Funding Opportunity: Kaleidoscope Program (MLIS Students)

Applications for the 2021–2023 Kaleidoscope Program are due by 11:59 p.m. eastern daylight time on Thursday, May 13, 2021.

The goal of the ARL Kaleidoscope Program is to attract master of library and information science (MLIS) students from historically underrepresented racial and ethnic groups to careers in research libraries and archives. The program, funded by ARL member libraries, was established in 2000 as the Initiative to Recruit a Diverse Workforce and was renamed Kaleidoscope in 2019. The Kaleidoscope Program is diversifying the profession by providing generous funding for MLIS education and a suite of related benefits, including mentoring, leadership and professional development, and career placement assistance.

To be eligible to participate in the Kaleidoscope Program, you must fulfill the following requirements:

  • Identify as being from an underrepresented racial or ethnic group, based on the categories outlined by the US Census Bureau or Statistics Canada or Aboriginal (First Nations, Métis, and Inuit) people classifications
  • Be a resident of the United States or Canada
  • Remain enrolled in at least 6 graduate credit hours per term with a GPA of at least 3.0 through completion of the MLIS or equivalent degree from an ALA-accredited program
  • Commit to aggressively pursuing employment in a research library or archive, especially one that is a member of the Association of Research Libraries, with the goal of obtaining a position for a minimum of two years upon completion of their MLIS program
  • Attend the annual Leadership Symposium and the annual research library visit

Application Checklist

To apply for the Kaleidoscope Program, please follow these steps:

  1. Complete the Kaleidoscope Program Application Form online. With your application, submit the following documents in PDF:
    1. Résumé (see guidelines)
    2. A 400-word essay describing what attracts you to a professional position in a research library or archive, especially one that is a member of the Association of Research Libraries (Essays should be typed and addressed to the Kaleidoscope Program Selection Working Group.)  Criteria for evaluating the essays:
      1. Clarity and content
      2. Clearly articulated career goals and professional interests
      3. Enthusiasm
      4. Perceived potential for growth
    3. Unofficial undergraduate transcripts including last academic semester completed
    4. Unofficial graduate transcripts including last academic semester completed OR official letter of acceptance into a graduate-level program in library and information science (either at the time of application or before being accepted into the Kaleidoscope Program)
  2. Select two references who can assess and speak to your character and abilities.
    One should be from a current or former supervisor or school faculty member who can speak to your:
    1. Oral and written expression
    2. Achievements
    3. Interpersonal skills (e.g., ability to work as a part of a team)
    4. Initiative

Letters of recommendation should be written on letterhead, signed, and emailed directly from the reference to Mira Swearer at mira@arl.org. Applications are not complete until letters of recommendation are submitted.

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