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Academic Status and Governance for Librarians

CAUT Policy Statement

Academic status and activities

Librarians at academic institutions are professional academic staff who require full academic status. Librarians are partners with their fellow academic staff in the pursuit, dissemination and structuring of knowledge at the academic institution. They engage in furthering the educational mission through pedagogical activities and teaching. They are responsible for acquiring, preserving and providing access to research and teaching materials in all formats. Librarians engage in independent scholarly activity in a wide range of disciplines as well as library and information science.

Librarians' terms and conditions of employment should be analogous to those of academic staff including an equivalent system of ranks, and procedures for promotion and tenure. Librarians’ normal workload should include research and scholarship or professional creative activities as well as service2. As a result, provisions for dedicated research time, sabbatical, research or study leaves are required. Librarians should be eligible for research funding, grants, paid and unpaid leaves of absence on the same basis as other academic teaching staff.

As academic staff, librarians have the right and obligation to participate fully in academic affairs.

Academic freedom

As academic staff, librarians are entitled to academic freedom in accordance with CAUT policies.

Academic governance

As academic staff, librarians have both a right and a duty to participate in collegial governance of the academic institution. They should therefore be eligible to serve as elected or appointed members on all governing councils and committees. All librarians in the bargaining unit should be eligible to serve as elected members of the senate, or equivalent body, and its committees. All governance bodies, including but not limited to Councils and departmental and divisional committees, should provide for the effective participation of librarians.

Librarians should be represented on any committee whose mandate includes any aspect of the operation of the academic library system or whose decisions affect access to information resources used in teaching, scholarship and research.

All librarians should be members of a library council. The library council should have the responsibility for the development of policies and procedures for the operation of the library. As with faculty councils, discussion at the library council should include any issue which has an impact on librarians, the library, or the academic institution as a whole. The library council should be empowered to make recommendations on such issues to the relevant body. The library council should be responsible in turn to the institution’s senate, or equivalent body. The mandate and structure of the library council should be negotiated and defined in relevant collective agreements.

Where departments or divisions exist within the library or library networks, all librarians should have a role in the development of departmental and divisional policies and procedures.

Librarians have the right to participate as members of search and appointment committees for all administrative and professional positions in the library.

Academic staff associations must negotiate workload provisions in collective agreements or terms of employment that enable librarians to collegially determine and arrange their own workload.

Approved by the CAUT Council, October 1993;
Approved by the CAUT Council, April 2002;
Approved by the CAUT Council, May 2004;
Editorial revisions, September 2010;
Editorial revisions, September 2013;
Approved by the CAUT Council, November 2018;

Approved by the CAUT Council, November 2023.

1 Where archivists are integrated into the administrative structure of the library, all references to libraries or librarians shall be understood to include archives and archivists.