SJSU School of Information Partners with Serra Cooperative Library System on Grant–funded Project to Recruit Librarians


The San José State University School of Information will be partnering with the Serra Cooperative Library System to recruit and educate a new generation of librarians who will serve California’s two counties bordering Mexico, thanks to a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the primary source of federal support for the nation’s libraries and museums. The $708,138 grant award was announced last week by IMLS as part of its Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program.

The three–year project, Preparing Librarians to Serve Diverse Communities Along our Nation’s Border, will address the challenges currently faced by Serra’s 14 public library systems, as they struggle to fill a growing number of vacant librarian positions with individuals who enjoy serving the area’s multicultural and multilingual population and who reflect the community’s rich diversity. Future librarians will be recruited from the pool of 750 paraprofessionals who already staff Serra libraries, which are located throughout San Diego and Imperial Counties. Twenty individuals will receive scholarships, mentoring, and other support as they earn their Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) degree and prepare to transition to professional positions.

In addition to the partnership with the iSchool, Serra’s leaders will collaborate with the Desert Valley Library Media Association and LIBROS, San Diego’s Chapter of REFORMA, to create a supportive environment for a distributed group of MLIS students, spread across two counties, helping them balance family and work responsibilities with the demands of a graduate program delivered through distance learning.

All employees of Serra libraries will benefit from local educational events and networking opportunities, which will expand their understanding of how libraries can meet the needs of diverse populations. Additionally, local career fairs will encourage individuals to consider a career in librarianship.

Information regarding how to apply for scholarships will be available in coming weeks at Serra’s web site,, or by calling Serra at 619-232-1225.