Towson Library Residency Program

The ongoing two-year program is designed to provide a new librarian from an underrepresented group with a broad introduction to academic librarianship, a supportive environment for professional exploration, and an opportunity for concentrated experience in an area of specialization.


During the first year, the Library Resident gains experience and provides services in three departments: Research & Instruction, Technical Services, and Archives & Special Collections.

In the second year the Resident specializes in one area and works on a project suited to his/her professional interests while simultaneously addressing the needs of the library. A goal of this capstone project is for the Resident, working independently or with a mentor, to develop, complete, and report research at a professional conference or in a professional journal. With the range of academic librarian experiences as well as specialization, the Resident will be well-prepared for future career opportunities.

Since I’m encouraged to pursue so many library and academic avenues, I know that I’ll have a more focused career path when my residency is completed."

Shannon Simpson, Cook Library’s first Resident



History of the Program

The Albert S. Cook Library and Towson University launched the Library Residency Program in the Fall, 2009. The first library in Maryland to offer a residency in academic librarianship, this program was initiated by the University Librarian, Deborah Nolan, in order to promote diversity in the profession, as well as at Towson, and to bring new perspectives and fresh ideas to the Cook Library.



Towson's Library Residents

2015-2017: Alyse Minter

photo of Alyse Minter

In August 2015, Alyse Minter started her position as the 2015-2017 Resident Librarian for Diversity and Innovation. During her first year in the residency, she has rotated between the Technical Services, Research and Instruction, and Special Collections and Archives divisions.

In Technical Services, Alyse worked closely with the Baltimore Hebrew Institute (BHI) collection to provide cataloging and serials processing. She also created metadata for the Martyrdom & Resistance digital collection. With a focus on library instruction in her second rotation, she worked with the Research and Instruction division to design and implement information literacy curriculum and assess for programmatic outcomes. In collaboration with an A-LIST student, Alyse piloted an outreach program to student organizations, with a focus on academic enrichment and cultural affinity groups. In her third rotation, Special Collections and Archives, Alyse is working on developing a curriculum plan that uses archival materials to examine themes such as race and gender in history, with an aim of engaging learners in critical thinking, investigative research, and problem-based learning. Alyse anticipates spending her second year in Research and Instruction, with a focus on supporting instruction in the College of Education through curriculum mapping, integrated information literacy instruction, and assisting with assessment of the Cook Library instructional program.

Alyse is passionate about supporting student success and retention, with a focus on at-risk populations. Her research interests include community and sociocultural informatics, education and literacy, critical race theory, gender studies, and African American studies.

Prior to her term at Towson University, Alyse worked in Access Services at American University's Bender Library. Previously, she was employed at The Literacy Lab, where she partnered with DCPS to provide targeted instruction for elementary students in emergent and remedial literacy. She holds a Master of Library and Information Science from The Catholic University of America and a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education from The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

2013-2015: Sarah Espinosa

photo of Sarah Espinosa

Sarah Espinosa began work as the new Residency Librarian for Diversity and Innovation at Towson University in mid-August 2013. In her first semester at Towson and rotation in the Technical Services Department, Sarah's accomplishments have been impressive. She completed substantial projects, including the organization and implementation of an inventory of Cook Library's reference section that included shelf reading and cataloging, and which will provide a model for similar inventories of other library collections. Sarah also created a cloud-based database to describe and store digital copies of video licenses; this database makes it much easier for staff and faculty to determine performance rights for library films. In addition, Sarah developed a metadata schema for a digitized collection from our University Archive.

Each member of Technical Services provided mentorship and taught Sarah about their roles and workflows. Sarah in turn completed related projects, such as cataloging music CDs or purchasing faculty book orders. An active participant in the library's assessment and marketing committees, Sarah facilitated a focus group for undergraduate students, and she is developing ideas to expand the library social media efforts. Sarah has also learned about the governance of the University System of Maryland Libraries (USMAI) by attending meetings with staff who serve on various USMAI committees.

Sarah received a Master in Library Science from the University of Maryland in August 2013, and a Bachelor of Arts in English in 2008, also from College Park. Sarah's varied interests include information architecture, web design, assessment, and library marketing. As a graduate student assistant, Sarah created instruction tools and outreach campaigns utilizing social media for the UMD Libraries' Special Collections Department. Prior to librarianship, Sarah taught drama, chorus and provided IT support at an Annapolis elementary school. She also served in AmeriCorps, Los Angeles, as a middle school tutor, mentor and community organizer. With her many talents, rich background, and passion for service to diverse individuals, Sarah is an important asset to the Cook Library and Towson University.

2011-2013: Sara Arnold-Garza

photo of Sara Arnold-Garza

Towson University is very happy to welcome Sara Arnold-Garza as the 2011-2013 Residency Librarian at the Albert S. Cook Library. Sara graduated in May, 2011 from the School of Information at the University of Texas at Austin where she earned her MSIS. Her professional experiences include library public services, database support, managing volunteers, and non-profit fund raising. Sara holds a Bachelor of Science in Professional Communication.

In her new role, Sara will complete rotations during the first year in the three main units of the library: Technical Services, Research & Instruction, and Archives & Special Collections. In the second year she will complete a capstone project, specializing in one area to develop and complete research for publication or presentation at a professional conference. Sara began work at Towson on July 5th, and she has already become immersed in Technical Services projects involving heavy lifting, e.g., withdrawing 600 journal volumes, and problem solving, such as developing a license agreement database.

Sara's focus while at Cook Library will be to bring innovation to library services and to promote diversity in the profession. Her interests include library instruction and information literacy, using technology in the classroom, and the future of the library. Sara is new to the East Coast and looks forward to exploring the abundant history and architecture. With her intelligence, organizational skills and commitment to diversity, Sara will be a great asset to Towson and she is sure to have a bright future in librarianship.

Towson's first Library Resident: Shannon R. Simpson

Out of a pool of over 300 applicants, Shannon Simpson was selected to be Towson’s first Library Resident. Shannon received a Master of Library and Information Science from Kent State University, where she was also a graduate student assistant in the University Special Collections and Archives.

Since coming to Towson in August 2009, Shannon has completed several projects in Technical Services, provided instruction sessions, and created tutorials and library marketing materials. She recently began working in Archives where she has a special interest in oral histories. Choosing to make diversity initiatives part of her residency, Shannon joined the University Diversity Action Committee and is leading an oral history project with children at Arundel Elementary/Middle School in Cherry Hill.

In addition to librarianship, Shannon has many talents and a variety of skills. She is an accomplished cellist, poet, and playwright. Prior to her graduate library program, Shannon had a range of customer service, financial, administrative, editing, and marketing experiences. With her excellent academic credentials, many talents, wealth of experience, and great personality, Towson University and the Library are fortunate to have Shannon as our first Residency Librarian!