Friday, March 31, 2006

Faculty status, Librarians with

The question of faculty status for academic librarians is an issue that elicits passionate debate from people on both sides of the issue. Some academic librarians are considered faculty and have all the rights and responsibilities that such a title entails. Others are called faculty, but are really just academic support staff with glorified titles. Most, however, are somewhere in between and are responsible for things that fit into both categories:
  • staff: working at service desks, cataloging and automation, collection development, etc.
  • faculty: teaching and instruction, research and publication, service and committees, etc.
Not sure where you fall into this landscape of muddled job classification, professionalism, and self-identity? Lack of controlled vocabulary strikes again!

8 comments:

Fer said...

Please see my earlier comments at 23 Feb 06 post Elitist, Being; allow me to add that academic librarianship has always been a combination of clerical and creative tasks. If you can get faculty status at your institution for doing these tasks, right on. It's better than a kick in the head.

As per 23 Feb 06, though:
* "Real" faculty (thems with PhDs in classrooms) will never consider you a true peer, no matter how many post-grad degrees clutter your vitae; and

* Esteem of your peers and fancy titles notwithstanding, you're only faculty if you get paid like it (not merely in comparison to library paraprofessional staff, who get less money than the rude 14-year-olds working the register at Burger King and do quite a lot more).

Anonymous said...

Being paid and respected for your work are one thing. Using faculty privilege and tenure to block meaningful and necessary change is another.

Academic libraries with tenured librarians are endangered. It's time to either reform or be outsourced.

Fer said...

I'd like to hear some more about where you're coming from, Anonymous. This recent article from the Journal of electronic publishing is pretty perceptive:
http://hdl.handle.net/2027/spo.3336451.0009.104

Is your philosophy predicated on academic librarians being responsible fully for their current situation, passing the blame to administrators and a general trend of dwindling financial support for higher ed, or some combination...?

tiny robot said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

lets not forget the purpose of tenure as it disappears in all arenas - who but the tenured librarians will say "that's absurd" when your new director/aul decides to stop ordering print journals because its all digital right? - whilst the non-tenured fresh out of school types just say "great idea boss, would you like me to send the print journals off-site or just burn them on the lawn?" for example...never mind that the roots of "faculty status" for librarians were an attempt to gain us a living raise within the context of the academic machine

MARACimore said...

I'm really ambivalent about having tenure and working in the library. My feelings are not all attributable to the fact that I am a member of Generation X, but I do see how my perception of what I want out of life and career do not always jive with "those who struggled mightily for tenure" back in the day. Reading more stories about how the tenure system as a whole should be overhauled makes me further think that tenure for librarians/information professionals is simply adding to a broken system.

*sigh*

Not really enjoying being on the tenure-track just now...

Fer said...

Ha! Perfect timing.

Like we say at the reference desk, "please pull forward" (while using one of our valuable master's degree diplomas as a tray liner)...

Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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