Virginia Library Association Scholarships

The Virginia Library Association (VLA) Scholarship Committee's scholarship opportunity is designed to recognize and support outstanding individuals committed to advancing the field of library science.

We are proud to award three scholarships, each valued at $3,000, to deserving recipients who embody the spirit of excellence and dedication to the library profession. Adding to the excitement, this year's winners will also receive an extra night at the conference hotel, making it a total of two fully paid nights, to attend the VLA conference in October—an invaluable opportunity for professional growth and networking.

Support continuing excellence in Virginia's libraries by donating to our scholarship fund.

2024 VLA Scholarship Recipients

 Sahadev Poudel

Sahadev Poudel 2024 Scholarship Winner.Sahadev Poudel, a passionate advocate for library services and community engagement, has dedicated himself to breaking down barriers and promoting access to information. As a member of the immigrant community, Sahadev recognizes the gaps in awareness surrounding library resources and services. His dream is to become a librarian—a role that allows him to champion for reading, learning, and equitable access to knowledge. Currently serving as a Maker Lab Coordinator, Sahadev has transformed his library into a vibrant learning space. His work in creating a dynamic environment for exploration and creativity underscores his commitment to education and innovation. However, Sahadev aspires to go further. His specific goal is to become a STEAM Librarian, leveraging his passion for science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics to inspire library users.

To achieve this dream, Sahadev knows that obtaining a master’s degree in library science is essential. Without this foundational qualification, he cannot fully step into a leadership role within the library field. Sahadev envisions himself advocating for Maker Labs not only in his own branch but across the entire FCPL (Fairfax County Public Libraries) system. His voice, informed by both practical experience and academic knowledge, will shape the future of library services. Sahadev is grateful for his supportive work environment, where his daily experiences inform his studies and vice versa. Sahadev strives to complete his master’s degree, which will serve as the backbone of his career. With this credential, he can lead, manage, and coordinate system-wide Maker Labs, ensuring that every branch embraces STEAM programming and fosters a love for creative learning. Congratulations, Sahadev!

 Gay Acompanado

Gay Acompandado 2024 Scholarship WinnerGay Acompanado, a dedicated and passionate scholar, has made significant contributions to the field of librarianship. With over 16 years of combined library experience, Gay has held classified full-time staff roles in two Virginia academic libraries. Her journey began as an archival assistant at the Special Collections and Archives of James Branch Cabell Library, part of the Virginia Commonwealth University Libraries. During her four years in this role, she gained valuable hands-on experience working with historical materials and unique collections.

For the past 12 years, Gay has served as the Art Library Supervisor at the Elise N. Hofheimer Art Library within the Old Dominion University Libraries. In this position, she has been instrumental in helping students, faculty, staff, and library users connect with resources that support their information needs and interests. Her commitment to library instruction, reference services, research support, collection development, and programming has made a lasting impact on the academic community. Recognizing the importance of continuous growth and professional development, Gay is now pursuing an MLIS degree from ODU’s recently accredited MLIS program. This strategic step will allow her to transition from her current professional associate role to more promising career opportunities as a professional librarian. Gay aspires to take on leadership positions in the future, leveraging her expertise in library management, providing course instruction, and engaging in community outreach. Her passion for teaching primary sources and unique collections aligns perfectly with her vision for a dynamic career in librarianship. As she advances, Gay aims to create user-centered library services, manage teams and projects effectively, and advocate for a diverse staff. Her dedication to the field exemplifies the spirit of scholarship and service that defines her journey as a scholar and librarian. Congratulations, Gay!

Shannon Marrero

Shannon Marrero 2024 Scholarship WinnerShannon Marrero is an extraordinary individual whose journey has been shaped by resilience, passion, and an unwavering commitment to learning. From childhood visits to the local library to overcoming health challenges, her story is one of determination and inspiration. At age 10, Shannon faced a life-altering diagnosis of Optic Neuritis. Undeterred, she turned to books as a source of solace and knowledge. Even through blurry vision, she immersed herself in stories like “My Mama is a Llama” by Deborah Guarino, a testament to her indomitable spirit.

During her college years, Shannon delved into the world of libraries, completing three years of work study at Shenandoah University’s Library and in the Pharmacy Library at the University of Connecticut. Her passion for literature and community engagement led her to the children’s department at Chesapeake Public Library, where she offers invaluable reader’s advisory services. By recommending books tailored to young readers’ interests, Shannon encourages a lifelong love of reading. But Shannon doesn’t stop there. As a Registered Yoga and Children’s Yoga Teacher, she creates imaginative adventures through programs like reader’s theater, teen painting sessions, and children’s yoga classes. These initiatives not only enhance literacy and theater skills but also ignite enthusiasm for reading among children and teens. With a stellar academic record (a proud 4.0 student at the University of Alabama pursuing an MLIS), Shannon embodies a spirit of library transformation and renewal. Her vision extends beyond physical books, focusing on digital literacy and empowering others in their research pursuits. Settling in Suffolk, Virginia with her husband, she plans to continue her impactful work as a Youth Librarian after graduating in the summer of 2025. Congratulations, Shannon!

For more information, contact:
Lisa R. Varga
VLA Executive Director
[email protected]