ACRL supports Spectrum Scholars

Contact: Stephanie Orphan


For Immediate Release

August 27, 2002

ACRL supports Spectrum Scholars

The Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) is reinforcing its commitment to diversity in the library profession through its support of the American Library Association's (ALA) Spectrum Initiative. In fiscal 2003, ACRL will fund five Spectrum Scholars interested in pursuing academic librarianship as a career through a $32,500 donation to the initiative. Each scholar will receive $5,000 for a scholarship and $1,500 for the cost of the institute that they must attend to complete the program. In addition to the cash award, the five Spectrum Scholars will receive a free one-year membership in ACRL. The 2003 funding was approved by the ACRL Board of Directors at their June meeting. ACRL previously donated $25,000 to fund the initiative in 1999.

The Spectrum Initiative's major drive is to recruit applicants and award scholarships to African American, Latino/Hispanic, Asian/Pacific Islander and Native American/Alaskan Native students for graduate programs in library and information studies. The initiative was initially funded through a provision of $1.5 million from the ALA Executive Committee in 1997. To date, 229 Spectrum Scholarships have been awarded.

The ACRL Board also passed an action to establish an ACRL Spectrum Scholar Mentor Task Force to design a process by which ACRL can match an academic or research librarian with each new ALA Spectrum Scholar, with a goal that these relationships be encouraged and supported by ACRL throughout the students' graduate school experience. The Spectrum Scholar Mentors will "encourage [Spectrum Scholars] in their studies and to consider academic librarianship as a career. Increasingly, students and librarians will be gaining appreciation for the diverse and exciting positions that can be found in academic libraries," said ACRL president Helen Spalding.

ACRL, a division of the ALA, is the only individual membership organization in North America that develops programs, products, and services to meet the unique needs of academic librarians. ACRL is dedicated to enhancing the ability of academic library and information professionals to serve the information needs of the higher education community and to improve learning, teaching and research.