University of Arizona Libraries Special Collections is pleased to announce that graduate assistant Jeremy E. Thompson Jr. has been selected as an Association of Research Libraries (ARL) Kaleidoscope Program scholar. He is one of 18 master of library and information science (MLIS) students from historically underrepresented groups participating in the 2019–2021 program. As a Kaleidoscope scholar, Jeremy will receive a stipend, mentoring, and professional development to gain practical field experience and build career opportunities. The program is supported by ARL member libraries and EBSCO Information Services.
Katheryne B. Willock Head of Special Collections Verónica Reyes-Escudero explained that Special Collections has long supported MLIS students from underrepresented communities. “The role we play in diversifying the profession is a commitment we take seriously. We offer a great training ground for students employing theory into the practice of special collections librarianship and archival work. The impressive portfolios of the students that come through our Special Collections program, whether they are interns, graduate assistants or ARL Kaleidoscope scholars like Jeremy, makes it that much more rewarding for us.”
Originally from Indiana, Jeremy has been in Arizona for 12 years and studied history and information science as an undergraduate student. As a freshman, he started working at the Arizona State Museum, where he developed an interest in archives. He said: “Archives have the ability to inform communities of who they are and where they’ve been. As long-standing communities struggle to maintain an identity and new communities begin to establish theirs, it is important that they have the necessary tools to do so. Archival work is important in today’s world because it stockpiles the resources that will be used by tomorrow’s communities.”
Today, Jeremy continues to work at the Arizona State Museum providing reference and circulation support. In Special Collections, he has been processing the papers of Arthur Naiman, a well-known author of computer books such as The Macintosh Bible.
Reyes-Escudero said: “Getting to know Jeremy, seeing the great work he’s contributed to the department, and his enthusiasm for learning is inspiring. I know that when he’s ready to enter the profession he will be an invaluable asset wherever he lands. He already is!”
Thanks to the Kaleidoscope Program, Jeremy will attend the ARL Annual Leadership Symposium, held during the American Libraries Association Midwinter meeting in January in Philadelphia. He will also visit Northwestern University Libraries and the University of Illinois at Chicago Library in April to learn about research library operations.
When Jeremy isn’t working or studying, he enjoys watching football and soccer and binge-watching TV shows like Billions. After graduation, he would like to work at an archive or special collections in an academic library. “By being in this position and reaching for the highest places I can achieve, I hope to be a beacon that leads others from traditionally underrepresented groups to a field that welcomes their new perspectives.”