Minnesota Institute

The Minnesota Institute for early career librarians from traditionally underrepresented groups focuses on the development of library leaders from diverse backgrounds.

About the Minnesota Institute

Since 1998, the University of Minnesota Libraries has offered the biennial institute for early career librarians who are underrepresented in the profession.   

Please see the application process for updated information regarding years of professional library experience.  

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Program description

The University of Minnesota Libraries will offer the 14th Institute for 30 early career college and university Librarians who are in the first three years of their professional careers. While this program is open to all, it will center and focus on the experiences of members of an underrepresented racial or ethnic group, based on the categories outlined by the U.S. Census Bureau or Statistics Canada as well as First Nations, Métis, and Inuit people classifications. U.S. Census categories include American Indian or Alaskan Native, Asian, Black or African American, Native Hawaiian, or other Pacific Islander, Hispanic or Latino.

The program runs from July 21 through July 25, 2024. The in-person Institute  will be followed by two virtual sessions in August and September 2024.

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The Institute focuses on the development of library leaders from diverse backgrounds. Participants develop specific leadership abilities proven to be necessary for organizational success. Its goal is to develop leadership skills that transform institutions to be more equitable and just places. To that end, institute faculty work to cultivate a cohort that is actively engaged in dismantling historically embedded systems of oppression and marginalization that are endemic in academia. 

The Institute focuses on enhancing personal awareness and creates unique opportunities for participants to reflect on personal leadership styles and preferences, explore strengths and areas for continued development, and connect unique cultural insights and experiences to one’s professional journey. The Institute combines explorations of topics with experiences related to understanding and building leadership skills.

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Learning objectives

The Minnesota Institute will

  • expose people interested in leading libraries to a variety of topics relevant to dynamic realities of academic librarianship,
  • introduce participants to experts representing diverse backgrounds, perspectives and contributions to the library, higher education, technology, and archival communities,
  • facilitate participants’ identification of personal leadership behaviors and goals,
  • understand and leverage their lived experiences to strengthen their professional network, and
  • craft a vision of leadership that centers empathy, well-being, and collective care.

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Institute environment

Since 1998, the University of Minnesota Libraries has offered the biennial week-long institute for early career librarians who are underrepresented in the profession. The Twin Cities are known for offering vibrant programming through numerous cultural, arts, and sports venues, an extensive park and recreational system, and an engaged and diverse community. It's a perfect setting for this successful program, held at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.

The University of Minnesota Libraries, a leader in academic research libraries, received the Institute for Museum and Library Services National Medal in 2017, the nation’s highest honor for libraries and one of five libraries honored with this distinction. For 25 years, the award has celebrated institutions that respond to societal needs in innovative ways.

Participants have the opportunity to interact with leaders in academic librarianship from multiple institutions and the University of Minnesota Libraries. The Institute includes opportunities for networking and experiencing our campus and the beautiful “Twin Cities” of Minneapolis and St. Paul.

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2022 cohort participants

Shelly Black
Libraries Fellow, North Carolina State University Libraries
Jazzlynn Boyd
Liaison Librarian, Louisiana State University
Christina Bush
Resident Librarian, American University
Yuqiao Cao
Pauline A. Young Resident and Visual Literacy Librarian, University of Delaware
Shelby Daniels-Young
Pauline A. Young Resident, University of Delaware Library, Museums and Press
Tonya Dority
Cataloging & Metadata Librarian, Augusta University, Reese Library
Belinda Dunn
Systems and Electronic Resources Librarian, Queens University of Charlotte
Reanna Esmail
Lead Librarian for Instruction, Cornell University
Julie Fiveash
Librarian for American Indigenous Studies, Harvard University
Jackson Huang
Digital Content And Collections Coordinator, University of Michigan
Yoonha Hwang
Librarian for Undergraduate Support, Harvard College Library
Francisco Juarez
Librarian for STEM Research, Vanderbilt University
Stephen Lane
Reference and Outreach Archivist, Indiana University, Purdue University - Indianapolis (IUPUI)
Dora Mensah
Medical Librarian, OU Tulsa, Schusterman Library
Sarah Nakashima
Humanities Librarian, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Diana Park
Science Librarian/Assistant Professor, Oregon State University
Jennifer Patiño
Data and Digital Scholarship Diversity Resident Librarian, University of Wisconsin - Madison
Arielle Petrovich
College Archivist, Beloit College
Mariana Prestigiacomo
Researcher Support Librarian, Auraria Library
Sara Rogers
Digital Archivist, Harvard University Graduate School of Design
Kaiya Schroeder
Online Teaching & Learning Librarian, Auraria Library (University of Colorado Denver)
Janis Shearer
Public Services & Engagement Librarian, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Todd Smith
User Experience Research and Design Librarian, UNC Chapel Hill University Libraries
Karina Soni
Outreach Projects Librarian, UNC-Chapel Hill
Angel Tang
Data, Science, & Engineering Diversity Resident Librarian, UW-Madison
Hannah Tanna
Research & Instruction Librarian, Queen's University 
Ariana Varela
Information Literacy Instruction Librarian, University of Southern California
Shelbi Webb
Diversity Resident Librarian, UNC Greensboro
Jimmy Zavala
Teaching & Learning Librarian, UCLA
Erica Zhang
Metadata Librarian for Open Access, University of California, Los Angeles

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Past participant testimonials

The MN Institute provided me with a foundation and context for library leadership, tools for professional development and growth, and a network of peers. What I appreciate most is that the Institute encouraged me to see myself as an academic library leader and gave me the tools to fully embrace that vision.

Courtney Young, University Librarian and Professor in the Libraries, Colgate University; ALA Past President; 1998 MN Institute graduate

The MN Institute program covers the foundations of leadership and I do believe that my participation in the program either helped to solidify or to lay the groundwork for leadership skills and abilities I use on a daily basis.

Trevor A. Dawes, Vice Provost for Libraries and Museums at the University of Delaware, ACRL Past President; 2002 MN Institute graduate

The Institute was the first real intentional space to explore the kind of leader I would like to become. It is much more than the week that you spend doing leadership development; it is a lifetime of colleagues and a community that grows with every institute.” The Institute has granted me the most substantive leadership training I’ve experienced yet. As a person of color and activist archivist, the program has given me the tools to be a better leader, to manage others more effectively, and to simply just listen. It also has given me a cohort of colleagues who make me proud to be an advocate.

Jody Gray (Cheyenne River Lakota) Director, Office for Diversity and Inclusion, CFANS, University of Minnesota | Past Director, ALA Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services; 2004 MN Institute graduate

The MN Institute was a transformative experience that set me down a path of self-awareness. It provided a framework for discovering and leveraging my strengths as a leader, and taught me strategies for influencing and leading in any situation, group, or structure.

Mark Puente, Associate Dean for Organizational Development, Diversity, and Inclusion at Purdue University Libraries and School of Information Studies; 2006 MN Institute graduate

The Minnesota Institute helped to open my eyes to the potential of an unfettered mind not tied down by imagined constraints. The instructors showed us ways to enliven our intellectual imaginations in and outside of the profession.

Annie Tang, Archivist, Johns Hopkins University Sheridan Libraries; 2016 MN Institute graduate

Prior to participating at the institute, navigating certain aspects of my work responsibilities had proven particularly daunting, especially those that required assuming any leadership role. Attending the institute opened my eyes to things I could not have learned otherwise. Participating at the institute is easily one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had.

Charles Yier, Liaison Librarian: Journalism and Communication; Apparel, Events, and Hospitality Management (AESHM) Iowa State University, 2018 MN Institute graduate

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Application process

Application deadline

February 1, 2024

To apply

Complete the online application form

Applicant criteria

  • Currently employed as a college or university librarian or archivist/curator, having no more than three years of professional library experience at the time of application.
  • This program is open to all, regardless of race or ethnicity.
  • Be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or someone lawfully in the United States on a legal, non-temporary basis
  • ALA accredited degree in library/information science or a relevant advanced degree.
  • Interest in pursuing leadership opportunities and positions in academic and research libraries.
  • Demonstrated leadership ability or potential.
  • Institutional support is demonstrated by a letter from the director/dean of home institution, supporting participation in the Institute through the commitment of a $1700 registration fee, and associated travel costs.

Application packet includes

  • Current Curriculum Vitae (CV)
  • Personal statement describing your interest in the Institute and affirming your commitment to participate fully in all aspects of the week's activities. Maximum length: 500 words.
  • Letter from the director/dean of your home institution that
    • confirms support of your participation in the Institute, including a commitment to pay the $1700 registration fee and all associated travel costs, and
    • describes your demonstrated and potential skills for success in librarianship.

Questions about the application process? Please contact Bill Pederson by email at pede0055@umn.edu.

Payment and cancellation policy

  • Payment and other logistical information is sent to applicants after they receive notification of their acceptance to the Institute.
  • Send cancellations via email.
  • Full refunds are given up to 45 days before the start of the program.
  • Due to program demand and pre-program preparations, cancellations received 29-14 days before the start of the program are subject to a fee of 75 percent of the program tuition.
  • Cancellations received within 13 days before the start of the program, and no-shows, are subject to the full program tuition.
  • Cancellation fees are based on the date the written request is received.

Participants will be provided

    • Light breakfast, lunches and refreshments Monday through Wednesday, an opening Institute dinner on Sunday evening 7/21, and a concluding reception on Wednesday, 7/24. The cost of single accommodations at the Graduate Hotel from 7/21 through 7/24 are included in the registration fee.

Participants are responsible for

  • Travel arrangements, and expenses. 
  • Participants are required to attend the Institute through the final session, which ends at 3:00 p.m. Wednesday. This is an intensive few days and participants must commit to fully engage in all aspects of the entire institute.
  • Meals, unless noted above.
  • Local transportation during the Institute.
  • Approval from their home institutions for the time commitment to participate in the Institute and payment of a $1700 participation fee.

2024 MN Institute Selection Committee

The following University Libraries staff will make up the 2024 MN Institute Selection Committee.  30 participants will be chosen as the 2024 MN Institute cohort and participants will be announced at the end of April 2024.  Thank you for applying to the MN Institute.

Lisa German
University Librarian and Dean of Libraries

Kimberly L Clarke [she, her, hers]
Communication Studies | Curriculum & Instruction | Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies | OLPD
University of Minnesota Libraries 
Graduate - 1998 MN Institute Cohort

Ellen Holt-Werle (she/her)
Institutional Archivist
University Archives
University of Minnesota Libraries 
Graduate - 2006 MN Institute Cohort

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Kaetrena Davis Kendrick

Kaetrena Davis Kendrick earned her MSLS from the historic Clark Atlanta University School of Library and Information Studies. A 2008 MIECL graduate, Kaetrena is known for her research on and engagement with issues of ethics, equity, diversity and inclusion, and morale in library organizations. 

In a progressively responsible career spanning almost two decades, Kaetrena has applied her research to practice, transforming library programs, services, and culture via creativity, leadership, and advocacy. She is committed to centering well-being, creativity, and empathy in the workplace and promoting career clarity and rejuvenation to library employees at all levels. 

In 2019, Kaetrena was named the Association of College and Research Libraries' Academic/Research Librarian of the Year. Learn more about Kaetrena's mission or morale work.

Ione T. Damasco

Ione T. Damasco (they/them), M.L.I.S., has been at the University of Dayton since 2005, where they serve as the Associate Dean for Inclusive Excellence and Organizational Development. Most recently, Ione has been appointed as interim Dean for the University of Dayton Libraries, with their term beginning in January 2024. As a senior administrator in the Libraries, they strive to ensure inclusive excellence is a deeply embedded framework across all areas. They provide leadership, guidance, and support for diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives, promoting professional development for their colleagues within a learning organization.

They chair the University Libraries Diversity & Inclusion Team, and along with several faculty and staff from around campus, they are part of the Dialogue Zone Advisory Committee, which is dedicated to programming and other initiatives around different forms of dialogue that take place in a new library space called the Dialogue Zone. Ione is a proud graduate of the 2008 Minnesota Institute.

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Bill Pederson
University Libraries


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