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August 19, 2010
Librarians Have an Image Problem
There is a debate going on at The Daily Dish, Andrew Sullivan's blog over at The Atlantic. One of the Sullivan's readers wrote this yesterday:
All this at a time when they are struggling to even be relevant and find something to do with their time in this Google age. Library budgets are cut, staff let go, materials and collections trimmed, but the overpaid librarian stays - to do what? Make lists, answer the occasional reference question, and attend meetings.
So, should tenure be abolished? For librarians, you betcha!
Obviously from someone who knows nothing about what a librarian, let alone a law librarian, does all day. I'd write more about it but I have to get to lunch, and then a meeting (about the fall student orientation training, I might add). Now, where did I put my list? See the entire reader comment quote here. [MG]
Shouldn't the PR departments of AALL, SLA, ALA, MLA, etc be responding to the comments. I'm sure this person is not the only one that feels this way and our professional organizations should be educating the general public as to what librarians do.
Posted by: Mary E. Matuszak | Aug 20, 2010 7:51:38 AM
...ask the question in a slightly different way, though: How many academic librarians would *want* to compete for tenure on the same criteria as are used for professors. For all that's worth, I still get nightmares about my cataloging class, and the professor, doubtless a very skilled cataloger, being plain-out not qualified to teach. And the debate about the poor quality of most scholarly LIS writing is probably only second to the debate about the poor quality of most legal scholarship.
My thinking on this is, 'working in a library' is what you do 9-to-5. What gets you tenure, though, is being an LIS scholar or legal information scholar. And if you can't be one or don't want to be one, well, then you are an administrative/support employee, different from but not entirely dissimilar to the IT department.
Posted by: Mikhail Koulikov | Aug 19, 2010 1:51:38 PM