Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Newfoundland and Labrador, deprofessionalization concerns

"In the Fall of 2015, a new Executive Director of the Newfoundland and Labrador Public Library (NLPL) system was appointed. The original job posting for the position highlights the desired qualifications of applicants, as follows: “The required knowledge and abilities would normally be acquired through successful completion of a Master (sic) degree in Business, Finance, Public Administration, Library Science or related field from an accredited university, plus significant managerial experience.”

This excerpt from the job advertisement highlights a trend that is becoming a growing concern for professional librarians, and for the NLLA: the systematic deprofessionalization of librarianship within the NLPL. Only a librarian, having graduated from an ALA accredited graduate program in Library Science/ Studies, can fully understand the unique needs and concerns of libraries, and act effectively on behalf of their libraries, users, and employees, in this role; yet, nowhere in this ad, is an ALA graduate degree in Library Science required. In fact, a background in Library Science is listed only after other qualifications which are not designed to equip professionals to work and function as Librarians.

"Despite these competences that can only be acquired through the completion of a Master’s degree in Library Science, the NLPL’s actions suggest that the organization does not value professional librarians. As the voice of Newfoundland and Labrador libraries and library workers, it concerns the NLLA deeply that the NLPL appears to be undergoing this process of systematic deprofessionalization. In addition to this most recent position, it is our understanding that the Regional Manager for the Central Division was hired last year based on a similar advertised set of qualifications; and that, as a result, neither the current Executive Director nor the Regional Manager for the Central Division hold a Master’s degree in Library Science from and ALA accredited program. Previously, both these positions were occupied by individuals with professional librarian qualifications."

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