Rotation Sites, 2019

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 and insights into a variety of functional areas of academic librarianship, providing the Resident Librarian with a holistic view of academic and research librarianship.

In addition, all rotations will include exposure to library leadership issues through interviews, job-shadowing, and other methods. Residents will gain understanding of issues that library leaders in rotation areas face, what are the benefits and challenges, and what is their decision-making process.

All departments in the library are eligible to serve as rotation hosts. This page includes descriptions of participating library departments and potential experiences and learning activities a Resident Librarian may be able to participate in during a rotation in each department. We recommend Resident Librarians choose rotations in consultation with the Assistant Dean for Inclusion & Equity, who supervises the Residency Program, and their home department supervisor.

Assessment Program 

The Library’s Assessment Program works to raise the Library’s visibility and promote the value of its collections, programs, services, and expert staff. A three- or four-month rotation in the Assessment Department would provide the Resident Librarian with direct involvement and input into both existing and planned library assessment projects. Projects could range from simple to complex, depending on the Resident’s interest and preparation, and could utilize quantitative, qualitative, or mixed methodologies. Projects could potentially connect to other home department activities, be aligned with the library’s strategic plan, or be more global in nature and connect to academic library initiatives like ARL’s Research Impact Framework. Opportunities to utilize relevant technology (e.g., SPSS, Qualtrics, NVivo, Tableau, Drupal) to support assessment work could be part of the experience, depending on interest and project.

Digital Scholarship and Initiatives

The Digital Scholarship and Initiatives 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 digital collections, online exhibits, the institutional repository, and digital humanities services.

During a three-month rotation, the Resident Librarian will gain experience in relevant areas such as building digital collections and online exhibits; project management and digitization workflows; intellectual property issues as they relate to digital scholarship; consulting with students on their digital humanities projects, and working with digital humanities tools, depending on interest and project. 

Metadata Services

Our cataloging and metadata activities support the Library with prompt and accurate delivery of bibliographic information. The metadata team is responsible for the creation, management, extraction, remediation, and dissemination of metadata for born-digital and digitized materials. The cataloging team handles copy and original cataloging of monographs and serials, and catalog maintenance tasks.

We welcome the Resident Librarian for a three-month rotation to gain hands-on experience with current library metadata and cataloging practices, standards and tools. Depending on interest and cross-departmental projects, the Resident Librarian may receive an overview of MARC21 and RDA, use OCLC Connexion to import or create records, use MarcEdit to batch-edit records, create descriptive metadata for digital objects, mint persistent identifiers, write XSLT to transform existing metadata, use Python to enhance workflows, and more.


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, environmental monitoring, and disaster preparedness and response are the primary aspects of the preservation program efforts.

During a one-month rotation, Resident Librarians choosing this rotation will gain experience with functions performed by both the Preservation Services Unit and the Conservation Unit. Areas of focus include commercial library binding, digitization workflows for exhibits and large-scale projects, disaster preparedness and planning, disaster salvage, physical handling of fragile rare items, appropriate archival housings for a wide-range of formats, preservation assessment surveys, and the conservation treatment decision-making process. Some hands-on experience will be provided, including retrofitting existing archival housings, constructing a variety of protective custom housings, participating in a preservation assessment survey or rare materials, and basic conservation treatment including surface cleaning, humidification and flattening, and general collections treatment. Depending on resident interest and availability of departmental projects, this rotation may be extended up to a three-month period.

Research & Instruction Services


Liaison librarians in Research & Instruction Services support academic departments and faculty, undergraduate, and graduate students in their collection and research needs. They purchase materials and promote the use of databases and other resources used by researchers. They also teach an information literacy course, provide classroom instruction for students, and assist them with finding resources and doing research for papers and projects. 

A three-month rotation in a Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM) subject area would allow a Resident Librarian to gain collaborative and independent experience with a variety of activities that can include selecting materials for purchase or withdrawal; learning to design and lead STEM course-related instruction sessions or workshops; providing research consultations with STEM faculty and students, and designing and revising LibGuides to support STEM subject areas. A Resident choosing this rotation may have input into focusing on a specific area of STEM librarianship such as life sciences, physical sciences, engineering, agriculture, etc., depending on background and interest. The rotation will also help the Resident Librarian gain experience with unique document types used by science researchers, such as patents, standards, technical reports, and test methods, and become more familiar with researcher needs in the sciences. The rotation may also include some general professional activities, such as providing chat and email reference, depending on interest. This rotation is recommended to occur in the beginning months of a semester to be most effective.

Scholarly Communications 


Data Services is a cross-department library effort to promote and support open science and open data at Iowa State University. Librarians who work in this unit manage Iowa State University’s open data repository (DataShare), develop and host data management workshops, and collaborate with other units in the library and across campus to promote open science and good data management practices.

During a three-month rotation, the Resident Librarian will gain experience with data management best practices and apply those practices through a variety of ways: working with faculty and grad students to curate and prepare data for publication, the creation of education and outreach materials, and through the development and teaching of workshops.


The Iowa State University Digital Press is a newly-launched library publishing program that publishes journals, conference proceedings, monographs, and open educational resources in subject areas represented in Iowa State’s academic and research programs. The Digital Press is committed to Open Access and diversity and seeks to increase the representation of identities and perspectives in the scholarly record.

A three-month rotation with the Digital Press will introduce the resident librarian to this emerging area of librarianship, providing them with knowledge and experience with scholarly communication, academic publishing, and Open Access initiatives. During the rotation, the Resident Librarian will assist with researching and developing policy, educational, and outreach materials, and gain experience using open source publishing software.


The Open Education rotation site offers a broad range of services related to open education. This unit provides workshops to users to raise awareness about topics related to open education, develops online guides, handouts, and other resources, and interacts with users interested in open educational practices.

A three-month rotation in this unit will provide a resident librarian with the opportunity to work on a wide variety of projects related to the discovery and marketing of open educational resources (OER). This may include working with faculty and graduate students to explore OER available in their discipline; creating and disseminating talking points that resonate with users of different experience levels with OER; or drafting recommendations on how the library can more effectively communicate its Open Education services. The resident’s interests will also play a role in developing their project in this rotation.

Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA)

Special Collections and University Archives is home to Iowa State University Library’s rare books, manuscripts, photographs, audiovisual recordings, film, artifacts, archival records and other historical documents. Our collection covers a large range of areas, including agriculture and rural life, life sciences, engineering, technology, and Iowa State University history. We collect and preserve these materials to enhance scholarship and help researchers to understand the past and its relationship to the present. We welcome and are open to all who want to see and research these rare and unique materials.

During a three-month rotation, the Resident Librarian may, depending on interest, take part in collection development, arranging and processing collections, answering reference queries and working with researchers, and/or outreach and public programming.