Meet a YALSA Spectrum Scholar!

Library student, Jamie Young is a YALSA Spectrum Scholar from 2009. Each year, YALSA sponsors one scholar. Funds for the scholars come from the Friends of YALSA. From Stevie Kuenn’s previous post, “the Spectrum Scholarship was established in 1997, and is ALA’s national diversity and recruitment effort designed to address the specific issue of under-representation of critically needed ethnic librarians within the profession while serving as a model for ways to bring attention to larger diversity issues in the future.” In order to get to know Jamie better, she agreed to an interview here.

How did you find out about the Spectrum Scholarship and why did you decide to apply?
JW:To be honest, I hadn’t heard of the scholarship until I won it! I applied to several scholarships through ALA, and a representative contacted me and said that with my interest in YA that I would be a great candidate for the YALSA-funded Spectrum Scholarship.

At this point, are there any areas of interests within young adult library services that you would like to focus on?
JW: YA is the area of librarianship that interests me the most and I think I would succeed in it, but there’s still so much more I have to learn. I pick my library’s Youth Services Director brain on a daily basis!

How do you feel your background and/or interests will help contribute to helping shape the future of library services?
JW: I’m very interested in keeping libraries relevant in today’s society, beyond a place to check out 3 DVDs at a time and play Bejeweled on the Internet. Those things are fine, but that’s not what people should be doing 100% of the time. Libraries should be providing more and, even if they cannot provide more, encouraging people to do more. I’ve always been the type of person who likes take something that isn’t working as well as it should be and implement solutions to make it work better. I’m not afraid of change when it’s necessary, and I think that will one of the strongest assets I can bring to Libraryland.

What are some goals you’ve set for yourself in preparing to enter the library profession?
JW: My main concern at the moment is completing my MLIS. Since moving from Philadelphia, I’ve had a little harder time making the transition to the online learning environment than I expected. With working full-time at the library, one online courses is about all that I can handle each quarter. I currently work in Administration, so another goal of mine is to learn as much as I can about how libraries operate before I’m able to apply for professional positions. Five more courses!

Do you have any words of advice or encouragement to those considering applying for or helping support the Spectrum Scholarship program?
JW: The Spectrum retreat is honestly one of the best experiences I’ve had during my time in library school. I learned a great deal about the profession through workshops and activities. That alone would have been worth the trip to Chicago, but really the best part about the long weekend was meeting so many amazing future librarians who will all bring great experiences from their unique backgrounds to the profession. The program is such an important tool for helping underrepresented individuals advance in libraries which probably isn’t an issue that most people even consider. I’m hoping people will start becoming more aware of it and help support the program. It really is invaluable to all of us who have participated.

About Kelly Czarnecki

Kelly Czarnecki is a Teen Librarian at ImaginOn with the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library. She is a member of the YALSA blog advisory board.
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