Library Committee Handbook

Executive Committee



Senior Library Specialist and Library Operations Associate staff classifications compared to the Academic Professional Specialist and Library Faculty positions

April 2005.  (updated with new position titles, Nov. 2005.)  

The Senior Library Specialist classification focuses on knowledge and expertise in the area of library procedures, e.g. cataloging, conservation, circulation.  It does not require subject expertise nor any education beyond the high school diploma.

 

The Library Operations Associate classification focuses on management and administration of library units.  There are twelve personal attributes needed to undertake job listed. All focus on library operations and supervisory skills. Again, there is no expectation of subject-based professional expertise.  Nor is any degree beyond the high school diploma required.

 

The Academic Professional Position Standard #49920 for the Title: Specialist starts off with the sentences, “Under administrative direction, performs senior staff/professional-level duties that are devoted to a particular activity or specialized area in an employing unit. Responsibilities typically require a depth of knowledge, expertise and skills, normally gained through an advanced course of study in an academic discipline and/or work experience of a variety and depth sufficient to provide a foundation for expert knowledge and ability in a field.”  The specialized body of knowledge that is expected of an academic professional is the hallmark of the position and is acquired through appropriate academic degrees.

 

This description of the academic professional addresses the key distinction between an academic professional and a faculty member with the phrase: “Under administrative direction.”  There is no expectation of the kind of independent, autonomousrole which Library faculty have in their fulfillment of theirresponsibilities.  Nor is there the opportunity for theacademic professional to re-define their position.  The shapeof the position and the range of responsibilities aredetermined by the needs of the unit as defined by thesupervisor.  Academic professionals can and do conductresearch, but they do it under the direction and supervisionof Library faculty.

 

The Library faculty members function autonomously and independently within their position.   The incumbent has a set of responsibilities, cataloging or reference or whatever, but beyond those parameters can and must set their own professional goals.  Library faculty play an active role in the way the unit defines and fulfills its mission.  This can be directly through administration, indirectly through committee work, or through independent developments initiated by the Library faculty member.  Another critical function of the Library faculty is to set academic policy within the Library and to help shape the larger academic policy on Campus.  Library faculty members define their own research agenda and fulfill it.  In addition, Library faculty members engage in service work that benefits the profession.

 

The sharp distinctions of these four position classifications may occasionally be blurred a bit in practice.  However, they are real, definable, and sustainable.  Careful adherence to the principles of the positions can provide protection from exploitation while giving opportunities for staff to meet the needs of the Library in new and innovative ways.

 

Bill Mischo & Kathleen Kluegel for the Executive Committee.

Adopted 4/11/2005, updated 11/2005