Library Presence: A Tool for Recognition
Date of Award
Doctor of Arts (DA)
Center for Computer-Based Learning
John A. Scigliano
Kean College of New Jersey, one of eight colleges in the state's higher education system, has often failed to include professional librarians in much of the campus decision making. Lack of participation may be due a lack of aggressiveness on the part of the librarians or to the long held perceptions by administrators that the library is only a storehouse. Library space has been appropriated for other purposes although seating and shelving area needs are in short supply. The library is considered a support service, not an academic department. Professional librarians are not thought of as involved in instruction.
The distribution of college information and the allocation of resources are based on Schools, Departments, Teaching Credit Hours and the employee category of faculty. New Jersey State College librarians lost faculty status and academic rank in 1970. Decision makers are unaware of the effect technology has had on information retrieval and the potential value of telecommunications in accessing distant databases for research purposes.
The role of a college library in computer conferencing, networks, and electronic mail delivery is as yet undeveloped at Kean. Academics must be educated to seeing the library as the center of major developments in the use of communication technologies. This will become clearer with an online public catalog and Compact Disk workstations in the library. To alleviate the problems of omission of the library in the planning process and to increase recognition of the changing role of academic librarianship, procedures were undertaken to 1. Obtain appointment to college committees where decisions are made, and 2. To demonstrate online information retrieval to interested colleagues. The opportunity to participate on the various advisory bodies involved in implementation of a Governor's Challenge Grant made the library representative a visible, active partner.
Classroom faculty are unfamiliar with the new modes of thinking and learning that are involved in establishing search strategies for information retrieval. The increasing instructional responsibility of academic librarians with the growth of machine-stored data must be demonstrated. The results of this study helped achieve closer communication with college leaders and broadened their understanding of the changing role of academic librarians. Library presence made it possible to extend certain rights and privileges for librarians through the revision or expansion of policy documents.
Movement from the periphery of the college through service on campus committees and an awakened awareness of the new role for librarians were the goals of the project. The rewards are believed to be increased recognition and respect as librarians are seen and treated as colleagues by classroom faculty through their joint participation in common endeavors.
The significance of bibliographic instruction was demonstrated and also the value to classroom faculty of Online information retrieval. There was librarian participation in the implementation of the goals of the Governor's Challenge Grant particularly in plans for computers in the curriculum and further development of the new General Education program. Involvement in plans for a local area network and the Primix system were explored.
The political action of participation, cooperation with administration and classroom faculty, must be initiated by the librarians themselves or they will continue to be overlooked. This is advocated throughout the literature of librarianship. Political action was the method taken to awaken colleagues to an appreciation of their academic library in an information age.
Rena W. Rogge. 1987. Library Presence: A Tool for Recognition. Doctoral dissertation. Nova Southeastern University. Retrieved from NSUWorks, Center for Computer-Based Learning. (807)