Volume 27, Number 1, Spring 2005

Making It Real! Recruitment, Education, and Learning: Creating a New Generation of Librarians to Serve All New Yorkers

by Mary Linda Todd, Division of Library Development, New York State Education Department

The federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) has approved the New York State Library’s proposal for a statewide recruitment project entitled “Making it REAL! Recruitment, Education, And Learning: Creating a New Generation of Librarians to Serve All New Yorkers.” A grant award of $995,630 over a period of three years will fund the recruitment of forty-four new professional librarians into a wide variety of library positions and will bring greater visibility and diversity to the field. The grant will enable the launch of a bold and imaginative plan to effect fundamental change in recruitment and education for librarianship. This award is part of IMLS’ program entitled Librarians for the 21st Century and the project will be a significant step toward realizing the goal of the Regents New Century Libraries legislative initiative: recruitment of a new generation of librarians to bring greater visibility and diversity to the profession.

Through collaborative efforts between New York’s library systems and library schools, this grant is pioneering the idea of Teaching Libraries that will educate and mentor 15 new students through scholarships and work experience. In addition, this grant will fund scholarships for twenty-nine new students at graduate schools of library and information science in New York aimed at enhancing diversity in library service. Scholarship recipients will attend the 2005 New York Library Association (NYLA) conference in Buffalo, NY where NYLA will feature conference programs on the theme of diversity issues for libraries. A key component of this grant is the creation of an online career resource center to assist current and future librarians in finding statewide career information and job opportunities.

This grant is unique due to the large number of project partners and the high level of statewide participation. It aims to combat the shortage of professional librarians, encourage diversity in the profession, prepare new librarians to serve diverse populations, and address New York’s regional library needs. Mary Linda Todd, a library development specialist in the Division of Library Development at the New York State Library, is the project manager. For further information please visit the grant Web site or contact Todd at (518) 486-4858.