Carissa Thatcher, MLIS, Kent State University
Recipient of the 2012-2013 ALAO Diversity Scholarship
I have just completed my course work at Kent State University for the Library and Information Science program, due in large part to the ALAO Diversity Scholarship. This award is not just a financial aid for your education, but a catalyst of self-confidence which provides the recipient with support and encouragement through the process of attaining your degree. After I was honored with this award, I found myself being approached by professionals with vast experience and knowledge in the field of LIS and was happily surprised by the advice and guidance they shared with me. I felt that I had found a cheering section that really and truly wanted to see me succeed in whatever I choose to do, which is very inspiring during a rough semester.
The ALAO conference has continually been a place where I have found excellent professional resources, networking opportunities and information on services offered to libraries directly from the vendors. I look forward to these events every year as a way to enhance the education I have, explore new ideas for my library, and confer with colleagues; and I hope to have the opportunity to attend many, many more.
I’m not sure what the future holds for me and my career, but I do know for certain that ALAO will be there reminding me that I can do anything I make up my mind to do and I will do it well; that there is a group of, not just professionals, but people who are supportive of one another and willing to help where they can.
My advice to future students in an LIS program would be to take advantage of the opportunities that are presented to you and to be fearless in your learning. Find a stable and strong support group and don’t be ashamed to use it. Learn from the experiences of others; really listen to what they have to say. Make sure that you belong to a professional organization where you have access to all of this and more.
Thank you so much to Diane Kolosionek and the ALAO Diversity Committee for the doors that have been opened to me through you and the continuous encouragement to become a viable professional in the field of Library and Information Science.