iSchool Alumna Named Dorothy Helfeld Fellow


Karen Quest and Penny PeckThe Association of Children’s Librarians of Northern California has chosen an alumna of the San José State University School of Information for its Dorothy Helfeld Fellowship.

Karen Quest, a recent graduate of the iSchool’s Master of Library and Information Science degree program, applied for the fellowship with encouragement from her INFO 263: Materials for Children instructor, Penny Peck. The fellowship is for professionals from Northern California who have an interest in children’s literature and librarianship and seek “rich opportunities for professional development, networking, and mentorship.”

For Quest, being a fellow means she has “been welcomed into a society of distinguished, experienced, dedicated, and knowledgeable children’s librarians who are committed to the highest standards of children’s literature and library services for their communities.”

Prior to the fellowship, Quest entered the annual ACL Performers’ Showcase, drawing on her work experience in several circuses, as well as her own act, “Cowgirl Tricks.” She has since performed at 114 libraries in California and Nevada. Being selected as a fellow after getting her start at the ACL Performers’ Showcase “felt very full circle to be honored by the organization that started my path to librarianship,” she said.

Quest earned her MLIS degree in 2022 and said she chose the iSchool’s program based on recommendations from several children’s and teen librarians. Each master’s-level course “always inspired me to go deeper into whatever subject I was studying,” she said, adding, “I am eternally grateful to all my professors whose wholehearted commitment to their course design kept me fully engaged and for their unwavering and generous patience.”

The ACL fellow shares a few words of advice and encouragement for current iSchool students: “Reach out to your fellow students for help. As an older returning student who started the program shortly before the pandemic struck, with all the extra challenges to deal with, I can say that if I can do it, anyone can.”