The Friends of the Green Valley and Sahuarita Libraries recently awarded scholarships to four Pima County Public Library employees seeking their Masters in Library Science at the University of Arizona's School of Information.
Three of the recipients—Joseph, Kelly, and Vicki—sat down to share with us what the scholarship means to them, why they value libraries, and some of the things they're looking forward to learning.
What do you love most about the field?
Vicki: I love meeting people and learning from them. I enjoy the chance to show someone something new, especially something that allows them to reach their goals.
Joseph: What I love most about the field is watching in real-time the way libraries make an impact on people's lives.
Kelly: I love the ways in which public libraries help people in their communities in very practical ways, whether finding the perfect book, providing afterschool snacks, or offering a free, air-conditioned space to visit during the summer.
What are you most looking forward to studying in library school?
Vicki: I'm looking forward to ethics, since we encounter questions on it every day. I'm also looking forward to my applied technology class, specifically the LINUX module.
Kelly: I will be taking a class about leadership this semester. I'm excited to see how I can apply what I learn to my job.
What do you value most about Pima County Public Library?
Joseph: I've always valued this Library for the opportunities it gave me to experience new things. One of my earliest memories of the Library is seeing a hawk at one of Mission Library's summer programs. I still remember how big he was (to my child eyes) and how impressed I was! Professionally, the Library is where I experienced and discovered what I wanted to do with my life.
Vicki: We provide people with the education and resources they need to improve their lives. Knowledge empowers people.
What do you love most about working at the Library?
Kelly: Putting books in the hands of kids. That one moment can change their lives for the better.
Vicki: Being able to offer customers a whole new way of looking at the world. Technology can be scary to some, but once we get past that, they're reading eBooks, accessing free movies and music, playing online games, and using social media to connect with others.
Why is it important that the Library have advocates like Friends' groups?
Vicki: They can offer resources that may not be available to libraries due to budget cuts and limited staffing. The scholarship provides the opportunity for people interested in the field to study with a smaller financial burden. There's always a need for new graduates to become future leaders in the profession.
Joseph: The Library and its respective community build off one another. Whether the advocate is a group like the Friends or a generous customer, every bit helps and in turn provides more ways to help others who use the Library. The more advocates we have, the better the chances for the Library to grow stronger and support even more people.
- The Friends of the Green Valley and Sahuarita Libraries have been giving out scholarships since 1993.
- The first recipient, Amber Mathewson, is now the Director of Pima County Public Library.
- More than four dozen—52 to be exact—Library staff members have benefited from the scholarship.
- The scholarship is funded by membership dues, donations, and bookstore sales.
- It's easy to learn more and become a member today!