Personnel Issues for Academic Librarians: A Review and Perspectives for the Future

Sheila D. Creth
1989 College and Research Libraries  
For fifty years, the personnel issues of greatest concern to academic librarians have centered on professionalism, assignments and responsibilities, credentials and compensation, and status and role within the library and the academy. While positive changes have occurred regarding these issues during this period, many remain unresolved as librarians continue to struggle to define their place in the academy. The current environment in scholarly communication and higher education is providing an
more » ... pportunity for librarians to define a future that will ensure their central role in the educational process and thus resolve these remaining age-old questions. ne of the more striking aspects of the library personnel function from 1939 to date is how consistent the issues and concerns have been. It also is clear in reviewing the literature that the environment external to higher education has influenced both the particular issues of concern to academic librarians and their response. The most prevalent issues have been professionalism, assignments and responsibilities for the librarian, status and role within the library and the academy, credentials, and compensation. These issues, which are interrelated, have generated a host of other issues including faculty status, collective bargaining, classification schemes, ratio of professional to clerical staff, participatory management, representation of women in administrative positions, peer review, evaluation processes, professional development, and release time for research. And yet another issue surfaced in the 1970s of considerable concern to ac-ademic librarians: the fear librarians will be replaced by computer or information specialists in the high-tech information society of tomorrow. Along the academic library continuum from the small college library to the largest university library, the interest and response to these issues has, not surprisingly, varied. Has there been progress or improvement on personnel matters during this fifty-year period? Even on this agreement may depend on how one feels about the changes that have occurred and the pace of change. The two fundamental personnel issues are position responsibilities and performance expectations for academic librarians, and their professional status-two issues that are inexorably tied to one another.
doi:10.5860/crl_50_02_144 fatcat:xtszz2wue5e33j2udgc2cburre