Diversity Alliance Resident Librarian

The U-M Library has joined the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) Diversity Alliance in becoming a host organization for a Resident Librarian position. The program objective is to invest in the diversification of librarianship by recruiting librarians from underrepresented groups and preparing them for a successful career in the field.

Participation in the Diversity Alliance will provide the benefit of learning from other academic libraries who have been engaged in residency programs for several years. This cohort approach will allow residents to share their networks, connect at conferences, facilitate a deeper understanding of the profession and prepare them for success in scholarship, professional service, and leadership.

Program Design

The Library Residency Program is designed to attract individuals who value and support diversity and inclusion within the profession.  

This program will give participants a three-year experience that will build their skills, knowledge, and experience working in a premier academic research library.   

Key program objectives include:

  • Increase diversity within the ranks of the U-M Library
  • Increase diversity in the field of academic librarianship
  • Enhance UM’s reputation as an institution that supports, trains and mentors diverse librarians

YEAR ONE: Resident will choose 1-2 themes to work on throughout the year

The first year will be devoted to acclimating the resident to U-M, the Library, and to academic librarianship as a whole. Consequently, the resident will be assigned to a thematic area that crosses over a variety of library units and divisions. This approach provides a more matrix-based experience that is primarily focused on the work and not on the division in which one is placed.

Residents will be exposed to a broad range of library staff, operations, services, and functions in each thematic area throughout the library. The resident will have the support of at least one mentor, the program manager and various professionals throughout the library. Residents will also work with the program manager to create a strategic professional development plan which will be funded by the library.

Given the following themes, the expectation is that diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion values will be manifested throughout the themes and the work that is taking place.


  1. Curation: The active and ongoing management of content through its life cycle of interest and usefulness to scholarship, research, teaching, and education.
    Divisions that engage:  Research, Library Information Technology (LIT), Publishing, Collections
  2. Preservation & Access: The set of activities that aims to prolong the life of a digital and analog records and relevant metadata, or enhance its value, or improve access to it.
    Divisions that engage: LIT, Collections
  3. Digital Scholarship: The use of digital evidence, methods of inquiry, research, publication, and preservation to achieve scholarly and research goals. Digital scholarship can encompass both scholarly communication using digital media and research on digital media.
    Divisions that engage: Collections, Learning & Teaching, Research, Publishing, Taubman
  4. Scholarly Communication: How scholars use and disseminate information through formal and informal channels in the context of an ecosystem of information organizations and supply chains.
    Divisions that engage: Collections, Research, Publishing, Taubman, Learning & Teaching
  5. Learning and Teaching: Defining the library’s role in advancing the scholarship and practice of learning and teaching; exploring the role of technology and how it might influence teaching styles, assessment, course content and delivery; improving pedagogy.
    Divisions that engage: LIT, Collections, Research, Taubman, Publishing
  6. Liaison Librarianship
    Health Sciences Librarianship
    :  Activities designed to assist health care providers, other health professionals, faculty, students, researchers, and information specialists in finding and applying health and biomedical  information.
    Divisions that engage:  Taubman
    Subject Liaison:  Structured and formal activities in which subject/functional experts systematically design, plan, partner, and deliver services in support of the research, teaching, and learning needs of the faculty and graduates students and those of their students.
    Divisions that engage:  Research
  7. Library Management and Leadership: Library Management and Leadership manages internal and external administrative matters for the Library, providing leadership, strategic planning, resource and personnel management, communications/marketing, development/fundraising, space planning, and direction of the overall operations of the Library.
    Divisions that engage: Budget & Planning
  8. Special/Archival Collections: Archives represent a program to appraise, acquire, arrange and describe, preserve, authenticate, and provide access to permanently valuable records; including the digitization and representation of these items and collections online.  In addition, this theme includes the preservation of books and archives considered important enough to be preserved for future generations; having significant research and/or cultural value.
    Divisions that engage: Collections, LIT, Research
  9. Impact & Relevance: Demonstrating and engaging in strategies focused on impact and relevance requires a variety of capabilities including assessment, analytics, user experience, usability, and accessibility which manifest themselves in a variety of ways throughout our organization and higher education.
    Divisions that engage: All
  10. Community Outreach: The U-M Library offers a range of services, as well as programs that include classes, workshops, events, and activities. We strive to make sure that our services and programs are available to the residents of Michigan.  These includes services to students and faculty with disabilities, veterans, first generation students, and non-traditional students.  Additionally, we serve a variety of community groups and organizations including K-12, public libraries, media centers/libraries, and cultural heritage organizations.
    Divisions that engage: All

YEAR TWO: Embedded in 1-2 Library areas

Each resident will be assigned to a library department with specific duties based on the resident’s career objectives and the needs of the U-M Library.  Residents may also have the opportunity to gain understanding of and experience in other areas of the library through projects and/or committee work. Mentorship and professional development activities will continue.

Year THREE:  Embedded in 1 area; Capstone Project TBD

Each resident will continue their departmental assignment or may rotate to another department based on the resident’s career objectives and the needs of the U-M Library.  Residents may also have the opportunity to gain understanding of and experience in other areas of the library through projects and/or committee work. Mentorship and professional development activities will continue.  

Capstone Project

A capstone project is a multifaceted assignment that serves as a culminating academic and intellectual experience for residents, during their final year of the residency. While similar in some ways to a college thesis, capstone projects may take a wide variety of forms, but most are long-term investigative projects that culminate in a final product, presentation, or performance. For example, residents may be asked to select a topic or problem that interests them, conduct research on the subject, maintain a portfolio of findings or results, create a final product demonstrating their learning or conclusions (a paper, short film, or multimedia presentation, for example), and give an oral presentation on the project to a panel of librarians, experts, and community members who collectively evaluate its quality.

Capstone projects are generally designed to encourage residents to think critically, solve challenging problems, and develop skills such as oral communication, public speaking, research skills, media literacy, teamwork, planning, self-sufficiency, or goal setting—i.e., skills that will help prepare them for careers in academic librarianship. Capstone projects can allow residents to connect their projects to community issues or problems, and to integrate real world learning experiences, including activities such as interviews or scientific observations.

In the course of the program, residents will contribute to the success of the U-M Library in specific ways and will, in turn, be supported by the U-M Library community. The Resident Librarian experience will include:

  • One or more home unit(s) with specific expectations, a team of colleagues and direct supervision based on career objectives and the needs of the U-M Library
  • At least one mentor based on career objectives and/or personal identity
  • Regular engagement with the U-M Library Diversity & Inclusion Specialist
  • Access to the U-M Library Executive Council/library leadership through the supporting AUL
  • Strategic placement on U-M Library and university-wide committees and projects
  • Supported and strategic contribution to librarianship which may include but are not limited to:
    Program development & implementation
  • Supported and strategic professional development which may include:
    Professional association membership and engagement
    Conference and workshop participation
    U-M learning & professional development programs
    Professional career coaching

Program Benefits

Diversity, equity, and Inclusion are critical to librarianship; the mission of this program is to support this value. According to the 2014/15 Association of Research Libraries (ARL) Salary Survey, 85.2% of librarian professionals are White and the minority population is 14.8%.  The breakdown of the minority population is: 6.8% Asian, 4.6% Black, 3.0% Hispanic, and .4% American Indian/Alaskan. These statistics demonstrate that Academic librarianship could benefit from recruiting for diversity and developing retention initiatives to keep and develop librarians from underrepresented groups.

The U-M Library Residency Program grows out of our longstanding commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.  It supports the University of Michigan’s Diversity Strategic Plan overarching strategy 2: Recruit, Retain and Develop a Diverse Community. It also enhances the profession by participating in a new collaborative effort supported by the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL).   Among other recruitment venues, we will recruit from diversity programs within several professional associations including the ARL Diversity Scholars, SAA Mosaic, ACE Scholars, ALA Spectrum Scholars and the American Library Association (ALA) minority caucuses.  

The Library’s commitment to create one or two 3-year residency positions will increase the numbers of opportunities for underrepresented groups to gain the knowledge, skills and competencies to thrive in an academic context.   In addition, Residents would strengthen the U-M Library community by immediately helping to diversify the ranks of the librarians and by bringing fresh ideas and diverse perspectives.

It should be noted that the Library supported a relatively successful residency program over 10 years ago; this kind of program is not foreign to our organization.

Managing and Supporting the Residency Program

Jeff Witt, Diversity specialist, will serve as the program coordinator.  Jeff will work with the residents throughout their 3-year experience.  He will be a consistent presence who will be a liaison between the residents and their respective supervisors, mentors, HR, and others throughout U-M Library.  

Jeff will provide overarching guidance over the following areas:

  • Recruitment, selection, and hiring of residents
    Work closely with hiring managers, LHR and UM General Council
  • Supporting supervisors in Resident onboarding and training
  • Recruitment, selection, and training of mentors
  • Supporting supervisors in the creation of the work plans and development plans
  • Program assessment
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Last modified: 05/04/2017