Serving Diverse Communities Drives Goals of SLIS Scholarship Recipient Jade Torres-Morrison

Providing services to diverse communities has been an ongoing professional and academic focus for Jade Torres-Morrison, who was recently promoted from Library Assistant to Middle School Library Media Specialist at Albuquerque Academy, which serves students in 6th through 12th grade  in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

“I’m most proud of the quality of reference services and the readers advisory that I provide,” she said of her work. “Making people smile when I connect them to what they need is my favorite part of the job.”

Torres-Morrison’s passion for serving the Hispanic community is evidenced in her academic pursuits. “I’ve always focused my papers and projects on topics relating to services to Latino and Spanish-speaking communities,” said Torres-Morrison, who recommends LIBR 275 (Services for Racially and Ethnically Diverse Communities) for students with similar aspirations for helping underserved communities. “Even in places like Albuquerque, which has a large Hispanic population, there’s a lack of quality services. I knew that growing up here, but I’ve become even more aware now that I’ve studied it,” she said.

Torres-Morrison enrolled in our School’s MLIS program in Fall 2009 after working summers in a library while attending the University of New Mexico, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude with a double major in History and Spanish Language and Literature. “I learned about librarianship during those summers, and really liked the service aspect – working with people and helping people, she said. “Our School’s flexible online program made pursing the MLIS degree possible.”

What also made it possible, Torres-Morrison said, were the multiple scholarships she has received along the way. She received the SLIS Blanche Woolls Spectrum Scholarship in 2011 and 2012. She also received the 2010 ALA Spectrum Scholarship, the 2009 ALA Christopher Hoy/ERT Scholarship, and the 2011 New Mexico Library Association’s Marion Dorroh Scholarship. As a 2010 Spectrum Scholar, which serves to address the underrepresentation of librarians of color within the workforce, Torres-Morrison attended the Spectrum Leadership Institute at the ALA conference.

With a graduation target of Fall 2013, Torres-Morrison hopes one day to work in a public library in a community that needs help. “My goal is to make a positive and valuable contribution to the community,” she said. As a member of REFORMA, the ALA-affiliated national association to promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish speaking, and a member of the New Mexico Library Association, American Association of School Libraries, and Young Adult Library Services Association, Torres-Morrison is well on her way.