Monday, December 7, 2009

tenure for our law librarians

Images Many of us who teach LRW -- legal research and writing -- do so in tandem with our law schools' librarians.  They face many of the same status issues that legal writing professionals face.  Now Carol A. Parker at the University of New Mexico has published the results of her survey on the status of law school librarians: 

"Providing Tenure and Continuous Appointment Opportunities for Academic Law Librarians: Challenges for the Profession" 

Here's her summary:

"This article examines tenure requirements currently in use in academic law libraries in the United States. It is one of two articles examining the effect of tenure opportunities on rank-and-file academic law librarians, their law libraries, and the profession of law librarianship. Its intended audience is library directors and other leaders within the profession of academic law librarianship. The article reports data gathered in an August 2009 survey of law libraries that currently provide tenure or continuous appointment opportunities for academic law librarians. To provide context, this article revisits faculty status and how it can naturally lead to law librarians having opportunities to attain tenured status. The article also considers the ideal of tenured status—what benefits are gained by the tenure system and what is meant by the concept of academic freedom which underpins justification of tenure generally. It identifies various tenure tracks for librarians and the standards for performance under which law librarians are currently reviewed, promoted to progressively higher rank, and awarded tenure. Finally, it recommends that library directors and other leaders within the profession make a concerted effort to encourage law libraries to employ more uniform and consistently rigorous standards for assessing law librarian performance for tenure or continuous appointment, and to develop more robust programs for encouraging librarian scholarship. Failing to do so can only weaken arguments that law librarians should continue to hold faculty status, and be able to attain tenured status, well into the future.

Carol's also written a companion piece, “Providing Tenure and Continuous Appointment Opportunities for Academic Law Librarians: Challenges for Librarians and Library Directors.”

(spl) 

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/legalwriting/2009/12/tenure-for-our-law-librarians.html

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