For those who have seen the demise of archival positions and academic librarianship at provincial, national and major post-secondary institutions over the last few years by those leading and seeking trendy new changes to bolster their own career paths, gain recognition as leaders at the forefront who somehow know the future better than others, and under the guise of other mandates – we ask – is it really a surprise to see what is happening today?
We commend the OLA for initiating the recent timeline documenting recent cutbacks to our sectors on their web page, it clearly shows the severity of action within a short period of two months, April and May, 2012. But we all know this is not a recent or new trend. Should we not be documenting what has been happening the last two to five years?
Many colleagues have been lamenting the loss of professional authority, the lack of action on the part of those who lead our associations and institutions and the naïve optimism of others who have tried to spin a positive perspective on many of the changes that others have resisted. The details matter and they always will. When an institution or nation begins to deem terms such as ‘archivist’, ‘librarian’ or ‘library’ as meaningless or irrelevant terms when defining job descriptions and deciding institutional titles, it is a sign, albeit, small sign, that there is a loss of significance or meaning associated with the terms and that we as professionals have a problem. As we know, the institutions who did not have certified faculty associations have been the most vulnerable and faced the toughest challenges.
In the recent past year, many of our colleagues have stood on the front-lines, reaffirming for the rest of us, the importance of our profession. This is no light matter – affecting every aspect of their lives. We should pause and take note. Hence, let’s begin to create a timeline that accurately reflects what has been happening in our communities which have led to these recent cutbacks. We will start the timeline, by creating a year-by-year structure. Send us your information, and we will gradually fill in this timeline, as we receive the information. We will create a separate page on this blog to list what has been happening. We would urge your to submit the entries as commentaries, but if you feel uncomfortable about this, please remit to one of the members of the UTFA Librarians Committee (as posted on the side) or the chair of the librarians committee, firstname.lastname@example.org.