Library Faculty: "Heated, Often Personal Debates"
Now I'm trying to get back to work and for my paper (yes, I really have a paper to write) I'm reading about the question of whether or not librarians in academic institutions deserve faculty status.
Few issues inspire such heated debate among academic librarians as the issue of faculty status. A recent example is Blaise Cronin's article, "The Mother of All Myths," in which Cronin calls library faculty status a "mockery of the professorate" and generally asserts that librarians have no place in "the academic calling." This article met with numerous letters to the editor in subsequent issues of Library Journal. Mark Herring agreed with Cronin, saying that tenure turns librarians' minds to "muddle." Others felt that Cronin was relegating librarians to the status of "contented handmaidens" and "'the help' on campus." Stephen Karetzky wrote that Cronin's definition of faculty status implied that Cronin himself should abdicate his professorship. Lisa Dunn wrote that Cronin's assessment was "overgeneralized and politically naïve." Even Robert Eno, a colleague of Cronin (both are professors at Indiana University, Bloomington) and president of the local chapter of the American Association of University Professors, wrote to disagree with Cronin. The debates are heated and often personal [emphasis mine].
--D.B. Hoggan. (2003). Faculty status for librarians in higher education. Portal: Libraries and the Academy, 3(3), 431-445.
We don't relinquish any legitimacy in our arguments because we get hot under the collar for being called a name. (In my case, a particularly insulting name.) It seems that librarians get called names, too - with the requisite assumptions, about how you are individually because you happen to be a woman, thrown in. Oh, goodie.
Many librarians believe that faculty status provides a higher level of stature and recognition within the university community than does staff status. Librarians who do research are thought to have better relationships with other faculty on campus. Thus, faculty-status librarians may find it easier to win the respect of faculty in other departments. A good rapport with the faculty is important because the effective teaching of information literacy skills is facilitated by collaboration between librarians and professors.
Ironically, while many librarians view faculty status as an asset to the professional's reputation, others feel that it detracts from the librarian's image. Blaise Cronin writes that faculty status seems "petty and vainglorious" to outsiders and that the justifications for faculty status are "downright embarrassing." However, the majority of published opinions support the idea that faculty status improves the stature and image of academic librarians.
God damn it. The stereotype of the elderly spinster who ended up as a librarian because she (it's always a she) couldn't get a man is childish. When are we going to revise this ridiculous misconception? I'm thinking of going into technical services and/or online system development and/or digital archiving and/or science reference librarianship. These fields have largely been dominated by men.
(Grad school is one of the few places where I end up in a room with a bunch of women. I was at an orientation, and one speaker made reference to "Dr." Phil. "And we all love Dr. Phil, don't we?" The students yelled, "Yes!" I yelled, "No!" I mean, what is that? Can't I even escape from so-called female pop culture at grad school?)
I'm looking forward to my first ALA conference! :-D