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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

URI graduate library school shines with new grant for its Prism program

Media Contact: Jhodi Redlich, 401-874-4500

KINGSTON, RI. -- August 12, 2005 -- The University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Library and Information Studies has been awarded a $504,775 grant from the Institute of Library and Museum Services to continue its successful “Prism” program that prepares librarians to work with diverse populations.

The grant will provide resources for the University to offer 12 fellowships for its American Library Association-accredited Master’s degree program. Students selected as Prism Plus Scholars will receive support to allow them to complete the Masters in Library and Information Studies (MLIS) degree between January 2006 and May 2008.

The new grant is based on the school’s success with the first Prism program it initiated in 2000 with about $233,000 in funding from the same organization.

"Since it began five years ago, the program has been a tremendous success. All of the original Prism Fellows have graduated with MLIS degrees and are now using their skills working in diverse environments, providing information literacy instruction that empowers individuals to access and use information effectively,” said W. Michael Havener, the program’s director.

With the new grant, students may be either full-time students, completing their degree in five consecutive semesters by August 2007 or part-time students, completing their degree over seven semesters by May 2008. The program begins in the spring 2006 semester.
“We are very proud of the leadership role our graduate program has taken in bringing information literacy instruction to diverse populations,” said College of Arts and Sciences Dean Winifred Brownell. “They have created a model student support structure that can be adapted for use by other schools, and above all have provided a tremendous resource for libraries throughout our state. ”

Each Prism Plus Scholar will receive coverage of in-state tuition and fees and stipends totaling up to $20,350 during the grant period. The scholars will gain experience in providing information literacy instruction and performing outcomes-based evaluation and will benefit from a hands-on public service component in an academic or public library setting. The students also will receive subsidies to attend American Library Association Annual Conferences and the 2006 Joint Conference of Librarians of Color.

Applications will be considered on a rolling basis, and applicants will be required to interview in person or by phone. First consideration will be given to applications received prior to October 15, 2005. If all 12 fellowships are not awarded in the spring, additional scholars may be admitted in Summer 2006.

Since its inception, a primary goal of the Graduate School of Library and Information Studies has been to provide an American Library Association-accredited program to the citizens of the New England states. Jonathan Ashton was the school's first dean in 1963. The school was housed and the classes were taught at the extension campus in Providence before moving to the Kingston campus in 1969. Over the years, the school has graduated almost 3,000 students who have become leading librarians and information specialists throughout the nation.

For more information about the Prism Plus Fellowship program or the Graduate School of Library and Information Studies contact W. Michael Havener at 401-874-4641.