The Rita Torres / Bibliotecas Para La Gente Scholarship 2020


Bibliotecas Para La Gente (BPLG) has established a $3000 scholarship for a new or a continuing San Jose State University (SJSU) iSchool student who has demonstrated an interest in furthering the goals of BPLG in providing library service to the Spanish-speaking and Latino communities.

Scholarship Deadline: June 30, 2020

Apply: Please click here to submit your application and materials (a Gmail account is required) OR you may submit completed application materials to Janice Garcia by email at


Award Details: First disbursement of $1,500 the current year; second disbursement of $1,500 will be disbursed after receiving semester in session grades.


About Rita Torres: Rita Torres was employed in 1976 as the first bilingual/bicultural librarian to head the Biblioteca Latinoamericana, a federally funded project that provided a full spectrum of Spanish language library service to the greater San Jose community. Spanish language library services were Rita’s passion and she worked with her staff and colleagues to provide Reference services, reader’s advisory, and children’s services for Spanish speaking library customers. Leaving the Biblioteca Latinoamericana, Rita moved on to the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library as head of the newly created Foreign Languages Department and became the lead for the Collection Development team that grew collections to represent 80+languages. Throughout her career Rita has been a friend and mentor to the members of the community, and to the library assistants and librarians who learned and worked along side of her providing services to the Spanish speaking community. As a young professional Rita Torres joined Bibliotecas Para La Gente and volunteered with BPLG throughout her career. It is in honor of her commitment and work that the BPLG scholarship is named in her honor.


Eligibility Requirements:


  • The candidate must provide evidence of cultural competency in the Latino community. Candidate can document cultural awareness through education, job and/or community experience in the essay or through reference letters. 


  • The candidate must provide evidence of Spanish language proficiency. Candidate can document language proficiency through job and/or community experience in the essay or through reference letters.
  • This year 2020 the scholarship has been extended to include anyone graduating in Spring 2020 or Summer of 2020. Please contact Janice Garcia if there are extenauting circumstances>


    Application Requirements:


    • A 2-3 page personal statement describing work or volunteer experience with a Latino and/or Spanish speaking community. Describe the information needs of these communities in Northern California, and how the candidate can contribute to their information needs. Candidates should demonstrate their technological awareness by suggesting how technology may be used to provide services to the Latino community. Include a description of any leadership role in work/volunteer experience.
    • Two reference letters: One letter from a librarian who is aware of your work and/or community service and your desire to work in the library; a second letter from a community leader who knows your career goals, work and/or community service.
    • A recent resume that includes all library and related community service work.
    • New students must document application to the iSchool program through an acceptance letter and include their most recent college transcript. Current iSchool students can submit unofficial transcripts from the graduate school web portal.


    Additional Requirements:

    • The candidate must live in the Northern California region.
    • A candidate applying to any accredited SLIS program must provide documentation of admittance to the university prior to distribution of scholarship.
    • The scholarship recipient will attend a BPLG meeting for formal recognition and will be given partial payment of $1,500. Travel expenses to the meeting will be reimbursed.
    • The remaining balance will be awarded at the end of the current Fall semester upon receipt of transcript documenting completion of units attempted.

    Past Scholarship Winners: 

    • 2019: Andy Paul
    • 2018: Adriana Lugo
    • 2017: Yvette Herrera
    • 2016: Maureen Sullivan
    • 2015: Jasmin Avila
    • 2014: Ricardo M. Ramirez & Jeannine Gonzalez Mejia
    • 2013: Mari Martinez Serrano

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