Job Hunter’s Web Guide: ACRL RIG (Revisited)

In 2013, as part of the Job Hunter’s Web Guide series, I ran a profile of ACRL’s Residency Interest Group. I’m happy to be able to provide an update to that post. RIG is still doing great work to support opportunities for new librarians to gain work experience. I’m impressed with the mutual support provided by this community! The update was provided by Jessica Dai, ACRL RIG Convener, 2021-2022, Kalani Adolpho, ACRL RIG Incoming Convener, 2021-2022, and Sheila García Mazari, ACRL RIG Outgoing Convener, 2021-2022.

Please note RIG’s upcoming webinar – this Thursday:

What’s Next? Starting the Job Search for Resident Librarians, July 14th, 2022 at 1p ET/12p CT/11a MT/10a PT. Registration is required. 

What is RIG? Please give us your elevator speech!

The Association of College and Research Libraries’ (ACRL) Residency Interest Group (RIG) provides a platform for current and former resident librarians and other interested parties to share their experiences, engage in service and research, and learn about the availability of library residency opportunities. We work to implement a Resident-Centered Framework (RCF) which has three principles: to center the residents’ perspective and honor their experience, uphold the resident as the primary audience and beneficiary, and commit to transparency. Read more about the RCF in the Diversity Residency Toolkit.

When was RIG started? Why was it started?

In 2008, ACRL amended their bylaws allowing for communities to be created within ACRL that had a specific area of focus but that weren’t represented by Discussion Groups or Sections. They called these Interest Groups. The Residency Interest Group was the very first Interest Group to be formed by ACRL in order to support residents, residency coordinators, and institutions that host residencies. Over the last few years, the audience for RIG has shifted to primarily support current and former residents.

While the number of residents rose substantially when ACRL’s Diversity Alliance launched, due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on funding structures, we have seen several universities either end their residencies or choose not to hire a new cohort of residents. Therefore, most individuals currently involved in RIG are former residents, although we are starting to see more residency positions open and we’re hoping to see an uptick of current residents within our membership. 

Who runs RIG?

RIG is completely volunteer-run and is part of ACRL’s interest group structure. ACRL, in turn, is a division within the American Library Association (ALA). For the past year (2021-2022), RIG’s leadership team consisted of Jessica Dai as Convener, Kalani Adolpho as Incoming Convener, and Sheila García Mazari as Outgoing Convener. This structure enables the Incoming Convener to learn on the job for a year before assuming the Convener role, while the Outgoing Convener provides institutional knowledge. For the next year, we are excited to work with our new Incoming Convener, Mallary Rawls. Additionally, we have talented team leaders who organize our teams, which include New Members and Mentorship, Programs and Proposals, Social Media and Web Communications, Assessment, and the Diversity Residencies SubGroup.

RIG leadership changes every year, with each member of the leadership team signing up for three years to allow for continuity. Each year, a call for nominees is sent out for a new potential incoming convener. The roles of Incoming Convener, Convener, and Outgoing Convener are the only roles that require an ALA/ACRL membership. 

Are you a “career expert”? What are your qualifications?

Being a career expert is out of scope of what we do. Generally we tap into the wide variety of expertise from our members and are a peer network of support, particularly for folks looking to start a residency experience or for folks searching for their next role upon the conclusion of their residency. 

Who is your target audience?

Though our audience includes LIS students looking for their first library position and job seeking is one function of our group, our primary audience in recent years has shifted to current library residents and fellows. ACRL RIG aims to be a virtual community for and by library residents who are looking to connect with each other, as well as learn more about and improve library residencies. 

What’s the best way to use your site? Should users consult it daily? Or as needed? Should they already know what they need help with, or can they just noodle around?

Folks are free to explore the website and learn about current residents as well as recent work completed by the RIG teams such as the Diversity Residency Toolkit, created by the subgroup on Diversity Residencies. RIG accepts volunteers to serve on one of our teams on an ongoing basis, and as we receive them, we also publish job postings for both residencies and early-career librarians. We do not post everyday, but folks can feel free to consult the site as needed. 

Does your site provide:

√ Job Listings 

√ Answers to reader questions 

√ Interviews

√ Articles/literature 

√ Links 

√ Research 

√ Event Information

What requirements do you have for job listings on your site (e.g. must include salary)?

This has been an ongoing discussion for us over the last few years as we’ve seen increases and decreases in the number of residency positions. First and foremost, we require job postings to include salary information as part of our commitment to the RCF’s principle of transparency. Salary transparency can be especially important for job seekers who may be considering relocating for a term limited position. Additionally, if the position is a diversity residency position, salary transparency can help job seekers identify whether the institution has committed to the ACRL Diversity Alliance’s principle to “provide a salary for the resident commensurate with the salaries of equivalent entry-level library professionals.”

Rather than reposting a job link, we ask that individuals share the job posting copy as they want it to appear on our website. Since we’re volunteer run, we do not have the bandwidth to write or rewrite copy for our postings. If you would like us to post on our Twitter profile, please provide the required character count.

Finally, we prioritize postings of residencies and/or early career positions since our target audience includes LIS students and recent graduates, as well as resident librarians. We may accept postings that require extensive prior experience on a case-by-case basis. 

Should readers also look for you on social media? 

You can follow us on Twitter and Facebook

Do you charge for anything on your site?

No, the RIG website is free to access. There are no paywalls.

Can you share any stories about job hunters that found positions after using your site?

Our site is as much a resource as it is a community. Back in 2020, residents worked to write an open letter to library administrators asking them to continue to support residency positions during a time of budget cuts, hiring freezes, and an ongoing health crisis. Over 300 people signed onto this letter and anecdotally we are aware that some institutions extended their residencies an additional year so that residents could obtain the full benefits of their experience and to allow them to enter a more active job market. This was work created in conjunction with residents both affiliated and not affiliated with RIG. Though this doesn’t directly impact job seekers, we’re proud of the advocacy role that RIG has fulfilled in directly supporting library residents.

Anything else you’d like to share with my readers about your site in particular, or about library hiring/job hunting in general?

Please join us for a webinar hosted by RIG’s Programs and Proposal team titled What’s Next? Starting the Job Search for Resident Librarians set to take place July 14th, 2022 at 1p ET/12p CT/11a MT/10a PT. Registration is required.

This panel features Tarida Anantachai, Director of Inclusion & Talent Management at North Carolina State University Libraries, Sheila García Mazari, Professional Programs Liaison at Grand Valley State University, and Juliana Espinosa, Student Success Librarian at the University of Houston-Clear Lake, who are all former resident librarians with recent experience job searching and/or chairing job searches. The panel will be moderated by Alyse Jordan, Ed.D. Lamar University, Head of Research, Engagement & Learning at Lamar University. The conversation will touch on how to evaluate job ads and best prepare application materials for the job search process.

Thank you!

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