14  ·  Survey Results:  Executive Summary
increase retention. Socialization activities can also
shape and reinforce a collegial environment, which
benefits the entire organization.
The purpose of the survey was to investigate the prog-
ress made in ARL member organizations to estab-
lish or enhance socialization programs and activities.
Survey results clearly demonstrate that socialization
activities are widespread and growing in research
libraries and archives. The volume of response and
detailed sample documents provided are indicative of
the prevalence of existing activities and institutional
commitment to these programs. There is a perception
of the critical importance and value of these activities
to the enhancement of organizational success. The
plethora of comments on the benefits of socialization
programs indicates that ARL members highly value
these efforts.
Orientation programs are ubiquitous. Staff devel-
opment is second only to orientation as a socialization
strategy for all new hires. Somewhat surprising is the
relatively low number of institutions that report hav-
ing a residency or fellowship program.
We were specifically interested in the current sta-
tus of mentoring programs, because there is ARL
data from 1999 in SPEC Kit 239, Mentoring Programs in
ARL Libraries. At that time, only 26% of respondents
reported formal mentoring programs. In the current
survey, half of the respondents report the existence of
a formal mentoring program, representing a doubling
in twelve years. Several cite university mentoring
mandates for faculty. In addition, 39% have other pair-
ing arrangements, such as job shadowing or coaching.
We anticipate that mentoring will continue to expand
as a socialization tool over the coming years.
It is clear from the comments that there is a great
deal of interest in improving existing programs and
offering new activities. ARL institutions have pro-
duced an impressive array of concrete resources that
are now available through this SPEC Kit to support
the development or expansion of a variety of social-
ization strategies. The results are rife with creative
ideas to enhance existing programs. The authors iden-
tified several practices that would strengthen their
institution’s mentoring and orientation activities. It is
not, however, clear from the results which activities
produce the best results, as little formal assessment
has occurred.
Survey results point to the need for development
and future research in the area of assessment. More
than half of the respondents have or plan to develop
tools for evaluation of socialization programs; how-
ever, feedback from participants through surveys or
other means is by far the most utilized approach at
this time. Without more concrete assessment tools, it
is difficult to point to the more successful strategies.
In particular, further research is needed to evalu-
ate the impact of socialization activities on retention
and success in tenure or continuing status. Each is
cited by more than two-thirds of respondents as an
important goal. Similarly, promoting an inclusive
workplace is a highly rated goal. It would be valuable
for libraries to know the most effective strategies to
support those goals, which requires determination
of outcome measures and appropriate assessment
Based on the generalized responses to the budget
queries, it is clear that libraries have made a significant
but largely unmeasured investment in socialization
programs in terms of staff time and other resources
committed to these activities. As libraries develop
greater capacity for assessment, it may prove fruitful
to collect data to evaluate the return on investment for
the individual strategies of orientation, formal men-
toring, less formal pairings such as job shadowing or
coaching, staff development, and residency programs.
Recognizing the importance of socialization ef-
forts, more than one respondent proposed that librar-
ies need to focus more on the continuing socialization
of all groups of employees, not just new hires. That too
is an area for future exploration.
ARL member institutions are strongly engaged in
a wide variety of socialization activities and report
significant benefits to both the individual and institu-
tion. Continued growth is anticipated.
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