Georgetown University was awarded a $280,675 grant over three years from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, starting the Chesapeake Information and Research Library Alliance (CIRLA) Fellow Program to train and employ 13 librarians from diverse backgrounds.

The university will receive the award in collaboration with CIRLA and the Association of Research Libraries. Candidates accepted into the program will complete two years of apprenticeship followed by a one-year full-time job at one of the CIRLA libraries, of which Georgetown is a member.

The program was created to help increase diversity in the research library profession, both at Georgetown and at all national research libraries.

“Overtime with the CIRLA Fellowship we hope to increase the number of librarians who will represent diverse populations,” University Librarian Artemis Kirk said. “I am thrilled that Georgetown has taken a leadership role in the issue of the training of a diverse library workforce.”

While the minority presence on college campuses has increased, minorities comprise only 12 percent of research librarians.

“This program will also attempt to meet the needs of a generation that increasingly values information by recruiting the next generation of librarians,” Kirk added.

By 2020, close to 60 percent of research librarians will be eligible to retire; however, not enough new librarians are entering the field to fill these vacancies. At the current rate, the population of librarians will fill only half of the positions needed.

“With this program, we will be making a small dent,” Kirk said.

Georgetown’s $280,675 grant over three years is only one of 27 grants from the IMLS totaling $10 million.

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