Universities Seeking to Increase Diversity Among Research Librarians

In 2015, Tyler Walters, dean of libraries at Virginia Tech, put together the Diversity Alliance for Academic Librarianship residency program. Only about 4 percent of research librarians are members of ethnic and racial minorities.

In addition to Virginia Tech, the founding members were American University in Washington, D.C,, the University of Iowa, and West Virginia University. The alliance has now has 36 members and is administered by the Association of College and Research Libraries in Chicago.

Each alliance member agrees to establish a residency position for a student from an underrepresented group at their institution spanning at least two years, but preferably three.

Dean Walters stated that we are trying to provide “a nurturing environment for those in underrepresented groups who may be interested in learning the ropes under the guidance of mentors. We are clearly beginning to make a national impact. We have begun and encouraged the conversation about diversity issues in libraries and the research library profession. Our vision is for this program to continue to expand and become even more impactful.”


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