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Library and Information Science


There is often a gap between what new library school graduates know and what is needed to navigate the first professional job. Additionally, the field of librarianship in general is growing and changing rapidly, requiring a diverse set of complex skills in new roles. It is essential to rethink how we train the next generation of librarians, while accepting and incorporating the unique insights new graduates may have. How can institutions help shape the next generation, while building skills that will be beneficial to all?

These challenges are being faced and addressed by an innovative library fellows program at the Lamar Soutter Library at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. This program is designed to foster the next generation of medical librarians by providing a 2-year experience for newly graduated library science students, emphasizing hands-on learning and research into topics of information management and the various complex roles within librarianship. An original curriculum has been developed incorporating training, professional development, mentorship, and research with the library as the learning laboratory. Curriculum components focus on librarianship foundations as well as rotations within core library functional areas.

Creating a culture of research within the library as a whole has also become a priority. Library fellows will conduct research designed to provide a self-directed course of study and investigation, ultimately with the goal of publishing the results. The research experience will expose the fellows to the research process and interpretation of results for decision-making in a library environment, as well as encouraging continued contribution to the field. This is facilitated by a research project database to which all staff can contribute and from which all can draw for ongoing academic discussion.

This presentation will provide a description and evaluation of the project to date, with successes, challenges, suggestions, and lessons learned discussed. It will look at the organizational changes that necessitated and facilitated the structural changes surrounding this program and the resulting effect on staff and operations. Administrators and creators of the program, as well as the first cohort of fellows, will present their perspectives.

Dramatic changes in how we structure libraries and librarianship are necessary to sustain and grow. These changes require rejecting old service models, rethinking our roles, redoing our professional identity and rejuvenating ourselves and our libraries. By changing the way we develop the knowledge and skills of new professionals, those who will be driving librarianship in the future, we strengthen all members of the profession and create a better, stronger foundation for librarianship.


medical libraries, future of librarianship, rejuvenating librarianship, changing roles, roles of librarians, future roles, next generation of librarians, fellows program

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Journal/Book/Conference Title

2014 ACRL New England Chapter Annual Conference


Presented at the ACRL New England Chapter Annual Conference, Worcester, MA, May 9, 2014.