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The Begun Scholarship
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Scholarship information | Current award recipient | Past award recipients

The Begun Scholarship

The Begun Scholarship, named in memory of former librarian Betty Begun, supports continuing library school students who have demonstrated a commitment to becoming children's or young adult librarians in a California public library.

A maximum of one scholarship is awarded each year. The recipient is awarded $3,000, a one-year student membership to CLA, and honored at the CLA annual conference.  The recipient is encouraged to enroll into CLA's Mentoring Program.

The Begun Scholarship is funded by CLA's Begun Scholarship Fund. Contributions to the fund are tax-deductible and will enable CLA to continue supporting a new generation of youth services librarians for California.

If you would like to contribute to the CLA Begun Scholarship, please send your check or money order to the CLA office or use our online donation form. CLA is a not-for-profit 501 (c) 3 organization and is eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions. For more information on making a contribution, please contact the CLA Executive Director.

Application information for the CLA Begun Scholarship.


2017 Scholarship Recipient

Alexander Valencia, University of California, Los Angeles

Alex Valencia is currently an MLIS student at UCLA. Before studying library sciences he was Librarian of Skyline Elementary School in South San Francisco. This experience motivated him to continue his education in the field and pursue a career in public librarianship. He hopes to use the public library as a vessel to continue working with the youth and develop interactive programs that focus on culture and the cultivation of community.


Being born half-Mexican and half-Vietnamese, he is aware of how important of a role the Library can play in developing a sense of identity. As well as why it is so vital to have individuals of different ethnicities, cultures, genders, and backgrounds represented in the Library field. His goal is to add a “community center” atmosphere to a California public library so that youths can feel encouraged to express themselves in a safe space.  


Scholarship Information

Application period
The 2018 scholarship application period has closed.

At the time of application, applicants must:

  • be US citizens (or permanent US residents) and permanent California residents;
  • be a continuing student enrolled in an ALA-accredited master's of library and information science or information studies program (applications from students at institutions actively seeking accreditation are also welcome);
  • complete all core coursework by the end of the current academic year;
  • have maintained a minimum 3.0 GPA;
  • show evidence of a commitment to becoming a children's or young adult librarian in a California public library (students planning to become school librarians are not eligible).

How to apply
Applicants should submit the following to CLA:

  • an official record of master's-level courses completed to date (does not have to be an official transcript);
  • a brief description of coursework taken that relates to youth services (maximum 500 words);
  • two letters of recommendation, both of which must be specific to the scholarship (at least one of the two letters should be from a library school professor; letters that are not specific to the scholarship will not be considered);
  • a résumé (maximum two pages);
  • a brief biographical statement (maximum 125 words); and
  • a statement of intent: an essay describing your interest in and commitment to youth services librarianship (maximum 1,000 words).

Please note: when submitting supplementary files by email, please label your files as follows: Begun_your last name_document (e.g.: Begun_smith_résumé; Begun_smith_letter of rec1).

Applications should be submitted using the online application form below. Supplementary files may be emailed to Shana Sojoyner.

Further information

  • The Begun Scholarship is coordinated by CLA's Begun Scholarship Committee.
  • The committee reserves the right not to award a scholarship if a qualified candidate is not found.
  • In the case of a tie, interviews are conducted with the top candidates, either in person or via conference call.
  • Award recipients will be asked to submit a photograph to be used in award publicity.
  • Applications and all supplementary materials must be received by 5:00pm on the submission deadline.
  • If you have any questions, please contact Begun Scholarship Committee Chair Raina Tuakoi.

Apply Now!


2018 Begun Scholarship Committee

  • Nichole Brown
  • Sara Coney
  • Celia Jackson
  • Raina Tuakoi (Chair)