Institutional Scholarships for Public Libraries
Awarded 2005–2010, this program addressed the education needs of public library staff working toward the ultimate goal of obtaining a master’s degree in library and information science. This program was intended to assist public library staff members who are working toward securing a library degree, by awarding funds to the employing public library for reimbursement of employee(s) course tuition costs, at the undergraduate or graduate level. PLA recognized that the institution was strategically positioned to best identify those employees with a commitment to librarianship, public libraries and the institution/community.
The Public Library Association provided up to nine public libraries with a lump sum of $8,000 each to be distributed to as many of their employees as they choose for the purpose of working toward obtaining an MLS degree—$6,500 was to be used directly for payment of tuition at the undergraduate level or at an ALA-accredited library school graduate level and $1,500 was to be used to support attendance for one or more of the selected scholarship recipients to attend a PLA-sponsored continuing education conference or event such as the PLA Conference or PLA Spring Symposium. One library from each of the nine PLDS size categories was selected.
The primary goal of this program was to increase the number of public librarians. The program accomplished this by providing funds to institutions to enable them to “grow their own” librarians from among select employees within their staffs. A corollary of the program was the development of successful models for growing your own that could be shared with and implemented by the public library community.