The Auburn University Libraries participates actively in several national projects designed to recruit and train a diverse and talented pool of academic librarians. Because studies project a severe shortage of qualified librarians during the next decade, members of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) are addressing this challenge through the following programs:
Members of the Association of Research Libraries are provided with opportunities to mentor and recruit participants from each of these programs. The Dean of the AU Libraries has actively participated as a member of the oversight committee in ARL, and as a mentor for the participants in these programs, and the AU Library has had many faculty and staff contribute through Auburn's residents program. We are currently revising, strengthening and clarifying that residents program. Participation provides us the opportunity to contribute to the future of our profession and maintain a preferred position in the recruitment of librarians who can contribute to the diversity and future of the Libraries.
What follows describes Auburn's Library Residents program, which has a significant role in Auburn's effort to recruit and prepare academic librarians. This residents program is a one-year program, renewable for a second year by mutual agreement of the resident and the Library, to introduce recent graduates from underrepresented ethnic groups to academic librarianship. The purpose of this program is to encourage recent library school graduates from underrepresented ethnic groups to participate in the academic library environment. Library residents often discover careers in academic librarianship, encourage others to seek such careers, and bring increased energy and diversity to the Auburn University campus and to academic librarianship. The Auburn University Libraries provide a technologically sophisticated academic research environment with a wide variety of on-going initiatives and projects.
At the beginning of each residency, the resident is given the opportunity to review submitted project descriptions from Library departments, choose the projects they would like to be involved with, and choose the departments or units to which they would prefer a briefer introduction. Among Library departments are Reference and Instruction Services; Acquisitions; the Veterinary Medical Library; the Library of Architecture, Design, and Construction; Cataloging; Systems; Circulation; and Document Delivery and Interlibrary Loan. Other choices include rare books, manuscripts, university archives, and preservation.
After brief introductions to departments, the resident works on his or her chosen projects in an order determined by the resident in consultation with the Assistant Dean for Collection Development and the Library Leadership group. This process is designed to expose the resident to the breadth of opportunities in an academic library. By the end of this introductory process, which may last for six months or more, the resident should be prepared to begin more extensive exposure to one of the Library departments. The residents assignment to a department will be made in consultation with the Assistant Dean for Collection Development and the Library Leadership Group.
The Library conducts nationwide searches to identify candidates for open residency positions. A search committee recommends candidates to the Library Dean. When appointed, new residents are given the following support, information and guidance:
The Library solicits from each resident an assessment of the effectiveness of the residency program and suggestions about methods to improve that program. Candidates interested in the residency program may be referred to former residents to receive first-hand information about the program.