VSU offers library scholarship

June 6 – VALDOSTA – The Georgia University System Foundation has endowed a new scholarship at Valdosta State University.

The Merryll Penson Scholarship Fund, a GALILEO initiative honoring the work of a former pioneer director.

The 2021-22 recipients of the VSU Master of Library Science Merryll Penson Fellowships are: – Mikayla L. Kittilstved of Spokane Valley, Washington; graduation in December. —Jennifer Johnson of Kingsport, Tennessee; graduated in May 2023.

Penson, who served as executive director of GALILEO from 2000 to 2016, spearheaded efforts to create GALILEO while serving as library director at Columbus State University. She retired in 2016, capping a 32-year career as a passionate Georgia library activist.

GALILEO is Georgia’s e-learning library. A virtual library, it is operated by the University System of Georgia.

Joy Woodson, GALILEO’s deputy director, marketing communications, said Penson was instrumental not only in the creation of GALILEO, but also in the interconnected GALILEO libraries and the New Georgia Encyclopedia. Even in her retirement, she was a source of knowledge, Woodson said.

Valdosta State University offers the only accredited library science program in Georgia.

The scholarship fund was established in his name after his retirement to support the professional growth of librarians and library staff in Georgia.

Donations from EBSCO ($30,000) and ProQuest ($27,500) have brought the fund to a threshold where it will be available to budding future librarians. To date, approximately $66,900 has been contributed to the fund, including $9,400 in individual contributions.

The MLIS program is an online program. Since 2019, VSU has awarded $10,000 in scholarships for MLIS students with documented financial need.

Each student received a Merryll Penson scholarship of $1,000 to cover tuition and fees for their MLIS degree courses.

“This has been going on since 2016 and we are happy that the scholarship fund is permanently endowed, now we are able to help even more future librarians,”

says Woodson.

To donate to the Merryll Penson Scholarship Fund, visit: https://secure.givelively.org/donate/university-system-of-georgia-foundation-inc/merryll-penson-scholarship-endowment-fund

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