Mapping the residency program landscape

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Gerald V. Holmes, Reference Librarian and Diversity Coordinator (Creator)
LaTesha Velez, Assistant Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:

Abstract: When properly structured, library residencies introduce recently graduated Master of Library and/or Information Science (MLIS) professionals to librarianship, allow recent graduates to apply the knowledge and skills learned during their MLIS studies, and infuse host institutions with new, innovative ideas, including the latest technology and theory being taught in library and information science (LIS) programs. Unfortunately, rather than realizing their potential, residencies are often hampered by miscommunication and a lack of organization that cause real harm to the new resident and the current employees by creating a tense, sometimes even hostile, work environment. This can negate the potential benefits of a residency program, leaving the resident unhappy and disillusioned by the library profession. Understanding the current landscape of residency programs is a necessary first step toward evaluating the efficacy of this form of early career employment in retaining an innovative and engaged next generation of library professionals. Using survey research, this study answered the questions: What are the characteristics of residency programs? How is success measured in residency programs? What are some specific best practices that residency programs are currently implementing? The findings from this survey indicate that there is no one-size-fits-all residency program structure, from the mission and goals of the programs to how a program measures its ultimate success, responses were varied. While there are positive trends, like residencies lasting for at least two years, there is still much work to be done. Notably, most programs still only have one resident per cohort and residency cohorts do not overlap leading residents to feel isolated. While we concede there are likely many concerns (including budgetary) that may make two or more residents per cohort or overlapping cohorts unfeasible, it is an issue that should be addressed because many residents themselves have asked for this change. We also detail several suggestions for building and maintaining buy-in among stakeholders in the residency program, a necessary step toward ensuring each resident feels welcome in an institution and is ultimately successful. It is our hope that this research provides residency program coordinators with a roadmap to follow when planning or re-evaluating their residencies.

Additional Information

The Journal of Academic Librarianship 47(5), 102389.
Language: English
Date: 2021
Library residency programs, Diversity residency programs, Best practices, Communication with stakeholders, Suggestions for residency program coordinators/supervisors

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