As part of its commitment to furthering diversity in librarianship, the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) is supporting JaTara Barnes as its 2010-2011 Spectrum Scholar. Barnes will attend the Syracuse University School of Information Studies. Following a stint as a software engineer, Barnes was drawn to librarianship as a second career that would combine her loves of technology, teaching and learning.
“I realized that what I truly wanted to do was work with people by teaching them how to make technology work for them,” Barnes noted. “When I was researching a career field that would let me merge my love of technology with learning new things, I discovered the library and information sciences field would be a perfect fit for me.”
Following her studies, Barnes hopes to serve as a systems librarian in an academic library setting. “I am interested in exploring the intersection of technology and information and how to ensure that information continues to remains accessible to everyone in the years to come,” she said. “I want to use my background to recommend and implement technology solutions that meet the needs of the library and ALL of its patrons.”
Since 1999, ACRL has provided more than $70,000 to the Spectrum Scholarship Program. In addition, ACRL assists scholars through mentoring and conference assistance. The ACRL Dr. E.J. Josey Spectrum Mentor Committee supports Spectrum Scholars with an interest in academic libraries by pairing them with a trained mentor from an academic library. The committee has paired over 50 Spectrum Scholars with mentors since 2003 and is working to pair interested current scholars and scholars from the incoming Spectrum class. ACRL also provides five scholarship awards that support travel for the attendance of Spectrum Scholars at ACRL National Conferences.
“Increasing diversity in the academic and research library field is a strategic priority of our association,” said ACRL President Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “ACRL is proud to continue our support of the Spectrum Scholarship Program and to work with this program to mentor future librarians. We look forward to JaTara’s contributions to academic librarianship.”
Established in 1997, the Spectrum Scholarship Program is ALA’s national effort to increase diversity in the profession by recruiting and providing scholarships that allow students from racially and ethnically diverse backgrounds to become librarians. Spectrum Scholars improve service at the local level because they reflect the communities served by libraries in today’s changing world. Spectrum has provided more than 680 scholarships to qualified applicants enrolled in an ALA-accredited graduate program in library and information studies or an ALA-recognized NCATE School Library Media program. To learn more about the Spectrum Scholarship Program, visit www.ala.org/spectrum.