There are two basic types of library science fellowships: fellowships for professionals and fellowships for students. In some cases, the term "fellowship" is used interchangeably with "scholarship" or "grant." Both professional and student fellowships have a variety of eligibility requirements and responsibilities for the winner. Sometimes the fellowship award is cash, and sometimes it is a scholarship to a school program, conference, or the recipient's place of work for furthering library programs.
Fellowships are usually based on a combination of merit, references, essays, and other criteria. Some library science fellowships are created for a certain group of people, or for an individual pursuing a particular concentration in library science. Minority fellowships are an example of the first. The financial situation of the student or professional is not always a factor, but some scholarships stipulate that financial need must be shown for an applicant to be eligible.
Student fellowships typically award scholarship funds to the recipient. Depending on the requirements, the funds may be for a specific library science program or any library science program. Typically, large university library science programs have several scholarships, grants, and fellowship available for matriculated library science students. There are also organizations, such as the American Library Association, that award library science fellowships to eligible applicants for any graduate program.
The requirements of a student fellowship usually include national exam scores, like the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), transcripts, references from teachers, mentors, or employers, and an essay depicting that student's goals and accomplishments in library science. There may also be an interview or other requirement, depending on the fellowship itself. Large fellowships that cover the entire amount of tuition and board usually require the recipient to fulfill certain duties throughout the year. For instance, the recipient may teach one or two undergraduate classes or act as a research assistant for a professor.
Professional library science fellowships may be based on experience, membership in an organization, professional accomplishments, publications, or a variety of other criteria. Some award a cash prize, and others provide funds to be put toward professional development courses, attending conferences, or furthering a library program. Some professional fellowships have an experience requirement. For instance, there are library science fellowships that require applicants to have at least eight years of experience and those that require less than five years experience.
Some professional fellowships are awarded along with the title "Artist in Residence" or "Teacher in Residence." In this case, the recipient is required to teach a number of classes, prepare demonstrations, or give informative talks on a particular topic. These fellowships are typically offered by universities, museums, and libraries, and are usually very prestigious.