Campus: San Josť -- August 27, 2007

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library Awarded $1 Million Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services

Grant to Support Prospective Librarians from Ethnic and Disadvantaged Communities

San Josť State University has received a $943,000 grant from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services in support the South Bay's first comprehensive program dedicated to recruiting people of color and individuals from other underserved groups into the university's Master's in Library and Information Science program.

The University Library will partner with the San Josť Public Library, National Hispanic University, and the SJSU Graduate School of Library and Information Science to prepare a new generation of culturally competent librarians who reflect the diversity of the communities they will serve and who will take leadership roles in designing services that more effectively meet community needs.

"We are thrilled about launching this project, which we expect will make a significant contribution to the profession and the community," said University Library Dean Ruth Kifer. "San Josť State is uniquely positioned to provide this leadership because of our internationally lauded and award-winning university and public library partnership; our excellent graduate library and information science program; and our location in one of the nation's most diverse communities."

The multi-year project, "Preparing a New Generation of Librarians to Serve Our Communities," will be managed through the SJSU Research Foundation to provide 15 individuals with full scholarships, stipends to defray living expenses, mentoring, leadership development seminars, and other activities that will prepare them to become future library leaders.

Co-directors for the program are Mary Somerville, University Library associate dean, and Gordon Yusko, San Josť Public Library supervising librarian. Project manager for the program is Jeff Paul, past director of the King Library's Cultural Heritage Center.

The grant is part of a $28 million allocation under the 2007 Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian program, which addresses the shortage of school library media specialists, library school faculty and librarians working in underserved communities, and prepares for an anticipated shortage of library leaders, many of whom are expected to retire in the next 20 years. The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation's 122,000 libraries and 15,000 museums.

Contacts: Mary Somerville, University Library, 408-808-2383
Pat Lopes Harris, SJSU Media Relations, 408-924-1748

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