The Academic Law Libraries SIS Working Group on Continuing Status/Tenure held a roundtable on Monday, July 17, 2000. Approximately seven people including the chair attended and participated in the discussion which covered two general topics: 1) marketing of librarians and 2) continuing status/tenure of librarians.
The discussion began with the chair addressing how she became involved in this group. About a year ago, her university was trying to reduce the benefits that the librarians enjoyed as faculty and substitute substantially decreased benefits of staff. Even though the librarians still held the rank of faculty within the university. The librarians decided to challenge the university's actions and set out to find documentation to support their position. The librarians turned to their profession's national organization hoping to find support. What they found was that the association really had nothing in place to aid their cause. In addition, they were pointed to the Academic Law Libraries SIS as the group that would handle such matters. Although the ALL-SIS currently had nothing in place to help the librarians, Tory Trotta, the chair, suggested the librarians participate in the Continuing Status/Tenure working group.
With this explanation said, the group began discussing the issues. There was some discussion as to whether or not the professional organization should be an advocacy group. Most people agreed that advocacy was a role the association should play. There was also discussion that a policy that may be good for one institution may not be beneficial to another institution. For example, tenure may be good for one university but another university may be better off with long-term employment contracts due to state employment laws. Many librarians in the academic arena are finding the need and desire for support from their professional association.
The discussion moved to the question "What can the ALL-SIS do for academic librarians?" Many ideas were discussed including that the working group should do the following:
The group had some really good ideas. Obviously, completing these tasks will be a major undertaking. Anyone interested in volunteering their time, energy or ideas is welcome to contribute. Please contact Susan Phillips at email@example.com.
Submitted by Susan T. Phillips
Director of the Law Library
Texas Wesleyan University School of Law