Diversity Scholarship

Application Criteria and Procedures


For several years, members of the Music Library Association have recognized the need for greater ethnic and racial diversity in our organization. This perception was reinforced by the results of Personnel Characteristics Surveys conducted by MLA in 1997 and again in 2009. Thanks to the efforts of Mark Puente and others, MLA began to rectify this problem through the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) Diversity and Inclusion Initiative (DII), which has used the Code of Federal Regulations for the United States Department of Labor [1] to identify racially/ethnically underrepresented groups (see below). With funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the ARL/MLA DII was established “to address the growing need for professional staff in music and performing arts libraries who better reflect evolving demographics of students and faculty in music and performing arts higher education.” Through this program, which began in 2012 and ended in 2016, MLA has indeed begun to see positive changes in the diversity of our membership. In an effort to carry this momentum forward, MLA began a campaign to establish this Diversity Scholarship Award. Through the overwhelming generosity of our members, the award is now funded and MLA can now continue the progress toward greater diversity that began with the ARL/MLA Diversity and Inclusion Initiative.



To apply, a bachelor’s degree in music or its equivalent must be on hand or anticipated within the year.  For the first time the scholarship is offered the applicant should come from a group that is historically underrepresented in the profession, identified according to the Code of Federal Regulations for the United States Department Labor as Black [or African American], Asian, American Indian or Alaskan Native, Hispanic [or Latino], Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander.

The award is contingent upon enrollment in a master’s degree program with an emphasis in library or information science at an ALA-accredited college or university and maintenance of good standing, including a GPA of at least 3.0.  Funds should be used exclusively for qualified educational expenses (such as tuition and fees, books, supplies, and equipment that are required for coursework in the master’s of library science program).   Scholarship recipients are eligible to reapply for a second year. Their application will be considered along with all other applications received that year. The scholarship will support study for a maximum of two (2) years or until the degree is earned, whichever comes first. Recipients applying for a second year should notify the chair of the Diversity Scholarship Award Committee of their GPA and provide proof of enrollment, in addition to submitting all required documentation.

Application Procedure Documentation

1) Submit a personal statement (not to exceed 750 words) summarizing your musical background and interest in music librarianship;

2) Submit a curriculum vitae and three recommendation letters;

3) Submit proof of enrollment to the chair of the Diversity Scholarship Award Committee upon enrollment in a Master of Library Science program.

Scholarship Benefits

For 2017-2018, winner of the award will receive $2,250.  Awardee will receive career guidance provided by the MLA Placement Officer and programs at the MLA Annual Meeting, in addition to the Career Advisory Service. MLA will continue to develop and host career development workshops that address strategies for job searching, skills development, resume and CV writing, interviewing skills, and other topics related to job placement.   In addition to the scholarship the benefits will include gratis student membership to MLA and registration for MLA annual conferences for the duration of the award. The awardee will automatically be considered for the Kevin Freeman Travel Grant; the awarding of Freeman grants will be entirely by the recommendation of the Freeman Award Committee. The applicant is encouraged to apply for existing MLA/IAML travel grants.


[1] Government Publishing Office (US), “Federal Contract Compliance Programs, Labor,” Title 41, Section 60-4.3, p. 149


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About MLA

The Music Library Association is the professional association for music libraries and librarianship in the United States. Founded in 1931, it has an international membership of librarians, musicians, scholars, educators, and members of the book and music trades. Complementing the Association’s national and international activities are eleven regional chapters that carry out its programs on the local level.