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Association of Research Libraries (ARL®)

  Diversity Programs Contact:
Mark A. Puente
Initiative to Recruit a Diverse Workforce (IRDW)

Call for Applications: Deadline May 1, '12

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The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) Diversity Programs is accepting applications for the Initiative to Recruit a Diverse Workforce (the Initiative), a program designed to recruit masters of library and information science (MLIS) students from traditionally underrepresented racial and ethnic minority groups into careers in research libraries. The Initiative includes a stipend up to $10,000, leadership and career development training, and a formal mentorship program.


The ARL Initiative to Recruit a Diverse Workforce, funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and ARL member libraries, offers a stipend up to $10,000 (over two years) to attract MLIS students from underrepresented groups to careers in research libraries. These stipends can be combined with other financial aid to provide an extra incentive for completing library and information science degrees. This program reflects the commitment of ARL members to create a diverse research library community that will better meet the challenges of changing demographics in higher education and the emphasis of global perspectives in the academy.

Program Goal and Objectives:

  • Attracting MLIS students from underrepresented groups to careers in research libraries, especially students with an educational background in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) disciplines.*

  • Strengthening participants’ leadership skills via a Leadership Symposium held during the ALA Midwinter Meeting

  • Developing a network of mentors who will guide and nurture the career development of the participants

* Candidates from all academic disciplines are encouraged to apply. Those without academic training in STEM disciplines will be required to complete coursework that will better prepare the candidate to work in related areas.

Program Design

The ARL Initiative to Recruit a Diverse Workforce consists of four main components in the two-year time frame: (1) stipend award and disbursement, (2) an ongoing Mentoring Relationship, (3) a three-day Leadership Symposium hosted during ALA’s Midwinter Meeting, and (4) a hosted visit to the Purdue University Libraries. A "community of learners" will be created with in-person exchanges and online interaction among the Diversity Scholar cohort and their mentors.

Mentor Relationship

Mentors will be recruited based on mutual interest. Mentors are asked to commit time to the program's success; this includes interacting virtually and in-person as needed with his or her designated protégé. Mentors are expected to interact selectively, but regularly, with ARL Diversity Scholars via electronic communications, conference calls, and by attending the networking reception held during the ALA Midwinter Meeting. Scholar- and mentor-pairs will establish mutual expectations for their newly developed working relationship.

Program Promotion

The ARL Initiative to Recruit a Diverse Workforce is a highly visible program sponsored by ARL member institutions and IMLS. ARL Diversity Scholars are expected to work with ARL to provide information (i.e., résumé, photo, e-mail address, etc.) to inform the ARL community about their participation in the program. ARL will announce the Diversity Scholars in print, online, and other communication vehicles, and provide information about each scholar on our Web site.


Application Criteria

  1. Member of an underrepresented racial or ethnic minority (Note: Racial and ethnic minority group membership is based on the categories outlined in the US Census. Racially and ethnically underrepresented groups include: American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Black or African American, Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, Hispanic or Latino.)

  2. Citizen or permanent resident of the United States, Puerto Rico, or Canada

  3. Acceptance into an ALA-accredited MLIS program

  4. Interest in pursuing a career in a research library

Application Checklist

Completed applications should be submitted by May 1, 2012.

To be completed online:

____ Applicant summary sheet

Please upload online in PDF:

____ Résumé

____ A 400-word essay describing what attracts you to a professional position in an ARL library (essays should be typed and addressed to the Initiative Selection Committee). Criteria for evaluating the essays:

a) Clarity and content
b) Clearly articulated career goals and professional interests
c) Enthusiasm
d) Perceived potential for growth

To be mailed directly to ARL:

____ Two letters of reference: one of which should be from a supervisor or school faculty member who can speak to the applicant's:

a) Oral and written expression
b) Achievements
c) Interpersonal skills (e.g., ability to work as a part of a team)
d) Initiative

Letters of reference must contain an original signature, written on either corporate or institutional letterhead, and must be mailed in a sealed envelope with the recommender's signature on the seal of the envelope.

____ Official undergraduate and graduate school transcripts including your last academic semester completed

____ Copy of an official letter of acceptance from an ALA-accredited library/information school

Letters of reference, transcripts, and letter of acceptance should be mailed to:
Marianne Seales
c/o ARL Diversity Programs
Association of Research Libraries
21 Dupont Circle NW, Suite 800
Washington DC 20036

Application & Program Timeline:

  • February 6, 2012: ARL issues Call for Applications

  • May 1, 2012: Applications due to ARL

  • July 9, 2012: Applicant notified of selection decision by e-mail

  • August 1, 2012: Memorandum of Understanding, Letter of Reiteration, and Fall 2012 enrollment verification due to ARL

  • September 1, 2012: First-semester stipends disbursed

  • January 24-27, 2013: Scholars attend Ninth Annual ARL Leadership Symposium

  • February 1, 2013: Second-semester stipends disbursed to those who meet qualifications

For questions about the application process please contact Mark A. Puente, Director of Diversity Programs, by e-mail at