Here Today, Gone Tomorrow: Autonomy and Agency in Term-Limited Library Positions from Residencies Revisited: Reflections on Library Residency Programs from the Past and Present

Hill, Natalie C.
Tadena, Laura A.
Cásarez, Adriana
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Book chapter from “Residencies Revisited: Reflections on Library Residency Programs from the Past and Present Library.” Diversity residencies are term-limited appointments meant to accelerate the individual resident's professional development and entrance into leadership positions, accounting for past and present inequities that disprivilege individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups. These positions encourage residents to explore various areas of academic librarianship, to reach across silos, to develop new forms of collaboration, and to innovate in new and exciting ways. Residents bring in new perspectives and lived experiences that are lacking within intuitions made neither for nor by their communities. These are noble goals. However, there are structural barriers to this level of involvement and engagement built into residency programs and library organizations. This chapter will explore the experiences of three Diversity Resident Librarians at the University of Texas Libraries. This program is highly tailored to the individual resident's career development goals and requires a large amount of consultation with various library stakeholders. Lacking institutional knowledge and an in-depth understanding of organizational politics, residents must delicately navigate unclear - and at times even unchartered - ground as they establish ownership within their changing areas of responsibility. The degree to which a successful resident librarian must hone their emotional intelligence cannot be understated. This demand is further compounded by the assumptions and expectations associated with the behavior of individuals from non-dominant cultures within traditional library spaces. Through the sharing of lived experiences, the authors will attempt to illustrate these trials, share their perspectives, and hopefully come to a better understanding of how these issues should be mitigated for future residents.