I officially accepted a position as the Library Resident at Clemson University. This is one of those rare moments in life where my worlds collide. The artist, the librarian, and the techie all get to exist in the same stratosphere. At least that’s what I will be focusing on for this residency, merging my interest and hopefully walking away with a clearer path in librarianship.
What is a librarian resident? So happy you asked! It is typically a temporary faculty position at a academic library that allows persons of diverse backgrounds to explore different departments. Some libraries might call it a diversity fellow or something similar. It is typically for recent graduates from a MLIS or MSIS (in my case). Or a librarian wanting to transition into academic libraries. Both of those descriptions fit me!
Leaving public libraries was a tough decision. In grad school my professors inspired me to push further and really examine what it is that I want to do within libraries. I quickly reached my goal of being a teen librarian and my goal of being a manager in a public library. While administration is the next logical step in public libraries I wanted to step back into the world of academia. The changes being made with technology, research, and special subjects pulled at the academic in me. Also, my ideas on research for projects in the African Diaspora, theatre, and information have just been sitting on the back burner. This is a great opportunity to take a giant step back into that.
As a black woman in this career I’ve been faced with the reality that most of the time I will be the minority in the room. I might be the only black woman in my department, in leadership, in the room but I take it with stride. A few months ago in a DEI council meeting we were going over identities and it became alarmingly apparent to me that some public spaces don’t consider minorities in their planning. To do so would mean to be controversial and a lot of public institutions can’t afford to be controversial.
This is why this residency stuck out to me. It is specifically for persons of diverse backgrounds to grow in their career. It’s a three year faculty position that will be allow me to explore different departments and see where my heart begins to sing.
I’m excited to share this journey with you all as I begin to explore the world of academic libraries.