Obviously, academics read professional literature at work. It isn’t so obvious for academic librarians. Even less so for academic librarians without a tenure track.

At MPOW, librarians are eligible for promotion under a process that mimics tenure in everything but name and includes “conducting research [and] developing creative projects”. So it seems only reasonable to spend some at-work time reviewing the professional literature, conference proceedings, recent webinars, etc. Nonetheless, I have trouble sitting in my office (or anywhere else) to read. Too many other things battle for my attention (like students!).

Academic librarians: how do you overcome this feeling?

I will say that one of the most difficult aspects of this new job is the constant task shifting. Whereas before I was single-tasking most of the day, now I shift repeatedly between preparing instruction sessions, working the reference desk, collection development, locating possible furniture purchases, preparing research proposals, exporting/importing statistical data, creating subject guides, reviewing tutorials, meetings, faculty tours, brainstorming sessions for new services, supervising employees (including student workers), working on professional projects outside of work, scheduling conference trips, and helping out an occasional drop-in student with the CMS.

And that’s just what I did today.

From the AAUP, Joint Statement on Faculty Status of College and University Librarians (Jan. 11, 2013):

“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…”

Source: ACRL

It is not often that one encounters a collection of essays so thoroughly aligned in their approach and perspective as to merit reading the collection from cover to cover; yet such is the nature of this recently published collection in ACRL’s Publications in Librarianship series (no. 66). Edited by Daniel C. Mack, Head of the George and Sherry Middlemas Arts Humanities Library at Penn State, and Craig Gibson, Associate Director for Research and Education at the Ohio State University, this work brings together 14 authors from across the landscape of academic librarianship, including administrators, department heads, catalogers, technologists, reference and instruction librarians, subject specialists, and professors of library science…

You can read my full review in this month’s College & Research Libraries.