The Department of Information Science is pleased to announce that Susan O’Connell, a student in the VT-NH-ME cohort, is the 2017 recipient of the David H. Clift Scholarship. This scholarship was named for a former director of the American Library Association. The $3,000 scholarship is awarded to a person pursuing a master's degree in library and information studies.
Susan O’Connell is the Library Director of the Craftsbury Public Library in Vermont’s rural Northeast Kingdom. Before taking over as Library Director in 2011, Susan worked part time in several library jobs, including Assistant Librarian in Craftsbury, a Children’s Librarian position, and as School Librarian in two small elementary schools in the area.
In 2014, Susan joined forces with a consultant from the Vermont Department of Libraries to bring maker programs to libraries throughout the state, with the Vermont Libraries and Makers: Spark a Culture of Innovation grant. Ultimately 25 libraries hosted programs through the grant and many others have used the free online curriculum to spread the joy of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics) programming to library patrons of all ages. Susan was recognized for her efforts with the Vermont Library Association’s Green Mountain Award in 2015.
Partly as a result of her work on this grant Susan realized that she wanted the opportunity to have a greater impact on Vermont libraries. This prompted her to pursue a Masters Degree with the University of North Texas. Susan hopes to use her degree to work on a broader scale within the Vermont library landscape, providing support particularly for small, rural towns with limited funding and resources.
Susan lives in Hardwick, Vermont with her family, pets, and a flock of chickens. When not occupied with work or school, she enjoys reading, gardening, lake swimming, and genealogical research.