Expanding Library Science – Mix IT Up! Scholars

Mix IT Up! will build diversity at GSLIS by recruiting ten scholars from minority groups that are underrepresented in library sciences.  Mix IT Up! aims to increase the representation of minority students at the school while providing a space in which students from underrepresented groups can share their experiences and learn from one another.  Scholars will complete coursework in community informatics and in youth services, and will be placed in long-term (two-year) partnerships with community groups that provide services to youth.  Scholars will also act as mentors to one another, and will help to build models for effective and meaningful youth advocacy.

Having professional librarians who are representative of the larger population is crucial to effective youth advocacy.  Mark Winston and Jennifer Dunne have noted that diversity in “Race and gender may be seen as most crucial in the children’s services specialty, where librarians function as role models and foster the development of children’s emergent literacy, reading interests and self esteem.” (Winston and Dunne 2001, 25). Winston and Dunne also show that there is a lack of diversity among the present population of librarians, and emphasize the need for students from minority groups to gain hands-on experience in children’s services.

Mix IT Up! scholars will complete course and field work that will allow them to continue developing skills that will give them a competitive edge as youth advocates and librarians.  Scholars will gain experience with all aspects of youth advocacy, including mentoring, peer-to-peer learning, facilitating the implementation of youth-led projects, and promoting youth advocacy within librarianship through presentations and publications.

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References

Winston, M. D. and J Dunne. 2001. Children’s Librarians: A Research Study of Diversity and Leadership. Public Library Quarterly, 19:1, 23-38.

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