Maria Provini, a graduate student in the Library and Information Science program at the School of Information Studies (iSchool) has been named a recipient of the 2016 – 2017 American Library Association’s Spectrum Scholarship.

Provini is one of 61 recipients of the competitive scholarship, awarded to students pursuing graduate degrees in library and information studies by ALA’s Office for Diversity. Provini received her Bachelor of Business Administration from Montclair State University, and spent over 20 years in the corporate world before deciding to return to school to pursue her studies in library science.

“It was a change of life for me, a new career,” notes Provini, “and it’s because of this scholarship that I can come here.”

Currently employed as a circulation desk clerk at the Clarence Dillon Public Library in Bedminster Township, New Jersey, Provini has her sights set on becoming a children’s librarian.

“I want to work with children, introduce them to literature, guide them in their reading,” said Provini, who is still undecided on whether she will opt for a career in a school library, or remain in a public library setting.

ALA’s Spectrum Scholarship program recruits and provides scholarships to American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian, Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino or Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander students to assist them with obtaining a graduate degree and leadership positions within the profession.  Their goal is to increase the number of racially and ethnically diverse professionals in the field of library and information science to best position libraries at the core of today’s culturally diverse communities.

“We recognize that it is important that our libraries reflect the communities which they serve,” said Jill Hurst-Wahl, director of the iSchool’s Library and Information Science program. “Community members need to see people who are like them on staff. We have continued to work to increase the diversity among our students, and are pleased to have Maria join our program. Having ALA recognize and work towards a more diverse workforce helps the students as well as the communities that they will work in.”