You are here

Exhibit Booth Visits—ALA 2011!

September 9, 2011

Kevin Cherry
Program Officer, IMLS

One of the pleasures of being a program officer at IMLS is meeting with grant recipients. It is especially enjoyable, I think, when those grant recipients are scholarship students. Back in June of this year (when our new UpNext Blog was but a gleam in our eye and a bullet point on the agency “to do” list) a number of scholarship recipients visited the IMLS exhibit booth at the American Library Association’s annual conference held in New Orleans.

Among the grantees that I had the pleasure of meeting was San Jose State University’s Master’s of Library Science scholarship students supported as part of the IMLS-funded “Circle of Learning Project” and San Diego, CA’s Serra Cooperative Library System’s “Preparing Librarians to Serve Diverse Communities Project.”

“Circle of Learning” is designed to recruit and support American Indians and Alaska Natives who are interested in earning a Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) degree. The program is a partnership between the San José State University School of Library and Information Science (SLIS) and the American Indian Library Association (AILA).  It is fully online but is supplemented with regularly scheduled opportunities for face-to-face gatherings.

Students receive financial assistance, mentoring, career advisement, field experiences, and interaction with Native leaders working in libraries and archives. They also get the opportunity to attend professional conferences—and that brings us back to this fine photo.

Jane Fisher, SJSU’s Assistant Director for Research and Professional Practice, is two individuals to my right in the photo—and I am the big guy in the back row in the tan suit.  To learn more about San Jose State University’s “Circle of Learning Project,” see

The Serra Cooperative Library System, serving 14 public library systems in two highly diverse and multilingual southern California counties located along the Mexican border, is providing MLS scholarships to Cooperative staff members who have already demonstrated a commitment to their libraries and communities.  In addition to tuition, fees, etc., grant funds also support professional development opportunities for both scholarship recipients and others working in Cooperative member libraries.

Other project partners include the Desert Valley Library Media Association and San Diego’s Chapter of REFORMA. Vera Skop, Serra System coordinator, is at the far right in the photo and Mary Chute, Deputy Director for Libraries at IMLS, is to my immediate right. (And I’m the big guy in the bow tie.) To learn more about Serra Cooperative Library Systems’s “Preparing Librarians to Serve Diverse Communities Project,” see

Next time you’re at a professional conference, stop by the IMLS booth!

Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program