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The Gerald H. and Victoria C. T. Read Assistantship is a graduate appointment made by Special Collections and Archives, a department of the Kent State University Libraries. The assistantship is available to a full-time Master’s-level graduate student enrolled in the iSchool's Library and Information Science program, who displays an interest in special collections and archives librarianship while exhibiting a high level of scholarship and academic excellence. The award is merit-based, not need-based, and includes a stipend plus tuition remission.
**Update: We are pleased to announce that the 2022/2023 Read Graduate Assistantship position has been filled. We will update this page with information whenever future positions become available.**
In 2006, University Libraries received a generous gift from the family of the late Victoria C.T. and Dr. Gerald H. Read that allowed for growth and expansion of the Department of Special Collections and Archives. Included in the improvements was the renovation of the 10th floor of the University Library, which nearly doubled the space available to Special Collections and Archives and funded the creation the Gerald H. and Victoria C. T. Read Classroom and Processing Center, a state-the-art instructional space intended for hands-on archival learning opportunities.
The gift, along with donations from other generous supporters, also allowed for the establishment of the first-ever endowed graduate assistantship in University Libraries – The Gerald H. and Victoria C.T. Read Archival Assistantship. The assistantship was created with a goal of providing support to future librarians, while they gain real-world experience in the administration of special collection and archives.
Dr. Read, a professor of comparative education at the university for 33 years, arranged in 1958 the first educational exchange between the United States and the Soviet Union. The special collections classroom and processing center are a tribute to the Read’s generosity and to Dr. Read’s influential scholarship aimed at bringing together educators from diverse cultural and intellectual traditions.
Victoria Read, who grew up in Flushing, Ohio, a village that is part of the Wheeling, West Virginia, metropolitan area, had no library to utilize when she was growing up. Victoria “Vickie” Ann Thornbury, daughter of the Read family, states that librarianship was her mother’s life-long interest, along with avid newspaper reading and information gathering.
“She always believed that a library would be good for the community, so later on in her life she started researching state funding and matching grants to see if she could start a branch library,” Thornbury said.
After much investigation and work, Read founded the Victoria C.T. Read/Flushing Branch Library, part of the Martin’s Ferry Library system, in the late 1980s.
Read’s love for libraries was carried on by Thornbury, a Kent State University graduate, who began her 30-year career as a librarian at the Akron-Summit County Public Library before moving to her current residence in North Carolina, where she worked in the public school system.
“Librarianship isn’t just about the acquisition of books and materials, but includes also the storage and processing of information,” Thornbury says. “I realized in my career that funding is tight in the areas of processing and storage for libraries. This gift will provide greater organization and space."
University Libraries is honored to have received this generous gift from the Read Family. Their generosity continues to have an impact today. The Read Assistantship has provided a number of graduate students meaningful pre-professional work in Special Collections & Archives, many of whom have gone on to chart successful careers in professional librarianship at prominent institutions including Cleveland Public Library, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Library & Archives, University of California (Santa Barbara) Libraries, University of Virginia Libraries, National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, University of Maryland Libraries, among others.