Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


School of Library and information Science


College of Information and Communications

First Advisor

Paul Solomon


Diversity residency librarian programs are post-MLIS programs aimed at providing recently graduated professionals with real work experience, with the expressed goal of recruiting and retaining a more-diverse workforce in professional librarianship.

This mixed-method study is one of the first empirical studies examining diversity residencies, which – at the time of this writing – have existed for more than 30 years. The study identifies concerns raised in the mostly anecdotal literature about diversity residencies, and 102 individuals identified as current or former diversity resident librarians participated in the quantitative portion of the study. In the quantitative portion of this study, there were four factors derived from the literature that correlated positively and significantly with the residents’ overall views of their residency experiences. Those four factors were:

1. Quality of effort as perceived by the resident that administration and/or residency coordinators dedicated to garnering support for the residency from library faculty and staff.

2. Perceived quality of assessment practices of the residency program.

3. Level of professionalism of job duties expected of the diversity resident.

4. Perceived effectiveness of the residency in preparing the diversity resident for his or her next professional appointment.

In the qualitative portion of this study, 11 current or former diversity residents were interviewed and six emergent themes arose wherein diversity residents encountered satisfaction or dissatisfaction when certain elements were present in the residency experience.

The six emergent themes were:

1. Knowledge of who the residents are, what the residency is, and why it was established combats institutional hostilities and confusion, reducing resident dissatisfaction.

2. Diversity residents can avoid dissatisfaction with appropriate guidance and support from coordinators, supervisors, and administrators.

3. Opportunities to perform meaningful, challenging, and innovative work can generate satisfaction in diversity residents.

4. Job dissatisfaction occurs with lack of assessment, unpreparedness, and failure to communicate residency intent to residents.

5. Satisfaction emerges when a resident achieves growth and “advancement” during the term that appears to improve future job outlook.

6. Effective mentorship practices can remove job dissatisfaction during the residency appointment.


© 2017, Jason Kelly Alston