Law Library Journal
The debate surrounding the issue of faculty and academic status for librarians has captured the attention of contributors to library literature for many years. This ongoing concern eventually led to collective action: in 1959, a report of the University Libraries Section of the Academic Status Committee of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) “strongly recommended” professional librarians be granted academic status and privileges. Opinion pieces have since abounded, with some convinced that the perceived benefits attached to “faculty status” are the due of the librarian, while others are just as strongly convinced that “status” too often comes with added responsibilities and few rewards.
In June 2001, the ACRL board reaffirmed a statement supporting the granting of faculty status for librarians. The 2001 ACRL statement reinforces the view that faculty status for librarians is a double-edged sword. If this statement is applied by universities or law schools, librarians will find themselves being evaluated alongside their teaching faculty colleagues. Full-time jobs and lack of release time and funding for research activities put librarians at a disadvantage when being evaluated in a large faculty pool, and they may find themselves trying to satisfy two sets of criteria: those relating to their primary job performance as librarians and those needed to meet “faculty” standards.
The law librarians at Texas Tech School of Law Library do not now have faculty or other professional status. In considering whether to seek such status, some discussion among the librarians ensued as to whether they would benefit. In order to make a determination regarding this question, a nationwide survey was conducted to assess the current state of law librarian status and tenure, with results which may have considerable value to universities and colleges considering granting faculty status to their librarians.
Sharon Blackburn, Robert H. Hu, Masako Patrum, & Sharon K. Scott, Status and Tenure for Academic Law Librarians: A Survey, 96 Law Libr. J. 127 (2004).