Two iSchool Students Named Kaleidoscope Program Diversity Scholars


Brittany Butler and Renée A. Torres, two students enrolled in the Master of Library and Information Science program at the San José State University School of Information, were chosen for the 2020–2022 and 2019–2021 classes of Kaleidoscope Program Diversity Scholars.

The Kaleidoscope Program, sponsored by the Association of Research Libraries, encourages students from historically underrepresented racial and ethnic groups to pursue careers in research libraries and archives, and diversifies the profession by providing generous funding for MLIS education and benefits that include mentoring, leadership and professional development, and career placement assistance.

Participants in the Kaleidoscope Program are granted a stipend of up to $10,000, as well as additional support for travel to and participation in the ARL Annual Leadership Symposium, held during the American Library Association’s Midwinter Meeting in January 2021.

Butler, who was named a 2020-2022 Diversity Scholar, earned her BA in African American studies and Anthropology in 2019, from the University of California, Berkeley, and is currently pursuing her MLIS at the iSchool with an emphasis in web programming and data science.

At UC Berkeley, Butler worked as a library assistant for the African Studies Collection. After graduation, she was selected as a library fellow for the West African Research Association for which she practiced Africana librarianship in Dakar, Senegal. She aims to become a global librarian to ensure that “information access will no longer be a barrier for young scholars who have an innate right to access reliable and credible information.”

Torres, named a 2019-2021 Diversity Scholar, earned an MA in 20th-century American history, specializing in women’s and gender history, from Washington State University in 2017, and is in the process of completing her last semester of the MLIS program at the iSchool.

A Southern California native, Torres volunteered at a local high school throughout 2018 and 2019, where she introduced students to conducting online research and formulating historical research projects. Support from ARL, REFORMA, and the iSchool “has reaffirmed her commitment to working in an academic library and serving historically marginalized communities by empowering them with access to information.”

In the future, Torres hopes to conduct more library outreach in high schools and throughout the college and university setting “to reduce library anxiety and promote dynamic research and collaborations across content areas.”

Funded by ARL member libraries, the Kaleidoscope Program was established in 2000 as the Initiative to Recruit a Diverse Workforce, and was renamed Kaleidoscope in 2019. To be eligible to participate in the Kaleidoscope Program, students must commit to pursuing employment in a research library or archive with the goal of obtaining a position for a minimum of two years upon completion of their MLIS program.

Read more about Butler and Torres, and see a complete roster of current Kaleidoscope Diversity Scholars, on the ARL website.