The Framework: Love It or Hate It?

Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education: Love It or Hate It?

by Lindsay Davis

What’s it like to live in a post-Standards world? Do you love or hate the new Framework  (sorry, we’re capitalizing on Valentine’s Day)?

In January, the CJCLS listserv had a lively conversation regarding the “Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education” and the rescinding of the “Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education.”

Troy Swanson, Teaching and Learning Librarian at Moraine Valley Community College, shared his article “Sharing the ACRL Framework with Faculty: Opening Campus Conversations.” In the article, Swanson outlines a professional development course for faculty that he designed with librarian Tish Hayes. The course was focused on introducing faculty to the Framework. Faculty who participated made a variety of connections to the Framework from their own disciplines. The experience also allowed for discussion about how the general education information literacy outcome might be approached at Moraine.

Heather Craven, Learning Resource Center director at County College of Morris, also shared her opinion piece “ACRL and Community College Libraries: We’ve been Framed!” Her article discusses the Framework/Standards issue as it affects some community college libraries.

Sharon Weiner, Interim Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, W. Wayne Booker Chair in Information Literacy at Purdue University Libraries, also shared a citation for her and Lana Jackman’s opinion piece “The Rescinding of the ACRL 2000 Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education…Really??” Jackman is President of the National Forum and the principal and founder of Mélange Information Services, Inc.

You may also want to check out “The Framework is Elitist,” a viewpoint essay by Christine Bombaro, Associate Director for Information Literacy and Research Services at Dickinson College, and “Is the Framework Elitist? Is ACRL?,” a response to Bombaro’s essay by Meredith Farkas, Faculty Librarian at Portland Community College.

Check out the CJCLS listserv archives for more on this topic.


Keeping Up With Scholarship

by Lindsay Davis

Earlier this month, Nora Bird, Associate Professor and Associate Chair of the Library and Information Studies department in the School of Education at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, announced that she was the new editor of the Community & Junior College Libraries journal.

In her message to the CJCLS listserv, she wrote:

We are always looking for content. We publish research length articles, opinion pieces (1000-3000 words), book and electronic resource reviews, and there has been a column, ‘The Librarian Abroad’ documenting visits to international libraries. So, if you are traveling this summer and want to submit something that would be great.

Maybe you are working on a project to re-design your library space or a service and have done a literature review in preparation for it. Please do consider sharing it. (2016)

I don’t know about you, but I have never heard of this journal. What a great place to submit articles about all the great work being done at two-year college libraries.

This also got me thinking—what journals (or other information sources) do two-year librarians typically read to keep up with and learn from the library profession and/or higher education? Let us know in the comments!

And don’t forget–the CJCLS blog also has a Scholarship page devoted to literature written by two-year librarians. If you’ve published a peer-reviewed journal article, book, or book chapter in the last five years, contact Lindsay Davis at, so we can add it to our growing bibliography.

Bird, N. (2016, July 7). Announcing a New Editor of Community and Junior College Libraries [Electronic mailing list message]. Retrieved from


From the CJCLS Listserv: Library Humor

By Kristy Padron


I have an unusual question for the group. I am giving a humorous speech in Toastmasters and I need your help. I am looking for funny reference questions or incidents and encounters with the usual unusual patrons. For example, one student asked for information on flying buttock instead of flying buttress. For the unusual patron, a man known as The Whisper laid between the stacks and looked at feet. When he got bold, he whispered to the female students that he wanted to suck their toes! I think my audience would be amazed at the goings on in a library.

A lot of humor resulted from reference questions:

Who wrote Dante’s Inferno?

Is it safe to mix bleach and ammonia in my backyard just to see what happens?

Can I change my house address?

I need a video on Julius Caesar, but it has to have been filmed in that time period. It has to be a primary source.

Response from an appreciative patron after getting help: “thank you for doing my Googling for me, seriously.”

What is the definition of PMS?  Is it a new academic degree?  I see it being frequently used.

How tall was Jesus Christ? The answer needs to be from a thesaurus.

I need driving directions to the Louvre Museum in Paris from my house (in South Carolina).

Sometimes generational differences were humorous:

A teen patron asked for information on John Lemon, the Beatle. I almost hit my head against the wall.

A Millenial student worker asked me, “what was it like to grow up in the 1980s and 1990s? They had some fun music and good movies back then!”

I had a college student request some books on the “olden days.” Based on my age, I assumed she was looking for books on the turn of the century, say around 1900. After further questioning, she gave me her definition and it was the 1960s! I told her my heart was wounded. Those years were not the olden days to me, but the wonderful years of my youth!

Misinformation or misunderstandings during the reference interview resulted in some some chuckles:

A student repeated what she thought she heard when her instructor assigned a research topic. In this case, the student was a bit indignant when I could not immediately find what she needed, while I was pretty proud of myself for figuring it out.  She asked for information about black partners and cuckoo clocks when she needed information about the Black Panthers and the Klu Klux Klan.

A student requested books on hamsters. At the time, I worked in a college with a veterinary technician program, so I assumed she was in it and wanted academic titles.  When I asked her, she gave a childlike, playful expression. She said she wanted a book about having hamsters as pets because she had recently adopted one.

The student provided the correct title to a book, but my co-worker was confused. The student asked for The Little Prince, but my co-worker was trying to search for “little prints.”  She had a heck of time searching before the actual title dawned on her.

I had a student ask for books by Mark Avelli. When I asked how to spell the last name, he said he did not know. After talking a little bit more, I realized he meant Machiavelli. The poor guy was just repeating what he heard in history class!

A student asked if we had anything on air ducts, or at least that is what I thought he said. I took him to the books on HVAC, but he kept saying, “no, air ducts, air ducts!” I finally had him write what he wanted down on paper. It read, “adults.”

Many odd things also occurred in the library that the general public would not expect:

During my first year as a librarian, I was going through my normal closing routine one Thursday night. I heard voices from a dark classroom. I turned on the light to see a male and female in various stages of undress. I think I was more embarrassed then they were. I quickly turned off the light and told them we were closing in 15 minutes!

A patron showed up with an antique short sword. It was nice, shiny, and sharp with no scabbard. I looked at it and pointed out the key markings to study, then suggested he return with photographs we could use for further research since large, edged weapons were not allowed on campus!

A campus police sub-station was located in my library near its entrance, and a policeman parked his bicycle next to it then worked in the office. A patron attempted to quietly remove the bicycle from the library. When I shouted at the patron (it was a knee jerk response), the cop noticed and jumped out of the office to go after him!

A computer tower disappeared from the reference area and was never found. Perhaps it was smuggled away in a backpack?

We had a student return a book with toilet paper (clean) in it that he had used for a bookmark.

A student entered our library, looked around the stacks with books, and asked with total seriousness, “do you have books here?”

What were some humorous questions asked or occurrences that took place in your library? Share yours in the comments!


From the CJCLS Listserv: Is OER a threat or opportunity to libraries?


Image Source:  Wordle Tagcloud for OER course by Jonathan Feinberg, (Public Domain).

By Kristy Padron


Are Open Educational Resources (OER) a threat or opportunity to libraries? As librarians promote OER, faculty may wonder why should they have their students use our books, databases, or other resources. I understand, however, that we need to promote all types of resources and that we may be able to create collections and work with faculty on them.

Whether they open-access journals, open online courses, or curriculum materials, OER grows in number every year. Heather Morrison, an assistant professor at the University of Ottawa’s École des sciences de l’information / School of Information Studies, shares her OER growth studies in a series of blogs called Dramatic Growth of Open Access.  Libraries are increasingly facilitating or adopting the use of OER on their campuses.

One use of OER is to replace textbooks which students are often unable to afford, and also to encourage the use of open textbooks:

Use College Open Textbooks for a good starting place to educate yourself.  Textbooks can also be found through Google by doing a search for only Creative Commons-licensed materials.

Over the past 11 years, I’ve worked with students who couldn’t buy books at the beginning of the semester because they didn’t have the money. By the time they could, the students were so behind they had no hope of passing the course. OER has a potentially significant role in helping engage and retain a significant number of students.

Some respondents found that OER provides opportunities as being curriculum resources used in parallel with library resources:

I’m regularly asked to locate OER for online courses to both supplement the textbook and also to work towards an open adoption model for courses. I recommend OER in combination with ebooks and databases provided by the library. The primary goal is to eliminate the need for an expensive textbook which can be a barrier to students.

I’ve had numerous content requests that were not available as OER, so I turn to library resources. The library doesn’t have the funds to buy the expensive textbooks for the collection in support of classes, so I continue to recommend library resources alongside OER.

In one case, OER was used when library resources were defunded:

I added OER in direct proportion to my inability to secure funding for existing proprietary databases. I was able to keep access to state-funded electronic resources, but lost some major databases.

A few respondents thought OER will add some points to consider for library instruction:

We traditionally promote popular, trade, and scholarly periodicals for academic purposes and show their contrasts, but only leave it at that. The information landscape, however, has changed! Now various information sources (streaming video, ebooks, etc.) are available. Librarians need to give information about evaluating resources; after all, many predatory publishers and sham journals are out there. In my view, that’s where librarians come in.

OER may also influence our roles in supporting students and faculty:

OER ties in our roles as information curators and supporting student and faculty. I also like to think of OER as an opportunity to re-invigorate or rethink pedagogy as different ideas are often sparked with the useful, interesting, and fun resources for faculty and students to discover.

Librarians should embrace OER the same as any other education resource. We can inform faculty about them and their potential to replace traditional textbooks. Many faculty based their teaching too heavily on traditional textbooks instead of effective pedagogy, so using OER will make them rethink their pedagogy. Librarians have always prided themselves on finding materials for our students and faculty, so OER may make a real treasure hunter out of us!

OER does have limitations, as one respondent shared:

Faculty would have a hard time putting together a bunch of journal articles to supplant a textbook while still meeting all of their course objectives and learning outcomes.

OER presents opportunities for librarians to engage with faculty in other ways:

A number of our faculty started using OER materials instead of textbooks in several online courses. It brought a good opportunity to explain the Creative Commons licensing process to them. Textbooks in for some technical subjects had a pretty tight lock on instructional materials!

The National Council for Learning Resources has sponsored OER programs in the last 3 annual conventions of the American Association of Community Colleges.  One college president stated in the Q & A session in this year’s panel discussion, “when beginning an OER project, involve the librarian!” This was music to my ears!

The idea that OERs are a threat to libraries plays into the idea that librarians are only book keepers and not information intermediaries.  Librarians are needed to organize, evaluate, and retrieve OER for our libraries’ unique populations.

Do you think OER is a threat or opportunity to libraries?  How is your library or college using OER?  Please share your comments!


From the CJCLS Listserv: Extended Library Hours

By Kristy Padron

A recent listserv discussion was on the topic of extended library hours during final exam week. One respondent received a request to keep the library open for 24 hours during final exams. For years, my library received requests from students as well as student government leaders to extend its open hours. My experience in a library that provided extended hours  gave me one perspective and stance on the matter, but a few members of the listserv offered theirs:

Not a chance. The cost and liability would be overwhelming, the rewards practically nil. I would beware of outliers pushing for extended hours.

Resources were matters of concern for offering extended hours, particularly in terms of the staffing and costs required. However, the college’s setting should be considered.

I have never heard of a community college that had the need, let alone the resources, to offer these hours. We have studied extended hours (8:00 to 10:00 p.m.) for a couple of years. Usage, entries, and desk stats suggest that very few students relative to daytime usage come in. The drop-off is around 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. and no one comes back.

I have seen very different patterns at previous jobs that had residence halls and residential students, who often needed to get away from rowdy dorms and such, but our community college students almost always seem to prefer to go home as soon as they can and do not seem to prefer to study on campus unless they have a class later.

My take is that unless there is a residential component, community colleges are going to fit the commuter college pattern, and most patrons will leave campus after their last class and never come back. The few that are in the library later in the evening are generally coming out of evening classes and use the library as a place to study after their class gets out, but almost no one comes to the library as a destination after 4:00 p.m. unless they have a class later or just got out of one. Evening usage is extremely light, and there is no suggestion that students would stay much beyond 10:00 p.m. let alone overnight, even during midterms or finals.

I can’t imagine putting resources into keeping things open beyond that, and our numbers for the last couple of years around midterms and finals suggest exactly the same thing.

Use patterns can provide insights on the feasibility of offering extended hours:

My current community college does not have dorms or residential students, and our students generally leave campus before 5:00 p.m. and never return. We have been experimenting with extended hours for a couple of years now. During the heavy study periods (midterms and finals), there is almost no increase in visitors during the peak hours of 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., and no significant increase during the extended hours.

We tried numerous ways to advertise our extended hours for students, but they do not return to the library in the evening, even during heavy study periods. We have a large student enrollment, but we have low numbers of students 9:00 or 9:30 p.m., and sometimes only one or zero.  This is after 2 years of extending hours to 10:00 p.m., and very few students seem interested in taking advantage of those relatively late hours.

One person used their experience and a recently published study that scrutinizes the benefits of offering extended hours:

My library routinely has students request extended regular hours, especially into the later night hours (eg., up to or past midnight). I wonder if the findings of an article in College & Research Libraries are somewhat appropriate do this discussion. The authors state the variable of students who use the library as a place for late night studying (using the “after hours” 24 hour study room) has a negative relationship on their graduating GPA.

Citation: Stemmer, J. & Mahan, D. (2016). Investigating the relationship of
library usage to student outcomes. College & Research Libraries [In press]. Retrieved from

Alternatives were presented for offering extended hours.  One librarian described a night that offered extended hours and involved the participation of various college units:

Ten years ago, I initiated a finals cram night for the library. I partnered with a student government association and recruited my colleagues. On the night before finals, the library stayed open until midnight, past our usual closing time of 9:00 p.m.

Faculty members and tutors were stationed at tables in the library and were available for tutoring, one on one assistance, group discussions, and homework checks. Some faculty members brought in board games to just play and debrief with any  of their students. The student government provided free food throughout the evening, which is always helpful. Posters, word of mouth, and faculty announcements helped spread the word. The librarians set up a “citation station” for help with papers. We tried offering yoga stretches, soft music, and stress-reducing activities, but the students wanted their instructors and also food. The student government then has drawings, prizes, and surveys. We even had a flashmob start the evening on a few occasions.

This was a great community event and involved faculty, students, librarians, and administrators. We have requests to offer it for a full week before finals, but we are a small staff and I do not think I could convince enough faculty to commit.

The surveys indicate the students like the event and look forward to it every semester. They also indicate that it makes a big difference in their grade and/or comfort level with their final.

Another alternative was to set aside a space for extended hours:

A cheap alternative to all-night libraries is a late night study hall.  It will need tables, chairs, access to restrooms, wi-fi, and a vending machine. The only staffing required is
campus public safety.

Extended hours are an often-demanded service, and as one part of the discussion indicates, a lucrative opportunity for collaboration. Please share in the comments how your library has responded to requests for extended library hours, or what it has done.


From the CJCLS Listserv: Questions to Ask College President Candidates

By Kristy Padron


My state technical college is in search of a new president. I am honored to be on the search committee. We need to come up with questions for the interview. What are some good questions that can be asked about the library field, information literacy, or other related areas?

One of the first respondents said he or she asks about the role of libraries within a college setting:

Library products and services are evolving at a rapid pace. With so many online resources available, some believe libraries are becoming irrelevant. What are your thoughts on the role of the library in teaching and learning, and also in the academic success and retention of our students? How have you advocated for libraries in your past positions?

Respondents agreed that questions such as these will be revealing, and “will quickly set off your cow dung detector.” Others suggested to ask candidates about their views on the value of libraries and the level at which they value them. These answers can gauge the amount of support a candidate is willing to provide to the library and its services. Sometimes, the answers may indicate their level of engagement or understanding:

I recently served on committees interviewing individuals who had been in the classroom. I asked candidates how they and their students made use of the library’s print and electronic resources and then I see how they respond. If the candidate starts talking about their book club or how they still love the smell of old books, you know you have some work to do.

Naturally, candidate responses can help with selecting one:

It would be better to have someone with a few preconceived notions about college libraries than one with many firm, outdated ones.

Some respondents gave scenarios where their college administrators were not informed about the library or its operations. Many administrators believe libraries are obsolete because of the internet. In one example, a chief financial officer asked a librarian why she had an acquisitions budget if she was not buying books. Administrators are often unaware of factors affecting access to information such as database licenses, copyright, and fair use. While these conversations were dismaying at times, other respondents said these discussions offer opportunities to inform administrators.  Sometimes, these discussions forged relationships:

I had a similar conversation about our site license for Wall Street Journal with our then-new head of the business office. He had never worked in government or higher education. Needless to say, after my initial incredulity and exasperation, I realized he needed some serious education about our world. Thus began many tedious, but eventually fruitful conversations about library purchasing, licensing, and other financial matters. He became a supporter and a friend, and I maintained contact with him after I moved on from that college.

One respondent said being a part of the presidential search offered an opportunity to educate administrators. Ultimately, librarians need to initiate these conversations, whether it is through search committees with candidates or with established college administrators:

Let your library become the positive model from which your administration learns. This is not easy, but we have no other choice.

It is part of our job to always explain, educate, and advocate.


From the CJCLS Listserv: What advice would you give to someone considering library school?


A friend asked if I had any advice to give to her daughter, who is thinking about getting her Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS).  What advice would you give to someone in their mid-20s who is thinking about going to library school?

Respondents strongly recommended gaining library experience because of the advantages it gives to an applicant:

I receive applications from MLIS graduates without any library experience, except possibly an internship in library school. If the person has an opportunity to work part-time or in a work-study position in a library during their undergraduate education, that would be great.

I just finished writing a letter of recommendation for my practicum student. The letter was much easier to write because she also works for us as a library assistant and I know she is prepared for the job market.

Many respondents drew from their own professional experiences:

It is difficult to get an entry-level job without experience, even with a MLIS, which was the case for me in 2005.

Hands-on experience helped me land me my current job, along with having an MLIS.

Experience is indeed the key. I started off being a library office secretary while I attended graduate school for art history.  I progressed to becoming an acquisitions assistant and then held 2 different positions in government documents before going to library school while working full time.  Almost everyone in my library school cohort was already working in a library; the only one who did not was a recent Bachelor of Arts graduate without library experience, and she was very lost.

Experience is big. I did not have any library work experience prior to applying to library school, but I had some good conversations with librarians beforehand which helped inform my decision to apply.  During library school, I had some excellent experiences in many library settings and in various roles.  It helped me decide which department I wanted to work and also helped my resume so I could get that type of job out of college.  I do not think I was at a disadvantage by not not having prior experience before library school, but the experience during library school was critical.

Respondents agreed that the candidate can make a better informed decision to attend library school if she first gets experience, whether as an intern or employee.  Some respondents said this may help the candidate discover desirable positions or roles that do not require a MLIS:

I might suggest alternatives to the MLIS degree like certificates, diplomas, or Associate degree programs in Library Technology.  Check a community or 2-year college for such programs.  We appreciate the paraprofessional staff in our library who did not have the time, money, or interest in earning their MLIS; they are still outstanding members of our library team.

My son is a public services library clerk at Denver Public Library. It seems that DPL has more opportunities for skilled paraprofessionals than for MLIS librarians.  Because of this, he decided to hold off on library school (and the accompanying student loans).  He loves his job, has the same benefits as a MLIS employee, and is able to explore what to do next.

Other than experience, a level of comfort with technology was highly recommended:

One has to be engaged with technological changes taking place. Technology has attached itself to the core of our profession, and to not embrace or be good with it dooms a new person.

Embrace technology.  You do not need to be on the cutting edge, but you do need to stay informed and relevant.

Be as knowledgeable about modern online technology as possible.  Be cognizant of social media such as Facebook (or the next great thing), understand Google tools, and be able to create and maintain a webpage.  I probably would not hire myself for a job in my library because I am not up to date on what is out there; I will hire the fresh graduate to do it for me.

Another repeated suggestion was to look at job announcements or positions:

Forward some job announcements to her so she can see what kind of positions are being hired. I see a lot positions in electronic resources, electronic access, digital libraries, and more that are being advertised.

Read some job advertisements to see what skill sets are desired for certain positions.  It might help identify other related degrees and credentials to pursue.

Other suggestions included to be geographically flexible:

When she is ready to graduate and look for a job, she should be willing to relocate and be open to taking jobs in less desirable places.  The competition will not be as great and she can eventually return home if she wants to.  My first professional job was in the back of nowhere Kansas, but I learned a lot and met wonderful people who are still my friends 30 years later.  10 years and 2 jobs later, I moved back home to become a library director.

A couple respondents said the candidate should research the profession and also complete an inventory of her interests and personality traits.  The candidate should also look at some of her soft skills:

What do I want to be when I grow up?  What do I want to do when I grow up (not really the same question as the first question)?  Where do I want to live in the short or long term?  How do I want to live in the short or long term?  Then, ask these same questions with “don’t.”

She should read an excellent book by Lauren Pressley, So You Want to Be a Librarian, published by Library Juice Press.

People skills are very important.  Like it or not, librarianship is about a positive, interactive experience. Think customer service!

You need to be someone who really enjoys helping people. I am sure we have all been told by someone, “you’re a librarian, so you must love books!”  However, my interest in books is pretty irrelevant to what I do.  In my role as a reference and instruction librarian, helping others is the biggest part of my job.  Beyond that, it is also having patience while helping people because sometimes it takes a lot!

Some respondents expressed caution about the costs of library school.  One suggested not to pay for it with student loans, while another recommended getting a graduate assistantship that would pay for it, and also help with gaining valuable experience.

Respondents suggested the importance of professional networks, and to cultivate them early in her education and throughout her career:

Always remember the axiom regardless of the field: who you know gets you in the door, and what you know keeps you there. Plan to make as many quality connections with people in the field as possible when you go to school.  Use LinkedIn and other means of networking.  You never know who can help you.

Once in school, connect with people who can give you good references.  Work experience will help with this, but find professors to use as references.

Flexibility was also a key suggestion:

Do not pigeon-hole yourself in your learning path, or you might get trapped into being qualified only for certain types of positions.

Plan to work hard on your studies.  Be involved in pre-professional activities like student organizations and poster presentations.  Join state and regional library associations.  Read and listen to as much as you can; the information you get will help you contribute your expertise to conversations because it is easier to get known than you would expect, for both good and bad reasons.

Be flexible.  What you are doing now will probably not be the same in 5 or 10 years.

What other pieces of advice would you give to an aspiring library and information science professional?  Share yours in the comments!


From the CJCLS Listserv: Should the library report to Academic Affairs or Student Services?

By Kristy Padron


We currently have a leadership vacuum at my library. Our library director resigned and less than a week later, his supervisor and the interim library director, the Vice President of Student Success, also resigned.

We now see an opportunity to possibly move the library’s place in the college reporting structure from the Student Success department to Academic Affairs, and report to the Dean of Academic Affairs or the Vice President of Instruction. I’ve searched the list archives but haven’t found much on this topic, so I’m wondering:

  • To whom do you or your library director report? Someone in Student Services or Academic Affairs?
  • If you made the switch from reporting to Student Services to Academic Affairs, or vice versa, what have been the benefits or drawbacks?

The respondents overwhelmingly recommended to go with Academic Affairs.  One librarian, whose unit reports to Student Services, described her experience:

The meetings I attend are with the heads of units like financial aid, athletics, admissions, and housing.  We found ourselves in meetings discussing enrollment management issues and did not understand why we were there.  I don’t meet (and am not invited to meet, and in one instance was told I shouldn’t meet) with faculty. This makes it harder to establish rapport with them.

The librarian also stated her area is often tasked with activities not traditionally done by libraries, such as proctoring make-up tests and issuing school identification cards.  This seemed to feed inaccurate perceptions of what they do:

When Student Services staff give prospective students and families campus tours, I often hear them say when they stop in the library, “this is where you come to make up a missed test.” That’s all they have said about the library!

As a result, the library is often overlooked by faculty.  While the library is seen as a physical space, the college does not understand their staffing, budget and IT support needs.  The library is often seen as having a support role but its employees are not on equal footing in terms of pay or status with other colleagues who have comparable duties and levels of education.

Librarian status was affected by the department to which they reported:

Reporting on the academic side means you are faculty.  At my college, faculty must have a master’s degree.  Since librarians have a master’s degree, we are all equals.  This gives us a voice in governance, which is key.

Many, but not all, of the respondents who said they reported to Academic Affairs said librarians had faculty status.  This strongly affected their roles on campus, particularly with governance:

Having faculty representatives is great in the governance structure, and then having my position be in administration is advantageous because of my opportunity to be part of the management team.  Many of our college committee’s bylaws (instructional council, curriculum, etc.) specify a library representative.  In most cases, it is a voting role, but in some it is non-voting.

Librarians do not have faculty status in some libraries that report to Academic Affairs.  This bars them from participating in professional development, governance, and other campus activities.  Those who reported this added that administrators and sometimes faculty do not know or appreciate what the libraries can contribute to their college.

Many of the changes in reporting structure formed as a result of retirements, resignations, or restructuring:

My sister college had a librarian serving as Dean of Library and Learning Resources. Upon retiring, the position was vacated and they now share a dean with Literature-Language Division. The dean is a former English instructor.

When I started here 7 years ago, the library director reported to the Dean of the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences.  She now reports to the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.

We had major turnover in administration over the summer with our President, Dean of Academic Affairs and Dean of Career and Technical Education (CTE) either resigning or retiring.  They didn’t replace the CTE dean’s position.  Rather, they placed everyone and everything associated with that position under the Academic Affairs dean, again.

Sometimes the changes in reporting structure happened because of a promotion or reassignment.  At other times, the library was assigned under an academic or IT unit, which posed its own challenges:

Our library does not have its own dean or director.  Ours was the dean of Instructional Resources (IR) who reported to the Vice President of Academic Affairs.  At one point, our dean was promoted to Vice President of Student Services, and IR was obliged to follow her and be placed under a dean there.  Soon, IR was moved back to Academic Affairs and then went through a succession of deans that saw us connected to Visual and Performing Arts, and eventually Language Arts.

I report to the Associate Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS).   HSS falls under the instructional/academic affairs side of the organization.  This reporting structure proves challenging on a couple of fronts.  I don’t always get information that I need to move this library forward.  I also don’t have the clout that goes with reporting directly to a vice president or administrator.   On the upside, I have the autonomy to manage my staff and resources (provided it doesn’t involve too much money).

At my college, the Library Coordinator answers to the Dean of Academic Technology and Learning Support (ATLS), who also oversees Distance Education (Online Learning), Testing, and Tutoring.  Theoretically, this is a natural alliance of units, with the possible exception of Testing.

My library is an outlier. We report to the Dean of Institutional Research and Planning. The history behind this is that our dean used to be head of IT. When he made the switch to Institutional Research and Planning, the library went with him. Talk about being off the grid! The upside is that the library is fairly autonomous. The down side is that the library has fallen off the scope of the academic side of the college

I report to the Dean of Academic Affairs along with the faculty department heads and other academic directors (Outreach, Assessment, Academic Achievement, etc.).  My current dean used to be our assessment director, so he’s a numbers guy, which means he reads and follows my reports. He’s also very pro-library, believing that the library has an important role in student success, so I lucked out in that area (it doesn’t hurt that he’s married to a librarian).

In conclusion, most of the respondents recommended reporting to Academic Affairs, mainly for the following reasons:

It is much easier to make the case for why the library is important to education and information literacy when you have access to academic administration.

Libraries need to work with classroom faculty, which is harder to do when you are in student services.

As a major contributor to teaching and learning, the library belongs under Academic Affairs.  The learning outcomes in library instruction (and reference) should be aligned with larger institutional goals, such as general education goals/competencies, in order to maximize the impact of those services on student learning.  This alignment has the potential to mean the most for administrators in Academic Affairs.  When the library falls under Student Affairs, operational outcomes may be prioritized over learning outcomes.

It’s where the action is and you want to be in the thick of it, good or bad.

What has your experience been with reporting to Academic Affairs or Student Services?  Please share in the comments!


From the CJCLS Listserv: Open Educational Resources

Open Access Week 2015

By Kristy Padron

With the end of Open Access Week, the cjc-l listserv had recent discussions regarding librarian involvement in Open Educational Resources (OER). One member noticed that libraries were not included in his state’s OER report:

I just finished scanning Opening Public Institutions: OER in North Dakota in the Nation, 2015 and can’t find any mention of librarians. Librarians need to be assertive and have a place in discussions regarding OERS on our campuses, by state legislators, and in other settings.

Some members of the listserv described the OER initiatives taking place in their institutions and regions:

Librarians are very active on The Community College Consortium for Open Education (CCCOER) for sure! Over 250 colleges participate in this consortium.

Librarians have been leading the way for OER initiatives at my institution. At Lansing Community College, we hosted the successful Open Educational Resources Summit last September with the movers and shakers of the open education movement as our speaker. I led the effort in implementing our OER strategy on campus including the creation of an OER LibGuide. We’re still at the early stage but it is very encouraging. I’m also very active in the CCCOER and I’m part of the Advisory Group.

The project Openstax College has specifically targeted libraries as a partner.

We’re trying here in Florida. See the exciting theme for our fall meeting of the Florida Association of College & Research Libraries (FACRL).

An international conference will soon be held in Vancouver in November, which some librarians said they would attend:

The 12th Annual Open Education Conference will have numerous examples of how librarians and libraries are leading the way in discover, adoption, use and assessment of OERs.

What are some OER activities taking place at your library or in your area? Feel free to share in your comments!

(Image Source:  International Open Access Week 2015, used with permission from Creative Commons Attribution License.)


From the CJCLS Listserv: Library Facebook Accounts

By Kristy Padron

Original Message:

Does your library has a Facebook page? If so:

  • How many of you are involved in updating / posting?
  • How has it been received?
  • What types of information do you post?
  • How often do you post?
  • Does the library have full control of the account or is it overseen by someone else at the college?


How many of you are involved in updating / posting?

  • Just 1 person (multiple responses).
  • 1 person out of our staff of 3
  • 2 people.
  • Three of us (one librarian and two support staff).
  • 3+:  myself, technical assistant, educational resource specialist, and sometimes work study student.
  • 3 out of our 4-person staff (the director, a library assistant and me).  I do 99% of the postings.