SJSU SLIS Awarded Federal Grant to Explore Library Residency Programs


Today’s libraries have a wealth of new technology available, offering nearly endless possibilities for leveraging that technology to better serve their patrons. Yet libraries have limited resources available for determining which emerging technology options are most relevant to their organizations, as well as limited financial and personnel resources for implementing new technology tools.

Thanks to a generous grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, Dr. Sandra Hirsh, professor and director of the School of Library and Information Science at San José State University, will guide a new exploration regarding how residency programs can support libraries’ efforts to integrate emerging technology.

Together with project partners, Hirsh will conduct an in-depth exploration of a new residency model for recent Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) graduates. The residency model will focus on embedding new graduates with emerging technology skills into a range of library settings, providing libraries with additional personnel resources to support their efforts to investigate and implement new technology for the benefit of the patrons they serve.

Residencies can provide immediate and creative solutions, enabling libraries to respond to shifting priorities. They also involve mutual learning for residents and host institutions, with residents bringing fresh insights and energy to libraries.

The San José State University School of Library and Information Science will partner with three national professional associations — the Association of College and Research Libraries, the Public Library Association, and the Urban Libraries Council, as well as OCLC, an organization that offers a depth of global expertise regarding technology integration in libraries. With input from technical advisors, the five partners will conduct a targeted needs assessment, develop the residency program model, and prepare to pilot and evaluate the model at the end of the planning year.

The overarching goal of the project is to build a replicable residency program model aimed at helping new librarians and library leaders integrate emerging technology in diverse types of libraries. At the same time, a secondary goal is to learn how to embed technology experts within libraries so they can be successful change agents within their institutions and the broader library community. The project partners also hope to learn more about how to build effective and sustainable residency programs.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services, the primary source of federal support for the nation’s libraries and museums, announced the award on June 21, 2011.