Understanding the Organizational Value of Post–Master’s Degree Residency Programs Julie Brewer, Librarian and Coordinator of Personnel and Staff Development, University of Delaware Library P ost–master’s degree research library residency programs have been in place for many years, primarily in ARL libraries.1 A number of large research libraries have hosted residency programs for several decades.2 Accounts of residency programs are most often presented from the residents’ perspectives or discussed in terms of how participants benefit. Many former residents enthusiastically report on their residency experiences at professional conferences and in various publications. It is clear these early- career development opportunities greatly benefit participants. However, the decline in the economy of the past few years has challenged research libraries to assess how residency programs benefit the organization. How do residency programs further the mission and strategic goals of the library? Providing early-career development may not be enough of a rationale to start or continue a residency program when library budgets are being reduced. While a few residency programs are funded with endowments, grants, or other private funds, the majority of residency positions are managed as regular salary lines. These positions can be vulnerable even in good budget cycles, since they are temporary, short-term, and vacant at predictable times. Many pressing administrative needs compete for salary resources whenever a position opens. Continued funding depends on how well organizational benefits are understood and communicated. Residency programs require renewed commitment with each recruitment opportunity. As a former resident myself, as well as a residency program coordinator at the University of Delaware Library and as a consultant to residency programs in other research libraries, I have grown increasingly aware of the organizational benefits of residency programs and the importance RLI 272 23 OCTOBER 2010 RESEARCH LIBRARY ISSUES: A BIMONTHLY REPORT FROM ARL, CNI, AND SPARC
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