Rotation Sites

In the first year of the program, the Resident Librarian will gain experience through short-term rotations through several library departments. At the beginning of the program, the Resident Librarian will identify 2–3 library departments, in addition to their home department, to serve as rotation sites. These rotations will provide the Resident Librarian with meaningful work experience in a variety of functional areas of academic librarianship, providing the Resident Librarian with a holistic view of academic and research librarianship.

All departments in the library are eligible to serve as rotation hosts. This page includes descriptions of all library departments and potential activities a Resident Librarian may be able to participate in during a rotation in each department.

Access Services

The Access Services Department provides patron access to print and electronic library materials by purchasing monographs, providing access through circulation permissions, and borrowing materials from other libraries that the University does not own. During a three month rotation, the Resident Librarian may gain experience participating in a large-scale monograph withdrawal process, purchasing patron-requested materials, and researching difficult citations. In a joint project with the Metadata and Cataloging Department, the Resident Librarian may maintain access and record license rights for electronic resources, and update licensing terms and conditions. This information will be used by the Resource Sharing unit to determine lending and document delivery rights.

Digital Scholarship and Initiatives

The Digital Scholarship and Initatives Department provides open access to Iowa State research and scholarship and materials drawn from the library's general and special collections. The department is home to the institutional repository, library publishing programs, digital collections, and online exhibits. During a three month rotation, the Resident Librarian may gain experience with intellectual property permissions and rights checking, outreach, participation in digitization workflows, and building digital collections.


The Library’s Instruction Department supports the Library’s teaching and learning programs and initiatives. 

A three- or four-month rotation in the Instruction Department would support an orientation to research library instruction programs plus shadowing and assisting department staff with a multitude of Library-wide instruction projects. Quick projects could include instructional product development, with feedback and working collaboratively with others. Other opportunities include co-teaching classroom instruction sessions or co-teaching a high enrollment information literacy course, gaining insights into student learning and online course delivery.   

Metadata and Cataloging

The Metadata and Cataloging Department provides description and access points for library resources in order to help library users find, identify, select, and obtain them. During a three month rotation, the Resident Librarian may gain experience with cataloging print materials and providing metadata for digital materials.  In a joint project with the Access Services Department, the Resident Librarian may maintain access and record license rights for electronic resources, and update licensing terms and conditions. The Resident Librarian may develop skills using cataloging tools to provide user access to our resources through the Primo discovery system.


The Preservation Department coordinates and implements the preservation program for the University Library collections in all formats. Conservation treatment, digital conversion, digital preservation, commercial library binding, brittle book replacement, environmental monitoring, disaster preparedness, and preservation education are the primary aspects of the preservation program efforts. During a one month rotation, the Resident Librarian may gain experience with commercial library binding workflows, working with reformatting vendors, digitization workflows, disaster preparedness and planning, disaster salvage, and basic book repair and rehousing.

Space and Stacks Management

The Space and Stacks Management Department provides safety and security for the library, its contents, and the people who use and work in its spaces. The facilities, collections, and art are valued at almost 400 million dollars. We provide physical access to the building and maintain the library's collections. During a two month rotation, the Resident Librarian will observe safety and security procedures and assist with planning, implementing and supervising collections rearrangement.

Special Collections and University Archives

The Iowa State University Library Special Collections and University Archives collects, preserves, and shares documentation of the experiences, achievements, and memories of people and organizations reflecting the university's major research areas, namely life sciences, agriculture and rural life, and engineering, with a special commitment to documenting the history of the university. As a unit, SCUA acquires primary source collections and rare books and arranges and describes these materials, so that they are widely accessible to researchers locally, nationally, and worldwide. SCUA engages and encourages innovative research, interdisciplinary education, exploration, and discovery through research in the reading room and through investigation in a classroom or group setting. SCUA has an active outreach program that highlights its collection strengths through exhibitions, workshops, and special events. To promote the collections, SCUA has a consistent social media presence, consisting of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and the blog Cardinal Tales.

Subject Departments
(Science and Technology; Social Sciences and Humanities)

The liaison librarians in the Research and Instruction Division select books, journals, and other information resources for the Library's collections; provide general and specialized reference services; and provide instruction in the use of libraries and information. Liaison librarians also serve as liaisons between the library and assigned academic departments and assist researchers with scholarly communication related issues such as data management planning, altmetrics, ORCiD identifiers, predatory publishers and open access.

During a three month rotation, the Resident Librarian may work alongside individual liaison librarians to gain experience with designing/leading course-related instruction sessions and workshops, staff chat and email reference services, observe data-related advising with campus researchers, orient new grad students and/or faculty to library services and resources, working with database vendors on renewals and/or special pricing offers, and work on collection development projects.