Deepening the Conversation

thinking about questions of authority, technology, learning, and 2.0 in academic libraries


would tenure pressures in public libraries make good changes?

This started out as a response to a comment in the comments (thanks for the inspiration Laura!) but went so far off track from the original post that I decided it deserved it’s own post.

Laura and I were discussing cataloging of genre fiction series, especially burdensome to public libraries. While I am a librarian, when it comes to public libraries, I am a consumer, a patron, a supporter, a friend. Definitely not very familiar with the inner workings and struggles of public libraries

So, as a librarian but not a public librarian, I am often surprised at the ways that public libraries have not apparently grappled effectively with the challenges posed by fiction, series fiction and especially genre fiction. This has often led me to consider that tenure — with it’s emphasis on research and thus innovation — may be better for the profession than I might always otherwise think.  In this case, would tenure pressures in public libraries have led to better grappling with these cataloging issues (and let’s not talk about the role of, say, cataloging professors in LIS programs and the roles they could or whould or ought to take in this kind of process. Let’s just not, and say we’ve washed our hands.)

To make clear my assumption here: since public librarians are not pushed to produce in the same ways that tenure track academic librarians are pushed, little time, space, resources are provided to resolving thorny issues in public librarianship. Or so it seems?

What do you think? off the mark completely?

also, I am a fan of being faculty (and will fight for it if challenged). I will produce and be professionally active whether required to or not, it’s my nature. But I do think, from time to time, about whether tenure track pressures best serve the profession, or do not. This should be no surprise to my readers, who probably have noted that I tend towards philosophizing, and find the oddest things to be sources of contemplation.