New Effort Aims to Increase Diversity Among Academic Librarians

The libraries at four major universities have launched the Resident Librarian Program in an effort to increase diversity on their staffs and in the academic library profession. Under the program, librarians from diverse backgrounds in the early stages of their careers will be hired for a three-year period. The resident librarians will be provided with a unique training and educational experience in a research library environment. They will be able to specialize in particular areas, participate in professional development activities, and to engage in research.

Participating universities are American University in Washington, D.C., the University of Iowa, Virginia Tech, and West Virginia University.

Jon E. Cawthorne, dean of libraries at West Virginia University, notes that “we are excited to promote diversity at WVU while helping new academic librarians lay strong foundations for their careers. We also anticipate positive benefits for the entire campus community when our resident libraries begin working with students and faculty.”

Two of the three resident libraries to begin work at West Virginia University his month are African Americans.

Chanelle PPickensickens is a library assistant at ITT Technical Institute in Henderson, Nevada. Pickens holds a bachelor’s degree in communication from the University of Tennessee and a master of library and information science degree from San Jose State University in California.

CorenAAshleigh D. Coren has worked as an Americorps volunteer for Steps to Success, an academic enrichment program based in Brookline, Massachusetts. She has also served as a part-time reference librarian at Simmons College in Boston where she earned a master of library and information science degree. Coren is a graduate of Bates College in Maine, where she majored in art and visual culture.

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