from Traditionally Underrepresented Groups

The University of Minnesota Libraries will offered its 11th week-long Institute for 26 early career college and university librarians who are from traditionally underrepresented groups and are in the first three years of their professional careers.  The program ran from July 16 through July 20, 2018.


The Institute focuses on the development of library leaders from diverse backgrounds. Participants develop specific leadership abilities proven to be necessary for organizational success.

The necessary starting point in any leadership development journey is personal awareness. The Institute focuses on enhancing personal awareness. It creates unique opportunities for participants to reflect on personal leadership styles and preferences, explores strengths and areas for continued development, and connects unique cultural insights and experiences to one’s professional journey.

Because early career librarians are often asked to give shape, definition, and leadership to whole new areas of work (data curation, publishing, e-learning, and multi-institutional collaborations to name a few), the Institute enhances the personal leadership content with explorations of topical case studies and rich engagement in understanding and building leadership skills.

Learning objectives

The Minnesota Institute for Early Career Librarians will:

  • Expose career professionals to a variety of topics relevant to current and changing realities of academic librarianship
  • Introduce participants to experts representing diverse backgrounds, perspectives and contributions to the library, higher education, technology, and archival communities
  • Learn about and explore the leadership challenges related to the increasing interdependencies of institutions and potential for collaboration 
  • Facilitate participants’ identification of personal leadership behaviors and goals
  • Create a platform for participants to reflect on how their diverse identities are and will be leveraged in the service of their leadership goals, their organizations and the profession
  • Create a plan for immediate development and long-term professional growth

Institute environment

Since 1998, the University of Minnesota Libraries have offered the biennial week-long institute for early career librarians from 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 23 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.


The 2018 Institute will focus on making connections between significant issues facing libraries and archives and the leadership required to develop collaborations, innovations, and new services in these areas. Leadership and managerial concepts and specific skills will be introduced in the context of major issues presented by expert faculty.

DeEtta Jones (DeEtta Jones & Associates) and Kathryn Deiss (Kathryn Deiss Consulting), experienced organizational and leadership development consultants and trainers, have been leading the professional and personal development component of the Institute since it began in 1998.

Contributing faculty include: 

Trevor Dawes, University of Delaware
Janet Bishop, John Butler, Wendy Lougee, Claire Stewart, University of Minnesota
Harriett Green, University of Illinois

Additional contributors from University of Minnesota community.

Further information

Naomi Golden
University Libraries

Past participant comments

"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 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 introduced me to all of the people who have helped me grow in my professional life through national leadership roles. It’s amazing to have such a strong cohort supporting one another."
—Jody Gray, 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, Director of Diversity and Leadership Programs, Association of Research Libraries; 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."
—Ingrid Ruffin, Student Success Librarian for First Year Programs, University of Tennessee, Knoxville; 2014 MN Institute graduate

“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.”
—Annie Tang, Archivist, Johns Hopkins University Sheridan Libraries; 2016 MN Institute graduate