SILS Student Abigail Flanigan Awarded Jan Merrill-Oldham Professional Development Grant

February 25, 2015

Abigail Flanigan, a Master of Library Science (MSLS) student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Information and Library Science (SILS), has been awarded the 2015 Jan Merrill-Oldham Professional Development Grant.

The grant is given by the Preservation and Reformatting Section (PARS) of the Association for Library Collections & Technical Services (ALCTS) to support travel to the American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference and Exposition.

The $1,250 grant, sponsored by the Library Binding Institute, is intended to provide librarians and paraprofessionals new to the preservation field with the opportunity to attend a professional conference and to encourage professional development through active participation at the national level. The grant is to be used for airfare, lodging, and registration fees to attend the ALA Annual Conference. Recipients attend the Preservation Administrators Interest Group meeting and at least one other PARS interest group meeting, and write about the experience for ALCTS News.

Flanigan holds a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2013) and is expected to complete her MSLS at UNC in 2016. She also works in the Preservation Department in the University Libraries as a Carolina Academic Library Associate (CALA). The CALA program offers competitive merit-based assistantships to UNC SILS students interested in academic librarianship.

In the early stages of her graduate education, Flanigan has already decided to pursue a career in preservation, having developed, in her words, “a passion for preservation librarianship.” According to a news release from the ALCTS, Flanigan’s essay demonstrated awareness of the challenges of analog preservation and reformatting, as well as deep interest in digital preservation. She recognizes that “preservation plays a complex and vital role in any library,” and she is already engaged in the fundamental question of all preservation professionals: preservation and access.

The award will be presented on June 27 at the ALCTS Awards Ceremony during the 2015 ALA Annual Conference and Exposition in San Francisco. ALCTS is a division of the American Library Association.