Faculty status for academic librarians is an issue that has been the subject of much debate in recent decades. The purpose of this paper is to examine the key points raised during this debate, in the hope of achieving a suitable resolution.
This paper begins with an overview of the issue of faculty status for academic librarians from an historical perspective and then continues with a review of literature from the past three decades. The pros and cons of granting faculty status are examined, as well as alternate models, followed by a proposed recommendation.
While there are a number of concerns regarding the value of faculty status for academic librarians, such as disagreement with the basic tenet that librarians are primarily teachers, the weight of the evidence seems to support the granting of faculty status to academic librarians. This status provides academic freedom, recognition of librarians in their role as educators, and financial benefits and job security and is supported by the Association of College and Research Libraries, the Association of American Colleges, and the American Association of University Professors.
While this paper is a review of selected relevant literature, only a small portion of the literature was of an empirical nature. There is a need for more studies which directly measure the impact of faculty status for academic librarians on the librarians themselves and the students, faculty, and institutions they serve.
The paper shows that with faculty status, academic librarians receive the same rights and privileges as other faculty and participate in college or university governance, thereby increasing the integration of the library with the institution.
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