If you know Joseph Gaskin, otherwise known as Mr. Joe, a Library Associate at Willow Branch Library and a student in the Master of Science in Information program at Florida State University, you would not be surprised to hear that he was awarded the 2020 American Library Association (ALA) Spectrum Scholarship. In July 2020, the American Library Association's Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services awarded 2020 Spectrum Scholarships to 61 exceptional students pursuing graduate degrees in library and information studies, and Joseph Gaskin was one of them.
The ALA website explains that scholars were chosen based upon their “commitment to community building, leadership potential and planned contributions to making social justice part of everybody’s everyday work in [library and information science].” In the 2020 application cycle, the Spectrum Scholarship Program received four times as many applications as there were available scholarships, and the majority of this year’s applicants were deemed highly fundable. To make the final selections, a prestigious committee of 22 jurors selected this year’s Spectrum Scholars based on their commitment to community building, leadership potential, and planned contributions to making social justice part of everybody's everyday work in LIS.
Check out the video above and listen to Joseph Gaskin talk about his passion for libraries, the cyclical path that lead him to where he is now, and his vision for the future of libraries. The Jacksonville Public Library is so fortunate to have Mr. Joe, his excitement and love for libraries is an asset to the Jacksonville community. Cheers to you, Mr. Joe! Thanks for all you do!