Monday, May 13, 2013

Is tenure academic?

I really wanted to make the switch to an academic library where the librarians had faculty status, because I'm on a career path that includes publishing and presenting, and I wanted some credit for that. I'm noticing a scary trend though. Because it was not required in my old job, my scholarly projects were organic. If I did something I felt was interesting enough to share, I wrote about it or presented on it. Now that I'm at a school where librarians are faculty members, I see some of them (and this seems to be encouraged) coming up with half-cocked projects that are not of any real use to the library or the school, just so they can write them up and get articles on their CV.

This is just taking librarians away from their regular (and, in my opinion, more important) job of being useful to their local communities. And, if not that much thought is going into their written content, they're not adding much to their professional community either.

When all that debate was happening over whether or not librarians should have faculty status, I was firmly on the side of YES, because I don't want all my scholarly work to be done on my own time, and for nothing. But if we're just going to adopt all the problems of a crumbling tenure system, I'm less sure of where I stand.