Recruiting Urban Public LibrariansBy Connie Paul, Central Jersey Regional Library Cooperative
Central Jersey Regional Library Cooperative (CJRLC) is a partner in a $999,861 Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program grant to recruit urban public librarians. The 2006 grant was announced at the 2006 ALA Annual Conference and covers three years. Building on a current IMLS grant, the project’s main goal is to increase minority and bilingual staff in New Jersey’s urban public libraries. The project provides assistance in the form of scholarships and time off for twenty-five diverse New Jersey urban library employees to achieve their next level of library education. Five urban public library staff members will earn an AA degree; eight current BA students who already have sixty credits will earn a BA degree; ten BA graduates will earn a master’s degree in library science; one current Ph.D. student will finish the program; and one new Ph.D. student will receive an assistantship. Other partners are The New Jersey State Library; Rutgers University School of Communication, Information and Library Studies (SCILS); Thomas Edison State College; and the New Jersey Library Association.
The current three-year grant was awarded in 2003. Nine students are completing their MLIS degrees at Rutgers’ SCILS, ten students are working on a BA degree from Thomas Edison State College, and one student has begun the Ph.D. program at Rutgers. All students are also currently working in New Jersey urban public libraries, and they have committed to working at least two years beyond graduation.
CJRLC, one of four regional library cooperatives in New Jersey, coordinates recruiting efforts for the state with funding from The New Jersey State Library, an affiliate of Thomas Edison State College.