Ranks and Nomenclature in the Profession of Academic Librarianship

There has been a steady move on the part of Canadian post-secondary educational institutions to negotiate ranks and nomenclature of professional librarians as they do for teaching stream and faculty.  The following chart gives you an idea of what is transpiring in the profession:

University # ranks
Queens’ 4 General Librarian Assistant Librarian Associate Librarian Librarian
Western 4 General Librarian Assistant Librarian Associate Librarian Senior


McGill 3 Assistant Librarian Associate Librarian Full Librarian
Saskatchewan 3 Assistant Librarian Associate Librarian Librarian
Manitoba 4 General Librarian Assistant Librarian Associate Librarian Librarian
Calgary 3 Assistant Librarian Associate Librarian Librarian
York 3 Assistant Librarian Associate Librarian Senior Librarian
Posted in Academic Librarianship, Academic libraries, Academic Status, Librarians, Policies - UofT Librarians, University of Toronto | Leave a comment

Town Halls on St. George Campus: April 4 and April 6, 2016

Join members of ACALP and the UTFA Librarians’ committee to discuss what needs to be done to update our Policies for Librarians. We are holding these meetings to ensure you have a forum to express your views. If you would like to send in your thoughts or comments in an email to members of the ACALP committee, please do so. You can use this email address: policies:@utfa.org.

Monday, April 4, 12-1pm, Robert Blackburn Room, 4th Floor, Robarts Library. The focus is on Librarians I and Librarians II issues.

Wednesday, April 6, 12-1pm, Media Commons, 3rd floor, Screening room, Robarts Library. The focus is on Librarian III and IV issues.

Posted in Academic Librarianship, Academic libraries, Policies - UofT Librarians, University of Toronto, University of Toronto Mississauga, University of Toronto Scarborough | Leave a comment

UTFA Seeks Nominations for the Presidency

Prof. Scott Prudham is stepping down as his six year term is finished June 30, 2016. Two candidates have stepped forward: Cynthia Messenger, Vice-President of Grievances at UTFA Petition of Support and Paul Hamel, Treasurer, UTFA. The position of President is the only elected official in UTFA, see more information here: http://www.utfa.org/president.

Posted in Academic governance, Cynthia Messenger, Paul Hamel, University of Toronto, UofT, UTFA Elections | Leave a comment

What Policies Govern UTFA Librarian Members?

Memorandum of Agreement (MoA): provides ACADEMIC FREEDOM protection; includes information on research and study leaves; outlines some of the librarians responsibilities and rights. This document stipulates how UTFA negotiates with UofT on behave of faculty and librarians. This document is currently being revised.

1991 Librarians Policy

WLPP Workload Policies and Procedures Workload Policies and Procedures. This document outlines the annual review process, how you can collegially negotiate your workload and defines your three areas of responsibilities. Revisions to this document have also been submitted.

Posted in Academic Librarianship, Academic libraries, Policies - UofT Librarians, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

You Asked: “What is wrong with the U of T POLICIES FOR LIBRARIANS?”

UTL librarians are currently discussing what is wrong with our current Policies for Librarians . The recent question posed from members is “What is wrong with our policies?” There is a lot to consider and to understand, in terms of current employment policies others have at the University of Toronto and in terms of what constitutes ‘the norm’ or ‘academic standards’ for the profession of academic librarianship in Canada. So the UTFA Librarians committee will begin to present responses to this question on this website in a series of blog postings. We should state from the start that we believe the profession of academic librarianship is a core, academic position, which requires the same academic rights and respect as those teaching. The importance and value of what academic librarians contribute to the quest for higher learning, knowledge and research equals what teaching staff contribute to an academic community. Faculty and librarians share a symbiotic relationship, interdependent upon each other. Here is a short list.

First, why are we seeking changes – what is the history of these policies?

  • The Policies for Librarians were formulated in the mid-seventies and approved by U of T Governing Council in 1978. That is 38 years ago. The world, the profession of academic librarianship and post-secondary education was very different then. Article 51, Research and Study Leaves, was last up-dated in 1991. Nothing else has been renegotiated with UTFA.
  • UTFA (University Faculty Association, representative for librarians) never signed off on these policies. Why? Because at the last minute, unknown to UTFA, article 46-47, pertaining to the dismissal of librarians due to fiscal stringency or financial exigency was inserted by the Executive of Governing Council without approval by UTFA.

Second, what precisely is out-of-date in the policies? Does it matter?

  • Reference to 50 libraries is no longer correct (Preamble). Without a precise reference to the libraries included in a policy, it leaves the door open to discretionary changes.
  • The position of the Personnel Librarian no longer exists. So where do librarians go for assistance in understanding the current policies?
  • The PFL does not mention the MoA (Memorandum of Agreement) which protects librarians with academic freedom and has up-to date information on research and study leaves and outlines the grievance process; there is no mention of the WLPP Workload Policies and Procedures which outlines librarians’ workload, areas of responsibilities.
  • Librarians’ responsibilities in the PFL do not correspond to those described in the WLPP or the Library Unit’s policies on workload, areas of responsibilities.
  • Article 51, Research and Study Leaves, does not reflect negotiated settlements, monetary amounts or terms, approved for librarians leaves over the past 38 years.
  • Since 1978 UTSC and UTM campuses have become mini-universities with large libraries. The policies do not reflect the growth or changes that have occurred in the UTL system. There is no recognition of these changes in the use of nomenclature in the policies or internal library structures or management hierarchy. For example, is it sufficient or even relevant to say  “The term department head used in this document is appropriate only in the Central Library, and shall be understood to mean for a librarian outside the Central Library, the Principal, Dean, Director or other administrative officer to whom that librarian is responsible.” (in the Preamble)? Great clarity is required.
  • terminology needs to be updated and be used consistently across all library units: Why do UTSC and UTM have “Ad Hoc Promotion Committees” ? What constitutes “Ad Hoc Departmental Committee” for promotion versus “Promotion Committee” (Article 39).
  • Article 51, when describing a reason for dismissing a librarian, dangerously contravenes some basic rights in the Human Rights Code and in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms: “…where, without fault on his or her part, the librarian is prevented by a cause or matter beyond his or her control from carrying out reasonable duties, including, without limitation, physical or mental illness or injury, except where and so long as the librarian (or his or her legal representative) makes no claim against the University for salary or other remuneration.”  This is most certainly out-of-date. The policy does not reflect the University’s policies nor legislated policies.

Third, what is wrong with the librarian policies?

There are many flaws in the current policies which no longer reflect standards in the profession of academic librarians or even rights others working in the library system have acquired through their collective agreements. Our practices are not always reflected in our policies, this becomes evident when you read about what our policies say about new appointments. The list of concerns is long. So we will introduce the areas of concern in a series of blog postings. Here are some of the more serious problems in the Policies for Librarians (PFL).

New Appointments

  • There are no policies or specific requirements for a SEARCH COMMITTEE when seeking new appointments. The only place where a search committee is needed is for the Chief Librarian. We need to have these details in writing for all librarian postings.
  • There is no clear policy on how or where to advertise for librarian postings, leaving much discretionary control to others to interpret which leads to inconsistency across the three campuses.
  • The PFL does not spell out who or how a shortlist is determined when determining the best candidates for a position. This is inadequate.
  • Policies must reflect practices and vice versa. It can not be left to the good will of leaders to determine how best to interpret and proceed.

Lack of Collegial Processes and Peer Reviews in the Promotion Policies

  • Unlike other institutions and as in the case with faculty at U of T, a Promotion Committee will determine when individuals are eligible for a promotion. In our policies it is the role of the supervisor: “the librarian’s supervisor should assess the librarian’s suitability for promotion and may wish to make a recommendation for such a promotion” (Article 13). What if the individual does a great job but challenges the status quo and the supervisor resists putting the person’s name forward for promotion? Is this fair? We need policies to prevent these situations.
  • Criteria for permanent status lacks peer review and is based heavily on the opinion of a single individual: “31. Effectiveness in work performance shall be judged primarily, but not exclusively, on the basis of supervisory evaluations of previous performance.” This is not reflective of a collegial process in an academic environment. Normally, peer reviews pertaining to work performance play an equally prominent role. New policies need to lessen the authority of the single supervisor in the promotion process and introduce transparent processes known to everyone. Peer reviews can take different forms, they can be internal and external, and active at different stages of the process.
  • There is no promotion committee formed for promotion from Librarian I to Librarian II. Who decides? “Promotion in rank from Librarian I to Librarian II is recommended by the department head subject to approval of the Chief Librarian or his or her designate. ” (Article 14).
  • Rather than having a single promotion committee there are different types of promotion committees. A different kind of committee is struck for promotion in the different ranks. For example, see PFL/13, the “Ad Hoc Committee on Promotions” (for librarians outside of the Central System); PFL/15 Ad Hoc Committee (Lib II to III);  PFL/17 Senior Committee on Promotions;  PFL/39 A Committee on Permanent Status. This leads to idiosyncrasies and inconsistent standards, as well as, considerable confusion for members. Equitable treatment becomes highly questionable.


Posted in Policies - UofT Librarians | 1 Comment

Status of Academic Librarians in USA

Here is a WIKI which provides the academic status of academic librarians in the USA http://academic-librarian-status.wikispaces.com/  and provides ACRL statement.

Posted in Academic Librarianship, Academic libraries, Academic Status, ACRL, United States | Leave a comment

Modernizing the Appointment and Promotion Policies for UofT Librarians – What has changed?

UTFA Librarians Committee and the ACALP group are working to modernize appointment and promotion policies for academic librarians at the University of Toronto. Thank you for responding to our last survey (Survey I) – it was most successful. We have a clear mandate from UT librarians to modernize our policies for appointment and promotion. How did we get here? What has changed?

Under the leadership of Prof. Scott Prudham, President of UTFA, our policies have been ‘unfrozen’ due to the new negotiating process, simply referred to here as the facilitator and Fact-Finder process, initiated and concluded by the SJAC negotiations. You will already have received numerous updates from the University of Toronto Faculty Association (UTFA), for more detailed information see http://www.utfa.org/content/schematic-representation-proposed-new-negotiating-framework-memorandum-agreement  and http://www.utfa.org/content/special-joint-advisory-committee-tentative-agreement-october-2014 which provides graphic and textual explanations. Simply put, it means previous ‘frozen policies’ have been ‘unfrozen’ and negotiations can commence on dated policies.

When did all this begin? Back in 2006! We have engaged in many collegial discussions about the need for new policies for librarians (ours was written in 1978). There are many members of our community to thank, faculty and librarians, who have staunchly supported modernizing the policies. and worked hard to get to this point in the last 10 years.

Here is a brief list of what has transpired (what has not been listed are the numerous membership meetings the UTFA Librarians committee have invited members to attend in recent years to discuss the various developments):

2006-2009       UTFA asked CAUT to review Policies for Librarians (Rea Devakos, Jeff Newman)

2006-2010 UTFA Librarians Committee works on new policies – rewriting policies for librarians. UTFA Appointment Committee is briefed and involved.
2010 UTFA began systematic review of policies for librarians.
June 15, 2011 UTFA Council passes motion in support of academic librarians. Motion A.

UTFA AGM Newslettter 2011_Notes work on new policies for librarian policies.

July 2011 UTFA Librarians Committee prepares Guiding Principles (posted on UTLibrarians Blog)

January 17, 2013

UTFA AGM Newsletter 2012 notes work on new policies for UT librarians. See UTFA_AGM_2012 Newsletter

UTFA Executive passes motion in support of new appointment and promotion policies for librarians. Motion B.

2013 UTFA AGM Newsletter 2013 notes work on new policies for UT librarians, see UTFA_2013AGM Newsletter

UTFA Council passes motion in support of academic librarians at UofT

2012-2014 UTFA Librarians Cttee organized several small sub-committees to work on drafting and reviewing new policies.
2012-2014 Meetings, small SJAC discussions across three campuses where the need for modernizing 37-year old policies for librarians was raised with librarians and faculty.
2014 UTFA AGM Report, written reference to needed policies for librarians published for the community. see
2014-2015 SJAC process approved
Spring 2015 AGM Report (discusses need for new policies) to all faculty and librarians. Published notice on policy issues. see UTFA-AGM2015Newsletter
Oct. 21, 2015 Town Hall for UTFA librarians, St. George campus, discussion about need for new policies.
Nov. 3, 2015 Town Hall for UTFA Librarians, St. George campus, discussion about need for new policies.
2014-2015 SJAC Issues (teaching stream, tenure changes and facilitator/Fact Finder process for negotiating) approved by UTFA and UT Governing Council.
Dec. 2015-Jan. 2016 OverDue Notices and Postcards about activities of UofT librarians goes out to community from UTFA membership committee
2016 February 24, Librarian Membership meeting held at Gerstein Library, St. George Campus with virtual connections to UTSC and UTM.

UTFA Appointments Committee passes a motion in support of a new policy for librarians. Motion C.

ACALP group is formed and meetings commence.

Posted in Academic freedom, Academic Librarianship, ACALP, Fact Finder & Facilitation Process, SJAC, SJAC - Special Joint Advisory Committee, Uncategorized, University of Toronto, UTFA Council Reports, UTFA Librarian Committee Members, UTFA Motions | Leave a comment