Tag Archives: retention

Hiring Better: Insights into the Library Juice Academy Course, Recruiting and Retaining Librarians From Underrepresented Minoritized Groups

The first run of Hiring Librarians was pretty eye-opening. I learned that there is no secret to hiring and that people who hire library workers have all sorts of contradictory opinions and practices. And I saw that many of those opinions and practices are rooted in internal bias. I am very grateful to the readers who took the time to point out problematic answers, and the problematic questions I was asking. So this time around, I’ve been looking for ways to help mitigate harm, both in the work of this blog and in our collective practices. 

Back in July, the ACRL Residency Interest Group held a webinar for Resident Librarians on starting the post residency job search. Panelists created and shared a resource list on Twitter, which I then combed through, looking for things to delve into deeper. One of the items on the list was a Library Juice Academy course called, “Recruiting and Retaining Librarians from Underrepresented Minoritized Groups.” I’m really happy Tarida Anantachai and Twanna Hodge were willing to provide more details about how the course is run and who might benefit from enrolling (and am actually looking forward to starting the course myself). 

Who are the instructors? 

Tarida Anantachai (she/her) is the Director, Inclusion & Talent Management at the NC State University Libraries, where she oversees the recruitment and hiring process for library faculty and staff positions; leads equity, diversity, and inclusion efforts; and coordinates the Libraries Fellows Program. Prior to this role, she also worked for several years in various public service-oriented positions, all while being actively involved in advancing and advising staff on equity, diversity, and inclusion efforts. Tarida was an ARL Leadership and Career Development Program Fellow, a participant in the MN Institute for Early Career Librarians, and an ALA Emerging Leader.

Twanna Hodge (she/her) is a Ph.D. student in the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park. She holds a Master’s in Library and Information Science from the University of Washington. She was the inaugural Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Librarian at the University of Florida Libraries. Academic librarian for over seven years, with several years, working on improving recruitment and retention structures in her previous organization and has been engaging in diversity, equity, and inclusion work since graduate school. She is a 2013 American Library Association (ALA) Spectrum Scholar and a 2022 ALA Spectrum Doctoral Fellow.

We have been co-teaching this course since 2020. It has been an incredible experience for us, allowing us to collectively connect with and exchange ideas with library and information professionals across the country (and even internationally!). We also want to acknowledge Angela Pashia, who was responsible for first launching this course and then co-taught a session with Tarida; her original syllabus inspired much of the content we’ve developed since taking over this course.

What is it? Tell us about the course. 

The Recruiting and Retaining Librarians From Underrepresented Minoritized Groups course addresses recruitment strategies that will improve participants’ chances of attracting a diverse pool of applicants and minimize the influence of unintended biases in the selection process. Of course, hiring is just the first step to building a diverse and inclusive workplace. We will also address factors influencing the long-term retention of librarians from underrepresented minoritized groups. 

The modality is asynchronous over four weeks (adding optional synchronous meet-ups). This is seminar-style and very participant-driven, with readings/videos and required posting and commenting on weekly prompts; we do mention that folks get out of the course as much as they want to engage in it. We also share additional resources as we find them (including relevant upcoming events or other recently published articles) via announcements, including in the optional synchronous meet-ups and on our discussion boards. Library Juice Academy also provides perpetual access to its courses, allowing participants to return to the materials even after the course has been completed.

Regarding course prep, we generally spend several hours reviewing the course materials to ensure relevance/updated readings, coordinate our meet-up times, and provide a welcoming atmosphere for our participants. The course is offered roughly twice a year, depending on our schedules. Currently, the cost of the course is $200.You can register through https://libraryjuiceacademy.com/shop/course/211-recruiting-retaining-librarians-underrepesented-minoritized-groups/

This is one of the four courses of the Diversity and Inclusion Skills Certificate. The other three courses are Examining Institutional Racism in Libraries; Allyship, Anti-Oppression Practices, and Building Inclusive Libraries; Cultural Competence for Librarians. You can take one, a combination, or pursue the certificate. It’s based on your needs.

Who is the target audience? 

As with many Library Juice Academy courses, our course is open to all GLAM (Galleries, Libraries, Archives, Museums) library workers, including LIS students, early career folks, senior administrators, etc. Many of those who’ve participated in the past have included library administrators, hiring managers, those who have been or anticipate being part of a search process, etc., but we’ve also had those from adjacent fields, such as rare book dealers or those doing community-based information work. Even if they don’t have a formal role in hiring at their organizations, we have also had and welcome those who are generally interested in creating more inclusive and equitable processes and supporting historically minoritized populations.

What topics are covered?

The first half of the course is more focused on recruitment, including exploring the barriers, bias in the hiring process and various strategies that can be implemented to make one’s search processes more inclusive and equitable. The second half of the course is more focused on retention (though retention certainly does come up even in the first half), including research on low morale, building support networks, mentoring, and building more inclusive spaces centered on those from historically marginalized populations. We’re so grateful for the wealth of literature and other resources that we have been able to cite and include throughout the course—particularly those from our BIPOC researchers and practitioners across the field.

What are some of your participants’ takeaways?

Participants have expressed their appreciation in leaving with applicable strategies and changes in mindset, but also in gaining a community of allies working towards equitable and inclusive recruitment and hiring practices. Former participants have shared in person, via email, and even during our meet-ups how valuable they have found the course, how it has changed their approach to structuring finalist interview schedules, or now they send the interview questions in advance based on our discussions. It’s rewarding, and we are grateful to do this work. We, as instructors, gain from the course as well, from insights from those at different institutions, to new resources, to other ways to further design the course for future iterations. Each time we are reminded that there is a necessity for this course and to continue these conversations.

How can we contact you?

You’re welcome to reach out to Tarida at tananta@ncsu.edu and Twanna at tkhodge@umd.edu.

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