Career Exploration in Libraries (Prof. K.T. Vaughan)

2 students are sought for a project on “Career Exploration in Libraries” with Prof. K.T. Vaughan that will begin on 6/4/24 and last for 10 weeks

Project Description:

This summer research project explores the reasons why librarians, especially people of color and with other minoritized identities, choose a career in libraries. Students will participate in five activities: 1: Structured readings about librarianship as a career choice in order to contribute to an ongoing annotated bibliography. 2: Informational interviews and/or shadowing experiences with W&L librarians, W&L alumni working in libraries, and librarians across the country including in public, school, academic, and special libraries. 3: Participation in library professional development activities, including the possibility of travel to a professional conference, alongside W&L librarians. 4: Data collection and analysis for studies on topics of recruitment and retention of librarians, including student awareness of librarianship as a career. 5: Reflective practice intended to explore the Scholar’s career goals in the context of the summer research. Past participants created a student survey to assess awareness of librarianship as a career, explored topics including anti-racist collection development and work-life balance, created an employment website for the libraries, attended a professional conference, and connected with librarians across Virginia.


An interest in exploring librarianship as a career (though not necessarily for oneself). Experience with literature-based and social science research is helpful. Some familiarity with library work, either from work or volunteering is helpful.

Special Comments

Start and end dates are flexible. While the scholars should be on campus, much of the research and reflective work can happen independently. Informational interviews and structured reading discussions may happen in person or virtually depending on the people involved. There may be some field trips to regional libraries.

Project Information

Estimated Start Date: 6/4/24

Estimated End Date: 8/9/24

Maximum number of students sought: 2

Contact Information: Prof. K.T. Vaughan (