4 May 2020
The Importance of a Director in Charge of the Academic Library.

At its December 2019 meeting, the CARLI Board of Directors discussed the issue that some members’ organizations are not filling the library director position when the incumbent leaves, for example, retires or resigns. The college or university simply “assigns” the library to a campus administrator, like a vice president or assistant provost, who may have many other responsibilities. Sometimes a mid-level library staff member is named as “in charge” without title or compensation change. These assignments erode the effectiveness of the library in many ways, but also dramatically diminish the ability for the consortium to interact in a meaningful way with the library. As a result, services and programs that could be extended to faculty, staff, and students, are never offered or promoted. The entire consortium is weakened as a result.

As a result of the December 2019 discussion, the board recommended that a statement should be published outlining the consortium’s shared philosophy that a qualified library director should be in place at all member institutions. CARLI, its Board of Directors, and members, seek to act as a resource for organizations contemplating a staffing decision whereby the library no longer has a director. The following statement articulates the importance of having a dedicated, library-focused director, not just for continuity of service, but also for leveraging interlibrary cooperation, and ensuring that the campus investment in the library is optimized by a representative who can advocate for innovation and service excellence. 

Read the full CARLI statement 

Our guest blogger today is Anne Craig. Anne is the Executive Director at Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries of Illinois (CARLI).