As residency positions in librarianship have increased in popularity again, libraries have rushed to develop their own resident librarian programs. Nearly three years ago, my institution hired me as their very first resident librarian. This presentation will lay out a road map example of a successful and effective residency structure for universities.
Type of Library
My library has a new residency program, now what? Planning and implementing a successful residency program
As residency positions in librarianship have increased in popularity again, libraries have rushed to develop their own resident librarian programs. Nearly three years ago, my institution hired me as their very first resident librarian. This presentation will lay out a road map example of a successful and effective residency structure for universities. As my three-year residency concludes, there are many successes and challenges of the residency program experience to reflect upon. A successful program should focus on introducing residents to the organizational culture of academic librarianship, and provide formal training for the skill sets or areas of expertise that the resident librarian has chosen to focus on. A new resident entering the structure of a new residency program may struggle to find their place in the library system and find it difficult to make use of the resources laid before them.
As this residency program was the first of its kind at my university library, there were new and unexpected challenges. Academic libraries that hire residents from minoritized populations with limited familiarity with how libraries work, should implement more significant support and mentorship systems. The role of the library administration and of the resident’s direct supervisor should be clearly articulated, including a description of responsibilities and expectations of service and research. This should benefit both the library and the resident librarian, with the goal of having an organized residency structure, which includes professional development, assistance with forming a viable research agenda, national and university-wide service, and direct mentorship. In particular, the mentor-mentee relationship should be constructive, productive, and hold mutual trust. This residency plan should also include short-term and long-term goals, such as professional trajectory after the residency. While there were many challenges with the structure and organization during the first year, the whole process showed that mentorship was a vital component of a successful resident librarian. In the end, a mentor had a significant role in filling in the gaps during the first year of my residency. This yearlong journey of learning where the gaps are and what a resident librarian needs, have helped the library have a more organized timeline and plan. This will help new incoming resident librarians have a more productive adjustment period. My first year as the brand new resident librarian pushed me to take on a more active role in planning my future and what I truly wanted out of this residency. While library residency programs are meant to provide you with mentorship and guidance, it is ultimately on you to make this an experience that will leave you proud and allow you to grow into a strong and prepared librarian, colleague, and productive member of the university.