Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Collegiality and the Academic Library

Collegiality and the Academic Library. If have a new paper up at Michaellorenzen.com. I am not quite sure what journal I am going to send this to but it will be one that allows me to keep the copyright or gives the author the right to use the article in his own edited works. Both of these options would allow me to keep the article online where it will actually be found and read.

This paper examines the concept of collegiality and how it can be applied to academic libraries. This includes a definition of what collegiality is, a review of the library literature which describes how other writers have seen this issue, and a discussion of how collegiality can be applied in libraries. This includes an examination of how faculty in a library and faculty on other parts of campus work differently which makes collegiality more important in the library. It also looks at why collegiality is important in academic libraries where librarians work hand-in-hand with support staff and student employees.

From the site:

In understanding collegiality in a campus library, it is important to realize that classroom faculty and librarians are in vastly different roles. Although both may be classed and ranked based on the same faculty model of titles (assistant professor, professor, etc.) and pay, collegiality impacts each group differently. This is due to several factors including the expectations of the public and colleagues and in the differences in how their duties are carried out.

To put it simply, everyone expects librarians to “play well with others” as Jones (1997) phrased it. This is not always the case with classroom-based faculty. Most people like college professors who are easy to talk to and get along with. However, just about everyone is familiar with the stereotypical professor who is knowledgeable, teaches well, has scholarly renown, and also has an ego the size of a small planet. And there is a level of acceptance for that kind of behavior in professors. Students, support staff, other faculty, and higher education administrators are used to dealing with this type of individual.

This is not the case with librarians. No matter how well a librarian performs a job, how many degrees or awards she may have, or how many publications are on her resume, the librarian is expected to have a humble attitude and to be free of any touch of arrogance. Being even the slightest bit egotistical is unacceptable for librarians who are seen in service roles on campus. Patrons, other professionals on campus, and colleagues in the library will not accept it. A classroom faculty member (particularly one with tenure) can be difficult and show an attitude and still be seen as making an effort at collegiality. This is not true with a librarian. Any indication of arrogant or self-serving behavior by a librarian will lead to that person being labeled as not being collegial and marked as being a problem by most people on campus.

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