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Ph.D. Holders in the Academic Library: The CLIR Postdoctoral Fellowship Program


This essay provides a detailed report of the CLIR Postdoctoral Fellowship Program’s first four years and its outcomes, and draw conclusions about the role of this program in academic librarianship and in higher education more broadly. The experiences of CLIR Fellows are central to this analysis as they illustrate some of the challenges that programs of this sort will present, such as the need for new human resources categories, workflows, and procedures; new ways of capitalizing on the strengths of existing library professionals and providing retraining where needed; and new strategies for educating, retooling, and involving library users (especially faculty and other advanced scholars). Overall, this report shows that there is much that has worked well in the CLIR program for all involved. There is also much that could be improved, but in spite of this needed change, the CLIR Postdoctoral Fellowship Program embodies the transition that academic libraries, as a whole, are undergoing. Consequently, the academic library profession would do well to learn from the CLIR Program experience and explore opportunities to create similar programs to meet other staffing and recruitment needs within the profession.

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