Scholarships and Fellowships
In 2001, Rare Book School began offering scholarships with resources provided by the school's James Davis Scholarship Fund (see below for more information about James Davis, UCLA's Rare Books Librarian and a long-time RBS staff member).
Those seeking RBS scholarships submit applications each fall without reference to any particular RBS course or session, and scholarships in turn are awarded without reference to admission to any particular course. Those awarded scholarships will have credit in the RBS tuition bank that they can then use to pay for any course to which they are thereafter admitted during the following two years.
To apply for an RBS scholarship, please scroll down to the Application Procedures section, or click here.
The current Scholarship Committee comprises:
Melissa Mead (Digital and Visual Resources Librarian, University of Rochester) chair, through 2007; Nathaniel Adams (formerly Assistant Director for Programs, RBS) through 2008; Vic Zoschak (Tavistock Books, Alameda, CA) through 2009; Libby Chenault (Librarian, Rare Book Collection, University of North Carolina) through 2010.
In June 2005, the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), a federal agency, made a substantial grant to RBS for an expanded scholarship program, under IMLS's “Librarians for the 21st Century” program: 50 IMLS-funded scholarships were awarded in the fall 2005 cycle, and an additional 50 awards will be available in each of the 2006 and 2007 scholarship cycles. The RBS scholarship fund also receives annual support from the Book Club of California and from the Friends of Rare Book School, and it has received generous support from the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation.
In making its awards, the RBS Scholarship Committee will give special consideration to applicants who represent under-served communities or whose institutions do so. The Committee is grateful to those who have helped advertise the availability of RBS scholarships by downloading, posting, or otherwise distributing this flyer (PDF) describing the program.
Applications in the fall 2007 cycle of RBS scholarship awards will be accepted through 1 September 2007. The RBS Scholarship Committee chair will notify scholarship applicants of its decision via email on 5 October 2007. Please note that the timelines between the awarding of scholarships in October and the January sessions are very tight. If you contemplate applying for a January course, please indicate your intention as part of your personal statement when you submit your scholarship application. Note that, while scholarship recipients receive free tuition to an RBS course, these awards do not include support for other expenses such as transportation or housing.
RBS scholarship applications may be submitted electronically, by fax or by mail. If sent electronically, materials should be sent as individual email attachments to . Applications that lack any components at the time of the 1 September 2007 deadline cannot be considered in the fall 2007 cycle.
To compete for a RBS scholarship, please provide the following:
- An application form (PDF)
- A current résumé or C.V.
- A confidential letter of recommendation, following these guidelines:
- If you are employed: a letter from your supervisor or employer, including information regarding what institutional support for RBS, if any, is available to you.
- If you are self-employed or a student: a letter from a person (or instructor) who is familiar with your work and interests.
This letter should be sent directly to the Scholarship Committee. The person writing your recommendation should include the following sentence at the top of his or her letter: "This is a letter of recommendation for [your name], whois applying for a scholarship to Rare Book School in the current cycle."
- Explain how you anticipate that attending RBS will help you in developing your professional skills.
- Explain why receiving this scholarship is necessary for you. If you are currently employed, please explain the likelihood of receiving institutional support for tuition, travel, housing, &c., or the circumstances which might preclude such support.
In making its awards, the RBS Scholarship Committee will give special consideration to applicants who represent under-served communities or whose institutions do so. In their personal statements, applicants who meet these criteria should so identify themselves and as relevant briefly describe the nature of the communities served.
RBS scholarship applications may be submitted by email: by fax: 434-924-8824 (Attn: RBS Scholarships) or by US Post:
Rare Book School
114 Alderman Library
University of Virginia
P.O. Box 400103
Charlottesville, VA 2904-4103
Please note: Those seeking RBS scholarships submit applications without reference to any particular RBS course or session, and scholarships in turn are awarded without reference to admission to any particular course. Those awarded scholarships will have credit in the RBS tuition bank that they can then use to pay for any course to which they are thereafter admitted during the following two years.
To read more about the RBS Fellowship Program, visit the Fellowships section of our Web site.
James Davis Scholarship Fund
James Davis attended his first Rare Book School in 1985. He joined the RBS program staff in 1986, and he returned annually thereafter, both throughout RBS's Columbia years and then on to Virginia in the 1990s. He used to say that he already had as much management as he wanted to do at home (he was Rare Books Librarian at UCLA); at RBS, he developed a collection of non-administrative duties he made entirely his own, stretching from one end of each RBS week to the other: from mugshot photographer on Sunday night to course evaluation editor over the succeeding weekend. In between, he did the bulk of the RBS supplies-and-equipment shopping, edited Museum labels, acted as the Director's conscience ("It's just me: Jiminy Cricket!"), and made himself generally available to do whatever had to be done next. He was unfailingly interested in RBS students, and he spent a great deal of time talking to them both at breaks and after class in the evening.
We expected him as usual at the RBS January 2000 session, but he stayed home to undergo what he told us was a fairly routine bypass operation. In the event, he never regained consciousness after surgery, and he died in the hospital on February 3rd.
The RBS staff operates on the principle of interchangeable parts: there are few jobs that can't, if necessary, be done by whoever's handy. But nobody on our staff was like James Davis, who combined a vast knowledge of RBS's collections and customs with an unflaggingly sunny disposition, and RBS cannot be the same without him.
Over the years, we have had many discussions with both RBS students and RBS prospective students about the need for scholarship support for our courses. Here, finally, is a program that has the potential to grow to become a force of considerable benefit to the field of rare books. Present and future contributions to the James Davis Scholarship Fund endowment are welcome. Checks should be made payable to the James Davis Scholarship Fund and sent to Rare Book School.