2011-13 ARL Diversity Scholars at Leadership Symposium, Dallas, January 2012
Photo by Holly Kuper
The ARL Initiative to Recruit a Diverse Workforce, funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and ARL member libraries, offers a stipend of up to $10,000 to students currently enrolled in an MLIS or equivalent degree program from an ALA–accredited institution in support of graduate library and information science (LIS) education. The purpose of the program is to attract students from racial and ethnic minority groups to careers in academic and research libraries.
The IRDW stipends can be coupled with any other financial aid to provide an extra incentive for completing graduate library and information science degrees. This program reflects the commitment of ARL members to create a diverse academic and research library community that will better meet the challenges of changing demographics in higher education and the emphasis on global perspectives in the academy.
Funding is not the only issue that needs to be addressed in developing effective recruitment efforts. Data from the Association for Library and Information Science Education (ALISE) indicate that the numbers of racial and ethnic minorities graduating from library and information science programs are dropping. LIS students from underrepresented backgrounds are choosing careers in special and public libraries at higher percentages than they choose academic and research library careers, in part, because of the relationships students build with those types of libraries while still in school. For many of these students, the recruitment process occurs during an internship experience or while involved in a mentoring program. To address this problem, ARL’s enhanced Initiative to Recruit a Diverse Workforce includes a formal mentoring program, leadership development training (held during ALA Midwinter Meetings), career placement assistance, and support for skills development.
The ARL Initiative to Recruit a Diverse Workforce is charged with supporting minority recruitment efforts at ARL libraries. The implementation of residency programs and recruitment efforts targeted at new professionals increases the need and capacity of ARL libraries to recruit from recent graduate pools. Furthermore, ARL member institutions are committed to building a program that focuses specifically on recruitment, with measurable results, to complement other efforts like the Career Enhancement Program, and the Leadership and Career Development Program for mid-career librarians of color.