URI library hires first Spectrum Scholar alumna

KINGSTON, R.I. — November 3, 2000 — The University of Rhode Island has recently appointed North Kingstown resident, Barbara Kenney, as an assistant research professor of the University’s library. “I went back to school because I love academia,” said Kenney, who turned 50 when she earned a master’s degree in library and information studies from the URI Graduate School of Library and Information Studies (GSLIS) last year. She earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology at 47 from the URI College of Continuing Education, graduating just ahead of her oldest daughter to become the first college graduate of her family. A federal grant awarded this summer to the GSLIS from the Institute of Museum and Library Services enabled the University to employ Kenney for 21 months. One of the first 50 Spectrum Scholars selected by the American Library Association (ALA), Kenney was the first Spectrum recipient to graduate from URI. The Spectrum Project is a major ALA initiative to increase ethnic diversity of the library and information science profession. She also received both the Spectrum Public Library Association and REFORMA Conference Travel Grants (only 10 were awarded nationally). She was also one of five student delegates selected nationwide to attend the ALA Congress on Professional Education. Kenney added that she was especially honored being the first GSLIS student to receive a URI Foundation Fellowship Grant, which provided her with a stipend and tuition coverage. “I was proud that my University chose to assist me,” said Kenney. W. Michael Havener, director of URI’s Graduate School of Library and Information Studies, praises the addition of Kenney. “Kenney is an exceptionally talented new faculty member who will help in making our faculty complete,” Havener said. “She is a skilled librarian who will reach out to all populations.” A Hispanic American, Kenney increases the ethnic diversity of the library faculty. More importantly, she believes her recent experience in the public library system will benefit her as an instructor and informational resource for students. While in school, she worked at the North Kingstown Public Library. Most recently, she was branch manager of the Washington Park Branch of the Providence Public Library, which served a diverse community of patrons. She stresses the responsibility of a library to fulfill the informational needs of its users. “The central function of a library is to provide the material and service which reflect the needs of its patrons as well as equal access to that information,” said Kenney. For Information: Jan Sawyer 401-874-5190, Keith Marshall 401-874-2116