CARLI announces recipients of inaugural Building Diversity Graduate Assistantships

The Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois (CARLI) is pleased to announce that Sarah Rebecca Velazquez Gaglio and Wardah Mohammed are the recipients of the Building Diversity Graduate Assistantships for the 2022-2023 academic year. The assistantships will ultimately provide experience, mentoring, and networking to participants with the goal of increasing the number of staff members from underrepresented groups at Illinois’ two and four-year public and private college and university libraries.

CARLI's Building Diversity Graduate Assistantship Program (BDGAP) seeks to improve equity, diversity, and inclusion in Illinois academic libraries by supporting persons from traditionally underrepresented minority groups who are enrolled in the master's degree program in Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with positions at CARLI member libraries. The assistantships, being awarded for the first time this year, provide a small stipend and tuition.

Wardah Mohammed

"Being offered the CARLI Building Diversity assistantship was news that left me overjoyed. I could not help re-reading the email to understand the magnitude of an opportunity I was being given," stated recipient Wardah Mohammed. "The CARLI assistantship would mean that I may pursue the library science program while learning from professionals in the field, gaining a foundation in academic librarianship, and having financial support."

Recipient Sarah Rebecca Velazquez Gaglio stated "I am delighted to have been chosen as one of the CARLI Building Diversity Graduate Assistants for 2022-2023. An assistantship is an incredible opportunity that I didn't think would be available to me as an online/LEEP student. I'm excited to be spending my first year as an LIS student gaining hands-on experience, putting what I learn in my classes into practice right away, and learning where I fit in the world of academic libraries. I can't wait to get started!"

Sarah Rebecca Velazquez Gaglio
Sarah Rebecca Velazquez Gaglio

Funding for the program for academic years 2022/2023 and 2023/2024 is provided by CARLI and the University of Illinois System. CARLI member libraries hosting graduate assistants through CARLI for the 2022/2023 academic year are the Chicago Theological Seminary, Loyola University Chicago, Moraine Valley Community College, and the University of Illinois Chicago.

Rhea Ballard-Thrower, University Librarian and Dean of Libraries at the University of Illinois Chicago, said "The UIC Library is honored to participate in the CARLI Building Diversity Graduate Assistantships program inaugural 2022-2023 academic year. Dr. Maya Angelou once said 'We all should know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry, and we must understand that all the threads of the tapestry are equal in value no matter what their color.' Extensive research has proven that diverse workplaces are more innovative, creative, welcoming, and productive. So, the UIC Library is pleased to collaborate with CARLI to promote a library profession that values diversity, equity, and inclusion."

Anne Craig, CARLI senior director added "I am thrilled to launch this program's inaugural year with these two exceptional iSchool students and these four member libraries. Illinois' academic library community welcomes our BDGAP students into an opportunity for learning, growth, and exploration of the profession."

Gaglio and Mohammed were selected through an application process that included a description of how their underrepresented status influenced personal and academic development, an overview of their personal and professional goals, and a video interview with the search team comprising library directors from the host libraries and members of CARLI's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force.

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