stack of booksI'd worked at libraries for over twenty years without seriously giving thought to going after an MLIS degree myself. The reasons? I was already settled down and raising a family. I had other time-consuming interests I was pursuing. Money for tuition was an additional and significant issue. When I learned – at the same time – about the LDC scholarships that Serra was offering, and about the totally-online degree available from San Jose State, what had before seemed impractical suddenly struck me as very do-able, and now, thanks to my LDC grant, I'm two semesters into my studies.

Steven Schimminger
Year 1&2 LDC Recipient

I feel extremely lucky to be a part of the LDC program. The financial help has allowed me to focus on my education without worrying how to pay for it. I have met several professionals in the field, fellow students, and have been able to work closely with a Young Adult expert thanks to the mentorship component. I feel that this program offers the emotional, financial, and professional support every library student should experience while in school. I am honored and greatful to have the chance to participate in this program for a second year in a row.

Virginia Velati
LDC Recipient

The Librarians for Diverse Communities Grant Program administered by the SERRA Cooperative Library System was definitely my ticket to attending library school this last year. But more than that, I gained new skills through not only school, but from the SERRA group's workshops and mentor assistance throughout the past year, not to mention a few new friends and Librarian colleagues. What a fantastic program and how fortunate we are to be a part of this organization and benefit from their assistance.

Tina D. Jagerson
South Bay Branch Manager
San Diego County Public Law Library

The LDC program was a welcome shot in the arm as I rounded the end of my library school career. The tuition payments enabled me to finish my program without further debt and the technology grant helped me purchase helpful software and computer accessories that would have been out of my reach otherwise. Additionally, the opportunity to attend a professional conference and my ongoing relationship with my mentor gave me the confidence for the transition from library student to librarian. I recommend this program without hesitation...I only wish it had been available earlier in my academic career.

Elizabeth Tarnove
2009-2010 LDC recipient
MLIS 2010, San Jose State University

Any financial aid is greatly appreciated, and the help with technology, tuition and textbooks is a wonderful part of the Librarians for Diverse Communities grant.  However, the professional connections and networking opportunities that have come through this program are almost as important as the reimbursement checks.  Having a mentor who really cares about me personally, and offers non-intrusive advice and perspective from her years of experience, has been invaluable.  When I began the program, I didn't feel like I needed or wanted a mentor, but she has made a real difference in my professional growth.

Elisabeth Newbold
2009-2010 LDC recipient

Kwon has appreciated the financial support made possible through the IMLS grant, which includes funds to help her pay for Internet access and a laptop so she can be successful in the School's fully online MLIS program. However, the mentoring provided through the Librarians for Diverse Communities program has been equally beneficial. Kwon is paired with a mentor who is a branch manager at another library in the Serra system, and the two keep in regular touch via phone and email to discuss everything from schoolwork to the ins and outs of library management. SLIS also set up an ANGEL course site for the scholarship recipients so they can communicate with each other throughout their time in the MLIS program.

Young S. Kwon
LDC recipient

All students have the potential to succeed in Library School, but some may not have had the benefit of support by an experienced librarian.  Mentoring through LDC not only gives students the chance to gain this crucial support, but gives mentors the benefit of touching base with current topics and remaining relevant through ongoing education in the field.

Laura Coleman
LDC Mentor
Carlsbad City Library

I signed up as a mentor to help out the project and to support Serra. I found to my surprise that I have loved being a mentor. The experience lets you relate to newer librarians in a helpful way without being their supervisor and having the agenda and goals of your organization take precedence over your relationship. The benefits are two way - my mentee has a lot of life experience - I enjoy bouncing some of my situations off her and getting her input.

Betty Waznis
LDC Mentor
Chula Vista Public Library

Being asked to serve as a mentor has proven to be a gift to me, as I've had the good fortune to be matched with another librarian who I can honestly say I like as both a colleague and a friend. 

Christina Wainwright
LDC Mentor

For more information please contact Michelle Donez at [email protected] or by calling her at (619) 206-2790.

Serra Cooperative Library System ims150 (3K)

Serra Cooperative Library System is a network of public, academic, and special libraries in the southern California counties of Imperial and San Diego. Our goal is to help member library agencies provide expanded resources and improved services at reduced costs through systematic interlibrary cooperation. We are a special district of the State of California, with funding primarily from the State, but augmented through member contributions and grants.

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