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I challenge you! (and I need your help)

I would like to challenge you to donate $10, $6.50, $5, or even $1 to the Spectrum Scholarship program.  You talk about helping bring others to our profession. What are you doing? Are you personally sending anyone to graduate school for Library & Information Science? You could be. You could also be strengthening our profession by supporting efforts to bring more diversity into our profession. Do you have $6500 to spare to support a Spectrum scholarship? I don’t either, but I did have $10 to donate. 

During the AASL National Conference, if you see me (and the ALA folks there) and donate towards the Spectrum  program, I will match up to the first $100 total and you’ll get a ribbon to wear. It’s a small step, but it shows my commitment. That’s money coming out of my food, gas, clothes, Christmas, and books budget so it represents a serious commitment on my part and that of my sons – they know they’ll be eating Spaghetti & Ramen noodles. Will you help?

Spectrum logo

Perhaps you’d like to challenge a special group of people to meet a level of donation. For example, I bet there are more than 65 Texas school librarians attending AASL. They could challenge each other and raise a substantial amount towards a scholarship.

Wear your donation ribbon with pride. Let’s make it a status symbol for the conference. When I was attending a recent ALA Executive Board meeting, I may have opened my foot and put my mouth in it. I challenged everyone there to be committed to Spectrum and to help spread the word about this year’s Presidential initiative to raise $1 million. Then I smugly told them that the AASL National Conference was coming up and that the school librarians would be leading the donations this year so when we met at ALA Midwinter in Boston, everyone would know that school librarians care about the future of our profession. 

I honestly do care about this. Sometimes I look at the sea of faces in my library and am reminded that I am definitely in the racial minority. The future of our society is in front of me and it is blended. My students like to read books with pictures of people like them. They also need to know they can BE the librarians. I personally have committed to my middle schoolers that when they finish high school and college and want to go to graduate school to be a Library Information Specialist, they can come see me and I’ll work my tail off to get them the scholarships they need for school. 

Spectrum Presidential Initiative donation forms and Spectrum Supporter ribbons to the AASL National Conference will be available at the ALA Member pavilion in the Exhibit Hall. You can find out more online at 

What is the Spectrum Scholarship program? From the ALA website: "Established in 1997, the Spectrum Scholarship Program 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.

Spectrum is the future brought to life among us.  Join us as we work to renew and strengthen the profession.  By supporting Spectrum and the Spectrum Scholars, we develop a growing body of library leaders to help us serve, we raise awareness of diversity issues and we show our commitment to quality and excellence.  Consider bringing diversity to life through one of these contributions:

  • If eligible, apply for a Spectrum Scholarship and join this elite group of leaders who are dedicated to positively shaping the delivery of information services for years to come.  Click here for Scholarship Information.
  • Recruit and mentor scholarship applicants.  Partner with your community, library, civic and social agencies, and professional groups to do so.  Spectrum brochures are available for distribution through the Office for Diversity, to request recruitment materials email
  • Encourage your library to establish summer internships or residency opportunities specifically for past and present Spectrum scholars.  For model Spectrum programs, please visit the Mentoring and Networks section of this website. 
  • Invite civic and social agencies with common goals to contribute donations/pledges to extend the scholarship fund, or contribute personally.  Full fund-raising information is included above.
  • As a university or regional association, consider providing Spectrum Scholars with matching scholarships or tuition wavers.  For examples of library schools and state and local associations developing matching funds, review the Mentoring and Networks section of this website.
  • Show your organization’s commitment to diversity by developing an honorary named Spectrum Scholarship through committing funds to support one full scholarship per year.
  • Offer Spectrum Scholars complimentary memberships, travel grants, conference invitations, and mentoring opportunities to promote their involvement in your association.
  • Recruit Spectrum Scholars to your organization.  Find more information on past Spectrum Scholars, by visiting the Spectrum Scholar portion of this website.  Send copies of job announcements to be distributed to the list serv of former Spectrum scholars, by emailing a plain text version of the announcement to

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  1. SB3CB

  2. Diane,
    I wish I had caught up on my blog reading before AASL. I would have been happy to contribute. Please remind me in Boston (or the next time you see me) and I’ll hand you a $20 bill. I’m writing your name on one right now.