Is it time to consider the possibility of librarians working remotely, from home, at least some hours?
The most obvious priority is restoration of the full six weeks vacation for newly hired librarians. It is outrageous that the faculty who most need time to study and publish are the ones who contractually have the least.
There are several things I'd like to see in the new contract. First of all, I'd like a decent raise for a change. The city and state are in great financial shape. Since we suffered with the city and state during their financial crisis, we deserve to share in the feast. I'd also like to see the city and state make greater contributions to our welfare fund. Our dental and drug benefits have really taken a hit over the last ten years. I wish the union would negotiate to restore the six week vacation to new hires. I think it would be very helpful in our recruiting efforts. Finally, I've heard people in the mayor's office suggest that police officers who live in the city be offered free tuition at CUNY for their children. I think this is a great idea but I'd like to see the offer extended to the children of faculty at CUNY who live in the city as well, if not to the children of all CUNY faculty, regardless of their addresses.
...you make some excellent points and I second them all. I would actually add one extra wish. Though librarians are non-teaching faculty, we seem to be teaching more and more. So instead of asking to restore six week vacation, lets at least aim at "summers off". This would help all of us -new and old recr uits - to do research, publish and relax!
I would certainly agree that it would be a good idea for the union to seek a fuller parity with the rest of the faculty when it comes to vacation time. Andy Garoogian once suggested that 1 additional day of vacation time be added for each year of service until librarians achieve parity with the rest of the faculty. I thought this might be a realistic goal for negotiation.
Regarding the suggestion about adding one day per year to a new hire's vacation:
This is, in fact, the system that is in place. Check the contract (in the old contract, it is on pages 26-7, section 14.3 b)
No, this is the system for new hires until they reach six weeks. I'm talking about adding a day to all librarians until their vacation achieves parity with the classroom faculty.
I would be interested in the opinion of the group about the requirements for faculty rank by CUNY librarians.
Absolutely!! I certainly agree that parity with the classroom faculty in terms of annual leave should be our goal.
I would like to see the Library Department organized and treated like the other academic departments; i.e., that Chief Librarians should be more accountable to their departmental P&B committees. I don't think we would ever get to the point where we would elect our Chief Librarians, as the academic departments do with _their_ chairpersons - but there needs to be more review and accountability. Although they report to their respective Provosts, the Provosts are usually too busy with other matters to oversee what's happening in the Library.
I would be interested in the opinion of the group about the requirements for faculty rank by CUNY librarians.
Why are librarians the only group requiring more than the terminal degree in their field in order to qualify for faculty rank? Have a look at the Board of Trustees Bylaws, The City University of New York, Article XI - Duties and Qualifications of the Administrative Officers and Members of the instructional staff. Look at Section 11.7 about position definitions and qualifications and the most important of all, Section 11.8 Equivalencies.
Then you will see how the Masters Degree is accepted as qualification for faculty rank in many fields (social work, accounting, engineering, fine arts, etc.), with the exception of library science. As far as I am concerned, I would like to see our Masters Degree respected for what it is, the terminal degree for 90% (?) in our profession. Until that is achieved at least equivalent experience should also be considered, as it is in some other fields. Many librarians could bring valuable prior professional experiences to their academic library position without the official second degree in their pockets.
This change would probably attract a much larger pool of applicants for available positions. The librarians selected would not have to spend years getting a second masters, before starting the tenure process. They would still have to go through the tenure process by doing research, publishing, and performing well.
The needs of librarians are very different from the teaching faculty in so many ways. I believe the majority of librarians in CUNY work a 35 hour week, many including evenings and weekends. Librarians for the most part also supervise and manage various service points. We provide library instruction classes and reference services. I believe that we far out way what is contributed to the colleges than our fellow teaching faculty. If one thing could be changed it would be the status of librarians as faculty. I think that we have confused the roles of faculty and librarians and we are trying to do two jobs in one. If changes could be made it would be to reevaluate faculty status for librarians to focus on service and teaching with the option of pursing an academic course of publishing.
I am sure that this is not a popular suggestion among fellow librarians, but I think if we began to evaluate what is actually contributed to the college on a daily basis, it would be the service component that we strive to provide.
I have read some of the comments and although having more vacation time is appealing it is not necessarily what I think is the most important change in librarianship for CUNY.
I think the argument for appointing the Chief Librarian stems from an idea that a unit with a large budget needs more stability at the helm than a typical academic department. I have some sympathy with this view. However, I think that problem could be solved if a Dean of the library were appointed to handle administrative matters and an elected department chair to deal with academic issues likepromotion and tenure. Of course this type of system would require a change in the bylaws.
I think the second master's degree is really important for some library positions, particularly for someone who is doing collection development and library instruction for graduate students and majors. The movement today seems to be moving towards greater emphasis on graduate degrees, with many positions for subject bibliographers and administrators in academic libraries going to Ph.D s. In rare cases, it is possible to hire someone without the second masters by obtaining a waiver from the Board.
When I went for a second Masters degree while working full time, I sometimes wished there was no such requirement in CUNY. I do believe that the degree requirement is not just a bureaucratic invention but that it helps academic librarians engaged in instruction, collection development, reference, and other ar eas of librarianship do their job more effectively and gain respect of their teaching colleagues. I also doubt that much meaningful research and publishing would be done with a BA degree and no such requirement. Rather than abolish the requirement for a second Masters, we should work towards getting CUNY to give us sufficient time for study and research.
1. Annual leave is good and should be extended to allow for further research, writing, reading, publication--all of which allow us to be better at our work. As well, the ability to secure annual leave should be facilitated.
2. At least a double Master's degree--with encouragement to achieve a doctorate (in a subject area): this too allows us to move beyond the clerical function and to be better instructors, book collectors, information reviewers, etc.
3. Retirement incentives should include OPTION of trading incentive dollars for ability to continue (through reasonable purchase) current NYC health care. In short, the 15 yrs/62 yrs of age double proviso for such purchase should be made more flexible, especially in the case of a retirement incentive.
If you find the double Master's too onerus and are disposed towards "service," and "service" alone, then the HEO line is available. I also believe that other lines are or will soon be available for library work.
Before CUNY librarians had faculty status, they had a lower salary than the teaching faculty. I suspect that if one did some research one would find that teaching faculty at institutions where librarians do not have faculty status generally get paid better than librarians. More important, though, I think librarians today (particularly reference bibliographers and instruction librarians) are becoming more and more like classsroom faculty in terms of their instructional responsibilities.
Absolutely right, with a touch of irony: While many librarians do more and more instruction of one sort or another (including the instruction of non-librarian faculty), classroom faculty themselves often seek to do less, proclaiming the nead for more research time. In other words by their actions classroom faculty often define "faculty status" as research-based.
Much of this may be moot as many politicos and their operatives proclaim (and legislate via funding) that the future of teaching is "distance education" and the future of libraries is "the Web"--with little need for college X, Y, or Z to retain more than a few teachers or more than a few librarians. After all, it's all "out there" in cyberspace, students can just grab it off the Web.
I do not doubt the value of additional degrees at the graduate level. I especially appreciate the value of a PHD in library science. However, for me the two masters degree requirement for librarians indicates a lack of confidence in the library profession and the MLS. Your statement itself indicates a lack of confidence in the MLS. Are you saying that librarians with MLS only are incapable of doing research?
I do not agree that one necessarily needs a second masters in order to do research and become a better librarian. Librarianship is a practical field, and one can acquire knowledge without formal proof. In fact, this applies to every profession. Learning does not and should not stop with getting the degree or tenure for that matter. I think what is important is to have a healthy curiosity and interest in one's chosen specialty. Learning then follows naturally.
I could get into the problems of the present school system: excessive stress on grades from preparing for to passing tests. Often the goal: understanding the world around us and pulling together the separate bits of knowledge to make a larger, more complete picture, gets lost. The emphasis seems to have moved from the goal of understanding to the details of the mechanics of test taking. But the basis of all is to understand and to motivate students to have and develop curiosity, to ask questions and not necessarily know everything rightaway. In fact the basis of research is the fact that we don't know everything and we would like to know more through our studies.
Translating this to the requirement for a second masters, if a library faculty gets the second degree not because s/he is really interested in that subject but because it is a requirement, I am not sure that that librarian will make more contribution to the field than someone with MLS only. Numerous academic libraries, including Columbia University, etc. do not require a second degree and librarians get plenty of respect from the faculty, do research and publish and make significant contributions to the field.
Another comment about the second masters: if the subject of the second masters ties to the librarian's work environment then yes, it can be real valuable. However, it often is not the case. An advanced degree in religion or philosophy for example is not very useful in a medical library. It is good for medical ethics but does not much help with pharmacology or neurology or nursing.
A third problem with the requirement of a second masters: the loss of librarians to other professions. This is good for the individuals because it allows them a career change but not healthy for the library profession. These are the people who now make contributions to other fields rather than to ours which would really need them.
So, my point is that it is not a black and white picture but a grey one, definitely worth thinking and talking about. I understand the importance of financial parity and prestige, but we need to consider other factors as well.
One must not lose sight of the fact that with faculty status comes tenure and its benefits, such as protection against unwarranted dismissal and support for academic freedom. To me, it's not very important if someone calls me "Professor," but it's nice to have the advantages that come with it. I turned down a job at a Jesuit school here in NYC (hint, hint) a few years ago, and one of the most important reasons was because librarians there (who don't need a second Master's) are considered administrators and are appointed annually.
While having a subject Master's degree in Subject X does not automatically make one the world's foremost authority on Subject X, it does facilitate collection development and communication with the classroom faculty. Some classroom faculty will always look down their noses at librarians, however, and neither second Master's nor doctorates will change those people's minds.
Regarding the Ph.D. in Library/Information Science, I feel that such degrees are primarily of value for those who teach in library/information science programs (or possibly for library administrators) and are not as valuable as a subject masters or Ph.D. In my experience, Advanced subject degrees enable a broader understanding of the collection development issues associated with specific disciplines and facilitate a more collegial relationship with the teaching and research faculty.
I agree . . . A doctorate in library science would probably be useful to someone who wanted to teach library science or perhaps to someone interested in library administration. A subject Ph.D. would be more useful for a bibliographer.
Regarding complaints about inconvenience of second Master's or subject doctorate.
Exactly!! But why stop there? Why not eliminate the MLS, a drain on the purse and the innate scholarly disposition? Why not hire on basis of a BLS--or, indeed straight out of a two-year program? Think of the cost savings all around: to property-tax payers, trustees, administrators, mayors--all those people concerned with securing long hours, low benefits, low wages from workers. And real faculty will know exactly how to treat librarians--as a librarian, none of this professor nonsense. CUNY, with its ability to attract the stongest candidates, should require the strongest certification of professionalism, just as our contract team can ague when the other side points out that current benefits for CUNY librarians are considerably greater than benefits outside CUNY. If you object to a double Master's and love serving and then some, you can find many, many opportunities in other titles or systems.
While many CUNY campuses appear to require the 2nd master's for any pro- motional upgrading, I felt that when I first came to CUNY, getting the 2nd master's on one level, was a good thing. 5 years later, I am not so sure. Many tenured faculty members treat us as peripherals to an end. Indeed, I have found some librarians (senior & tenured) who don't communicate things such as faculty development, tenure, committees etc.. While we bicker amongst ourselves, other departments sometimes look at us as tiresome, but a necessary commodity. A 2nd master's for promotional purposes alone is not an ideal option.
What would be an ideal outcome of these discussions is a concerted effort on both senior and community college campuses to recognize that CUNY librarians on the whole are dedicated, hard-working and hell-bent on improving both their respective libraries, and campus community- despite inadequate budgets, poor staffing, and low morale. But ultimately, it will be up to us - LIBRARIANS to continue to beat down the inequalities we complain so much about. Each department, each campus administration, LACUNY, and Central Office must be made aware that we are more than just a bunch of numbers on a paystub. And that while some of us only have the MLS, we do know what we're doing when we take the reference desk.
I did not appreciate your remarks which were not collegial and twisted my words. My intention was *not* to downgrade the library profession and the qualifications of an MLS or PhD in library science, but to *upgrade* the value of a library degree. If the MLS is the accepted terminal degree, it should be treated as such. If not, then perhaps we should think about ways of either improving the masters programs in library schools or on raising the terminal degree to the doctorate level. In either case subject expertise could be built into the program.
Aside from that, at whatever level one is, the degree is a beginning and not an end. What one does within the profession is what really matters. And how the teaching faculty views and treats us depends on us as individuals. If we think the library degree is worth nothing we will be treated accordingly. Only if we are confident and proud of our profession and of our degree, and really beleive that we perform an important mission, will we be truly respected and appreciated.