Champion Spotlight: Johana Orellana

Johana OrellanaI am so grateful to be a Spectrum Scholar because the program helped me become the leader I am today. When I received the scholarship, I felt a sense of relief knowing I had financial assistance to help me pay for school.

Once I went through the Spectrum Leadership Institute, I realized that for me the greatest benefit was actually learning how to give back by volunteering for organizations and committees. The welcoming environment of previous Scholars, the inspiring words of library leaders, and encouragement to just ask was the impetus for my later achievements. I am also thankful for the friendships I made with other Scholars. I met an amazing young woman through my Spectrum cohort and our friendship is still strong and true. In general, Scholars are understanding and supportive of each other.

The number of Scholars involved and working together in committees, divisions, and round tables of the American Library Association is a testament to the strength of our network and speaks to the power of the program to support leaders. To me, the Spectrum Scholarship Program is one of ALA’s greatest contributions to diversifying our profession.

I hope the program continues to help advance the key actions areas of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion by providing financial assistance and key leadership skills to librarians of diverse backgrounds. For libraries to reflect diverse communities, the staff members must be the mirrors. The commitment ALA has made to EDI is evident in the efforts to expand and continue with the Spectrum Scholarship Program since its inception 20 years ago.

Johana Orellana is an Adult Services Librarian at the North Richland Hills Public Library in Texas. She attained a B.A. in English and certification in Translation Studies from the University of Texas in Arlington. She graduated with her MLIS from the University of North Texas. Johana is a 2012 ALA Spectrum Scholar, 2015 ALA Emerging Leader, and currently serves as an ALA Councilor-at-Large. She serves on committees of the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association and as a member of ALA’s Intellectual Freedom Committee. Her most recent challenge is to finally post on her YouTube channel.

Johana is a Spectrum Champion! Johana has graciously volunteered to serve as a Cohort Champion working on outreach to the 1999-2000 Class of Spectrum Scholars. If you are a Scholar from this year please consider emailing Johana to learn more about how you can help support Spectrum’s 20th Anniversary: A Celebration of Community. Cohort Champions have also committed to organizing a networking event in their region, activism, and fundraising efforts.