Program at UMass Amherst Builds Candidates for Expanding Field
In 2008 Marilyn Billings, Scholarly Communication & Special Initiatives Librarian at University of Massachusetts Amherst, created a temporary two-year Digital Repository Resident Librarian (DRRL) position. DRRLs have an opportunity to build a skill set that is wide in scope but uniquely suited to working on digital library initiatives, which makes them prime candidates for future openings in this expanding field. Past resident librarians have secured positions at PLoS and Syracuse University Libraries.
Marilyn created this position with the goal of meeting staffing needs and providing training opportunities for new graduates. The resident librarians perform a wide variety of tasks, from meeting with faculty, to building new collections, to planning Open Access Week events. Resident librarians also get the chance to supervise student workers and are encouraged to contribute to the growing body of literature about IRs.
Marilyn reports that this temporary position brings new ideas and energy into the IR initiative while providing a valuable training opportunity not always available in current MLIS programs. For her part, she enjoys the variety of skills and interests new librarians bring to the table, as well as their “fresh perspective” on IRs and scholarly communication.
Update: On 4/4/13 Marilyn shared about UMass Amherst’s community engagement efforts and how they have helped grow the repository into a campus-wide initiative, resulting in funding for new staff positions. To view the webinar see Institutional Repositories Supporting Community Engagement, Part 2: Regional Research at Brockport (SUNY) and UMass (Amherst).