Original URL: http://www.azstarnet.com/star/thu/31030LIBRARYGRANT2f2frjs-jmd.html

$377K grant to help UA train minority librarians
October 30, 2003
By Inger Sandal

A new federal effort to recruit the nation's next generation of librarians has given a $377,000 boost to a UA program that recruits Hispanic and American Indian students, who are underrepresented in the profession.

The award - one of 27 awarded nationwide on Tuesday - is part of the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services' $10 million effort to recruit more librarians, especially those with diverse language skills and for programs in underserved areas such as reservations and Spanish-speaking neighborhoods.

Nearly 60 percent of the nation's professional librarians will reach age 65 between 2005 and 2019, according to American Libraries magazine.

"Aside from the problems with the aging of current librarians, Native American, Hispanic and African-American librarians are very much underrepresented in the field," said Patricia Tarin, who directs the Knowledge River Institute within the University of Arizona's School of Information Resources and Library Science.

Knowledge River was established in 2001 to help librarians better reflect the  communities that depend on them for information. The Institute of Museum and Library Services contributed $492,708 at that time, and the grant announced Tuesday helps extend the program until it can exist on local funding, Tarin said.

The first eight students graduated during the summer, and the program today has 33. The new grant will let Knowledge River recruit at least 12 students in each of the next two years, Tarin said.

"Almost all of the money is going to go directly to students," she said.

University officials plan to spend the grant over three school years to help more students, and have also raised $967,050, largely in the form of tuition waivers and internships at the campus libraries, she said.

* Contact reporter Inger Sandal at 573-4115 or at isandal@azstarnet.com.