RBMS 2016 Blog


Scholarship applications now being accepted!

Image: Brittany Adams visiting the redwoods on U.C. Berkeley’s campus during RBMS 15.

The RBMS Scholarships Committee is pleased to announce that we are now taking applications for the 2016 awards, which allow recipients the opportunity to attend this year’s RBMS conference, “Opening Doors to Collaboration, Outreach, and Diversity.” Two types of awards are available: full scholarships (which cover conference fees, ranging from $135 to $290, and include a stipend to offset the costs of travel and accommodation) and partial scholarships (which cover conference fees, and may or may not include a stipend as well).

The scholarships aim to make it possible for those to participate who would otherwise not be able to do so for financial reasons. These include graduate students in a library science or archival studies program (or graduates of such programs), professional librarians, and paraprofessionals currently employed in a rare books, special collections, or archives capacity. We especially want to promote diversity in the field, and welcome applicants from an underrepresented racial or ethnic group, or those employed by an institution that primarily serves one or more of these groups.

As a recipient last year, I can speak to what a wonderful opportunity the RBMS Scholarship is. At the time I applied, I had recently begun my first job post-graduate school as a paraprofessional working primarily with metadata. I didn’t have the institutional support to cover my attendance or the salary to support the conference fees, travel, and accommodation on my own. However, I was eager to get involved with the organization and learn from those doing great things in the field.

And I did. The conference, “Preserve the Humanities! Special Collections as Liberal Arts Laboratory,” taught me so much about the possibilities of integrating special collections work into the liberal arts curriculum, from exploring innovative ways to provide instruction to initiating projects in the digital humanities. I met librarians working all across the country, who were so welcoming to this newcomer and who were open to sharing their experiences. It was absolutely inspiring.

And yet, one of the most meaningful aspects of this experience was one I didn’t expect: bonding with my cohort. There were nineteen other scholarship recipients, many of whom I met at the scholarship breakfast. As we saw each other at different sessions, we got to know each other and became not just colleagues, but friends. As someone in the early stage of her career, I really appreciated the chance to make friends who are navigating similar challenges in the rare books and manuscripts world. These friendships have been a wonderful memento of my first time at RBMS, and I am looking forward to future involvement and relationships within the organization.

If you have an interest in RBMS, a desire to work in special collections librarianship, and, going along with this year’s theme, a curiosity about outreach and diversity, please consider applying. For more information, including eligibility and instructions, visit http://conference16.rbms.info/scholarships/. Applications are due March 25, 2016, so we hope to hear from you soon!

— Brittany Adams