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Kalamazoo Public Library Announces New Scholarship Fund to Promote the Training and Hiring of Librarians of Color

Deadline to Apply: March 1, 2021

Kalamazoo Public Library (KPL) is proud to announce a new scholarship for people of color interested in obtaining their master’s degree in library science, the Amanda Green Scholarship.

According to recent studies conducted by the Department for Professional Employees, in 2019, just 5.3% of librarians identified as Black or African American, 7.1 percent as Hispanic or Latino, and 3.5 percent as Asian-American or Pacific Islander. These numbers reveal an overall lack of diversity in librarianship.

In response, KPL created the Amanda Green Scholarship, named after a former library assistant in Teen Services at KPL, to promote the library profession to people of color. By providing monetary assistance to individuals seeking a master’s degree from an accredited library science program, the library hopes to promote the training and hiring of more librarians of color in Kalamazoo and other communities. The scholarship is managed by the Kalamazoo Community Foundation and the deadline to apply is March 1, 2021. The first scholarship will be awarded for a student expected to attend a graduate-level library science program in fall 2021.

“Libraries need a more diverse workforce to better represent the communities they serve, and KPL is eager to encourage a love for librarianship and improve pathways for students of color,” said KPL Director Ryan Wieber. “Our goal is to inspire future KPL librarians, but the hope is to attract more people of color to library work overall—wherever they may end up professionally.”

Eligibility Criteria
Individuals wishing to apply for the scholarship must fulfill the following qualifications:

    • Reside in Kalamazoo County or be a graduate of a Kalamazoo County High School.
    • Earned an undergraduate degree or will be earning one within a year of applying.
    • Enrolled in graduate school at least part-time.
    • Attend a school that is accredited by the American Library Association in the field of Library and Information Sciences.
    • Be a Person of Color.

Award Amount
Applicant(s) will be awarded $5,000 per semester if attending as a full-time student and $2,500 per semester if attending as a part-time student. The size of the award can be determined in part by the funds available.

“Education and financial stability are the two greatest factors contributing to upward mobility. Scholarships are in the unique position of addressing both–allowing recipients to gain an education without taking on financial debt that will destabilize the future they’re working toward,” said Laura Galaviz, Donor Relations Scholarship Officer, Kalamazoo Community Foundation.

For more information about eligibility and how to apply, visit Kalamazoo Community Foundation’s website. The deadline to apply is March 1, 2021.

Why KPL is Offering This Scholarship
In 2016, the Kalamazoo Public Library board passed a resolution that reaffirms the library’s commitment to, “address equal justice under the law, racial justice and institutional racism, social-economic divisions in our community and human dignity for all through our programs, services, policies, practices and the empowerment of staff to serve our community with these values as priorities.” In addition, the library’s 2019–22 strategic plan establishes Advancing Equity and Inclusion as a priority with a goal of developing and maintaining an informed and compassionate library staff that reflects the makeup of our diverse community. KPL is committed to making this a reality!

About Amanda Green
Amanda Green worked at KPL for 23 years (1988–2012.) Many of those years she spent in Teen Services working to give all teens the opportunity to improve their lives. Her passion and support of KPL’s mission to support and mentor teens has been passed on for years.

Those who are interested in donating to the Amanda Green Scholarship may do so here.

Those who are interested in serving on the Amanda Green Scholarship Selection Committee can submit a letter of consideration to KPL Director, Ryan Wieber at [email protected].

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