Things are Going SWIM-ingly Out West

By Kevin Cherry, Former IMLS Senior Program Officer

In 2009, the IMLS Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program awarded a grant to the Montana State Library, partnering with state library agencies in South Dakota, Wyoming, Idaho and the University of North Texas, to provide 50 scholarships for the Master’s in Library Science and school library media degrees to address the library education needs of the “SWIM” region. Through careful use of funds, the program has been able to provide 54 individuals with MLIS degrees and 16 with School Library Media endorsements. It is projected to produce a total of 74 graduates by the end of 2013, far exceeding its original goals.  Of the 69 students admitted to the University of North Texas MLS program, 59 received some scholarship funding from the SWIM program.

Among the scholarship recipients are

  • Matt Beckstrom who will be presenting a program on Drupal at the Montana Library Association in April;
  • Kristie Brumley who was chosen as an ALA emerging leader in the class of 2011 and who has published three recent articles in The Idaho Librarian;
  • Megan Herold who was selected for the Wyoming Library Leadership Institute, 2011;
  • Thomas Ivie who has been appointed editor of The Idaho Librarian and was awarded the 2011 Idaho Library Association Scholarship;
  • Dana Kopp who has published on the use of mobile apps in health care, who teaches classes for nurses and clinicians on resources and searching strategies, and received funding from the National Library of Medicine – Pacific Northwest Region for Relaxation and Patient Education Stations on closed circuit TV systems, and was appointed to the Regional Advisory Council for NLM to help guide the region’s work on the Evidence-based Health Information Practice Committee;
  • Jill Mitchell who has been promoted to Adult Services manager at the Meridian Public Library;
  • Angela Ostrander who now serves on the South Dakota Library Association’s Legislative Issues Committee; and
  • Pam Harrington who has been promoted to a librarian position for “Web on Wheels” (W.O.W.), the Missoula Public Library’s new mobile branch. (The W.O.W. bus, featuring database training stations, computer classes, and a reference librarian on board, takes library services and high-speed Internet access to remote areas of Missoula County.)

And that’s just eight of the 74.

The first SWIM students were awarded their master’s degrees from the University of North Texas at a Graduation Celebration held on the campus of Montana State University – Billings in August.  Thirty-eight graduates received their degrees from Dean Herman L. Totten.  I had the honor of giving the graduation address, and two graduates – Thomas Ivie and Matthew Beckstrom- spoke as representatives of the graduating class.

Way to go folks!

The first SWIM graduating class

The 38 members of the first SWIM class to receive library degrees from the University of North Texas.

 

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