Diversity Scholarships


Diversity Scholarships

A Commitment to Diversity

The SJSU School of Information attracts students from all over the world with diverse backgrounds and experiences that contribute to the richness of the library and information science profession. Diversity is a core value of the American Library Association (ALA), with a whole department working towards recruiting a LIS workforce that is richly diverse in order to provide the highest quality of information services to all people. A recent photo essay from Slate Magazine entitled, “This is What a Librarian Looks Like” helps to break down long-held stereotypes and showcases the reality of a workforce that reflects the diverse nature of our library patrons and our country.

According to the ACRL standards on diversity in libraries, “diversity is an essential component of any civil society. It is more than a moral imperative; it is a global necessity. Everyone can benefit from diversity, and diverse populations need to be supported so they can reach their full potential for themselves and their communities.” For further information about the ACRL’s diversity standards, check out this iSchool Webcast from Spring 2013, “A Practical Guide to ACRL’s Diversity Standards”.

The ALA, ACRL, and other library organizations are committed to contributing to the creation of a diverse workforce by establishing scholarships, fellowships, and recruitment programs to attract potential information professionals from a wide variety of backgrounds. The following pages highlight many of these opportunities both nationwide and within California. 

Diversity Scholarships

Visit each organization’s website for more information and keep in mind that deadlines may have changed.


American Association of Law Libraries George A. Strait Minority Scholarship
MLIS candidates from historically underrepresented backgrounds who have experience and an interest to work in law libraries are encouraged to apply. Award amount varies.
Deadline: May 1st

American Indian Library Association Virginia Mathews Memorial Scholarship
Qualified American Indian applicants who have been accepted in to an ALA accredited LIS program are eligible to apply for this scholarship. Recipients are awarded up to $2,000 for one academic school year.
Deadline: May

American Library Association Spectrum Scholarship
Students from historically underrepresented populations who have completed no less that 1/3 of their MLIS degree from an ALA-accredited program are encouraged to apply. Recipients receive $5,000 scholarship in addition to professional development support.
Deadline: March

Asian Pacific American Librarians Association Scholarship
Financial assistance is provided to a student of Asian or Pacific background who is enrolled, or has been accepted into, a master’s or doctoral degree program in library and/or information science at an ALA-accredited school. Award amount is not specified.
Deadline: April

Association of Research Libraries Initiative to Recruit a Diverse Workforce
The ARL Initiative to Recruit a Diverse Workforce endeavors to draw MLIS students from underrepresented groups to careers in research libraries. Applicants must be accepted into an ALA-accredited MLIS program. The Initiative includes a stipend up to $10,000 (over two years), leadership and career development training, and a formal mentorship program.
Deadline: June

ARL/MLA Diversity & Inclusion initiative
This initiative seeks to address the growing need for professional staff in music and performing arts libraries who better reflect evolving demographics of students and faculty in music and performing arts higher education. To that end this partnership with ARL, MLA, and IMLS offers a suite of financial benefits and professional development opportunities, including: A tuition stipend of up to ARL, MLA, and IMLS offers a suite of financial benefits and professional development opportunities, including: A tuition stipend of up to $10,000 distributed over a maximum of two years; a paid internship in a partner music/performing arts library up to 660 hours for up to one calendar year; financial assistance for relocation (maximum $1,000) to the area of the MLIS program into which the participant has been accepted and will enroll; paid student membership in the Music Library Association (MLA) for one year; mentoring by a library/information professional from the partner library; support for travel to and attendance at the annual MLA Annual Meeting; and career placement assistance.
Deadline: Rolling

Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies Century Scholarship
A scholarship of up to $2,500 that funds services or accommodation for a library school student(s) with disabilities admitted to an ALA-accredited library school. The scholarship will fund services or accommodations that are either not provided by law or otherwise by the university that will enable the student or students to successfully complete the course of study for a Master’s or Doctorate in Library Science and become a library or information studies professional.
Deadline: March

Chinese American Librarians Association Scholarships
Students of Chinese descent or nationality and who are enrolled as full-time students in an ALA-accredited program are encouraged to apply. Students can apply for any of the four scholarships CALA offers (totaling $2,200) through a single application. 
Deadline: March

Medical Library Association Scholarship for Minority Students
African American, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, or Pacific Islander American individuals entering into an ALA-accredited program, who wish to study health sciences librarianship are encouraged to apply. Recipients are awarded up to $5,000.
Deadline: Not Specified

REFORMA Scholarship
The REFORMA Scholarship provides up to $1,500 of financial assistance to encourage and enable Spanish speakers to pursue or advance a career in Library and Information Science. Any current or newly entering graduate library school student [M.L.S. or Ph.D.] may apply for this scholarship. Applicant must provide proof of enrollment to an accredited library school. Full-time status is not a requirement.
Deadline: April

Society of American Archivists Mosaic Scholarship
The purpose of the Mosaic scholarship is to provide financial and mentoring support to minority students pursuing graduate education in archival science, to encourage students to pursue a career as an archivist, and to promote the diversification of the American archives profession.  The award is given to applicants who demonstrate excellent potential for scholastic and personal achievement and who manifest a commitment both to the archives profession and to advancing diversity concerns.
Deadline: February

LITA/OCLC Minority Scholarship
The LITA/OCLC Minority Scholarship, established in 1991, is awarded jointly annually by OCLC, Inc. and the Library and Information Technology Association, a division of the American Library Association, in the amount of $3,000. The scholarship is designed to encourage the entry of qualified persons into the library and automation field who plan to follow a career in that field; who demonstrate potential in and have a strong commitment to the use of automated systems in libraries; and who are qualified members of a principal minority group (American Indian or Alaskan native, Asian or Pacific Islander, African-American, or Hispanic). The recipient must be a U.S. or Canadian citizen. This scholarship is for study in an ALA Accredited Master of Library Science (MLS) program.
Deadline: March 1st

SJSU iSchool Blanche Woolls Spectrum Scholarship
The SJSU iSchool Blanche Woolls Spectrum Scholarship endowed in honor of Dr. Blanche Woolls, former professor and director from 1997-2005, offers $1,000 to a current SJSU iSchool student already holding a Spectrum scholarship from the American Library Association.
Deadline: Spring, usually March 1st – 30th

California Specific

(check other state library associations for other state-resident-specific scholarships)

The CLA Scholarship For Minority Students In Memory Of Edna Yelland
This scholarship supports ethnic minority students in the attainment of a graduate degree in library or information science. Candidates must be enrolled in a master’s program in an ALA-accredited library school and have completed one or more courses. CLA awards three scholarships annually, in the amount of $2,500 each. The amount of each scholarship may change, depending upon available funds and the financial need of applicants. Open to California Residents only.
Deadline: April

CSLA Leadership for Diversity Scholarship
Recognizing the need for library media teachers who reflect the diversity of California’s multicultural, multilingual population, the California School Library Association (CSLA) has established a Leadership for Diversity Scholarship. One award of $1,500 will be given to an individual enrolled in a college or university library media teacher credential program. Must intend to work as a teacher librarian in a California school library media center for a minimum of three years.
Deadline: December

CLBC Eunice J. H. Parker Scholarship
The California Librarians Black Caucus offers the Eunice J. H. Parker Scholarship to encourage and support Black MLIS students. The amount of the award varies from year to year, depending on available funding. The scholarship recognizes Eunice J. H. Parker (1921-1984), who was a founding member of the CLBC Northern Chapter and devoted her time, energy and much of her career recruiting and encouraging Blacks in the field of librarianship and other educational pursuits. Open to California Residents only.
Deadline: May

CSU Dale M. Schoettler Scholarship for Visually Impaired Students
The $6,500 award provides assistance for full-time students at CSU campuses who are declared visually impaired or legally blind. CSU undergraduates or graduate students in any major field are eligible with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.8 on a 4.0 scale. The estate of Dale M. Schoettler, himself a successful visually impaired businessman, funds these scholarships. Open to all full-time students at CSU campuses.
Deadline: Unknown

Rita Torres / Bibliotecas Para La Gente Scholarship
Established in 1975, Bibliotecas Para La Gente (BPLG) advocates for and provides library services to the Spanish speaking and Latino communities of Northern California. BPLG has established a $1000 scholarship to be awarded to a current SJSU iSchool Student. The scholarship will be awarded to a beginning or continuing SJSU iSchool student residing in Northern California who has demonstrated an interest in furthering the goals of BPLG in providing library service to the Spanish speaking and Latino communities.
Deadline: November


AILA Virginia Matthews Memorial Scholarship

The purpose of the American Indian Library Association (AILA) Virginia Mathews Memorial Scholarship shall be to provide tuition to an American Indian individual who lives and works in the American Indian community, and who is enrolled, or has been accepted and will enroll, in a master’s degree program at a university with a library and/or information sciences program accredited by the American Library Association. AILA will offer at least $1000 in library school scholarships annually. In 2015, AILA offered one $4000 scholarship.


AALL Minority Scholarship

George A. Strait (1914-1989) was an outstanding law librarian and long-time AALL member. In recognition of his career achievements, George Strait was awarded the AALL (now Marian Gould Gallagher) Distinguished Service Award in 1989, and in 1990 the AALL Executive Board made the minority stipend a permanent part of the Association’s scholarship program and named it in his honor. Thomson West, a provider of e-information and solutions to the U.S. legal market, generously contributed $150,000 as the initial endowment.