UB awarded $478,000 to improve diversity among librarians

A librarian assisting a patron.

Release Date: August 11, 2021

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Portrait of Amy VanScoy.
“There are lots of initiatives focused on recruiting a diverse library workforce, but if the profession can't retain BIPOC librarians who have already been recruited, then recruitment strategies will have a limited and temporary effect. ”
Amy VanScoy, associate professor of information science in the UB Graduate School of Education

BUFFALO, N.Y. – The University at Buffalo recently was awarded a $478,000 grant by the Institute of Museum and Library Services to improve the retention of underrepresented librarians. 

Funded through the Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program, the grant will support research that seeks to understand when and why librarians of color are likely to leave the profession. The study will be led by Amy VanScoy, PhD, associate professor of information science in the UB Graduate School of Education. 

In 2020, more than 83% of librarians identified as white, according to the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO).

“There are lots of initiatives focused on recruiting a diverse library workforce, but if the profession can't retain BIPOC librarians who have already been recruited, then recruitment strategies will have a limited and temporary effect,” said VanScoy. “So, discovering effective strategies for retention of BIPOC librarians is critical.”

“This federal award recognizes the disparities that exist within our library network and the gaps that exist in the sharing of information as a result,” said Rep. Brian Higgins (NY-26). “This project invests in understanding and advancing a diverse workforce toward the goal of closing those gaps.”

The study will involve additional investigators from East Carolina University and the University of South Carolina.

The Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program supports the development of a diverse workforce of librarians to better meet the evolving learning and information needs across the United States. The program works to recruit, train and educate the next generation of library and archive professionals, enhance training and professional development for current library and archive professionals, and develop faculty and library leaders. This year, the program awarded 39 grants totaling nearly $10.5 million.

Click here to learn more about grant programs offered through the Institute of Library and Museum Services.

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