Academic Librarianship: Anchoring the Profession in Contribution, Scholarship, and Service is needed now as a response to how much has changed in academic librarianship as a profession (from the smallest academic libraries to large research libraries).
Much has been written recently about the status of the profession of librarianship, i.e. whether or not it should still be considered a “profession,” are the same credentials still required/enough, should things change dramatically in SLIS programs in response to the new normal, and what is the impact of hiring PhD’s in disciplines outside of librarianship.
Major topics covered include:
Author Marcy Simons explores the history, current status, and future of the profession of academic librarianship. She clearly demonstrates the need for a shared understanding of how we will work together in order to continue our transformation.
Marcy Simons is the organizational development librarian at the University of Notre Dame, where she works closely with the office of the provost to ensure a shared understanding of the library faculty role, its expectations, and equity, diversity, and inclusion in the recruitment, onboarding, and retention practices. Simon’s previous book, Academic Library Metamorphosis and Regeneration, was also published in the Beta Phi Mu Scholar Series.
Chapter One: Librarianship, the Profession
Chapter Two: The Question of Status
Chapter Three: Contribution to the Profession
Chapter Four: Anchored in Service
Chapter Five: Education
Chapter Six: A Path Forward
Simons packs this slim volume on academic librarianship with probing questions and a great deal of information. As the title implies, the book is meant to advance the profession get to a place where it is more firmly anchored and can move forward. To lay this groundwork, Simons provides context for the big questions that have faced academic librarianship, starting with the most foundational of these: Does academic librarianship qualify as its own profession? She follows with deep dives into tenure and faculty status, research and scholarship, service contributions (e.g., committee work; membership in professional organizations), and educational qualifications. Simons also raises questions: Should librarianship require a certification process? Should the MLS continue to be the terminal degree? If yes, how should those degree programs be transformed to adequately prepare academic librarians for the current requirements of the profession? Informative and thought-provoking. Simons doesn’t provide answers but rather a framework to promote further discussion. Will appeal to academic librarians, library administrators, and those involved in developing curricula for library and information science programs.
Simons provides readers with an overview of the current state of academic librarianship as a profession. The book is clearly structured, beginning with a consideration of what constitutes a profession and how academic librarianship measures up against the criteria identified. The author then considers the question of faculty status for academic librarians and reviews three significant “anchoring” components of the profession: research, service, and LIS education. In each chapter, Simons grounds her discussion in the historical literature, creating helpful narratives that highlight developments or concerns with each. The work concludes by identifying trends and issues to watch and looks forward to the future of the profession with guarded optimism. Simons’s own American context informs the history and examples used in the work, but many of the conclusions and recommendations will be relevant to those outside the US. The text will likely be of most interest to library administrators, though new librarians may also find the book's thorough overview of their discipline informative and enlightening. Recommended. Graduate students, researchers, professionals.
I have read the manuscript from Marcy and support wholeheartedly its publication. She covered the history, the issues involved in academic status for librarians and made some good suggestions about reforms that need to be made. She spent some time on the challenges of AI and publishing in the digital age. I think the section on the 'imposter syndrome' and on workplace issues are extremely important. The work is well written and researched and should be of interest especially to the administration of universities and libraries. Librarians and librarianship are still vital in a digital world. This book should be an important contribution to our knowledge and research agendas.