ASRC Federal and Iḷisaġvik College Work Together to Prepare Shareholders for a Future in Libraries and Information Management
Ethel Toovak, who has been a regular patron of the Tuzzy Library since childhood, is now working there thanks to a grant from ASRC Federal.
Iḷisaġvik College, in partnership with a grant program from ASRC Federal, is now training students who are ASRC shareholders in library operations, at the college’s Tuzzy Consortium Library. ASRC Federal launched this program in 2009 in response to a challenge issued to subsidiaries by ASRC President Bobbi Quintavell. She encouraged all subsidiaries to envision ways in which they could contribute to workforce development on the North Slope.
In a recent interview about this grant, Quintavell stated, “I think that for a society and culture to be healthy, they need to always be learning. Our Iñupiat ancestors knew that. They studied their environment constantly so that they could survive in it. We still have to do that, we still have to study and learn and exercise our brains every day to be healthy and productive. That’s why I encouraged the ASRC family of companies to find ways to partner with community entities to help our shareholders learn how to be part of the workforce for the 21st Century.”
ASRC Federal partnered with Iḷisaġvik College’s Tuzzy Library because they wanted to encourage shareholders to study areas in which ASRC Federal already had programs and jobs that could be filled by shareholders with knowledge of library services, information management and archival skills.
So what do the students who received these first grant opportunities think? Holly Ekalook, a 17 year old Barrow High School student says, “I enjoy doing all the different things that I do while working at the library, from shelving books to helping people find what they are looking for. Sometimes you can’t find what you are looking for on the Internet but if you go to your local library, you would not only find it but have the librarians to help when you need it. Libraries are important to me because not only am I a book fanatic, but they are also places I can go to and do homework when I need quiet to concentrate.”
Daphne Peter, also 17 and a senior at Barrow High adds, “I enjoy working at the front desk. It gives me the chance to practice office skills, talking and getting to know the people in the community while learning how the library system works. ” The third current intern, Ethel Toovak, is also a 17 year old at Barrow High, and has enjoyed working at the library after being a regular patron there since childhood.
According to Lisa Young, Senior Vice President, and Sheila Boyd at ASRC Federal, “To say that this program is just about libraries is a misnomer. This isn’t just about information stored in books or magazines or about filing paper records. Information service careers focus on the entire life cycle of information from creation, to how it is used and shared, to how we store it and protect it, and then to how we dispose of it or whether we keep it for the next generation.”
Head Librarian David Ongley feels this program is very unique in that it is a partnership between private industry and a nonprofit institution that will ultimately benefit both sides. ASRC President Quintavell adds, “I think libraries are critical to our communities. They are a place for learning, a place where information is exchanged freely and you don’t have to have money or your own computer or anything to participate. Tuzzy Library gives our shareholders a place that can help them keep their minds and brains active and thinking. That’s what is really going to make tomorrow better than today for future generations.”
Students interested in being considered for this program should contact Tuzzy Consortium Library at (907) 852-4050. The grant program accepts both high school and college students who are ASRC Shareholders.