New Thea Estreicher Memorial Scholarship Inspired by Work of Public Librarians


The generous support of alumni, friends, faculty, and professional associations is greatly appreciated by the graduate students at the San José State University (SJSU) School of Library and Information Science. Scholarships help fund educational expenses, and a new scholarship to be awarded for the first time in fall 2014 aims to help future public librarians earn a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science.

Deborah Estreicher, a reference librarian at the San José Public Library and an alumna of the SJSU information school, knew that a memorial scholarship for graduate students interested in becoming public librarians would be a wonderful way to honor the memory of her mother, Thea Estreicher. The Thea Estreicher Memorial Scholarship has a fascinating tale steeped in history and love for librarianship.

As a child, Deborah Estreicher’s mother escaped from Germany during the Nazi regime, and after a harrowing journey through England and across the Atlantic, she found herself in the Midwest, a bit lost and bewildered by her experiences. According to Deborah Estreicher, her mother’s education was disrupted by the war, but thanks to the guidance of a public librarian in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Thea Estreicher discovered a great love of reading.

Eventually, she worked in the local branch library, even running it herself for a while. When Deborah Estreicher was in college, her mother suggested she go to graduate school and become a librarian, and her daughter followed her advice, earning a Master of Library and Information Science degree from the SJSU information school.

Deborah Estreicher found inspiration for public librarianship not only from her mother, but also from her professors. She is especially grateful to Professors Irene Norell and Terry Crowley, who encouraged her to earn her master’s degree and nurtured her love of public librarianship. Since earning her Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science from the SJSU information school, she has worked as a teen librarian, a children’s librarian, an outreach librarian, and as a reference librarian.

As an alumna of the school, Deborah Estreicher is proud to support future public librarians and help them achieve their educational and career goals. She believes that as a public librarian, “whatever talents somebody has, whatever their interests are, they can explore that.”

Scholarships created by alumni like Deborah Estreicher allow current graduate students to explore their own interests and talents, and help create a new generation of librarians making a difference in their communities. The Thea Estreicher Memorial Scholarship provides $1,000 to a graduate student pursuing a career in public librarianship.  

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