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Diversity Initiative begins at WVU Libraries

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
July 17th, 2015

West Virginia University Libraries launched a new diversity initiative with the hiring of three librarians.

The WVU Libraries Resident Librarian Program will provide a unique training and educational experience for underrepresented graduates of professional library degree programs who are either early career librarians or new to research libraries.

“We are excited to promote diversity at WVU while helping new academic librarians lay strong foundations for their careers,” Dean of Libraries Jon E. Cawthorne said. “We also anticipate positive benefits for the entire campus community when our resident librarians begin working with students and faculty.”

The three-year program will give the resident librarians broad experience in an academic library environment, as well as the opportunity to specialize in a specific skill area, participate in professional development activities and engage in research. WVU has formed a collaboration, called Diversity Alliance, with American University, University of Iowa and Virginia Tech, where similar programs are being established.

“The WVU Resident Librarian Program is an important development for the West Virginia University Diversity outreach agenda, said David M. Fryson, vice president for WVU’s Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. “I commend Dean Jon Cawthorne for developing this innovative program and we look forward to the collaboration with the other institutions in the Diversity Alliance.”

WVU’s inaugural group, which will begin work by August 10, includes Ashleigh D. Coren, of Boston; Chanelle Pickens, of Las Vegas; and Lisette Hernández, of Knoxville, TN.

Coren is currently a part-time reference librarian at Emerson College and the High School/College Success Initiative AmeriCorps Advisor for Steps to Success, an academic achievement program that works with students from low-income families.

She received her master’s in Library and Information Science, Archives Management Concentration, from Simmons College in August 2014. She also holds a bachelor’s in Art and Visual Culture from Bates College.

Pickens is a library assistant at the ITT Technical Institute in Henderson, NV. She earned a master’s in Library & Information Science, Archival Studies & Records Management focus, from San Jose State University in May 2014. She also holds a bachelor’s in communications from the University of Tennessee.

Hernández is an assistant worker with the University of Tennessee Information Technologies for Rural Libraries program. She finished her master’s from the University of Tennessee Knoxville, Graduate School of Information Sciences in summer 2015.

Resident librarians at WVU and the partnering schools will participate in the Diversity Alliance Institute scheduled for Morgantown on September 22-25, said Lori Hostuttler, chair of WVU’s Residency Program Planning Committee. Moving forward, the resident librarians will participate regularly in online seminars and gather for discussion sessions.

“We want to build a community for our resident librarians,” Hostuttler said.

The Residency Program Planning Committee includes Hostuttler, Melissa Brooks, Barbara LaGodna, Stewart Plein, Beth Royall, Anna Schein, Alyssa Wright and Martha Yancey.

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