ALA Spectrum - Scholarship Program

American Library Association (ALA)

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Deadline: Mar 7, 2021

Grant amount: US $5,000

Fields of work: Library & Information Science

Applicant type: Graduate Student

Funding uses: Scholarship

Location of project: United States

Location of residency: Canada, United States

Exclusive to minorities: Yes

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About this funder:



Spectrum provides a one-time, non-renewable $5,000 scholarship award paid in two installments directly to the recipient.  Recipients must begin a program by the fall semester following the award, funds will be forfeited if enrollment is delayed.  Recipients must be enrolled at the time of the second installment, or they will forfeit this portion of the award.  Recipients are announced at the ALA Annual Conference, the award is broken into two $2,500 installments that are awarded in September and January. 

To date, the American Library Association has awarded over 800 Spectrum Scholarships! Spectrum Scholars have been in attendance at over 50 library schools.  They reside, study and work all across North America in a wide array of library positions in every type of library, ranging from the manager of special projects, rare books and special collections for the Princeton University Library to a librarian in a Bureau of Indian Affairs school on the Navajo Reservation in New Mexico.

About the Scholarship

Spectrum Scholars share in the prestige and opportunities that become available when they are selected. Each scholar receives $5,000 from ALA to combat the rising cost of graduate education as well as $1,500 to attend the Spectrum Leadership Institute held during the ALA Annual Conference. In addition to financial support recipients benefit from peer mentoring and a large alumni network. Critical for long-term impact, the program offers continuing education and professional development opportunities foundational to obtaining leadership positions within the profession.

​Spectrum Scholars receive a number of benefits in addition to their scholarship funds, these include:

  • Complementary one-yr. student membership to ALA (includes one-yr. subscription to American Libraries).
  • Free student admission to ALA Annual conference during the scholarship year.
  • Free attendance to the Spectrum Leadership Institute: a 3 day institute that highlights cross cultural models of leadership and features national library and community leaders.
  • Complementary memberships to ALA divisions and participating Round Tables and Affiliates during the scholarship year.
  • Formal and informal mentoring opportunities. 
  • Opportunities for matching scholarships from participating library schools and other regional library associations.
  • Access to colleagues via an electronic discussion list, and various private and open online communities.
  • Posted information on job/internship/residency opportunities all over the country and in different types of libraries.
  • Networking with other Spectrum Scholars and library leaders.
  • Participation in a national library diversity initiative and the recognition merited by this distinction.
  • Invitations to present at forums, conferences, and institutes.
  • Opportunities to apply for travel grants to regional institutes and conferences.

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • To be eligible for a Spectrum Scholarship, you should:
    • be a citizen or permanent resident of the U.S. or Canada
    • identify as American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian, Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, Middle Eastern/North African, and/or Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander
    • attend an ALA-accredited graduate program in library and information studies or an AASL-recognized School Library Media Program
    • be enrolled in an accredited program and begin no later than September 1st or Fall Semester
    • have full or part-time status
    • plan to maintain a minimum course load of two classes per semester while receiving your scholarship funds


This page was last reviewed March 08, 2020 and last updated March 08, 2020