To honor the memory and extend the legacy of longtime ARL staff member Julia Blixrud, ARL established in 2015 the Julia C. Blixrud Scholarship, which supports the attendance of one master of library and information science (MLIS) student or recent graduate at the ARL Fall Forum, held in Washington, DC, each year. This scholarship is supported by generous donations to the Julia C. Blixrud Memorial Fund.
The 2016 recipient of the Julia C. Blixrud Scholarship is Sofia Leung, learning studio librarian at University of Kansas (KU) Libraries. Her professional and research interests include diversity and inclusion in libraries, critical librarianship, and student outreach and engagement, which dovetail with this year’s ARL Fall Forum theme of “Libraries and Archives as Agents of Social Justice.” Leung earned her MLIS degree, as well as a master of public administration degree, from the University of Washington in 2014. Before joining KU Libraries in 2015, she worked as a research services librarian at Seattle University, and she was an ARL Career Enhancement Program fellow at North Carolina State University Libraries in 2014.
Leung has “shown a capacity for leadership in strengthening KU Libraries’ diversity goals and has been chosen to co-lead a committee on diversity, equity, and social justice within the libraries,” said Jill Becker, head of the Center for Undergraduate Initiatives & Engagement at KU Libraries. “She has proven her enthusiasm and dedication to academic librarianship and we believe she has much to offer the field.”
In her scholarship application essay (PDF), Leung said:
One of my goals is for KU Libraries to be recognized as a site and agent of social justice, to demonstrate that we are actively working to be a more diverse, inclusive environment. Part of this means asking our colleagues to challenge themselves by having difficult conversations with one another, educating themselves through readings and trainings we offer, and ensuring that they remember that social justice is everyone’s work. This is demanding but very rewarding work, especially as I see the students who traditionally are forgotten or left out as the ultimate beneficiaries.
Eventually, I hope to move into library administration where I can have a bigger impact on issues such as diversity and inclusion in librarianship. The ARL Fall Forum would allow me to participate in the larger conversation around this topic and how to continue moving the profession as a whole towards being agents of social justice.
To learn more about the scholarship and how you can contribute to the memorial fund, visit the Julia C. Blixrud Memorial Fund, Lecture, and Scholarship webpage or e-mail JCBfund@arl.org.
About the Association of Research Libraries
The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) is a nonprofit organization of 124 research libraries in the US and Canada. ARL’s mission is to influence the changing environment of scholarly communication and the public policies that affect research libraries and the diverse communities they serve. ARL pursues this mission by advancing the goals of its member research libraries, providing leadership in public and information policy to the scholarly and higher education communities, fostering the exchange of ideas and expertise, facilitating the emergence of new roles for research libraries, and shaping a future environment that leverages its interests with those of allied organizations. ARL is on the web at http://www.arl.org/.