Twenty additional 2020-2021 Spectrum Scholarships funded by anonymous donor

For Immediate Release
Fri, 01/22/2021


Gwendolyn Prellwitz

Assistant Director for Recruitment and Retention

Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services

CHICAGO — Upon assuming the role of executive director of the American Library Association (ALA) last year, Tracie D. Hall prioritized the association's strategic focus on digital and information access; equity, diversity, and inclusion in libraries and the LIS workforce; and the preservation of library services. As a 1998 recipient of the Spectrum Scholarship and former director of ALA's Office for Diversity, Hall immediately went to work in her leadership role, confronting racism and focusing on action. Last June, she issued a strong challenge for our nation’s librarians, library professionals, and library supporters, calling for the rapid diversification of the LIS field, universal digital access, and a deeper financial commitment to libraries.

Responding to this call, an anonymous funder recently granted $170,000 to ALA's Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services (ODLOS) to provide an additional 20 scholarships as part of the 2020-2021 Spectrum Cohort.

Every year, the Spectrum Scholarship Program receives roughly four times as many applications as there are available scholarships. This new support is a start to addressing the devastating combined effects of COVID-19, anti-Blackness, and racism on Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) library workers. As Twanna Hodge (a 2013 Spectrum Scholar) and Jamia Williams note in their recent call to action, efforts to diversify the profession must be paired with "interrupters, abolitionists, revolutionaries, social justice warriors, activists, and organizers doing this lifelong work...and centering BIPOC voices must be incorporated into every aspect of librarianship." 

Please join us in welcoming the newest Spectrum Scholars:

  • Claudia Acosta, Queens College
  • Arantes Armendariz, San Jose State University
  • Dillon Baker, University of Washington
  • Damion Beckett, North Carolina Central University
  • Connie Bermudez, Rutgers State University
  • Bradley Bibbs, University of Missouri - Columbia 
  • Marisol Bribiescas, University of Illinois
  • Christine Chan, University of California – Los Angeles
  • Talia Chaves, Valdosta State University
  • Aparna Ghosh, University of South Florida
  • Isabelle Ibibo, University of Wisconsin - Madison
  • Tiffanie Jeter, University of Alabama
  • Justina Lockley, Florida State University
  • Ruby Martinez, University of Illinois
  • Emily McLean, San Jose State University
  • Celeste Perez, University of North Texas
  • Carolina Quiroa-Crowell, Simmons University
  • Qiana Robinson, Florida State University
  • Sarah Rodgers, Valdosta State University
  • Aramis Sanchez, University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill

Spectrum Scholars are selected based on their commitment to community building and planned contributions to making social justice part of everybody's everyday work in LIS. ALA offers thanks to the Spectrum Scholarship Jury for its work in selecting the 2020-2021 Spectrum Scholars: Chair Michelle McKinney, reference/web services librarian at the University of Cincinnati’s Blue Ash College Library; Nicola Andrews, instruction and first-year experience librarian at the University of San Francisco; Angela Barnes (lead juror), branch manager at the Brooklyn Public Library; Ivonne S. Cintron, technology/library media specialist for the New York City Department of Education; Carla Y. Davis-Castro, research librarian at Congressional Research Service; Hoah-Vu Do, web librarian at the San Diego Public Library; Jesus I. Espinoza, student success librarian at the University of Michigan; George Gottschalk, director of acquisitions for the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; Jacob L. Harris, media specialist for the Pulaski Academy Library System; Lori E. Harris, interim director at the Donald C. Harrison Health Sciences Library at the University of Cincinnati; Twanna Hodge, diversity, equity, and inclusion librarian at the University of Florida; Heather Hummons, head of access services for Depaul's Rinn Law Library; Patrice Johnson (lead juror), unit manager at the Chicago Public Library Harold Washington Library Center; Jasmine Kirby, instruction and engagement librarian at Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar; Deborah L. Lilton, digital reference and embedded librarian at Tennessee State University; Hilda H. Loh-Guan, library administrator for the Santa Clarita Public Library; Dina Meky, global campus outreach and online learning librarian at Northeastern University; Hannah Lee Park (lead juror), education and School of Professional & Extended Studies librarian at American University; Lessa Kanani'opua Pelayo-Lozada, adult services assistant manager at the Palos Verdes Library District; Raymond Pun, instructional and research librarian at the Alder Graduate School of Education; Monecia Samuel, liaison librarian for the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) working at George Washington University Libraries; and Sandy Wee, access services manager at San Mateo County Libraries.

Through the Spectrum Scholarship Program, the American Library Association advances racial equity by connecting new generations of racially and ethnically diverse librarians with a network committed to mutual support, advancing one another’s leadership, and making social justice part of everybody's everyday work. The Spectrum Scholarship Program actively recruits and provides scholarships to American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian, Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, Middle Eastern and North African, and/or Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander students.. To learn more about the Spectrum Scholarship Program, please contact the Office for Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach Services at Applications for 2021 ALA Scholarships are currently being accepted through March 1, 2021.