Library Councils and Librarian Participation in Collegial Governance in Canada

Library councils have an established history within the profession of librarianship and are one area where we see the opportunity for advocacy and growth that will benefit academic librarians in Canada. What follows are some highlights on the state of library councils and librarians’ participation in collegial governance by one of the Advocacy Committee’s members, Eva Revitt:

“[…]There is evidence of a general disenfranchisement of librarians from significant decisions affecting library operations, resources, services, and the appointment and evaluation of senior administrative positions. […] Historical and anecdotal evidence suggests that administrative resistance is a continued and key obstacle to the democratization of decision-making processes in Canadian academic libraries.” (Revitt & Luyk, 2016)

“Of the 96 Universities Canada member institutions, […] approximately one third have a library council or like body. […] Despite evidence of good governance practices by some councils, library council processes and structures within Canadian university libraries remain underdeveloped. The scope and role of the majority of the councils is that of a communication forum that serves in an advisory capacity to the university librarian. As has been demonstrated elsewhere (Revitt & Luyk, 2016), such a role is not in the spirit of the original intention of library councils as outlined by the jointly released CACUL/CAUT Guidelines on Academic Status for University Librarians: Library governance was a crucial aspect of academic status for librarians.” (Revitt & Luyk, 2019)


Revitt, E., & Luyk, S. (2016). Library councils and governance in Canadian university libraries: A critical review. Canadian Journal of Academic Librarianship, 1, 60-79.

Revitt, E., & Luyk. S. (2019). The role of library councils in Canadian higher education: An exploratory study. Canadian Journal of Higher Education/Revue canadienne d’enseignement supérieur, 49(1), 140-158.