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Thirteen New ITRL Students Embark on their SIS Journey

Dr. Mehra and his ITRL RockerThe School of Information Sciences (SIS) at the University of Tennessee (UT) announces the selection of students for the second generation of the Information Technology Rural Librarian Master’s Scholarship Program (ITRL2). The thirteen students accepted into the program will begin their studies during the summer of 2013.

The ITRL2 grant program is funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and was created to educate individuals who are working in rural libraries in the Southern and Central Appalachian region.  Rural libraries serve as critical sources of important information for their residents due to the lack of Internet access and resources.  Poverty, unemployment, economic challenges and low levels of literacy often plague these communities along with their lack of technology knowledge/access.

Because the SIS program is delivered via distance education tools, the selected students for the program are able to maintain their current positions within the communities they serve while attending school.  The courses and learning objectives of the program have been custom-tailored to the needs of the rural librarians and the communities they represent. 

The grant provides a full-tuition scholarship for two years with an allowance for materials.  “Without the grant the ITRL2 students simply would not be able to earn their Master’s degree in Information Sciences,” said Dr. Bharat Mehra, associate professor leading the ITRL2 initiative for SIS, adding that “Several students from the initial ITRL class have already earned promotions or gotten jobs with greater responsibilities as a result of their education.” SIS Director and Professor Ed Cortez said, “The ITRL program is a proven success.  We are honored and excited to have been selected as the recipient school of another IMLS grant.  The ITRL2 students embarking on their academic journey will have amazing mentors in the first ITRL group.” In the UT SIS Dr. Mehra is administering the ITRL2 program with Dr. Vandana Singh. The four partnering institutions in the ITRL2 from East Tennessee are: Clinch-Powell Regional Library (Clinton, Tennessee), Fort Loudoun Regional Library (Athens, Tennessee), Sevier County Public Library System (Sevierville, Tennessee), and the Watauga Regional Library (Johnson City, Tennessee).

The following 13 candidates have been accepted into the ITRL2 program beginning this summer:

  • Aubrey, Amanda: Weekend Circulation Supervisor, King Library, Bristol, TN
  • Baker, Rebecca: Children's Librarian Assistant, Blount County Public Library, Maryville, TN
  • Brueland, Anjanae: System Business Coordinator, Sevier County Public Library System, Sevierville, TN
  • Congdon, Ryan: Youth Program Specialist/Reference Assistant, Rockbridge Regional Library, Lexington, VA
  • Fox, Casey: Children’s Room Assistant II, Lawson McGhee Library, Knox County Public Library, Knoxville, TN
  • Murray, Laura: Emerging Technologies Specialist, Lincoln Memorial University Library, Harrogate, TN
  • Rayme, Mary: Director, Pioneer Memorial Public Library, Harman, WV
  • Steadman, Amy: Branch Manager, Bloomingdale Library, Sullivan County Public Library, Kingsport, TN
  • Tedesco, Rebecca: Public Services Coordinator, Cleveland State Community College Library, Cleveland, TN
  • Totten, Tonia: Young Adult Librarian, Glade Spring Branch Manager, Bristol Public Library, Bristol, VA
  • Tyler, Catherine: Library Assistant, Rockbridge Regional Library, Goshen Branch, Goshen, VA
  • Vater, Emily: Public Services Associate, Boone County Public Library, Burlington, KY
  • West, Angela: Library Assistant, Wise County Public Library, Lonesome Pine Regional Library, Wise, VA

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. Through grant making, policy development, and research, IMLS helps communities and individuals thrive through broad public access to knowledge, cultural heritage, and lifelong learning. www.imls.gov

The University of Tennessee School of Information Sciences (SIS) recently celebrated forty years of American Libraries Association (ALA) accreditation.   The SIS mission is to educate information professionals and those who create and consume information products to live, work, and flourish in a dynamic information society through excellence in teaching, research and creative activity, and public service. SIS provides quality education meeting student needs regardless of where the student may live. www.sis.utk.edu

For more information about the SIS ITRL2 Program, visit http://www.sis.utk.edu/13-scholarships-available-itrl2