The University of Delaware Library started a one-year, post-master’s internship program in 1984. The new program was “designed to provide full-time professional work experience in a large academic library to minority graduates of American Library Association (ALA)-accredited library schools.” There was a strong commitment on the part of the University of Delaware and its Library to assist new librarians with no experience to compete successfully for positions in large research libraries. The University of Delaware program was the first post-master’s internship in the nation to emphasize the recruitment of librarians new to the profession from under-represented groups. It has become a model program for other research libraries starting similar programs in recent years and has received much national recognition for its success.
The University of Delaware Program has been modified over the years to reflect professional standards and institutional priorities. In 1992, the name of the program changed from “Internship” to “Residency” based on new guidelines and standards for professional work experience programs established by the Association of Library and Information Science Educators (ALISE). The move to “Residency” reflected the ALISE guidelines which distinguish pre-professional internship programs during graduate course work from post-master’s residency programs. In 1996, the University of Delaware Library renamed the program in honor of Pauline A. Young, a civil rights leader, historian, author, and distinguished Delaware librarian for over thirty years.
The structure of the Pauline A. Young Residency has also evolved. In 1990, the Residency was expanded from one year to two years. This provided an extended period for Residents to become oriented to the environment of a large research library and to work for one full year before starting the labor-intensive task of job-seeking for a continuing professional position.
Over the years, the emphasis on a series of short, sequential rotations through all University of Delaware Library departments evolved to a “portfolio of assignments” in a few key areas during the first year of the Residency. This allows time for more substantial work experiences in, and contributions to, each area. It also creates opportunities for integrated projects across departmental lines. The structure of the first-year Residency reflects the increasingly interactive nature of work in large research libraries. The second year of the Residency program has changed very little. The Library continues to work with Residents to identify an assignment that matches both the professional interests of the Resident and the needs of the Library. During the second year, Residents have worked in the Reference Department, the Special Collections Department, the Access Services Department / Inter-library Loan unit, and the Bibliographic Control Department / Original Cataloging and Authority Control unit.
The Pauline A. Young Residency is remarkable for the success of its past participants. Because of their broad professional experience in a large, highly-automated, research library, Residents have proven to have excellent employment prospects. Former residents have subsequently been employed at, among other places, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, San Jose State University, Temple University, and the University of Florida. Several former Residents have been appointed to continuing professional positions at the University of Delaware Library. The residency experience provides a rich foundation for career advancement into positions of increasing responsibility.
The Pauline A. Young Residency provides significant benefits to the University of Delaware Library and the University of Delaware, as well as to the Residents. The University of Delaware Library is recognized by colleagues across the country, and by applicants for library positions, as an employer that welcomes, values, and respects diversity. The regular addition of new librarians brings new ideas and external perspectives to the Library and gives continuing library staff many opportunities to teach and learn. The Residency also provides staffing flexibility, allowing the Library to respond quickly to change. On campus, the Residency brings important visibility to the library profession and the role of librarians at the University of Delaware in learning, teaching, and research. The Residency also aids the University of Delaware Library in its commitment to affirmative action along with other campus units.
The University of Delaware Library celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Pauline A. Young Residency Program on Sunday, June 27, 2010 in Washington, D.C., at the American Library Association annual conference with colleagues from the national research library residency community. Details of the celebration along with a photo of past residents who attended the event are available in a UDaily announcement.