Congratulations to the 2007-08 ALA Spectrum Scholars!
Nine SLIS students were named 2007-08 Spectrum Scholars by the American Library Association (ALA). The Spectrum Scholarship Program was established in 1997 as ALA's national diversity and recruitment plan. It provides a one-year scholarship as well as professional development opportunites to eligible students. The Scholars will also have the opportunity to attend the ninth Spectrum Leadership Institute at the ALA conference in June 2008. In addition to the seven below, Phillippa Caldeira and Autumn Sullivan are also Spectrum Scholars.
Our Spectrum Scholars
Raymundo Andrade is currently working as a Library Assistant in the Cataloging Department at Loyola Marymount University's Von der Ahe Library. At the age of 18 he began working at the County of Los Angeles Public Library as a Library Aide and has worked in 8 different public libraries since. He shares that he has developed a "sincere sensitivity to and respect for a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and diverse society." Andrade continues:
Because I am a fluently Spanish-speaking Mexican-American with ample experience, academic merits, and humility, I am determined to become an effective Librarian where my combination of characteristics, qualifications, and goals is rare to hopefully serve as an example and mentor. Believing not enough Latinos reach the level of "professional," especially within libraries, I enthusiastically chase a personally rewarding career because who I am may comfortably transcend the traditional duties of a “librarian” to serve communities as a bilingual bridge and professional example for minorities and anyone.
Andrade has also been featured on Loyola Marymount University's homepage:
Student David Aponte relates the feeling of being a Spectrum Scholar with that of belonging to an "exclusive club." He appreciates the support he has received from fellow Scholars. Originally from the Bronx, NY with a background in Fine Arts, Aponte has been working in the Film and Video field for 15 years. He writes:
I happened to accidentally stumble into this profession. I was looking for a day job and thought the library would be a cool place to work. I had no intention of going to Grad school yet here I am.
Aponte was also named one of the Oakland Public Library Urban Library Council (ULC) Scholars in 2006.
ALASC Coordinator Heather Devine was named Spectrum Scholar in addition to being the recipient of the Library Information Technology Association/Online Computer Library Center (LITA/OCLC) Award. She writes:
What I'm most excited about in being a Spectrum Scholar is the opportunity to attend the Spectrum Leadership Institute next summer at the Annual ALA conference. It will be great to meet other library school students and to learn from others in the field. I was lucky enough to be able to attend the ALA conference in Washington, DC last summer and it was not only fun, but also an eye-opening experience to see just how many librarians there are! It provided the chance to explore the opportunities available, and I recommend that any student who can should attend. The conference is in Anaheim next year, so hopefully a lot of SLIS students will be able to make it.
Devine is a member of the Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma. She hopes to contribute to the creation and maintenance of the cultural center that her tribe is currently working to create. The cultural center will also include a library and tribal archives.
Student Susan Hoang shares:
The deeper I get into this subject, the more I realize how my life has been impacted by libraries. My elementary school library visits were some of my favorite times in school, a place where I learned histories and lessons that were not taught in the classroom. I see how reading can be a political act if children become open to the stories and information within the books and use that information to create change in society.
As I start a new job at an elementary school library, I hope that students who use the library will be able to broaden their understanding of the world and use that knowledge to better their own communities. Information can be empowering and inspiring if we know how to use it. While I am currently still deciding on a specific focus in my studies, I chose to enter this field to explore how information access can become a vehicle for social change and community transformation.
Before entering the MLIS program, Hoang finished her certificate in Community Planning. She believes that it will help her "recognize the needs and make the most out of assets like libraries in traditionally marginalized communities."
Student Christine Jackson is a strong advocate of Intellectual Freedom. She writes:
I want to be a librarian because I believe wholeheartedly in intellectual freedom and in the duties of librarians. I used to take it for granted that I could enter any public or academic library and access any information I desired, regardless of content and its supposed offensiveness or subversion. Through contemplating a commitment to a career in library science, I have come to value intellectual freedom and realize that it requires the diligence and dedication of librarians and library staff to keep intellectual freedom available for all people. Censorship limits knowledge, limited knowledge limits understanding, and limited understanding limits progression of our minds and our world. The heart of librarians’ work is to give open access to the knowledge offered in the world, thereby opening up possibilities and creating greater pathways to progression.
Gilbert Lopez chose to take the three core classes during his first semester at SLIS. He writes:
At times I was overwhelmed, but after using an online calendar to remind myself of upcoming deadlines, I proceeded in a much smoother fashion. I enjoyed all three classes and found all three challenging at times. I am grateful for this opportunity and for being chosen as a Spectrum Scholar.
He reports that he has had a positive experience overall, with the exception of a few annoyances with group work! He continues:
I was raised in a ethnically diverse, lower middle class neighborhood. I was taught by my parents to respect all those around me. I have worked and lived in a variety of situations, wherein I gained contact and relationships, both personal and professional, with people from all over the world, from those with privileged families to those struggling with low income, some of whom were speaking English as a second or third language. Being a gay U.S. citizen of Mexican ethnicity and having felt the brunt of homophobia and racism, my experience has taught me to respect those who wish to keep their culture of origin intact and those who want to assimilate into U.S. culture, and to respect their individual selves they present in the culture at large.
I've served these individuals working in three public libraries. I’ve also had a life long affinity and love of printed material, developed from childhood. I discovered that working in libraries was an ideal match between my public service interests and my personal interests in reading, music and cinema.
Former social worker Teresa Mares is currently working as the solo Librarian at Noli Indian School, a school for Native American children in grades 6-12 on the Soboba Indian Reservation. Mares is inspired by ALA's President Loriene Roy's efforts towards diversity in the field of librarianship and programs for indigenous peoples. She shares:
The highlight of being a Spectrum Scholar thus far was attending AASL’s [American Library Association for School Libraries] 13th National Conference and Exhibition in Reno, Nevada. As a Spectrum Scholar, I was fortunate to have been notified of four available travel grants provided by Stone Arch books. I applied and was thrilled to have been awarded the grant, a definite bonus of being involved with Spectrum!
In my experience, the highlight session from the convention was "The Wabanaki: "We Teach" Curriculum: A Model for the Future." This presentation by Lynn Lowell was especially pertinent to me as a librarian for a Native American school. Lynn went into detail about the use and evaluation of Native American materials for the library. This was important because as a librarian for a rural school library, professional development regarding special populations, such as Native Americans, is difficult to locate.
Mares, being a single mother of two little girls, is thankful that the financial award will help with the costs of tuition and books. She has also received assistance from The Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) program called "Grow your own" and the Riverside County IDA Program.
Find out more about all of the 2007-08 Spectrum Scholars:
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