Johnson named 2009 Tony B. Leisner Scholarship recipient

Kimberly Sanders

Program Officer, Education & Scholarships

ALA, Human Resource Development & Recruitment (HRDR)

(800) 545-2433, ext. 4279 Â

For Immediate Release

June 30, 2009

CHICAGO - The American Library Association (ALA) has named Justine M. Johnson of Easthampton, Mass., the recipient of the 2009 Tony B. Leisner Scholarship.

The $3,000 scholarship, established with funds donated by Tony B. Leisner, an active ALA member and former member of the ALA Council, is awarded to a library support staff member pursuing a master’s degree in library and information studies.

Johnson’s passion for youth librarianship stemmed from her decision to let her children control their own education. These self-directed learners, along with their mother, “logged countless hours in libraries,” notes Johnson. This time spent in libraries, along with Johnson’s "voracious appetite for the written word” and “belief in the universal right to literacy and access to information,” led her to seek and accept a job at her local public library in 2004.

As a paraprofessional at a small public library, Johnson shoulders responsibilities in several departments, including collection development, circulation and reference. But her passion remains youth librarianship. Â The duty she most enjoys is co-coordinating an ambitious youth summer reading program. Upon attaining her MLS she hopes “to work in a public library directly serving and supporting children and young adults, particularly those from underprivileged families and those with special needs.” To help her meet this goal, she is currently learning American Sign Language.

Leisner will attend North Carolina Central University.