Scholarship Named After MHPL's Marlene Balser

Marlene Balser Library Scholarship worth $1,000 for a library worker to pursue further education or attend a library conference or meeting
Posted on 27 March 2024 by Chris Brown.

We always love a chance to celebrate one of our own.

Marlene Balser has worked at MHPL since the summer of 1981, when she was hired for the reference desk. She’s still helping patrons at the reference desk downstairs, and can also be found guiding patrons through the library edition of Ancestry and hosting activities for adults with developmental delays. She’s also been heavily involved with the Alberta Library Employees Committee (ALEC), which is part of CUPE, the union that represents library workers. 

Marlene stepped down from ALEC more than a year ago. So it was big surprise when she learned an annual scholarship will be named after her in honour of her commitment to libraries, ALEC and CUPE.

“I was like, ‘what? Ow wow!’” she says of getting the email. 

The Marlene Balser Library Scholarship is a $1,000 scholarship that will go to a library worker who wishes to pursue further education or attend a library event such as a conference or meeting.  

Marlene says CUPE Local 46 has been extremely supportive of library workers here, but not all Locals offer the same level of support. She adds ALEC and CUPE conferences and meetings are valuable learning experiences and the travel costs associated sometimes keep people from smaller Locals from attending.

She’s also pleased the scholarship could lessen the burden of someone paying for educational courses.

“Often library workers will have more than one job, and they have families often and they don’t have the means maybe of furthering their education. Maybe they want to do library technician online type of thing or upgrade some of their courses or whatever. This would allow them to do it,” she says. 

The first round of applications for the scholarship opens this summer, with a winner to be selected this fall.

Congratulations, Marlene!

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