.