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Distinctions in Expectations and Responsibilities between Senior Library Specialist, Library Operations Associate, Academic Professional, and Library Faculty Positions
This document articulates the distinctions in expectations and responsibilities between the Senior Library Specialist and Library Operations Associate staff classifications and the Academic Professional Specialist and Library faculty academic positions.
The Senior Library Specialist classification focuses on knowledge and expertise in the area of library procedures, e.g. cataloging, conservation, circulation. Employees at this level perform highly complex duties that require an extensive working knowledge of the techniques and practices of library science, archives, or preservation/restoration. They are considered specialists and may work in specific areas. These employees may be assigned supervisory duties. Employees receive training in pertinent library processes, procedures, and tools. Employees at this level must have a minimum of a high school diploma or equivalent, plus at least four years of combined a) library or equivalent setting experience and/or b) college coursework in any field. The actual range of experience and educational attainment (including advanced degrees) for staff in this classification varies throughout the library. For a more complete description of the levels of work, minimum acceptable qualifications, and personal attributes needed to undertake the job, please go to http://www.sucss.state.il.us/documents/ClassSpecs/SPEC4900.pdf.
The Library Operations Associate classification focuses on management and administration of designated operations in library units. Employees at this level perform duties that require a practical knowledge of the theories and principles of library science. The employees use initiative and judgment in applying established library principles and procedures to problems and in determining when assistance of a professional librarian is needed. In performing these duties, the employees may be assigned supervisory duties. Employees receive training in pertinent library processes, procedures, and tools. This position requires knowledge of library operations and supervisory skills. Employees at this level must have a minimum of a high school diploma or equivalent, plus at least 6 years of combined a) library or equivalent setting experience and/or b) college coursework in any field. The actual range of experience and educational attainment (including advanced degrees) for staff in this classification varies throughout the library. For a more complete description of the levels of work, minimum acceptable qualifications, and personal attributes needed to undertake the job, please go to http://www.sucss.state.il.us/documents/ClassSpecs/SPEC4900.pdf.
The Academic Professional Position functions, organizational relationships and typical responsibilities are noted in Standard #49919 < https://nessie.uihr.uillinois.edu/pdf/pape/coord.pdf> and Standard #49920 < https://nessie.uihr.uillinois.edu/pdf/pape/special.pdf> by Academic Human Resources. 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 and/or work experience of a depth sufficient to provide a foundation for expert knowledge and ability in a field.
The academic professional’s primary role is to engage in professional activities that directly support Library activities and services. While academic professionals function with a degree of independence and autonomy and are encouraged to exercise their investigation time options, their activities are directed toward providing key support for the services and policies instituted by the Library. The shape of the position and the range of responsibilities are determined by the needs of the unit as defined by the supervisor. Academic professionals can and do conduct research under the Guideline for Investigation Time policy articulated at the Executive Committee Meeting of 10/26/2009 http://www.library.illinois.edu/committee/exec/meeting2009_2010.html.
Library Faculty members bring advanced degrees in library and information science and/or other related disciplines into their roles providing leadership and strategic direction to all library activities. They both investigate and create best practices in the field through varying combinations of their librarianship, research, and professional service activities. They work within the overarching Library administrative structure and under the parameters set forth in their job description to design, implement, and support Library activities and services. Under these parameters, Library faculty function autonomously and independently within their positions while at the same time they work collegially and cooperatively to fulfill the mission of their unit, the Library, and campus. Library faculty members have a responsibility to work with members of their units to achieve the articulated goals for that unit and the Library as a whole. This can be accomplished directly through administration, indirectly through committee work, or through independent initiatives carried out by the Library faculty member. A critical function of the Library faculty, both individually and as a whole, is to set policy within the Library and to help shape the larger academic policy on Campus. Library faculty members define their own research agenda, including both theoretical and applied research. The Library provides basic support, including research time and a small travel budget, to enable the development of this research agenda, and faculty members are encouraged to seek additional support from University and external sources to fulfill their research responsibilities. In addition, Library faculty members engage in service work that benefits the Library, the campus, the profession and their users. All tenured and tenure-track faculty members are expected to meet the requirements and guidelines found in relevant Communications from the Provost’s Office as well as those found in written Library policies, the Academic Staff Handbook and the Campus Administrative Handbook and other Campus Policies and Procedures.
The distinctions between 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 both protection and opportunities for all members of the community to meet the needs of the Library in new and innovative ways.
Adopted 4/11/2005, updated 11/2005, updated 07/2011, updated 9/9/2011