Public Presentations of Professional Change in Academic Research Library Strategic Plans
AdvisorRhoades, Gary D.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractAcademic librarianship is a profession in the midst of change. Embedded within multiple social spheres, academic librarians are adapting to changes in higher education, the sociotechnical environment of information, and the system of professions. This research investigates the ways in which academic librarians publicly present the ways in which they are aligning themselves in the face of academic capitalism. Using a qualitative approach of document analysis of research library strategic plans, this study explores the ways in which academic librarians express their perceptions of changes in higher education, of changes in the sociotechnical environment of information, and of changing professional jurisdiction and relationships. The theoretical framework, based on Abbott's System of the Professions and Linked Ecologies. The study analyzes strategic plans from 75 American research universities from the membership of the Association of Research Libraries and the Association of American Universities. Academic librarians were found to be re-establishing claims to existing jurisdictions while also making new claims. They described their roles in 4 ways: Supporting, Collaborating, Competing, and Leading. These relationships demonstrate attempts to demonstrate centrality to the campus by strengthening institutional prestige and quality by strengthening the library itself, by contributing to the academic activities of faculty and students through supportive and collaborative activities, and by leading change in academia by leading changes in the system of scholarly communication. They also exhibited entrepreneurial behaviors by seeking to connecting to external sources of income, particularly through grant-seeking and private fundraising. There was also evidence that academic librarians perceived impacts of changes in the sociotechncial environment on their instructional roles, and on the ways they provide and manage scholarly research collections. Finally, there was some evidence of linkages between higher education and information environments, with mass digitization and search as hinge issues and librarian activities in publishing a scholarly communications as avatar activities.
Degree ProgramGraduate College