2020 Symposium Student Scholarship Winner – Shu Wan (University of Iowa)

My name is Shu Wan. I am currently enrolled in the School of Library and Information Science at the University of Iowa. Thanks to the generous financial support provided by the ACRL/NY scholarship program, I was afforded the rare opportunity to further my knowledge of how library professionals struggle with social injustice in their everyday work. In attending multiple conference sections of the ACRL/NY Symposium, I learned much about librarians’ professional skills and public engagement in bridging different libraries and their diverse local communities.

Those presenters convinced me of the significant contributions they and their peers make to the struggle for social justice and civic liberty in contemporary American society.

Unlike a large proportion of students in library school with intense experience and skills in working in the academic or research library, I had very limited knowledge of the library workflows in the real world. Before attending the informative and insightful conference presentation in December 2020, I had rarely become aware of the important role libraries and librarians could, and shall, play in helping people in need and repressed groups in American society. The most important lesson I took from my conference attendance is that libraries and librarians shall not take a neutral stance before racial, gender, and other controversial issues in American society. In Sarah Simms and Hayley Johnson’s presentation title, we should be “neutral no longer.” Libraries and librarians must stand steadfastly with social justice and their advocates.