Defending Professionalism: A Resource for Librarians, Information Specialists, Knowledge Managers, and Archivists

Defending Professionalism: A Resource for Librarians, Information Specialists, Knowledge Managers, and Archivists

Defending Professionalism: A Resource for Librarians, Information Specialists, Knowledge Managers, and Archivists

Defending Professionalism: A Resource for Librarians, Information Specialists, Knowledge Managers, and Archivists

Synopsis

Since the 2007 financial crisis, increasing numbers of experienced and newly degreed library, information, and archival professionals across the United States have lost their positions or been unable to secure a beginning professional position. In many instances, American public, academic, and school libraries have borne a disproportionate share of the cutbacks made by state and local governments, universities, and school systems.

This book provides overdue guidance for demonstrating and preserving library, information, knowledge, and archival professionalism in American, British, and Canadian communities and organizations.

There is no longer any way to deny or to escape the responsibility of marketing services and being an advocate for one's profession. Practitioners also need effective arguments and approaches for combating library and information deprofessionalization. This book offers the antidote for ineptitude in the fight to preserve professionalism in all major library and information environments.

Composed of 14 chapters written by contemporary practitioners and practitioners-turned-theorists, Defending Professionalism: A Resource for Librarians, Information Specialists, Knowledge Managers, and Archivists clearly justifies the employment of the professional librarian, information specialist, knowledge manager, and archivist. The contributors offer both short-term and long-term political, cultural, and other approaches for the ongoing effort to retain and expand professionalism. The book provides managers, funding authorities, educators, and practitioners with practical, political, and theoretical reasons why it is in their self-interest to employ professionally educated personnel for positions within libraries, information or knowledge management centers, and archives.

Excerpt

In January 2011, news media reported on the projected closings of “a third of all Britain’s libraries” or a total of more than 1,300 public library outlets. Proportionate layoffs of British librarians and other staff were also predicted. These draconian reductions were announced in response to a decrease of six and a half billion pounds in the funds distributed to local authorities by the British coalition government headed by Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron (Boniface 2011). From the perspective of the public library community and many library users, this slashing of funding for libraries, librarians, and other staff was and is an ill-considered, unthinking, and much too rapid reaction by local officials whose knee-jerk response failed to evaluate the worth of the library and other programs before taking action.

Canada

Serious Canadian problems of library funding exist, a number of which preceded the current world financial crisis and are indicative of a long-standing dilemma for professionalism. In a media release dated June 7, 2011, the Canadian Library Association (CLA) reported on yet more school library and teacher-librarian (school librarian) reductions. CLA stressed that in some Canadian school systems “no professional staffing exists” to provide quality library service. In its documentation of specific librarian losses at the provincial level, CLA described the elimination of additional teacher-librarian positions in British Columbia and stressed the remarkable fact that Manitoba has “lost approximately 60% of its teacher-librarians” since the 1980s (Canadian Library Association 2011).

A similar reduction in the number of professional teacher-librarians in the more populated Canadian province of Ontario was reported by People for Education in . . .

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