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Frequently asked questions: Margery C Ramsay & Barrett Reid scholarships

The Margery C Ramsay Scholarship and Barrett Reid Scholarship, each worth up to $30,000, are awarded by the Library Board of Victoria to a Victorian public library staff member to support their leadership development.

You are encouraged to read these answers to frequently asked questions in conjunction with the Guidelines & application forms page, which sets out the scholarships' eligibility criteria, application process and assessment procedure.

  • Is the selection panel looking for applications on a particular theme or topic this year?

No, the selection panel has no preconceived ideas on which topics, themes or activities will be funded each year. You may find inspiration in the list of possible research topics on the Guidelines & application forms page, but all other ideas are equally welcome. All applications will be assessed according to the same criteria, including the benefits the proposed program will bring to the individual, their library service, and the Victorian library sector. For a list of the selection criteria, please refer to section titled 'Assessment' on the Guidelines & application forms page.

  • Is there a minimum amount of funding that applicants should apply for?

You are not required to apply for a minimum amount of funding, but keep in mind that each scholarship is intended to fund a substantial professional development program.

  • Many previous recipients have used the scholarship to fund an overseas study tour or secondment. I cannot spend an extended time away from home due to family commitments. Can I still apply for a scholarship?

Yes, there are many options for developing a locally based scholarship program. Applications are assessed on individual merit and there is no preference given to overseas activities. Local activities might include: a research project within your own library service or another organisation; a secondment or work exchange with another Victorian library service; further study in librarianship, leadership, management or a specialist field; a shorter visit or study tour within Australia; or a combination of several activities. You could also consider collaborating with others on a joint application.

  • Can I apply for a scholarship to fund my studies at university or TAFE?

Undertaking a university or TAFE program or a short course is a valid use of scholarship funds. However, as your proposed scholarship program must demonstrate benefits to the Victorian library sector, your application is more likely to be successful if formal study is undertaken as part of a broader program of work.

  • Can I apply for a scholarship to fund a research or study program that runs for two or three years?

Scholarship programs typically run from a few months to up to one year. This is followed by a period of up to six months during which the recipient prepares their final report. Due to the annual timing of the scholarships, it is unlikely that a scholarship would be awarded for a proposed program over 12 months in duration (excluding the report writing period).

  • Can I purchase ebook readers, tablets, laptops or mobile phones in order to carry out a research project?

No, you cannot use scholarship funds to purchase IT equipment.

  • I would like to visit another organisation as part of my scholarship program. Do I need to contact the host organisation first?

Yes, it is strongly advised that you contact the host organisation to confirm their support prior to making your application.

  • I am not sure of the exact cost of my airfare or other expenses at this stage. Can I confirm these details later?

Your application should include your best estimate of likely costs based on information available at the time of application. Having a well-researched and realistic budget is an important factor in the selection process. The amount of funding cannot be altered after the scholarship is approved by the Library Board, but minor changes in expenses (within the budget) are to be expected.

  • Can I change my itinerary or planned activities once the scholarship has been awarded?

We recognise that opportunities and challenges may arise during the scholarship period. Any proposed changes to your program should be discussed with the scholarship administrator. If the changes are reasonable, within budget and in line with your original program scope and objectives, it is likely that the changes will be approved.

  • What proportion of the scholarship funds can be put towards staff replacement costs?

We recommend that staff replacement costs constitute no more than one third of the total funds requested (for example $10,000 towards staff replacement costs if $30,000 is requested). The employing library service will be required to invoice the State Library of Victoria for payment of these funds. The balance of the scholarship funds will be paid directly to the scholarship recipient at the award ceremony.

  • I have supplied a letter of support from my library service manager. Can my library service manager also act as a referee?

Yes, your library service manager is welcome to act as one of the two referees. He or she will need to complete the 'Referee' form available for download at the bottom of the Guidelines & application forms page.

  • How detailed should my final report be?

Your final report demonstrates your engagement with your learning experience, and you are encouraged to put thought into its preparation and presentation. It does not need to be a referenced research paper of publishable quality, although it can be. The final report will be submitted to the Advisory Committee on Public Libraries (a committee of the Library Board of Victoria), and you may be invited to make a presentation to the committee. Your report will be shared publicly via the Victorian Library Infonet, where you may also view papers from previous recipients.

More information

You're encouraged to contact the scholarship administrator for any inquiries about either scholarship or to discuss your proposal. Contact Robyn Ellard at rellard@slv.vic.gov.au or on 03 8664 7425.