University of South Florida, School of Library and Information Science University of South Florida School of Library and Information Science
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Scholarship opportunity for 28 students who will begin  the master's program in Library and Information Science  at USF in Summer 2004 and complete the program  no later than Summer 2006 (requires enrollment in at least two classes per semester).
To read more about the IMLS (Institute of Museum and Library Services) grant awards, press here.
Education of Librarians to Serve the Underserved (ELSUN)

Program Director:  Dr. Cora P. Dunkley

The predicted shortage of library and information professionals is an area of concern both for library educators and for human resources professionals in libraries and other organizations who seek to recruit from the pool of recent graduates of library/information science graduate programs.  As competition increases for qualified personnel, communities which have been historically underserved – minority communities, low income communities and immigrant populations–will suffer even greater disadvantages.

Graduate programs in library education have the possibility of making a positive impact by addressing this national issue through expansion of existing programs through distance education and through outreach to potential students who have a commitment to serve in underserved communities.  Success in these areas will also serve in a positive way to diminish the Digital Divide.  Ongoing research shows that minority communities and low income families are still affected disproportionately by lack of access to electronic sources of information.  

The program proposed by the School of Library and Information Science and its partners, SEFLIN (Southeast Florida Library Information Network) and MDPLS (Miami-Dade Public Library System) seeks to address these national issues as they are reflected in the most populous area of Florida, the southeast part of the state.  The selection of southeast Florida is appropriate not only because of the density of the population but because of the diversity of the population which is over 20% African American in Broward and Miami-Dade counties and 57% Hispanic in Miami-Dade county.  The need for new library/information professionals in this part of the state is made more difficult due to the fact that there is no site-based library education program in southeast Florida although both Florida State University and the University of South Florida offer statewide distance education programs.  ELSUN proposes to offer an enhanced distance education program for southeast Florida through the development of a program
  • To recruit and educate 28 students (with a goal of 25 graduates) in the Master of Arts in Library and Information Science to fulfill the growing need for librarians able to serve underserved and minority communities in Florida
  • To provide an educational experience which inculcates the values of the profession and provides the opportunity of socialization to the profession through mentorships with active library professionals affiliated with the program partners, SEFLIN and MDPLS
  • To offer tuition assistance to 28 students who have a demonstrated commitment to work with underserved populations
  • To design a program of study for the program participants that includes an emphasis on multicultural materials for children, young adult and adult library users.
  • To provide skills for working with the Spanish speaking through development of language skills and knowledge of selection/evaluation tools for Spanish language materials
  • To prepare program participants for the transition to professional positions and engagement in professional activities such as conference presentations
  • To place the graduates in positions that offer them the opportunity to utilize the training they have acquired in the master's program. 
Since ELSUN’s reach will be statewide no qualified applicant will be eliminated from consideration on the basis of place of residence as long as he/she has a commitment to serve the state of Florida in a location of need.  The successful outcome will be measured by the graduation and placement of a minimum of 25 new library/ information professionals throughout libraries in Florida, especially southeast Florida, who are prepared to serve underserved populations; by the evaluation of students' satisfaction with their educational preparation; and by the evaluation of employers on the education and training of their new professional librarians.

IMPORTANT:  Deadline March 1, 2004 to submit all materials required for acceptance to the master's program in Library and Information Science and to submit required materials for consideration for the ELSUN Scholarship Program.
To apply for a scholarship through the ELSUN Program that will pay full tuition for required courses taken for completion of the  master's degree program of the School of Library and Information Science, University of South Florida, prospective students must do the following:
  1. Apply for admission to USF Graduate School.  For more information see
Additionally, the following items should be sent directly to Dr. Cora P. Dunkley, director of the ELSUN Program at the USF School of Library and Information Science.  
Dr. Cora P. Dunkley
School of Library and Information Science
University of South Florida
4202 E. Fowler Avenue -- CIS 1040
Tampa, Florida 33620-7800
Telephone:  813-974-1089
  1. Completed scholarship application.  Download PDF here.
  2. Two letters of recommendation  from employers or former university-level instructors who are able to attest to your academic qualifications; your ability to prioritize work, work independently, communicate effectively with colleagues, interact with the public; and who demonstrate awareness of your career goals.
  3. Statement of purpose in which you indicate reasons for selecting a career in library/information science; show an awareness of the service mission and role of libraries in society; express a commitment to work with underserved communities such as the elderly, the poor, the disabled and home bound, recent immigrants, the non English speaking; demonstrate previous experience working with disadvantaged populations; and indicate an awareness and acceptance of diversity in society.
  4. Current professional résumé.
NOTE:  Students who are awarded a scholarship through the IMLS/ELSUN program will be required to sign a service expectation agreement.  A copy is included in the scholarship application.
Selection of scholarship recipients will be based on academic achievement and academic potential as well as  projected success as a library/information professional with a commitment to serve the underserved as evidenced in the statement of purpose, résumé, and letters of recommendation.
For inquiries regarding admission to the master's program please contact
Mel Pace, Associate Director
School of Library and Information Science
Telephone:  813-974-7650
For inquiries regarding the ELSUN scholarship application please contact
Sonia Ramírez Wohlmuth, Assistant Director
School of Library and Information Science
Telephone:  813-974-6837  (¡También nos puede escribir en español!)

School of Library and Information Science
University of South Florida
4202 East Fowler Ave, CIS1040
Tampa, FL 33620-7800
Phone Number: (813) 974-3520

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Last updated:  8 Dec 2003