Special Presidential TF on the Status of Librarians

Options for Action

  1. Significantly broaden the definition (charge/statement of purpose) for the allied 501 (c)(6) professional organization approved by Council at the 2001 Annual Conference for the purpose of certification so that this allied organization can undertake a variety of activities to support the profession broadly related to the status and salaries of librarians and other library staff members. Consider moving some activities currently underway in the existing 501(c)(3) organization related to status, salary, and other professional issues, including divisional activities, so that they can more fully and overtly be undertaken by the allied organization.

  2. Some studies have already been undertaken to measure the impact of libraries on their communities, but this work generally ignores the specific value that an appropriately degreed professional librarian adds to the value of libraries. ALA should develop or encourage the development of quantitative and qualitative measures that can be applied in a variety of types of libraries to demonstrate the economic, educational, social, and cultural values that professional librarians bring to their communities.

  3. As much as possible, ALA should attempt to consolidate the many disparate activities related to status and salaries underway within ALA itself and its affiliates and chapters and in other library and information associations in order to leverage resources and energies. At the least this should be directed at facilitating communication and information exchange between these units and organizations, but collaborative efforts are highly desirable and should be encouraged. Examples of these include the Committee on Pay Equity, ACRL's Academic Librarians Status Committee, LAMA's Human Resource Section's Economic Status and Staff Welfare Committee, many of the professional development and career development committees in the divisions, and of course some of the activities of the Office of Human Resource Development and Recruitment. Activities related to status and salaries would be strong candidates for inclusion in a 501(c)(6) organization.

  4. ALA or its allied organization should undertake a serious campaign to educate the general public about the role of librarians in developing and managing library and information services tailored to meet the specialized needs of specific communities. This campaign should attempt to distinguish the role of librarians from the very valuable roles played by other library staff. ALA should re-energize some of the activities that were intended to be part of the Decade of the Librarian but which ceased because of funding priorities. Whenever possible, this campaign should be integrated with other ongoing campaigns and priorities.

  5. Study the impact of certification on salaries and perceptions of status as librarians apply for and receive certification under the existing and any new certification programs within ALA. Data about applicants for certification should be gathered and follow up surveys should be carried out in three to five year increments to determine long term implications for certification on salaries and status.

Revised 21 December 2001