Academic Librarians’ Changing Perceptions of Faculty Status and Tenure

Elise Silva, Quinn Galbraith, Michael Groesbeck

Abstract

This study explores how time and experience affect an academic librarian’s perception of tenure. Researchers surveyed 846 librarians at ARL institutions, reporting on institutions that offer both tenure and faculty status for their academic librarians or neither. The survey reported how librarians rated tenure’s benefit to patrons, its effect in attracting and retaining quality employees, and tenure as a motivating factor in giving extra effort on the job. Researchers found that tenured librarians rated tenure as more beneficial than librarians without tenure who had more than six years of work experience at their institutions. Furthermore, non–tenure-track librarians with fewer than six years of experience at their institutions rated tenure’s effect on library patrons as more beneficial than tenure-track librarians who had not yet achieved tenure. The study implies a selective perception bias on the part of academic librarians that grows with time and warrants further consideration and study.

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