I know a lot of you readers are new librarians or current students. And we all know it’s a tough market for emerging information professionals. That’s why I’m really happy to be able to share this interview with Brain Leaf of Ohio State University. In this interview, Mr. Leaf discusses the advantages of the residency at OSU and why residencies are a good choice for professional development.
Can you give us a brief introduction to the Mary P. Key Residency Program? Why was this program started? or Why does Ohio State University Libraries continue to fund this program? What makes it important to your organization?
It was started in 1989 to help students successfully transition into academic librarianship. Mary P. Key was an emerita assistant professor of the University Libraries. As the first chair of the Diversity Committee, she oversaw the implementation of the Diversity Resident Program as a way to help increase the diversity and development of librarians at Ohio State. It has been a successful effort as several alumni have risen to prominence and would attribute their early successes to this program.
What are the main job duties of residents – do they differ from those of “regular” librarians?
Like other residencies, residents used to rotate through departments during their first year here before specializing in a specific department for their second. However, this has recently changed and residents now spend both years within one department. This means taking on most of the responsibilities of a new academic librarian minus the research component.
Are residents paid? Do they get any other special benefits?
Residents are paid the same as other librarians starting at this level. The big “special benefit” of the program is the opportunity (and funding) to tackle a wide range of professional development. The environment itself is very supportive, and I think that’s a benefit in of itself.
What would you tell a potential applicants in order to convince them to apply for the program?
It’s a great way to get experience without the pressures of research, and there’s a fantastic support system of previous residents who have achieved in this field. I sometimes thought of it as time to polish and grow skills that needed work or gain specialized experience in an area that I might not had a chance to explore beyond theory in graduate school.The Ohio State University itself is a large university, which I find attractive because of the large impact I am able to make even as a resident.
What does the selection process entail? How does it differ from the regular job application process?
The program seeks out recent graduates of library and information science schools. The application process is actually fairly similar to any normal job application. Since the position doesn’t rotate, they seem to seek out candidates who have the skills to accomplish the tasks required of that position as well as the potential to learn and grow.
When will the next residents be picked?
Good question! I don’t have that information, but I would just keep my eye out.