SPEC Kit 323: Socializing New Hires  ·  17
Survey Questions and Responses
The SPEC survey on Socializing New Hires was designed by Sharon Ladenson, Gender Studies and
Communications Librarian; Diane Mayers, Human Resources Administrator; and Colleen Hyslop, Senior
Associate Director and Head of Human Resources, Michigan State University Libraries. These results are
based on data submitted by 65 of the 126 ARL member libraries (52%) by the deadline of March 18, 2011. The
survey’s introductory text and questions are reproduced below, followed by the response data and selected
comments from the respondents.
Socialization is defined by Black and Leysen1 as: “how librarians assimilate the culture, values, and perspectives of the library, the
university, and the profession;” and in a wider context by Ballard and Blessing2 as: “the process by which employees learn about and
adapt to new jobs, roles, and the culture of the workplace.” Given the challenges that newcomers experience in research libraries—
such as highly demanding workload; time management; communicating and working within a large bureaucracy; acquiring
knowledge and skills in specific areas (such as collection development and liaison work); and transitioning from school to work—
effective socialization is critical.
In 1999, ARL published SPEC Kit 239, Mentoring Programs in ARL Libraries. Only 26% of the respondents reported having
formal mentoring programs. The survey identified wide and varied benefits to the mentee, mentor, and institution and provided
lessons and guidelines for the development of mentoring programs.
Since 1999, there has been increased focus in research libraries and in the literature on broader organizational socialization issues
and programs. The main purpose of this survey is to explore what progress has been made in ARL member libraries to establish or
enhance socialization strategies—such as mentoring, orientation for new hires, residency appointments, and staff development
opportunities directed at organizational acculturation—for all newly hired, paid employees. Issues to be explored include:
Current availability and types of socialization programs, activities, and resources in ARL libraries
Staff involved in designing and coordinating socialization activities
Organization, budget, and goals for socialization programs
Rate and length of participation in socialization activities
Evaluation and assessment of socialization programs
Primary benefits, impact, and outcomes of socialization activities
1 William K. Black and Joan M. Leysen, “Fostering Success: The Socialization of Entry-Level Librarians in ARL Libraries,”
Journal of Library
36 no. 4 (2002): 3–27.
2 Angela Ballard and Laura Blessing, “Organizational Socialization through Employee Orientation at North Carolina State University Libraries,”
College & Research Libraries
67 no. 3 (2006): 240–48.
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