Four students in the Master of Science in Library or Information Science program were among the 61 exceptional students awarded 2021 Spectrum Scholarships by the American Library Association (ALA). The Spectrum Scholarship Program recruits and provides scholarships to American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian, Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, Middle Eastern and North African, and/or Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander students to assist them with obtaining a graduate degree and leadership positions within the library and information science (LIS) profession.
According to ALA, this year the students were selected based on their commitment to community building, leadership potential and planned contributions to making social justice part of everybody's work in LIS. These four students join the rank of several Department of Information Science students and alumni who have received Spectrum Scholarships.
Library worker, conductor, and educator Philip Espe is a Master of Science in Library Science student concentrating in Archival Studies and Imaging Technology. He is also a library associate at the DC Public Library where he works primarily in Youth and Family Services. He also collaborates with the Adult Service department as part of the DC Reads committee and with the People’s Archive department processing collections for the DC Community Archive and Go-Go Archive.
Outside of libraries, Espe is the assistant conductor of the NIH Community Orchestra (Bethesda, MD) and performs as a freelance orchestral conductor and clarinetist. He holds the Master of Music in Orchestral Conducting from Northwestern University and a Bachelor of Music in Clarinet Performance from DePaul University.
“Before my work in libraries, I found joy in working with diverse communities as a teaching artist for Chicago’s People’s Music School and creating youth music ensemble education programs as the DC Youth Orchestra Program’s Children’s Orchestra Manager," said Espe. "I’m passionate about telling stories as both a performer and as a librarian. I am thankful for ALA’s support to continue my work supporting communities and preserving their stories as an archivist-librarian.”
This year, Espe also presented a poster at the ALA Annual 2021 conference, "Some Talk About Good Talk: One Book, One City Program in the Age of COVID-19 and Black Lives Matter". His poster was about the development and presentation of a virtual roundtable discussion that he led for the DC Public Library called "Talking About Microaggressions."
James Glenn is a fifth-generation Dallas, TX native. He received a BFA from Howard University where he was commissioned as a student to complete a mural on campus. He has worked in public librarianship for approximately eight years, and is pursuing a Master of Science in Library Science with a concentration in Archival Studies and a Graduate Academic Certificate in Archival Management. In addition to the ALA Spectrum Scholarship, Glenn also received an IS Excellence and Endowed Scholarship from the Department.
James works at the Dallas Public Library as a program specialist. His recent professional accomplishments include coordinating the acquisition process of #BlackLivesMatter protest-related public art donated to the library by retailer Neiman Marcus and writing a corresponding photo-essay. He was also the project manager for a Women’s History Month program that celebrated the inauguration of Kamala Harris as the first Female, first Black, and first South Asian Vice-President. This program was sponsored by a 19th Amendment Centennial fund due to a grant surplus. Glenn also directed the library’s third consecutive Juneteenth program which featured Shomari Wills, author of Black Fortunes, a book that details the lives of early African-American economic leaders. This program served as a commemoration for the centennial of the Tulsa "Black Wall Street" Massacre.
“Receiving the ALA Spectrum Scholarship is confirmation that I’m making the right career choice by staying in librarianship,” said Glenn. "I’m so excited to build relationships with other BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) library workers who are positioned to be the next generation of library leadership professionals.”
Elizabeth Hurtado graduated with a B.S. in Social Communication and Public Relations and worked in that field in her home country of the Dominican Republic. After moving to the U.S. with her family, Hurtado faced the challenge of assuming various professions - first as a preschool teacher and now as a multicultural outreach librarian.
Hurtado admits that being a librarian was not in her plans however, from her first day at the Springdale Public Library where she currently works she fell in love with her job and responsibilities.
"I enjoy planning, reaching out to the community and promoting reading and literacy. But I think the part that I am mostly enjoying is that I have found a way to help my community become more educated, giving hope to those who have emigrated as I did," said Hurtado. “I want to promote inclusion through my job as a children’s multicultural outreach librarian. I would like to serve my community in any way possible, encourage all to grow regardless of the circumstances in which we find ourselves, and help new generations discover and appreciate an identity enriched by different cultures.”
Hurtado says her goal is to acquire her Library Science master's degree and serve her community to the best of her abilities by being better prepared and adding new tools to her portfolio.
Jerrell Jones is a digitization specialist, professional photographer, and first-generation college student. Jones has worked in academic libraries for nine years and has served in oil and gas imaging and mental health rehabilitation roles. He earned a BFA in photography from UNT and is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Information Science. Jerrell works at the University of Houston Libraries as a digitization lab manager where he maintains digitization production, lab operations, training, and patron support. Additionally, he assists with the migration and enhancement of legacy digital assets to a new digital library system while advancing image processing automation efforts. Jones is interested in providing access and preservation of valuable historical artifacts in underserved communities, utilizing digital libraries as a catalyst to empowerment, and supporting DEI efforts in libraries.
“I am honored and grateful to receive this award because of what it means in the field of libraries,” said Jones. “This award is a manifestation of the American Library Association’s acknowledgement that library students, library workers, and librarians of color need support to thrive in spaces not historically created for them. There is hope in the changing landscape of this profession and I am honored to be a beneficiary and supporter of this change. I am excited about the expansion of my community through Spectrum.”
Jones is also a recipient of the Donald B. and Ana D. Cleveland Houston Endowed Scholarship from the IS Department. He has served on the Texas Conference on Digital Libraries Planning Committee for two years and currently serves on the University of Houston Libraries Committee on Diversity and Inclusion.
Spectrum scholars receive a $5,000 scholarship award along with additional benefits, such as ALA membership for one year with admission to the annual conference, attendance to the Spectrum Leadership Institute, and networking opportunities, to name a few. For more about the ALA Spectrum Scholarship program and to see the full list of scholarship recipients, read the ALA Press Release.