Re-Tooling Academic Libraries for the Digital Age:
Missions, Collections, Staffing

California Academic & Research Libraries
Third Annual Conference


Moderator: Caroline Harnly, Library, San Francisco State University
Gary Peete, Head, Reference Services, Business & Economics, UC Berkeley; and President of Statewide LAUC
Henry DuBois, Associate Director; Library CSU Long Beach
David Dowell, Director, Learning Resources, Cuesta College
Charlotte Derksen, Head, Science and Engineering Resource Groups; Head, Branner Earth Sciences Library & Map Collection, Stanford University

Caroline Harnly from San Francisco State University moderated this panel of three speakers, who addressed the nature of their library's organizational structure and faculty status for librarians at their campus. Gary Peete from UC Berkeley noted that in the UC system, librarians are Academic Employees, not Faculty, but possess career status (like tenure) and are evaluated in a similar manner to faculty. Institutionally, librarians' support has dropped precipitously in recent years, with positions lost, inadequate technical support and rising demands. Librarians have had to cut back on their professional activities and their future role is ambiguous.

David Dowell of Cuesta College noted that librarians need to stay current with their users, in daily face-to-face contact. Whether faculty status is a worthwhile goal seems to depend on the kind of institution: community colleges. work well with faculty status since library degrees are comparable with most Faculty degrees, but status works less well at large research institutions, where expectations exist for faculty to attract large amounts of grant funding and to publish extensively in a way most librarians do not. He concluded that the best status is one that promotes an extended curriculum and furthers education, and that developing mutual respect with department faculty should be a major goal. Faculty status is not the only way to gain professional respect.

Henry Dubois from CSU Long Beach chronicled the long path to faculty status that the CSU librarians have taken, beginning in 1973 and passing through several stages to the present contract, which preserves most gains. He noted that the California Faculty Association looks to librarians as loyal, committed members and that librarians have been able to experiment with faculty models of organization and extend methods of team problem-solving. Some drawbacks have been that the historic independence of the faculty unit has tended to break down communication paths and that there is little in the way of mechanisms allowing librarians to teach.

Charlotte Derksen outlined Stanford's rapid changes in recent years and the ways that Stanford presents unusual challenges to organization. Librarians there are not faculty and do not always even possess a library degree but sometimes an advanced subject degree. Serving the distinct needs of the various colleges on campus is a main function of the library. Stanford has gone through a phase of "flattening" the structure of the library's organization only to re-establish a more hierarchical order recently.

Summary by Ned Fielden, SFSU

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