UT Libraries Welcomes New Minority Librarian Residents

Shantel Agnew, LaVerne Gray, and Mark Puente recently joined the faculty of the UT Libraries as Minority Librarian Residents. The residency program, which began in 2003, was created to attract recent library school graduates from underrepresented groups to a career in academic librarianship.

As part of the program, residents will spend the next two years working closely with librarians to develop skills and career paths, cultivate collegial relationships with faculty outside the library, participate in committees, and become involved in professional associations. In the first year, residents will do professional rotations within the libraries; in the second year, they will focus on one area and complete a specialized project.

“I’ve been very impressed by the level of support I’ve received at the UT Libraries,” Mark Puente said. Puente, who has undergraduate and graduate degrees in music, earned his Masters of Library Science at the University of Arizona and has worked at the University of North Texas and other fine arts libraries. He hopes to gain more technical training during his residency, and is interested in exploring professional research possibilities.

“I’m looking forward to gaining practical work experience as well as the opportunity to publish and present research,” LaVerne Gray said. Gray earned her Masters of Library and Information Science from Dominican University in River Forest, Illinois. A former Peace Corps volunteer in the Ivory Coast and Togo, Gray has a background in child development and educational psychology. She hopes to work on digitization and metadata projects, and is also interested in instructional services.

“I really look forward to making the most of this wonderful opportunity,” Shantel Agnew said. Agnew has worked in mass media arts and earned her Masters of Science in Information Sciences from the University of Tennessee. She wants to incorporate her media experience into her library work, and plans to spend some of her residency working in The Studio, a multi-media design and resource center.

“The Minority Librarian Residency program is a model for increasing diversity at UT and in our nation’s academic libraries,” Barbara Dewey, Dean of Libraries, said. The residency program also strengthens programs and services at the UT Libraries while promoting diversity and creating a more welcoming environment for students.

The University of Tennessee Libraries supports more than 20,000 undergraduate and 6,000 graduate students enrolled in 400 academic programs. The libraries offer reference and instructional services, public and cultural programs, technical and media resources and subject specialists in a variety of areas, and also promotes information literacy.

For more information about diversity at the University of Tennessee Libraries and the Minority Librarian Residency program, please visit our Diversity Web site.

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