Petition to Support Dale Askey

Colleagues,

If you have not already done so, please sign the petition in support of Dale Askey. The remaining lawsuit against him is still forging ahead. Simply put, Dale Askey, who made a professional remark about Edwin Mellen Press on his personal blog while working at Kansas State University, is being sued for stating that Edwin Mellen Press publishes books of dubious quality.

I don’t need to remind you that part of a librarian’s daily tasks is to evaluate the information that we acquire for our libraries. Professional opinions are central to making good decisions. Dale’s opinion was based on results of a survey that he conducted where Mellen came out at the bottom in a ranking of academic publishers in the field of philosophy. The survey was public and I understand that several academic also participated in it. In other words, Dale was communicating the community’s findings regarding the press.

I hope that more signatures on the petition will discourage the publisher from pursuing this lawsuit against our colleague. Please sign: https://www.change.org/petitions/edwin-mellen-press-end-libel-suit-against-dale-askey

 

Reblog: Who Speaks for Libraries and Librarians (1/2)

Thanks to Lisa Sloniowski for posting this to the PLG GTA site.

Posted on February 5, 2013 by lisa


A few PLG-GTA meetings ago, I promised to put the talk I gave last fall at the CAUT Librarians Conference (2012) up on our blog. The talk was entitled “Who Speaks for Librarians” and was part of a panel presentation with Jennifer Dekker from the University of Ottawa.  Jennifer has graciously agreed to share her talk as well – and it will be coming soon. In my part of the presentation, I talked about our associations and leadership institutes and tried to identify the ideologies at work within them,  and Jennifer focussed on her historical research about the CLA’s role in advocacy and labour issues as well as talking about what happened during the LAC protest at the last CLA annual conference.

Since delivering this talk there has been a new development, the formation of a new association for academic librarians – CAPAL.  I am pleased to see the ways in which people are challenging our traditional associations and trying to come up with alternatives.  I wish CAPAL well, although I have not joined it. For now, I’m sticking with the more inclusive PLG, the OLA, and with the scholarly associations I belong to – I don’t want to only talk to academic librarians frankly, much as I adore them.  I think our brightest future as a profession lies in scholarly and professional collaborations, interdisciplinary research activities and the formation of strong grassroot networks across political, social and academic issues. I’m also thinking about joining CAIS, which seems the most scholarly of the librarian associations, as I’m curious to see if there’s a place for practising academic librarians in that mix. And of course, I continue to pay attention to CAUT, and its courageous workon behalf of academic librarians, archivists and scholars.

Recently I’ve also noticed OCULA and OLITA passing resolutions condemning Access Copyright/AUCC’s model agreements, and even the generally moribund CLA has been somewhat more active in advocacy work for LAC. I think these are great developments and hope to see our associations focus further on information ethics, values and advocacy.

I should mention as well that the PLG does not exist to compete with existing library associations. In fact here in the Toronto chapter one of our members is on CLA Council, and two of our members are co-founders of CAPAL.  It’s a big tent, come join us. And if you don’t live somewhere where there’s a PLG chapter – why not start one?

Lisa Sloniowski
Associate Librarian, York University Libraries,
PLG-GTA Member.

************

“Who Speaks for Libraries and Librarians?”

Panel presentation at “Contested Terrain: Shaping the Future of Academic Librarianship.” Canadian Association of University Teachers: Librarians Conference. Ottawa. October 2012.

 

Thanks Erin, and to CAUT also, for the invitation to speak today.

We’ve been asked to consider the topic of who speaks for librarians, and to focus on leadership in our professional associations in particular.  Now, it feels a bit funny to be up here doing this for this crowd – pretty sure all of you have a good sense of what the problems are! The weak copyright statements, the lack of support for librarians attacked by their administrations or library boards, the appalling response to the Library and  Archives Canada crisis… and I could go on. Our hope is to try and sketch out this known problem for you in a slightly new way, framing the problem both politically and historically and then open things up for discussion.

Jennifer Dekker is going to sketch out some more of the CLA’s history and present actions for you later in this session but I’d like to take a step back and examine the kind of ideologies at work in these associations, as a way of understanding how they could have become so divorced from the concerns and needs of their members, and from the public good. In so doing, I hope to make it clear we are not attacking any particular leader or member of any association, but rather we see the behaviours of association executives and staff in a larger context – specifically in the context of neoliberal incursions into the public sector, including academia.

So, ideologies first. I want to start with 3 examples that I think are illustrative of what is going on in the leadership of our profession:

1)The CLA president, at the 2011 Toronto symposium on the crisis in academic libraries said “the CLA is a library association not a librarians association.”

2)When asked to issue a statement condemning the wrongful confinement and arrests of citizens protesting the G20, the OLA chose not to – indicating to me that they were uncertain that this sort of statement or political work was what its members would want.

3) At the Northern Exposure to Leadership Institute, a management institute for Canadian librarians, when I went in 2006, when asked about the role of the library in relation to the public good, the mentor/speaker on stage at the time said we needed to start talking about public value rather than the public good. This sort of thinking permeated the institute.

All of these preceding statements are reflective of neoliberal ideology. Bear with me if I’m being pedantic, but I just want to make sure we are all on the same page and give a little definition of this word. David Harvey (2005) offers a useful summary of the essential characteristics of neoliberalism as an economic doctrine:

Neoliberalism is in the first instance a theory of political economic
practices that proposes that human well-being can best be advanced by
liberating individual entrepreneurial freedoms and skills within an institutional
framework characterized by strong private property rights, free markets, and
free trade. The role of the state is to create and preserve an institutional framework
appropriate to such practices. (A Brief History of Neoliberalism, p. 2)

Further, he suggests that in a neoliberal post- Fordist world, labor has become dispensable, disposable, and replaceable.

So when the president of the CLA says our national library association does not represent librarians, even though historically much of its revenue in fact comes the membership fees of librarians… we see the connection to neoliberal thought – the institution, the capital L library, is more important than its workers and somehow flourishes independently of our labour, at least in the mind of our leadership.

When an association is hesitant to take a political stance, such as the OLA on the G20, I would argue again that this is a consequence of neoliberal thinking … our associations operate primarily now as career advancement and professional networking sites, for mentoring and climbing ever upward to the managerial class of librarianship. It prioritizes individual entrepreneurial freedom and skills within institutional frameworks… not values, citizenship or the public good.

Ok, moving on to the third statement, from NELI regarding public value, I think the neoliberal implications of a generation of library leaders being encouraged to think about public value rather than the public good is too obvious to belabour, so I won’t –but I will extend this point to say that much of what was taught at the institute was about self-recognition  and individualism rather than community-building. I bring up NELI because the people who lead it and mentor the junior librarians who attend, generally also have or have had a strong relationship with the CLA as well. Which is not to say they aren’t frustrated with the CLA too, but perhaps for other reasons than I am. These are folks who make a strong contribution to librarianship, and I do not wish to dismiss their hard work – but I do wish to identify the ideologies underlying the choices they make.

To get pedantic again, borrowing from the work of Agamben (1998), Henri Giroux (2010) argues that universities have adopted a form of “bare pedagogy” that “strips education of its public values, critical contents and civic responsibilities as part of its broader goal of creating new subjects wedded to the logic of privatization, efficiency, flexibility, the accumulation of capital, and the destruction of the social state” (p. 185). I think the new emphasis in academic libraries on public value is a direct articulation of this new subject. And I think it divorces us from what we are good at and why we matter. When we try to articulate our value in the cold metrics of neoliberal logic we will always fail. To quote Leonard Cohen – everybody knows that the dice are loaded.

Of course we might also want to talk about the biggest thing… the commodification of knowledge and the increasing corporate influence of library vendors upon our associations. There will be others in this room who can offer more research and evidence surrounding the latter than I can – but one would have to be living under a rock to not feel the corporate presence and influence at our conferences and events. At NELI we were encouraged to not be unfriendly to vendors, and to recognize them as a vital part of the library “ecosystem.” They exist, live with it. Build relationships! While I know lots of very smart and well-meaning librarians working inside corporations, I’d argue there’s nothing natural about the commodification of information nor in the ways such commodifications and corporations serve to lock down information behind proprietary paywalls. Such rhetoric seeks to obfuscate what’s really going on, politically speaking, and obscures the choices being made.

We see the neoliberal agenda every day at work on our campuses, it should be no surprise to see it in our other institutions. In a recent Briar Patch article called The Combustible Campus, Enda Brophy notes that,

For three decades now, the neoliberal restructuring of post-secondary
education has sought to implant market logic and corporate-style management
into the academy.  …The resulting transformation of public university systems
has brought us corporatized administrations, rising tuition, departmental
closures, expanded class sizes, noxious corporate food, offensives against
academic workers, and ethically dubious corporate donations.

And yet she also notes that something stirs… the student uprisings….

”From London to Montreal, from Santiago to Auckland, from Wisconsin
to Mexico City, struggles against the commodification of knowledge are
proliferating … it is, by extension, a special time to be in the university.
After decades of relative calm, we are witnessing the forceful emergence
of autonomous and collective forms of knowledge and power produced
from below, aimed squarely against those bent on transforming our learning
environments from above.”

I find her comment very interesting and kind of hopeful.  We have certainly begun to see more people, especially students, occupy the streets in the last few years, most recently in Quebec. Whether you agree with these particular actions or not, to me there is a great relief that people appear to be shaking off some of the apathy and trying to find new ways of working together and organizing. I wonder how can we be a part of that struggle, how can we help and how can they help us? How can we build new networks of people based not on occupational roles but on political and social values, while still arguing for the unique importance of library workers in the struggle?

This was the theme of a talk I gave in February of last year at the OLA, around building solidarity in academic librarianship. I said that when we do advocacy for librarians we need to talk about our work in terms that resonate with other members of the public sector … who also struggle with the precariousness of labour and wage freezes. We need to explain why over-reliance upon casual precarious labour actually negatively impacts library users and our local communities. We also need to talk about our work in relation to our core values, which Naomi Klein once said to us, was the stewardship of knowledge, sharing and common space. Values most under threat in a neoliberal era. Librarianship is a revolutionary choice.

We need to recentralize values and principles and ethics as the core of our professional identity and push back against the neoliberal market logic that permeates our institutions and associations. We have a civic responsibility. Our social responsibility is what should define us. There may be others who share our concerns, but we are the only ones funded by the public to preserve and protect these values. And if our associations will not do this for us – we must leave them. IN DROVES.

And in defining ourselves in this way, we demonstrate that advocating for and building solidarity with and among librarians is about more than protecting jobs (although that’s ok too in my opinion) but part of the larger struggle for social justice. That advocating for librarians is also advocating for libraries. Because libraries and all they represent are built on the backs of our labour and the labour of our libray technician colleagues. Libraries are the product of labour, they do not mysteriously appear one day in the middle of a campus fully formed. Libraries exist for our users, yes. But libraries exist because we do.

Hopeful signs for me include the rightousness of the BCLA and the Newfoundland Library Associations who have issued great statements on the G20 and the Access Copyright fight. There are moments like

  • the recent OLITA symposium on liberation technology where I got excited about the growing potential in the OLA.
  • the recent issue of a social justice themed Access Magazine edited by Mike Ridley.
  • the recent establishment of local nodes of THE PLG in Edmonton, London and Toronto,
  • and of course,  CAUT’s awesome Save LAC campaign and this symposium today itself.

We should look to these initiatives and groups and see what we can learn from them. Because in the end there are no heroes, and no straight answers – we must think locally, build community and solidarity, and figure out how to get beyond our myopic associations and work across communities of shared interest. Librarians should not only be talking to one another.

To completely take out of context some words from recently deceased cultural geographer Neil Smith, from his article “The Revolutionary Imperative” – one of the greatest dangers of our time lies in acquiescing to the limits of the present, to not lose the imaginative capacity that enables us to see beyond the ideological constraints imposed by the current era (as cited by Thomas Ponniah in Rabble). Luckily, librarians have a special capacity to organize and to take the long view. It’s time to harness our professional strengths to our necessary activist work.

Thanks!

 

Selected References

Brophy, Enda. (Sept 1, 2012) The Combustible Campus, Briarpatch. Available online:http://briarpatchmagazine.com/articles/view/the-combustible-campus

Giroux, H. A. (2010). Bare pedagogy and the scourge of neoliberalism: Rethinking higher education as a democratic public sphere. Educational Forum, 74(3), 184-196.

Harvey, D. (2005). A brief history of neoliberalism. New York: Oxford University Press.

Posted on February 5, 2013 by lisa | Posted in Discussion | Tagged ,

ARL-CARL Joint Statement in Support of Dale Askey and McMaster University

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) and the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) share a commitment to freedom of opinion and expression of ideas and are strongly opposed to any effort to intimidate individuals in order to suppress information or censor ideas. We further share the belief that a librarian must be able to offer his or her assessment of a publisher’s products or practices free from such intimidation.

Consequently, we are highly supportive of Dale Askey and of McMaster University as they confront the lawsuit brought against them by Edwin Mellen Press. We strongly disapprove of the aggressive use of the Canadian court system to threaten Mr. Askey with millions of dollars in liability over the contents of a blog post. We urge Edwin Mellen Press to withdraw this suit and use more constructive means to address its reputation.

“No academic librarian, research library, or university should face a multi-million dollar lawsuit because of a candid discussion of the publications or practices of an academic publisher,” said Brent Roe, Executive Director of CARL. “The exaggerated action of Edwin Mellen Press could only impose a chill on academic and research librarians’ expression of frank professional judgments.”

“Unfortunately, this is just the latest publisher that has chosen to pursue costly and wasteful litigation against universities and librarians,” said Elliott Shore, Executive Director of ARL. “These hostile tactics highlight the need for people who share the core values of research libraries to embrace models of publishing that foster—rather than hinder—research, teaching, and learning.”


The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) is a nonprofit organization of 125 research libraries in the US and Canada. Its mission is to influence the changing environment of scholarly communication and the public policies that affect research libraries and the diverse communities they serve. ARL pursues this mission by advancing the goals of its member research libraries, providing leadership in public and information policy to the scholarly and higher education communities, fostering the exchange of ideas and expertise, facilitating the emergence of new roles for research libraries, and shaping a future environment that leverages its interests with those of allied organizations. ARL is on the web at http://www.arl.org/.

The Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) provides leadership on behalf of Canada’s research libraries and enhances their capacity to advance research and higher education. It promotes effective and sustainable scholarly communication, and public policy that enables broad access to scholarly information. Its members include the 29 major academic research libraries across Canada. CARL is on the web at http://www.carl-abrc.ca/.

Together, ARL and CARL represent 136 research libraries in the United States and Canada.

AAUP Statement on Faculty Status for Academic Librarians

The statement that follows was prepared by the Joint Committee on College Library Problems, a national committee representing the Association of College and Research Libraries, the Association of American Colleges (now the Association of American Colleges and Universities), and the American Association of University Professors. The statement was endorsed by the board and annual meeting of the Association of College and Research Libraries, a division of the American Library Association, in 1972. It was reaffirmed by the ACRL board in June 2001 and 2007. It was adopted by the Council of the American Association of University Professors in April 1973 and endorsed by the Fifty-ninth Annual Meeting. Additional revisions were made by a joint subcommittee of the ACRL and the AAUP in June 2012; the revised text was adopted by the AAUP’s Council and the ACRL in 2012.


As the primary means through which students and faculty gain access to the storehouse of organized knowledge, the college and university library performs a unique and indispensable function in the educational process. This function will grow in importance as students assume greater responsibility for their own intellectual and social development. Indeed, all members of the academic community are likely to become increasingly dependent on skilled professional guidance in the acquisition and use of library resources as the forms and numbers of these resources multiply, scholarly materials appear in more languages, bibliographical systems become more complicated, and library technology grows increasingly sophisticated. The librarian who provides such guidance plays a major role in the learning process.

The character and quality of an institution of higher learning are shaped in large measure by the nature and accessibility of its library resources as well as the expertise and availability of its librarians. Consequently, all members of the faculty should take an active interest in the operation and development of the library. Because the scope and character of library resources should be taken into account in such important academic decisions as curricular planning and faculty appointments, librarians should have a voice in the development of the institution’s educational policy.

Librarians perform a multifaceted role within the academy. It includes not only teaching credit courses but also providing access to information, whether by individual and group instruction, selecting and purchasing resources, digitizing collections, or organizing information. In all of these areas, librarians impart knowledge and skills to students and faculty members both formally and informally and advise and assist faculty members in their scholarly pursuits. They are involved in the research function and conduct research in their own professional interests and in the discharge of their duties. Their scholarly research contributes to the advancement of knowledge valuable to their discipline and institution.

In addition, librarians contribute to university governance through their service on campus-wide committees. They also enhance the reputation of the institution by engaging in meaningful service and outreach to their profession and local communities.

Where the role of college and university librarians, as described in the preceding paragraphs, requires them to function essentially as part of the faculty, this functional identity should be recognized by granting of faculty status. Neither administrative responsibilities nor professional degrees, titles, or skills, per se, qualify members of the academic community for faculty status. The function of the librarian as participant in the processes of teaching, research, and service is the essential criterion of faculty status.

College and university librarians share the professional concerns of faculty members. Academic freedom is indispensable to librarians in their roles as teachers and researchers. Critically, they are trustees of knowledge with the responsibility of ensuring the intellectual freedom of the academic community through the availability of information and ideas, no matter how controversial, so that teachers may freely teach and students may freely learn. Moreover, as members of the academic community, librarians should have latitude in the exercise of their professional judgment within the library, a share in shaping policy within the institution, and adequate opportunities for professional development and appropriate reward.

Faculty status entails for librarians the same rights and responsibilities as for other members of the faculty. They should have corresponding entitlement to rank, promotion, tenure, compensation, leaves, and research funds.

Librarians should be offered the opportunity to have either academic-year appointments with salary and benefits commensurate with those of other faculty members or calendar-year appointments with additional compensation for summer work as is customary for faculty members who take on summer teaching assignments. As with faculty members in other academic departments on campus, librarians should be responsible for the development of their promotion and tenure criteria. Because of the special teaching role of librarians, criteria and standards may differ from traditional classroom faculty, but they must be comparable in rigor and content. Promotion and tenure guidelines should be approved by whatever faculty body is responsible for the establishment of promotion and tenure procedures and policy. Faculty librarians should go through the same process of evaluation as other faculty members.1

On some campuses, adequate procedures for extending faculty status to librarians have already been established. These procedures vary from campus to campus because of institutional differences. In the development of such procedures, it is essential that the general faculty or its delegated agent determine the specific steps by which any professional position is to be accorded faculty rank and status. In any case, academic positions that are to be accorded faculty rank and status should be approved by the senate or the faculty at large before submission to the president and to the governing board for approval.

With respect to library governance, it is to be presumed that the governing board, the administrative officers, the library faculty, and representatives of the general faculty will share in the determination of library policies that affect the general interests of the institution and its educational program. In matters of internal governance, the library will operate like other academic units with respect to decisions relating to appointments, promotions, tenure, and conditions of service.2

 

1. See the 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure, in AAUP,Policy Documents and Reports, 10th ed. (Washington, DC: AAUP, 2006), 3–11; the 1958Statement on Procedural Standards in Faculty Dismissal Proceedings, ibid., 12–15; and the Statement of Principles on Leaves of Absence, ibid., 254–55. Back to text.

2. See the Statement on Government of Colleges and Universities, ibid., 135–40. Back to text.

 

Text here.

Call for Proposals for Forthcoming Book: In Solidarity: Academic Librarian Labour Activism and Union Participation in Canada

BOOK ABSTRACT:

With a focus on Canada, this collection will document the labour-related struggles and gains of academic librarians. It will provide historical and current perspectives regarding the unionization of academic librarians, an exploration of the major labour issues affecting academic librarians in both certified and non-certified union contexts, as well as case studies relating to the unionization of academic librarians at selected institutions. The volume will strive to include a broad representation of academic librarian labour activists and those who have rallied to the support of academic librarians in the workplace.

EDITORS: Jennifer Dekker, University of Ottawa (jdekker@uottawa.ca)

Mary Kandiuk, York University (mkandiuk@yorku.ca)

PUBLISHER: Library Juice Press

EXPECTED PUBLICATION DATE: 2014

OBJECTIVE OF THE BOOK:

This edited collection will gather the common experiences of Canadian academic librarians and situate them in a national framework with respect to unionization. It will examine the issues that have led to the formal organization of academic librarians, the gains that have been achieved, and the ramifications of those gains. A limited number of chapters exploring relevant issues from a non-Canadian perspective are also being sought in order to provide insight and comparisons in a broader context.

POSSIBLE TOPICS:

The editors invite chapters that describe activities undertaken by academic librarians, unions, and related associations that further the goals of librarians in the academy from a labour perspective. Examples of topics that would be of particular interest to the editors include:

  • Academic freedom cases involving U.S. academic librarians, for the purpose of comparing these to the Canadian setting;
  • Librarians and governance on Canadian and / or U.S .campuses;
  • Faculty or academic status of librarians in the U.S., including a comparison with Canada;
  • Successful mobilization or political strategies for unionization or labour actions of academic librarians;

Case studies of academic librarians asserting their collective rights in such a way that might provide inspiration or guidance for other groups;Labour action or the experience of strike within the academic library environment.

In particular, the editors would like to encourage chapters that explore the experiences of academic librarians from a labour perspective using a methodological framework as appropriate. Proposals that examine the issues from a theoretical framework are also welcome.

TARGET AUDIENCES:

The editors believe that this book will be of interest to academic librarians, labour historians, and those interested in academic labour or unionization of library workers.

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES:

Authors are invited to submit abstracts and proposals of 300-500 words to jdekker@uottawa.ca and mkandiuk@yorku.ca by January 15, 2013. Notifications will be sent by February 1, 2013. A draft manuscript ranging from 1,500-7,000 words will be due by June 1, 2013. Submitted manuscripts must not have been published previously or simultaneously submitted elsewhere. Following review, articles will be returned via e-mail for revision before final acceptance. All materials will be edited as necessary for clarity. All submissions should include at the beginning an abstract of no more than 150 words, highlighting the scope, methodology, and conclusions of the paper. Authors should follow the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th ed. (2010). We welcome contributions from scholars and practitioners alike. If you wish to discuss your contribution please feel free to contact us.

Submission of proposals should include:

  • Name of author
  • Title
  • Affiliation
  • Contact information
  • 300-500 word abstract

Peer Review Dashed at LAC by Email

The following email is yet another sign that LAC management is failing to treat its archival and research professionals with respect. Recently management there made a unilateral decision to remove the peer review system for promotion. Below you will read the message regarding the demise of the Comité de promotion de la recherche historique (CPRH) / Historical Research Promotion Committee (HRPC) sent to those affected.

“The Historical Research Promotion Committee (HRPC) was established to address the career progression needs of historical researchers at LAC. We strongly believed, and we continue to believe, that leadership and the career progression of all our employees are key components to ensure that our organization is equipped to meet higher standards of management accountability.

The entire structure of our organization has changed, which means that we are reviewing all occupational groups’ professional competencies, including the Historical Research Group (HR). This will serve to identify new competencies that align with our strategic direction and that will support us in meeting our organizational needs. We also believe in being consistent and fair in our organizational approach to promotion for all of our employees—whatever their occupational group—while at the same time offering career progression tailored to particular occupations. As part of this approach, the HRPC will conclude its activities once the 2011–2012 promotion process has been completed.

We continue to be committed to the development and progress of our employees’ careers. Through a more proactive approach, we will continue to help you develop new competencies by providing learning opportunities and by creating an environment where these competencies can be put into action.”(Italics added for emphasis).

*****

The change at LAC clearly has serious career implications for those working at LAC. As a community of information workers who partners with and supports our colleagues at LAC, academic librarians at the University of Ottawa are disappointed with the decision made by LAC management. Employment is ideally a long-term relationship between employees and employers and is never one-sided. Decisions that benefit only half of the relationship have serious and detrimental effects on the other group, in this case the employees. Such decisions poison the workplace, affect morale, and cause employees to look elsewhere for employment. Perhaps the greatest disappointment in this is that LAC management is overlooking the competence and professionalism of its staff, including their ability to recognize excellence in their own peers.

For those who are less familiar with the concept of peer- review, I suggest the following quotation from CAUT’s guide to peer-review called What is Fair: Q & A on Procedures & Standards in Peer Review, “The purpose of peer evaluation is to combine expertise in the subject with fairness in judgment so that such decisions will be made for sound academic reasons, will follow appropriate criteria, and will be made by persons qualified to evaluate academic performance.” <Source>

At the University of Ottawa, we use peer review to evaluate our colleagues when they apply for permanence and promotion. While there are undoubtedly mistakes made, peer review is widely accepted in academe and should never be sidestepped in favour of other methods of review. Peer review recognizes the expertise of workers and the value of collective decision-making. It is a democratic process, not an autocratic one. A promotion obtained by any other means is simply not legitimate in the academic setting. One may argue that LAC is not an academic setting, but at one time I believe it was nearly equivalent. Let’s not forget that LAC was until recently, a member of ARL (Association of Research Libraries) just like University of Toronto, University of British Columbia and yes, University of Ottawa, among others. But one can see that now it’s basically just another government department. It’s no longer an institution that can or should be comparable to the Library of Congress, or even some of the smaller research libraries in Canada. I wonder if it will even remain relevant for serious research in the decades to come.

Is the Future of Academic Status at the University of Toronto Being Questioned?

St. Mike’s administrators have offered monetary remuneration on the condition that faculty and librarians at the college give up academic status, their tenure and permanent status in their first negotiations to secure a collective agreement. We have seen academic status threatened south of the border now we are seeing it at one of the University of Toronto’s affiliated colleges. As St. Mike’s college is a member of the University’s Faculty of Arts & Sciences, even though they have a semi-autonomous status, this has raised many questions in the community. Tenure ensures academic freedom which is essential to an atmosphere conducive to the free search for truth and the attainment of excellence in the University. On Oct. 8, less than a week, faculty and librarians will be in a lockout or strike situation simply because they will not be bought and give up their belief that tenure and permanent status is a core component of teaching and research at a publicly-funded, academic institution. We urge the community to become informed and realize that what is happening at St. Mike’s could just as easily happen in another sector of our community. We can say it doesn’t involve us, close eyes and forget it is happening – but can we really do that? Are these not the values we uphold as academic librarians?