career librarians. Because research libraries are large, complex organizations with work that is highly specialized, search committees naturally favor candidates with the most technical expertise and years of experience. It is not unusual for search committees to prefer candidates with the most advanced education and greatest record of scholarship to ensure their success through promotion and tenure systems. Although unintentional, these environmental and cultural factors substantially limit employment opportunities for early- career librarians. It is rare to find position announcements in research libraries requiring less than three to five years of professional experience. Residency programs intentionally remove these institutional employment barriers for early-career librarians. Residency positions are designed for new graduates with no post-master’s professional experience. Many are classified as non–tenure track positions, providing time for residents to acclimate to the higher education environment and build a record of scholarship and professional service “off-the-clock.” Organizational Effectiveness Research libraries with long-standing residency programs value the unique contributions that early-career librarians bring to the organization. Those just out of graduate school bring an immediate student perspective. Their recent student experience and ability to connect with the library’s primary constituency is invaluable. In addition, they bring enthusiasm and currency with emerging technologies, as well as knowledge of how students and faculty are using or could be using these technologies in their research. Their enthusiasm, their new ideas, and their willingness to experiment contribute to the goals and mission of research libraries. Career-span diversity also enhances organizational effectiveness through professional and career development. When individuals at different points in their careers work, collaborate, and learn from one another the organization is more dynamic. Senior staff have opportunities to mentor and be recognized for their expertise and experience. Newer staff bring questions, ideas, and energy for change. The professional development interests of both senior and early- career librarians are met when they collaborate in pairs and on teams. Another organizational benefit is the extension of professional development opportunities originally designed for resident librarians to other staff. Long- standing residency programs often extend mentoring programs, seminars, and RLI 272 25 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
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