of communicating these benefits. Following are some of the administrative
rationales for continuing to support residency programs in difficult economic
times, demonstrating that residency programs reward library organizations as
well as the residents.
A primary objective of many residency programs is to increase the racial
and ethnic diversity of the library staff, which in turn supports the broader
organizational goal of expanding the delivery of library services to increasingly
diverse student and faculty populations. Much has been written about how
diversity contributes to organizational productivity, decision making, and
culture and most research universities include diversity among their core values.
Faculty, staff, and student recruitment initiatives are specifically designed to
increase campus diversity. Post-master’s residency programs naturally align
with library and campus diversity goals.
While residency programs do increase staff diversity, there are additional
diversity outcomes that are not as visible. Long-standing residency programs
bring value to research libraries beyond changing
demographics. They very publicly demonstrate a
sustained commitment to diversity over time, as
well as organizational adeptness in managing
diversity. These are significant indicators of
organizational effectiveness that enhance diversity recruitment and retention
for positions throughout the library.
Job seekers from underrepresented groups notice library employers that
host residency programs. A long-standing residency can be a positive indication
of a welcoming environment to prospective employees. Residency programs
contribute to diversity retention, as well. Many library staff from under-
represented groups make meaningful contributions to residency programs and
take pride in the success of the resident librarians. They are often very attuned to
how the program is handled by administrators and valued by colleagues. Current
and prospective employees from all backgrounds view the residency program as
a measure of the organization’s ability to manage diversity.
Beyond racial and ethnic diversity, residency programs also contribute to
career-span diversity within research libraries. The composition of professional
staff in large research libraries is typically dominated by mid-career and late-
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
Long-standing residency programs bring value to
research libraries beyond changing demographics.