iSchool Students, Alumni Receive CLA Scholarships and Awards


Seven San José State University School of Information students and graduates were among the recipients of the California Library Association’s 2016 scholarships and awards. Congratulations!

Seven San José State University School of Information students and graduates were among the recipients of the California Library Association’s 2016 scholarships and awards.

Chloe Van Stralendorff was awarded the CLA Scholarship for Minority Students in Memory of Edna Yellend. The scholarship “encourages and supports ethnic minority students in the attainment of a graduate degree in library or information studies and encourages commitment to the improvement of services to ethnic minority communities,” the website states. Stralendorff and fellow iSchool student Jasmin Avila were two of the three scholarship recipients this year.

“The [CLA Scholarship for Minority Students] is in honor of an amazing individual and professional who made an impact in the field. It’s truly an honor to receive and represent the Edna Yelland scholarship,” Van Stralendorff said.

She noted the application process required personal reflection on her emphasis, goals and dreams as a Master of Library and Information Science student.

“Unlike most applications, one requirement was to convey your financial needs. It was challenging writing about my financial hardship and knowing that there are many other students in the same situation. I appreciated the reflective opportunity, as the application provided immense insight on my academic and professional goals,” she said.

Van Stralendorff works as a library technician at the Anaheim Public Library, and in keeping with the spirit of the scholarship, she often finds herself driving the bookmobile, making her way into less fortunate neighborhoods, in order to provide convenient access to the library’s services. She believes connecting with her community has taught her that delivering public services is an important way to combat social exclusion and marginalization, and she encourages California-based students who want to play a vital role in inclusiveness and community outreach to apply for the scholarship.

“In addition, to receiving the scholarship, you are also awarded a CLA membership. Because of the membership I will be attending my first conference, and I’m truly excited to network with MLIS students and professionals in the field,” she said.

Erin Berman, a 2011 iSchool graduate, and three of her San José Public Library colleagues, including alumna Julie Oborny, were given the Zoia Horn Intellectual Freedom Award. According to the website, the award honors Californian people, groups, and organizations that have made significant contributions to intellectual freedom. Awardees are selected based on recent or important lifetime contributions to intellectual freedom.

Berman said the work she and her SJPL team did on the library’s Virtual Privacy Lab was what garnered the attention of the award committee.

“The American Library Association’s Intellectual Freedom Manual states, ‘A democratic society operates best when information flows freely and is freely available, and it is the library’s unique responsibility to provide open, unfettered, and confidential access to that information,’” she said. “Libraries are true champions of patron privacy. With our offline lives becoming more integrated with our online identities, we have a responsibility to provide resources to our patrons on how to navigate the online world with confidence.”

As the SJPL innovations manager, Berman feels intellectual freedom is “one of the greatest gifts that the library has to offer the public.”

“It is a place where anyone can gather to exchange ideas without fear of reprisal. No one who comes through the door of a public library should have to worry about someone looking over their shoulder or judging their information consumption choices,” she said. “Our duty as librarians is to provide a safe harbor where anyone can come to be free from the ever present information collection. We can provide guidance to our patrons on how to navigate through the digital world with confidence, creating the identities they choose, not the ones we think are correct for them, by providing high quality unbiased information.”

Berman is “thrilled and grateful” to receive the award, and she hopes it draws more attention to the Virtual Privacy Lab and help even more people become privacy literate online.

SJSU alumni and current students joining Van Stralendorff and Berman as recipients of the CLA awards and scholarships are:

  • Christopher Kyauk (’11 MLIS) – Technology New Leader Award
  • Angela Ocana (’14 MLIS) – Young Adult Services Award
  • Julie Oborny (’14 MLIS) – Zoia Horn Intellectual Freedom Award
  • Mahasin Abuwi Aleem (current MLIS student) – Begun Scholarship
  • Jasmin Avila (current MLIS student) – Scholarship for Minority Students in Memory of Edna Yelland

The seven SJSU alumni and student awardees will be recognized at the CLA’s upcoming annual conference “Swing into Action” in Sacramento, California.

California residents can visit the respective CLA awards and scholarships web pages for more information about the award and scholarship application processes.

Photo of Chloe Van Stralendorff courtesy of CLA website.