Statement on Academic Status

CAPAL/ACBAP affirms that the academic status of librarians is imperative to their academic mandate of teaching, learning, and knowledge creation. CAPAL/ACBAP wishes to highlight the long and established history of academic status for librarians in North America: the importance of which was articulated in 1967 in the Downs Report. In 1973, the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) released a Statement on Faculty Status of College and University Librarians. The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) and the Canadian Association of College and University Librarians produced the Guidelines on Academic Status for University Librarians shortly after, in 1975 .1 In 2007, the Association of College and Research Libraries approved the ACRL Standards for Faculty Status for Academic Librarians; and in 2018, CAUT reaffirmed librarians’ rights and responsibilities in an updated Statement on Academic Status and Governance for Librarians.

Librarians have the professional responsibility to develop, advance, examine, and theorize information fluencies; social, political, cultural, and economic dimensions of information environments; the role of libraries; the politics, economics, and implementation of technology in post-secondary education; and the processes of knowledge creation, management, mobilization, and dissemination. Academic librarians are the ones who do this for the post-secondary environment in Canada.

In practical application, academic status for librarians includes the following:

1. Professional Practice

Academic status gives important protections in the form of academic privileges and freedoms. These provide the ability to speak and to research without inappropriate direction, impedance, or punishment on academic information and scholarly communications: the very lifeblood of Canadian post-secondaries. As professionals governed by a code of ethics, academic librarians must be afforded the autonomy and independence to exercise their responsibilities according to their professional judgment.

2. Tenure and Promotion

Librarians’ tenure and promotion processes should be aligned with that of faculty colleagues and based on peer evaluation and disciplinary norms. Peer driven processes provide stability and continuity in the development of research, knowledge dissemination, expertise, and services in this field.

3. Scholarly Activity

As academics and professionals, librarians should have access to research funds, and sabbatical/research leave paralleling that of faculty colleagues. Librarians, as academics and professionals, have a right to engage in research and scholarship within the context of their discipline and beyond.

4. Participation in Collegial Governance

Academic librarians have the right and a responsibility to participate in deliberative governance processes including eligibility as Senate and Board of Governance members. Librarians should be included as members in institutional and departmental committees, and afforded decision-making responsibilities within the context of the academic library through the establishment of a library council or like body.

5. Academic Terms and Condition of Employment

Academic librarians’ terms and conditions of employment should be aligned with that of faculty colleagues including in the availability and rotation of administrative appointments, autonomy to manage one’s professional responsibilities; and with equitable research, service, and professional practice workloads and remuneration.

Endnotes

1 Canadian Association of College and University Librarians / Canadian Association of 1 University Teachers. (1979). Guidelines on academic status for university librarians. Ottawa, ON: Canadian Library Association.

The Guidelines were released in 1975 and published in 1979.

STATEMENT ON ACADEMIC STATUS (2020-07) APPROVED: CAPAL/ACBAP AGM, 2020-07-28

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