FSU project to prepare future Southeast Florida library leaders

Michelle Kazmer and John Bertot

Florida State University’s College of Information has been awarded a grant to help build the next generation of library leaders.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services has awarded $559,872 to Professor John Bertot and Assistant Professor Michelle Kazmer for the project "Southeast Florida Library Leaders: Building the Next Generation of Service to Underserved Populations."

The project will provide 30 students with scholarships—15 who are seeking a master’s degree with a specialization in leadership and management from the college’s American Library Association-accredited program and 15 who are seeking a certificate in leadership and management.

"Southeast Florida has experienced a tremendous growth of population, diversity and library expansion over the past 30 years," Bertot said. "But current estimates indicate that approximately one-third of public librarians in the region will be retiring within the next three years. By working with our partners in southeast Florida, we will focus on the identified needs of its underserved communities—minorities, low income groups and immigrants—and we will prepare leader/managers who are capable of meeting those needs."

The FSU College of Information will partner with the Broward County Library, Miami-Dade Public Library, Southeast Florida Library Information Network and the State Archives and Library of Florida. The partners will serve as project advisers and will help identify and recruit applicants, provide supplemental workshops and mentor students.

"With the help of our partners we’ll be looking for students who demonstrate the skills and desire to work in library management positions," Kazmer said. "But we especially want those who have a knowledge of, and commitment to, working with the underserved populations of southeast Florida."