In keeping with a long-standing commitment to diversity, the University of Tennessee Libraries launched the Diversity Librarian Residency Program in 2002. The program was developed and supported by former library dean Barbara Dewey; Jill Keally, an associate dean and the program’s initial coordinator; the university’s vice chancellor; UT Libraries’ department heads; and the Diversity Committee. Dean Dewey believed that the residency program would, “bring into the organization and the profession at large not only ethnic and cultural diversity but also the fresh enthusiasm and skills of recent library and information science graduates.” In addition, the program was seen as a “tool that offered residents early work experience that is transferable to future positions.”
Another primary goal of the program is to provide residents with the opportunity to develop specialized expertise, build leadership experience, and foster collegial relationships within the university learning community. In return, residents are expected to provide meaningful contributions to the diversity and intercultural goals of the university, participate in library committees, and become involved with professional associations. Each cohort is also provided with mentors and encouraged to pursue professional development and outreach opportunities.
Current Residents 2015-2018:
Kenya Flash has been serving as an Adjunct Reference librarian at Wilkes College and is an evening Circulation Supervisor at Kings College, both in Wilkes-Barre, PA. She earned her MS in Library and Information Science from Drexel University in June 2014. She begins her residency on August 3, 2015.
Keila Zayas-Ruiz has been serving as a Reference Assistant at the Orange County Library System in Orlando, Florida. She earned her MS in Library and Information Science from Florida State University in December 2013. She begins her residency on August 10, 2015.