Student Sudi Napalan Helps Her School Library in Saipan Win Grant

Community Profile

San José State University School of Information student Sudi Q. Napalan helped her school library win a $6,000 grant from the Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries, becoming the first school in the Northern Mariana Islands to receive a grant from the Foundation. Saipan Southern High School will use the funds to update and broaden the school’s collection of books.

“A modern and diverse collection will enable us to lure reluctant readers by providing them something that they can read and enjoy,” said Napalan, the school library media specialist.

This was Napalan’s first time applying for a grant, a process that she said taught her “a lot about advocacy and marketing the school library,” she said. But this isn’t Napalan’s first time winning a commendation from a national organization. In 2008, she received a travel grant from the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) to attend the American Library Association conference. YALSA commended Napalan’s collaboration with Saipan’s public library system to teach teen mothers and fathers to read to their children.

Napalan has wanted to be a school librarian ever since she was an elementary school student in the Philippines, and she was “in awe of the knowledge the library can hold.” She hung out at the library during lunchtime when she was a high school student in Guam, and then she worked in the library while a student at the University of Guam, where she graduated with a minor in Library Science.

Immediately after graduating, Napalan started teaching music at a high school in Guam and then moved to Saipan five years ago, where she taught choir before becoming the school librarian.

Napalan expects to graduate in December 2010, and earning her degree from the iSchool has been a family affair. Her husband, Ryan Napalan, also is getting his MLIS from our school and will graduate this Fall as well. The Napalans both worked full time and went to school while raising their two children, ages one and six.

“We feel so privileged to learn from the best iSchool instructors and made great friendships with future librarians from different parts of the world,” she said. “Distance learning has been a great experience.”