Scholarships and Fellowships
Persons seeking RBS scholarships submit applications each fall without reference to any particular RBS course that they wish to take, and scholarships 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.
In making its awards, the RBS Scholarship Committee will give special consideration to applicants toward the beginning of their professional careers, or who represent under-served communities (or whose institutions do so).
RBS began offering scholarships in 2001 with resources provided by the school's James Davis Scholarship Fund; see below for more about the late James Davis, who was UCLA's Rare Books Librarian and a long-time RBS staff member. In June 2005, the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), a federal agency, made a substantial grant to RBS to underwrite about 150 full-tuition scholarships, to be given out approximately 50 per year for each the following three years. The RBS scholarship fund also receives annual support from the Friends of Rare Book School, and it has received generous support from the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation and the Book Club of California.
The current Scholarship Committee comprises:
Melissa Mead (Digital and Visual Resources Librarian, University of Rochester) chair, through 2009; Vic Zoschak (Tavistock Books, Alameda, CA) through 2009; Libby Chenault (Librarian, Rare Book Collection, University of North Carolina) through 2010; and Ryan L. Roth (Program Director, RBS) through 2011.
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.