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.

Check back for our 2024 scholarship recipient announcement this summer. Support continuing excellence in Virginia's libraries by donating to our scholarship fund.


2023 VLA Scholarship Recipients

The VLA Scholarship Committee is pleased to announce the 2023 scholarship recipients.  Congratulations to Christopher Skipper, Shawna LoMonaco, and Kelli Murrie on their academic excellence and dedication to librarianship in Virginia!  They each receive $3000 from VLA to help with costs associated with their education.

The 2023 recipient of the Clara M. Stanley VLA Professional Associates Forum Scholarship is Christopher Skipper of Virginia Beach. Christopher has worked for Tidewater Community College since 2017 as a Library Specialist. He is currently pursuing an MLIS at Valdosta State University. 

Christopher’s interest in libraries began when he recognized the library was a safe place for him as a queer youth.  He became an active advocate for his community, including suggesting LGBTQIA+ titles for inclusive collections and lobbying for equal rights and protection with Hampton Roads Pride.  After years of volunteering and working in libraries, he now hopes to leverage his educational background in cybersecurity by becoming a systems librarian. One of his references spoke highly about how Christopher “observes and evaluates services and suggests ways to streamline service provision to benefit both our public and college customers, especially by using technology.”  Examples of Christopher’s innovative solutions include designing a new interactive online map for study rooms and offering cybersecurity training for staff.


Shawna LoMonaco of Portsmouth is a recipient of the 2023 VLA Scholarship.  She is currently pursuing an MLIS program at Old Dominion University. Shawna works as a Library Supervisor and Early Childhood Development Commission Manager at Suffolk Public Library.

Shawna spent several years happily teaching Preschool before her move to librarianship. When she started as a Children’s Library Assistant at Suffolk Public Library, her love for libraries blossomed and her career goals expanded.  She now has over a decade of experience providing education and outreach to Virginia’s children.  Shawna has been actively involved in VLA, including presenting at previous conferences and attending the Virginia Library Leadership Academy in 2022.  In her essay, Shawna shared the accomplishment she is most proud of:  the creation of the Suffolk Public Library’s summer Mess Hall food program in 2017, where children can receive a free lunch while engaging in library-led programming during the summer.  As Shawna stated, “...this truly encompasses the goal of libraries…identify a community need and through partnership, persistence, and support…we were able to meet the need and bring free food to our youngest patrons.”  After graduation, she hopes to become an Elementary School Librarian within a local Title I elementary school.


Kelli Murrie of Copper Hill is the final recipient of the 2023 VLA Scholarship. Kelli is a Senior Library Assistant and Branch Manager at the Bent Mountain branch of the Roanoke County Public Library and a volunteer with the Bent Mountain chapter of the General Federation of Women’s Club. She is currently pursuing her MLIS at Old Dominion University.

Kelli was told she seemed destined for librarianship, despite her initial hesitations. Her grandmother worked as a high school librarian “didn’t exactly dispel the stereotypical images…of a librarian as an uptight, shushing old lady.” Now a well-researched adult, Kelli “fell in love with the idea of libraries as community hubs and library workers as fighters for the betterment of society.”  One major factor in determining our scholarship recipients is “evidence of a commitment to a career in librarianship in Virginia,” and Kelli is clearly dedicated to fighting for the betterment of her community in Southwest Virginia. She is now the Manager of the Bent Mountain branch she visited as a child and where she began her career as a Page.  After graduation, she is committed to continuing her work in public libraries.

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