Charmetria Marshall believes libraries can help foster communities that embrace diversity, and hopes to use the skills and knowledge she’s acquiring as a Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) student to further that vision as an information professional.
Marshall, who expects to complete her degree in 2014, received a $1,000 SLIS scholarship in spring 2013.
In her scholarship application essay, Marshall wrote about how her focus on diversity issues was inspired by the experiences of her mother, who as a young black girl in Oklahoma wasn’t allowed into the whites-only local library.
“Knowing that there was a time not so long where it was illegal for marginalized groups to be able to access local libraries, and knowing that currently, these groups are still underserved, motivates me to attempt to be a driving force of change in the field,” Marshall wrote.
While earning a bachelor’s degree in anthropology at California State University, Los Angeles, Marshall learned that egalitarian societies share information freely rather than treating it as a commodity reserved for a privileged few.
Marshall, who lives in Southern California, works part time as a library page at a public library, primarily in the audiovisual section. She’s also currently an intern at the South Pasadena Public Library, working in its local history section. The intern position gives her a chance to work in archives, including making archived material available to the public through social media channels.
She can see herself someday working in a research center that has special collections, or being a social media consultant to help libraries boost their online presence.
However, Marshall would like to begin her career in a public library in order to get experience helping the public. She also hopes that her work will involve making more collections available for underserved groups, such as patrons with disabilities, and adding more foreign language collections and resources that show a broad range of people and characters.
“I’m always on the lookout for diverse representations in any genre,” she said.
As a librarian, she hopes to be an advocate for diversity. “Not just racial diversity, but all kinds of diversity.”
The SLIS Scholarship Awards for current students are endowed by faculty, alumni, students and friends of the information school.
“I took LIBR 284 Archives and Records Management-Digitization with Alyce Scott. I felt that course was really informative because it got into the specific details of how, as a library institution, you can start archiving materials, how you can start preserving them and how you can start presenting them to the public.”
“Make sure you know who you are; make sure you know what you want. And when you figure out what that is, just dedicate yourself to it and learn as much as you can about it, because knowledge never hurts.”
“Be really mindful of your privacy settings when you’re on any type of social media. Social media is what you make of it. You wouldn’t buy a house and then not lock your doors. I think people should treat social media the same way. It’s a wonderful thing, but you have to have a kind of common sense about it.”