Eight iSchool master's students were named 2021-2022 Spectrum Scholars by the American Library Association (ALA) Office for Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach Services. This "Spectrum Scholar Spotlight" series highlights the School’s scholars. MS/LIS student Ashley Bolger earned her BS degree in environmental studies from the University of Vermont, with a concentration in environmental justice, policy, and education.
Why did you decide to pursue an LIS degree?
I have been interested in becoming a librarian since high school, so getting an LIS degree has been in my plans for some time. Once I started working in libraries and confirmed that I enjoyed the work, I decided to apply for master's programs.
Why did you choose the iSchool at Illinois?
The main thing that drew me to the iSchool at Illinois was the selection of classes. From looking at the course catalog, it was clear that I would be in an environment where I could explore many of my interests, with multiple courses if I so chose. The tuition waiver for Spectrum Scholars was also a large reason that I applied.
What particular LIS topics interest you the most?
I am interested primarily in public library services, including social justice, collection development, and cataloging. I am also interested in classes about academic librarianship.
What do you do outside of class?
I live in the Burlington, Vermont, area and work at a public library as a circulation assistant and volunteer coordinator. I love to read, especially graphic novels. I also am a rugby player and love to garden, sew and quilt, cook, and explore Vermont with my girlfriend.
What does being a Spectrum Scholar mean to you?
Being a Spectrum Scholar means that I will always be a part of a supportive network of library professionals of color. I am looking forward to the opportunities for networking, leadership development, and learning how to make the LIS field more justice-oriented.
What career plans or goals do you have?
I would like to continue working in Vermont public libraries or possibly academic libraries. I am particularly interested in circulation, technical services, and management.