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.