Saturday, September 16, 2006

Back again to answer questions

As readers may be able to tell I haven't written in about 2 weeks. I've learned a lot over this first year of my career; some of which I hope to share through this blog. The latest lesson is this: If you've had a cold for a month, go to the doctor no matter how busy you are. The cold may mutate into something much less pleasant. I hope others may learn from my idiocy. That's my PSA for the day, now on to other matters....

Diane sent me a couple of questions that she had been asked by a current MLIS student, and since I'm still a newbie in a different library & position than her, I might have a different take. So here's a couple of them below, I'll answer more in the future and if any followups appear in the comments.

Question 1: If you're a department liaison for a specific subject are you responsible for the bibliographic instruction as well as the collection development for that dept.?
Answer: Yes and no. I hate to be vague, but from what I've seen it depends. In my situation, I'm in a small library in a graduate school of social work. I'm assigned specific concentrations and I'm responsible for the collection development for them. I've also done one special program geared toward that concentration as well as other general programs. We have an instruction librarian who is responsible for scheduling and developing BI, but all of four of the librarians on staff teach the sessions. I may be more inclined to teach one of them in my concentration, but not necessarily. I think this is likely to be different at a main university library because each responsibility area is much larger and the liaison duties occupy more of the librarians' time.

Question 2: Is the librarian position tenured at your library?
Answer: No. Librarians can be considered either staff or faculty. Generally the librarians at each university are considered one or the other although occasionally you'll find a mix. Then, if they are considered faculty, there are tenure-track positions and non-tenure positions just like for other faculty. There are pros and cons to each. At Case, the librarians are considered staff, although it is my understanding that when there was a library school here they were faculty.
You'll find many librarians all over the U.S. who are very passionate about this issue and feel that we would garnish more respect and publish more as faculty. My opinion is that it depends on the culture and power balance at the library and its university as to which works best. Having staff status works pretty well for us, but it may not work at another university. The only drawback that I foresee is that librarians can't assign grades which may be useful (or at least desired) in some situations.

There were a lot of other questions concerning interviews, resumes, and the whole horrible job-hunting thing. I'll write another post soon that will lump all of those questions together and I'll answer them as best as I can.

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