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Synergy: News from ARL Diversity Programs—Issue 12 Focuses on Career Placement and Advancement

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Synergy, no. 12 (PDF)

The July 2015 issue of Synergy: News from ARL Diversity Programs features three essays on advancement for library and information professionals at various stages in their careers, from library school students to midcareer librarians. Four former ARL diversity and leadership program participants offer advice on how to prepare for those transitions and, in one case, offer considerations for institutions developing and managing diversity residency programs to ensure the most welcoming and successful experiences.

In this issue’s first essay, former ARL Leadership and Career Development Program (LCDP) fellow Lisa Shiota describes what led her to pursue a certification in digital libraries. Shiota urges her readers to consider the challenges as well as the benefits associated with pursuing formal coursework and credentialing as a professional development opportunity, while one is a full-time professional.

Prior to graduation from her master of library and information science program at the University of British Columbia, former ARL diversity scholar Mayu Ishida participated in a number of practical field experiences in preparation for starting her job search. These experiences, along with her educational background, rendered her more competitive as she pursued employment opportunities upon completion of her studies. Ishida outlines some of her thought process as she developed a strategy for developing skills and gaining experience prior to completing her LIS studies.

In the final essay, Madeline Sheldon and Jason Alston, alumni of the ARL Initiative to Recruit a Diverse Workforce, both entered the professional workforce through residency programs—temporary appointments in academic libraries—designed to increase diversity within the profession. The authors survey the literature and describe some of the perceived strengths and weaknesses of residency programs, as well as offer suggestions for how an institution might better support such a program. The essay offers practical advice to new professionals who are contemplating beginning their careers in one of a growing number of academic library residency programs.

Synergy: News from ARL Diversity Programs, issue 12 (PDF) is freely available on the ARL website.


The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) is a nonprofit organization of 124 research libraries in the US and Canada. ARL’s mission is to influence the changing environment of scholarly communication and the public policies that affect research libraries and the diverse communities they serve. ARL pursues this mission by advancing the goals of its member research libraries, providing leadership in public and information policy to the scholarly and higher education communities, fostering the exchange of ideas and expertise, facilitating the emergence of new roles for research libraries, and shaping a future environment that leverages its interests with those of allied organizations. ARL is on the web at http://www.arl.org/.

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