University of Wisconsin-Madison supports Spectrum Scholar

Contact: Gwendolyn Prellwitz

Acting Director, ALA Office for Diversity

(312) 280-5048


For Immediate Release

December 2, 2008

CHICAGO - The University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Library and Information Studies will waive tuition for Omar Poler, a 2008 American Library Association (ALA) Spectrum Scholarship winner.

Poler is pursuing a master’s degree in library and information science at Wisconsin, which first offered matching scholarships to Spectrum recipients in its graduate program in library and information studies in 1998. Wisconsin has supported past scholars in varying ways including: tuition wavers, conference support, special campus support and recognition as Spectrum scholars in the university’s publications.

Poler is a Mole Lake Sokaogon Ojibwe tribal member, who is originally from a small Anishinaabe community in northeastern Wisconsin’s Forest County. He graduated from The University of Wisconsin-Madison with a bachelor’s degree in History. Poler hopes to combine an interest in academic librarianship with American Indian history and language––specifically in the service of Wisconsin’s various American Indian communities. He hopes to build skills to facilitate the communities’ ability to use information sources.

Wisconsin’s School of Library and Information Studies matching funds provide Spectrum Scholars with adequate financial assistance to pursue and finish their studies. Its effort to attract Spectrum Scholars demonstrates the importance of diversity as a value to the program.

Established in 1997, the Spectrum Scholarship Program has become one of the most important drivers of diversity in the library profession. The program recruits and awards scholarships for graduate programs in library and information studies to students from five professionally under-represented groups: American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian, Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino or Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander. To date Spectrum has provided a one-year $5,000 scholarship and more than $1,500 in professional development opportunities to 564 graduate students. Former Spectrum scholars now serve on ALA Council and numerous professional committees; head branches and departments of public and academic libraries; work in and manage law, medical and special libraries; lead efforts to explore and integrate new technologies; and find numerous ways to give back to the profession and promote librarianship at large.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s support of its Spectrum recipients greatly bolsters the Spectrum Scholarship Program’s ability to attract and retain talented students under-represented in the library and information science profession. To learn more about the School of Library and Information Studies, please visit To learn more about the Spectrum Scholarship Program, please visit: or contact Gwendolyn Prellwitz at (312) 280-5048,