site visits to other continuing staff. Many of the cross-institutional learning and
networking opportunities initiated for resident librarians benefit other early-
career librarians, as well. Recent examples of collaborative learning and
networking opportunities across institutions are the Chesapeake Information and
Research Library Alliance (CIRLA) Fellows Program and the regional residency
program meeting held at the University of Delaware Library in April 2010. The
consideration given to supporting the regular influx of early-career librarians and
their professional development sustains a culture of learning for everyone.
The staffing flexibility provided by residency programs also enhances the
organization’s ability to manage change. Having a temporary, professional
position available every year or two years allows research libraries to
experiment with the design and delivery of new services. Residents can fulfill
short-term staffing needs before continuing resources are committed. Residents
often assist research libraries to explore and adopt emerging technologies. New
trends can be investigated with a timeliness that is not possible through more
traditional staffing such as requesting a new position or reassigning or retraining
existing staff. As a result, residency programs enhance organizational flexibility
and the ability of research libraries to manage change.
Residency programs also help to develop frontline managers or specialists in
areas that are difficult to recruit, such as the natural and health sciences.
Research libraries with long-standing residency programs recognize the value of
developing leaders “in-house.” Providing leadership development is especially
important as early-career librarians take on management responsibilities.
Residency programs are one way research libraries prepare individuals for
leadership positions early in their careers. The libraries benefit by tailoring
development opportunities to the specific needs of the organization.
After reviewing the organizational impact of some long-standing programs, it is
apparent that post-master’s residency programs have broader organizational
benefits than may have been initially understood at their implementation.
Residency programs that started out years ago as strategies for minority
recruitment and early-career development have succeeded in enhancing
organizational climate and flexibility. They no longer focus exclusively on how
Understanding the Organizational Value of Post–Master’s Degree Residency Programs
C O N T I N U E D
OCTOBER 2010 RESEARCH LIBRARY ISSUES: A BIMONTHLY REPORT FROM ARL, CNI, AND SPARC