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~Wellesley College Receives Grant for Collaborative Librarian Recruitment Effort~

For immediate release:
October 1, 2003

Mary Ann Hill,

WELLESLEY, Mass. -- The Wellesley College Library will collaborate with the libraries of several other institutions on a major project to address librarian recruiting and diversity issues at the undergraduate level. According to a recent study, an estimated 60 percent of current librarians will reach retirement age by 2020, resulting in a serious shortage of librarians to staff libraries of all types.

Joining Wellesley are Mount Holyoke, Oberlin, Occidental, and Swarthmore Colleges and the Atlanta University Center, serving Clark Atlanta University and Morehouse and Spelman Colleges.

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded $500,000 to support this multi-tiered program with the goal of developing a model that addresses recruiting at an early stage in students' education, just as they are beginning to think seriously about career choices. Broad-based, issues-oriented programming will familiarize undergraduate students with significant challenges facing the library profession, draw their attention to the potential of librarianship as a career, and alert them to the more selective internship opportunities of the project. "We are delighted that Wellesley is a participant in this innovative initiative to recruit the next generation of librarians," said Micheline Jedrey, Vice President for Information Services and College Librarian.

The initiative also is designed to broaden the racial and ethnic composition of the library profession in order to better serve increasingly diverse populations. All four federally-defined under-represented groups (African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Native Americans) make up a disproportionately small percentage of practicing librarians. "The participating schools are well-positioned to address this important goal of the project, given the composition of their student bodies," notes Ray English, Oberlin Director of Libraries and Project Coordinator.

Each campus will inaugurate the effort with programs focusing on major issues that emphasize librarianship as a changing and dynamic profession critical to the strength of a democratic society. Programming at Wellesley this fall will focus on the Patriot Act and its potential impact on the delivery of library services.

Among other topics to be addressed will be the economics of information; information literacy and critical thinking skills needed to take advantage of an increasingly complex information environment; and issues of diversity and multiculturalism in librarianship.
A second component of the project is a selective undergraduate internship experience designed to give students at each campus a thorough understanding of librarianship as a profession. In addition to learning about the nature of professional library work, participants will complete projects under librarian mentors and also participate in summer internships at other libraries.

In subsequent stages of the project it is anticipated that post-baccalaureate intern positions and graduate library school scholarships will be awarded competitively among the participating institutions.


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