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UMD Libraries Announces Generous Gift Establishing the Library Student Workforce Endowed Operating Fund

Commitment from UMD Alumna, Sonya Shooshan, MLS ‘95 will provide support for employing, training, and mentoring Libraries’ student assistants

Student employees at the Library Services Desk.

The University of Maryland Libraries is grateful for the generous commitment of Sonya E. Shooshan, MLS ’95, to establish the Library Student Workforce Endowed Operating Fund through the University of Maryland College Park Foundation, Inc. With this new commitment of $50,000, the endowed fund will provide operating support to subsidize the cost of employing, training, and mentoring student assistants employed by the University of Maryland Libraries.

In the wake of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, Dean Adriene Lim established the Library Student Workforce Fund in 2021 to subsidize the cost of employing, training, mentoring, and recognizing exceptional student assistants. Student workers at UMD Libraries are more critical than ever to help meet the increased in-person traffic as well as sustained demand for digital resources.

“By augmenting student wages and providing professional development, the Library Student Workforce Endowed Operating Fund will develop a legacy of supporting young leaders and providing professional skills not only for librarianship but also transferable skills that will benefit students in any profession they may pursue after graduation,” said Adriene Lim, Dean of Libraries.

UMD Libraries is one of the largest employers of students on campus, providing many students with their first real jobs. For many, being a library assistant is the reason they can attend UMD. Students use their salaries to offset rent, buy textbooks, and cover any of the other myriad expenses that financial aid does not. Many student workers use the leadership and job skills they obtained in the Libraries to help them achieve great careers in their chosen fields. Some are so moved by their experience that they go on to become librarians themselves.

Shooshan, who received her MLS from UMD in 1995, knows the value of this legacy. “As a graduate of the UMD College of Information Studies and a retired medical librarian, I believe in libraries as a community good,” she says. Shooshan received her undergraduate degree from Radcliffe, which later merged with Harvard. After earning her MLS, she worked as an Information Research Specialist for the National Library of Medicine.

“The Libraries Student Workforce Endowment will generate funds for the Libraries to continue and maintain student employment and training opportunities for future generations of terps. This is why I’m a proud donor to the Libraries.”

Shooshan hopes to inspire others to support the Student Workforce Endowment, and the Endowment is already proving to be a popular gift fund for the Libraries, having received an additional $2,783 in donations from 38 donors on Giving Day this year.

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