MLIS Student Named Association of Research Libraries Diversity Scholar
Master of Library and Information Science student Gina Rosabal was designated an Association of Research Libraries Diversity Scholar to participate in the 2016–2018 Initiative to Recruit a Diverse Workforce.
A San José State University School of Information student was designated an Association of Research Libraries Diversity Scholar to participate in the 2016–2018 Initiative to Recruit a Diverse Workforce.
As a diversity scholar, Master of Library and Information Science student Gina Rosabal will participate in a formal mentoring program, receive career placement assistance, and visit a research library. She will also attend the invitation-only ARL Annual Leadership Symposium scheduled for January 2017. The IRDW program aims “to create a diverse research library professional community that will better meet the challenges of changing demographics in higher education and the emphasis on global perspectives in the academy,” according to the ARL news release.
Rosabal said she is “absolutely thrilled” to have been named a scholar and is excited to meet the rest of her cohort at the leadership symposium.
“ARL takes a really holistic approach to supporting its scholars, and I am deeply appreciative to be welcomed into such a strong community,” she said. “The application process was intense; I’ve heard stories about how competitive it is, and the profiles of the earlier cohort were amazing. The waiting, of course, feels interminable. I was at work when I got the news, and it felt absolutely phenomenal to celebrate it with my colleagues.”
With a passion for social justice, Rosabal feels libraries can and should be “one of the most powerful transformative hubs of any community or society” and that everyone in the library profession has a responsibility for bridging the alignment gap between ideals and reality by asking unpopular questions, bringing in resources and varied perspectives to start facilitating dialogues.
“Greater voice, access, visibility, agency, representation—in the collection, in the space, in the staffing, in who is using the library and who isn’t—all of these aspects of diversity are really important,” she said. “Perhaps most important is articulating what social justice looks like in our libraries; setting a high bar for individual and institutional cultural proficiency, access, and agency at all levels; and institutionalizing practices into policy and resource allocation.”
ARL cited recent data from the American Library Association indicating that racial and ethnic diversity within the professional library workforce does not reflect trends in the overall population nor the constitution of communities that are served by the information profession.
“There is also a growing body of scientific evidence that points to the value that diversity brings to organizations and decision-making or problem solving entities. Moreover, library-specific research shows a correlation between institutional commitment to diversity and customer satisfaction levels,” according to the IRDW website.
As for Rosabal’s professional part to play in recruiting diverse information professionals, she said, “My long-term career hasn’t been invented yet, but it will be a phenomenal blend of social justice-informed cataloging and metadata, research, and hopefully archival work.”
For more information about the Association of Research Libraries, visit the website. The next application cycle for the Initiative to Recruit a Diverse Workforce will begin in April 2017. To learn about the application process, visit the IRDW page.