iSchool Students Selected for ARL/SAA Mosaic Fellowship


Two SJSU School of Information students were selected for the 2016-2017 ARL/SAA Mosaic Program, which strives to promote diversification of the archives and special collections professional workforce.

Two San José State University School of Information students were chosen to participate in the 2016-2017 Association of Research Libraries/Society of American Archivists Mosaic Program, which strives to promote diversification of the archives and special collections professional workforce.

Jane’a Johnson and Michelle Peralta, who are both enrolled in the SJSU iSchool’s Master of Library and Information Science degree program, will complete one-year paid internships up to $10,000, funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The newest iteration of the program, ARL/SAA Mosaic Program II, will also offer a professional development experience to emphasize digital curation and management skills.

Johnson, who is pursuing an MLIS at the SJSU iSchool concurrently with a PhD in modern culture and media at Brown University, began the internship at the John Hay Library and Special Collections in August. She said being selected is an honor since she believes the program is “amazing” with a “great reputation.”

“I’ve learned a ton already, and they have been incredibly open and flexible. I’m currently working on two projects: collection development for the Harris Collection of American Poetry and Plays and an exhibition on African-American performance,” Johnson said. “In the spring, I’ll be processing a cache of unprocessed special collections materials and writing at least one finding aid for those materials. I hope to learn exactly how a large academic library works, and to leave feeling confident that I can hit the ground running when I snag my first job.”

First-year MLIS student Peralta started her internship at the Special Collections and Archives, University of California, San Diego in September and will be working on several projects, seeing them through from beginning to completion while learning about digital archiving.

“It is an incredible honor to be selected as an ARL/SAA Mosaic Fellow and one I don’t take lightly. I am sure there were many qualified applicants, and I feel extremely lucky and grateful that I was selected,” Peralta said. “I really appreciate that ARL/SAA work with your host institution to craft a learning plan for the internship, and I feel very fortunate that UCSD has done a remarkable job putting together an internship experience that not only caters to my interests but is committed to introducing me to new aspects of special collections and archives work.”

Peralta recommends applicants have “a clear idea of your goal or what you would like to accomplish in special collections or archives.”

“I mean this not so much in the sense of job titles or a career trajectory, but in terms of how your vision aligns with the aims of diversifying special collections and the mission of the Mosaic scholarship … take your time with it and articulate your positions thoughtfully,” she said.

Johnson advises those interested in applying to have confidence in the goal of becoming a fellow and to reach out to previous participants for advice.

“Bringing your particular passions to the essay is important; everyone has their own unique reasons for pursuing a career in special collections or archives, even if that reason does not seem immediately obvious,” she said.

The ARL/SAA Mosaic Program was established in 2013 and was recently awarded a grant by the IMLS to extend the program for three years. According to the website, it promotes diversification of the archives and special collections professional workforce by providing financial support, practical work experience, mentoring, career placement assistance, and leadership development to emerging professionals from traditionally underrepresented racial and ethnic minority groups.

The next call for applications for the ARL/SAA Mosaic Program II will be released in January 2017. For more information on qualifications and the application process, visit the website.