Discovering Librarianship: The Future is Overdue
The American Library Association’s Office for Diversity & Spectrum Scholarship Program is honored to have been awarded a grant by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) Laura Bush 21st-Century Librarian Program in the amount of $432,495 to funnd the Discovering Librarianship project to recruit ethnically diverse high school and college students to careers in libraries. This project is currently in its fourth year.
- For Prospective Field Recruiters
- For Library Diversity Recruitment Programs
- High School/College Students: learn more about careers in libraries by visiting the Education & Careers section of ala.org.
About this Project
In light of the nation’s changing demographics and community needs and in response to a growing population of ethnically diverse 15-29 year-olds, the library profession must find new ways to engage and interest ethnically diverse high school and college students in careers in libraries. The American Library Association proposed the Discovering Librarianship: The Future is Overdue project as a three-year national initiative to recruit ethnically diverse high school and college students to careers in libraries by developing a stronger professional presence at local career, education, and cultural events geared toward these audiences.
By enlisting early career librarians from previously successful diversity recruitment programs to develop recruitment materials and serve as ambassadors for the profession, Discovering Librarianship built a network of in-the-field recruiters who can speak to the specific interests of a new generation and provide the information and support to help students pursue careers in librarianship. ALA identified, trained and supported a cohort of 35 field recruiters from its own Spectrum Scholarship Program and other national diversity recruitment programs.
The three-year project implementation for Discovering Librarianship included the following targeted activities:
- Engage a geographically diverse cohort of early career librarians from traditionally underrepresented groups, and provide training in key areas towards developing a relevant and persuasive recruitment message. Key areas include the value of diversity in librarianship, current workforce trends, career opportunities in librarianship, educational preparation and requirements, library advocacy, and library salary data.
- At over 50 sites across the United States, deploy field recruiters and relevant and persuasive recruitment messages and materials which will resonate with ethnically diverse high school and undergraduate college students.
- Develop a sustainable Leads/Contacts Management System to increase follow-up and engagement rates with interested individuals and provide a means for diversity recruitment programs to track and assess the effectiveness of in-the-field recruitment.
- Pair ethnically diverse high school and undergraduate college students interested in careers in libraries with mentors.
- Hold Institute for up to 50 college undergraduates interested in careers in librarianship. Institute includes information on preparing for graduate school admissions, selecting an LIS program,finding funding for graduate school, and making the most of graduate education in library and information science.
- Provide ethnically diverse early career librarians and past participants in national diversity recruitment initiatives with a new level of training and increased opportunity to become leaders in the profession and their communities.
By its completion, Discovering Librarianship will have significantly increased the profession’s capacity to recruit high school and college students at the local level through a network of in-the-field recruiters; provided the profession with a new set of recruitment materials with which to engage this growing and diverse population; developed a cooperative leads management system for recruitment which can be used by several diversity recruitment programs; and delivered valuable information and support to high school and college students interested in careers in libraries. The long-term results will include higher visibility for libraries and librarianship and a more substantial pipeline from which to recruit a diverse workforce better able to serve the nation’s increasingly diverse population.
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The Institute's mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas.