Faculty Status of Librarians

The Issue

In a move heralded as a cost savings measure, the Chancellor approved a new hiring procedure which would deny faculty status to any librarians hired after Spring 2011. Library faculty at each of the 5 colleges put forth an alternate cost savings plan which equaled $150,000 more a year in cost savings (compared to the Chancellor’s plan) by instituting a 50/50 ratio of full-time to adjunct faculty librarians. All 5 college faculty senates passed resolutions in favor of new librarians continuing to be hired as faculty. These efforts proved fruitless with the Chancellor admitting that his decision was not only about cost savings but also one of ideology: that he personally did not believe librarians should have faculty status. The immediate result of this decision was a loss of adjunct librarians across the District as their positions were changed from faculty to staff with an accompanying loss of pay. This has led to cuts in library hours and student services. It is important to note that no library faculty were consulted and no academic impact studies were done before this decision was implemented.

Our Position

Our faculty librarians are invaluable partners in the classroom. In an information age where students attempt to just “google” everything, our community colleges need faculty librarians who are experts in teaching students concepts and skills within the discipline of information literacy: finding, locating, and evaluating information for a specific purpose. No classroom instructor has the knowledge or skill to do what librarians do, and all librarians have Masters degrees in Library Science from American Library Association accredited universities. Library faculty are responsible not only for teaching students in formal classroom settings, at the reference desk, and online but also are responsible for evaluating and reporting student learning outcomes. Of great concern is the two-tiered system of tenured faculty versus staff librarians. Asking staff to do the same job as a faculty member is not only unjust, but could open up the District to  lawsuits over equity in pay.

We have repeatedly requested copies of the cost savings plan that the Chancellor used to determine how much money would be saved with his new staff librarian model. The results of that request are linked below in 1. Short answer? There was no model. Library faculty came up with a better cost savings solution and it was ignored simply because of the Chancellor’s ideology.

Sources

  1. Public Information Act request for documentation and cost-savings plan for eliminating faculty status for librarians hired after Spring 2011: Faculty Status Librarians Memo Feb 2011
  2. Faculty Status of Librarians packet presented to Board of Trustees, Chancellor Leslie, and college Presidents.
  3. Librarians hope the board keeps new hires faculty
  4. Librarians at Alamo Colleges Facing Cuts: some will lose faculty status and have pay reduced
  5. Texas College Librarians Fight to Keep Faculty Status
  6. Academic Librarians in Texas and Oregon Fight for Faculty Status and Jobs
  7. Faculty No Longer

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