Development of Faculty Status for Librarians at Indiana University


By Lois Heiser

Paper presented to the
AAUP-ILA Midwest Conference
Fort Wayne, Indiana
April 14, 1973

Incredible as it may seem, the struggle for faculty status for librarians began at Indiana University prior to 1950. Nineteen-fifty saw the realization by the university that librarians were more than clerks. A committee of the Faculty Council recommended that librarians:

  1. be removed from the university Personnel Division and placed under the administrative control of the Dean of Faculties,
  2. be eligible for the TIAA/CREF retirement program,
  3. be placed on the university faculty mailing list,
  4. be privileged to attend university faculty meetings, without vote, and
  5. be granted faculty parking privileges (subject to the approval of the Parking Committee).

The lack of similarity between the profession of teaching and the profession of librarianship indicated that there was no basis for consideration of granting librarians academic titles, sabbaticals, tenure or equity of pay. The recommendations of the committee were accepted by the Faculty Council, and librarians were included in the academic community as "Associate Members" of the faculty, i.e., on academic appointment, but not qualified as voting members of the faculty.

This new status was welcomed by the librarians and all remained quiet on the Bloomington campus until the Spring of 1968. At that time, librarians learned of a Faculty Council committee chaired by Professor Robert Byrnes. Its report concerned itself with the study of the library and its attendant problems. Though devoted primarily to the consideration of the financial plight of the library, tucked away among the dollar figures was Resolution #5. "That the numbers and quality of the library staff must continue to rise rapidly. In particular, the status, prestige, position in the university, and salaries of the professional staff must advance significantly. Professional or academic employees should be considered members of the faculty." The resolution went on to mention the need for librarians' sabbaticals to improve skills, and the need for higher salaries. So after 18 years, the concept of faculty status was raised again.

An Ad-hoc committee on faculty status was established by a few librarians and with a true research orientation, they proceeded to do a literature search and write off letters of inquiry to the other state universities of Indiana, the Big Ten and other university libraries of comparable size. Then a meeting of all librarians was arranged to inform them of the faculty status question and to determine what, if anything, the librarians wanted to do. The results of this initial meeting was to firmly establish a committee to investigate the question. The Committee on Academic Status (COAS) was instructed to continue to gather pertinent information, to design a questionnaire to be used to poll all of the IU librarians on attitudes, to create position papers and support documents, and finally to call another meeting when sufficient documentation was prepared.

At the first meeting of COAS, one of the first of many important decisions was made. This was to include in all of its deliberations the non-Bloomington librarians of Indiana University. The university was just then in the throes of deciding how best to handle the administration of the rapidly growing regional campuses. COAS decided that the Bloomington based group would work for the faculty status of all IU librarians instead of putting the burden of duplicate action on the smaller regional campus library staffs.

A second important decision was a request for contributions from the librarians to support the necessary expenses of the gathering and dissemination of information. The library administration had informed COAS that, as it was not an officially recognized committee, the committee could not meet on library time, nor use library facilities or supplies.

Having a slush fund, the real work began. A questionnaire was designed and sent off to every IU librarian the committee could locate. It attempted to ascertain both attitudes and possible objectives. Significantly, 76% of the returns indicated that the librarians believed librarians should have faculty status. This percentage held true for the rights of franchise, tenure, sabbaticals, leaves of absence, access to grant money, travel funds, and service on university committees. On the questions regarding research and publication, the percentages were 39 and 26 respectively. However, 73% indicated that the preparation of internal reports, studies and bibliographies, should be included in criteria for promotion, and 68% included research in non-published forms and continued education as criteria. This implied that though the librarians thought these items important to librarianship, they did not view them in terms of research and publication as expected of a faculty member.

Working from the results of the questionnaire, and the research done by the committee, COAS prepared a position paper and necessary recommendations to be presented to the university. Another mass meeting was called. COAS was commended for its efforts, but the majority of librarians expressed the feeling that the position paper and recommendations needed refinement. It was also suggested that the sending of the position paper to the President of the university might not be the best route to pursue. COAS was charged to hold informal discussions with the library and university administrations before any formal presentation of the case be considered.

The committee duly obliged. In the course of these discussions, it was determined that the best course of action would be to try to secure the backing of the University Library Committee (ULC). This committee was elected by the Faculty Council to serve as an advisory board to the library. The ULC was willing to hear the case of faculty status for librarians and requested full documentation. Thus, COAS returned to the drawing board and worked up three major papers for the ULC. The first was a history of faculty status for librarians in the U.S., the second, an analysis of the possible applications of the criteria for faculty rank for librarians, and the third was a profile of the then current library staff.

The profile proved extremely interesting. The usual request for degrees showed IU has 13 doctoral degree holders (at that time almost 15% of the professional staff). The staff covered a total of 39 foreign languages, had indicated previous experience in 39 other universities and 23 public or other types of libraries. A request of what might fall into the area of research and publication yielded 930 items in terms of bibliographies, internal studies, etc. 34 librarians had published a total of 235 articles, 13 had published a total of 39 books, 16 had delivered a total of 59 scholarly papers at conferences or professional meetings. Obviously, the IU librarians were very highly qualified.

Finally came the Spring of 1969. COAS was ready and had provided the ULC with the three documents. The academic status question was on its agenda. The initial reaction was favorable. The ULC on February 8th agreed to the need to incorporate librarians into the university community and that this could be done only through the granting of faculty status. They felt it within the province of their charge to submit the request of the librarians to the Faculty Council. On March 6th, the ULC accepted the COAS position paper "Application of Faculty Status to Librarians" and agreed to its being sent on to the Dean of Faculties with the following recommendation: "That librarians be granted full faculty status to be effective July 1, 1969".

On April 28th, the ULC submitted to the Faculty Council its recommendations and supportive documents. On June 3rd, 1969, the Faculty Council of Indiana University approved unanimously the following recommendations:

"That professional librarians be accorded full faculty status."
"That a special committee be established to formulate principles and procedures for determining faculty rank of librarians and to revise where necessary the language of the Faculty Handbook."

In February 1970, Professor Donald Carmony was requested by Dean Hartley (then Dean for Academic Affairs) to chair the Committee on the Career Status of Library Personnel. The committee was composed of three librarians elected by the librarians, three faculty members elected by the University Faculty Council, and three administrative members appointed by the Vice-President for Academic Affairs. In addition, Bernard Fry, Dean of the IU Graduate Library School, and Jane Flener, Assistant Director of the IU Library, were requested to act as consultants to the committee. The charge to the committee was as follows:

  1. formulate the minimum academic and professional requirements one must meet to be considered a professional librarian;
  2. formulate principles and procedures for determining the rank of individual professional librarians. Rank does not necessarily mean the faculty ranks instructor through professor, but could be a progression through such titles as Assistant Librarian, Associate Librarian and Librarian;
  3. indicate revisions where necessary in the language of the Faculty Handbook (on promotion, tenure, retirement plan, etc.) to reflect any proposed changes in the status of librarians.
Thus, the charge had changed from "full faculty status" to "maybe faculty status".

After considerable work and effort, the preliminary Carmony Committee report was submitted to the Dean on August 25th. The report was in three parts: a. general statement, a majority report and a minority report. The majority report recommended full faculty status with all of the responsibilities and privileges that this implied. Joint titles, as an already established IU practice, were recommended. This would mean a library title and a rank, such as Reference Librarian and Assistant Professor. Ranks would be determined by education, experience, and quality of librarianship. The minority report (3 members of the 9) recommended primarily that a parallel ranking structure be devised, and that not all librarians should necessarily be given even this status.

It soon became obvious that the university was not willing to accept the majority report of the committee. In May of 1971, a "Final Report" of the Carmony Committee was submitted to the Dean. Although not officially part of the report, the cover letter from the committee chairman to Dean Hartley indicated the changes made in the committee's recommendations:

"In this final report, the committee has centered its attention upon the particular niche and circumstances which apply to librarians within the academic structure of the university. The increasing emphasis on limiting faculty to persons who actively participate in classroom teaching, the special place which librarians occupy within the university's academic structure, add the growing realization that librarians would presumably fare better as regards promotion, tenure, leaves, grants, and the like, if evaluated principally by their own peers on the basis of criteria immediately relevant to them, have been key considerations which have resulted in an unanimous decision not to recommend faculty status and rank for librarians."

Specifically, the report recommended a parallel ranking structure of Assistant Librarian, Senior Assistant Librarian, Associate Librarian and Librarian; advancement via a librarians promotions and tenure procedure; criteria to be established by the librarians; franchise, eligibility for committee service, leaves, grant money, etc. In essence, the Carmony Committee rejected the resolution and charge of the Faculty Council of June 3, 1969: That professional librarians be accorded full faculty status.*

From May of 1971 to the Spring of 1972 there was silence. During this time librarians may have assumed the issue was dead or dying. But during this period, the university managed to reorganize itself, get a new President and a new Dean for Academic Affairs, and start a search and screen process for a new Director of Libraries.

On March 1, 1972, a memo was received by all IU librarians from Acting Vice-President and Dean for Academic Affairs, J. Gus Liebenow. The Board of Trustees, at its meeting of February 25th, had adopted a system of parallel ranks for librarians (Affiliate Librarian, Assistant Librarian, Associate Librarian, and Librarian); a basic promotions and tenure procedure, a separate leave program to be administered by the faculty sabbatical leave program, and a change in the rules governing retirement for reason of disability. (Here was the Carmony Report, slightly bent, but in part adopted by the Board.) Dean Liebenow stated that there was more to be accomplished and the university administration would be working on other aspects of what was now referred to as the Career Package.

On March 9th followed another memo indicating that the Dean had sent memos to the various campus Faculty Councils recommending that librarians be eligible:

  1. to vote for members of the all-university faculty council, and for members of the local faculty council;
  2. to make nominations for and serve on the all-university and local faculty council; and
  3. to serve on faculty council committees.

On March 24th followed another memo concerning the Carmony Report and the items still remaining to be considered by the Board of Trustees. Dean Liebenow emphasized the option factor, i.e., current librarians would be able to remain on the old system or opt for the Career Status system.

By now, however, a little flap had started in Bloomington. A petition was sent to President Ryan indicating some dismay that the Carmony Report, now in the process of implementation by the university, had negated the resolution of the Faculty Council. I raise this point because in a way it indicates the failure of the librarians in following up on the total issue, and the lack of communication amongst ourselves. The petition read:

"We, the undersigned librarians, have become acquainted with the Report of the Committee on the Career Status of Library Personnel which was just recently released and discussed with Dr. J. Gus Liebenow, Acting Vice-President and Dean of Academic Affairs. We have also become aware of the letter accompanying the Report, signed by Dr. Don Carmony, Chairman of the Committee, which explicitly stresses not to recommend faculty status and rank for librarians'. We therefore wish to express our disappointment, frustration and disagreement concerning such recommendation. The Committee did not act according to the resolution passed by the University Faculty Council on June 3, 1969: 'That professional librarians be accorded full faculty status; and, that a special committee be established to formulate principles and procedures for determining faculty rank of librarians and to revise where necessary the language of the faculty handbook to reflect the proposed change.' Therefore, we request that you re-initiate positive action on the unanimous resolution of the Faculty Council by adopting the Report of the Faculty Library Committee and the Council's two recommendations as presented in the attached copies. We sincerely hope that under your leadership the goal of years of hard work may be realized, and full faculty status will be accorded to professional librarians in the full spirit of the resolution of the Faculty Council and under its authority according to Article IV sections l6b and 17 or the Faculty Handbook."
The receipt of this petition caused a bit of a stir and was followed by a phone conversation between the Dean and Mr. Oleg Kudryk, and a memo from Mr. Kudryk to the Dean which read:
"With reference to our telephone conversation of Monday, April 24, concerning the interpretation of the petition addressed to President Ryan, I wish to reiterate that the petition was in no way intended to stop the present process of implementation of faculty status for librarians. The intent was rather to stress that in this process of implementation the spirit and validity of the faculty council resolution should be preserved."

Some of the librarians objected to the petition and because of the doubts raised, a poll of the librarians was taken. Fifty-three librarians supported the package as it seemed to be developing; 56 indicated approval of the career package as it was presently developing, but they indicated that they would continue to work for full faculty status; 20 disapproved of the package, and 4 indicated that they rejected any proposed changes from the old librarian-university relationship. These results were transmitted to the Dean and implementation continued.

On April 21st, the Board of Trustees approved revision of the TIAA/CREF policy which had previously discriminated against librarians. The waiting period was now to be the same as regular faculty.

On June 30th, the Board of Trustees approved a Library Tenure policy, which in general had the same procedures as faculty. At the end of this last memo, Dean Liebenow made mention of the 15 points recommended by the Carmony Report and indicated that he felt almost all of the points had been dealt with by the University administration and the Board of Trustees.

And so comes the question: Where do we stand as librarians at Indiana University today, April 14th, 1973?

We will have a parallel ranking structure. An outline of criteria for initial ranking has been written by librarians and accepted by the librarians. Upon establishment of an All-University Librarians P&T committee, recommendations based upon up-dated CVs and recent evaluation forms will be submitted concerning the initial rank, and tenure level of each librarian. Each librarian will then have the option of going on this library faculty track or staying with the old system.

TIAA/CREF is available to all librarians with the same waiting period as teaching faculty.

Leaves and sabbaticals are open to those who chose the faculty track and all prior discriminatory passages referring to librarians should be removed from the revised Faculty Handbook.

The Dean of Libraries has indicated he will make vigorous attempts to get librarian salaries up from our present position of 10th in the Big 10.

Internally, a library faculty organization is being formed and committees are being established to create guidelines on relevant issues.

Outside of a few rabid librarians who still believe that librarians cannot be separate and equal, all others seem to be satisfied, though a bit uneasy about the upcoming changes.

The only basic point remaining, and one of the most critical, is the franchise. The 1968 movement for faculty status started in part because librarians became aware that they as a group could not participate in the actions of the university community. They could not then, nor can they now in most part, be active committee members involved in the concerns of the university. Most faculty committees are established by the faculty councils, and composed of voting members of the faculty. Many in fact are composed only of Faculty Council members. The franchise issue stands as follows:

You may have noticed that I have not mentioned the Bloomington librarians. We as a group, and the largest at 105, are in a peculiar situation. As Byrum Carter, Chancellor of the Bloomington Campus, put it: the Bloomington campus does not have a library, thus the Bloomington Campus does not have librarians, and thus the Bloomington Faculty Council, though agreeing in spirit with the franchise question, has no need to decide on the franchise for the librarians.

In reality, the library and staff physically located in Bloomington serves the entire university and is under the central university administration and not under the jurisdiction of the Bloomington Chancellor. One might rush to conclude that therefore Bloomington librarians should be eligible for franchise in the All-University Faculty Council, but as presently constructed, election and service to the All-University Faculty Council is through the local faculty councils. This issue will be resolved at some point, but as of right now, the Bloomington librarians do not have the franchise.

However, other IU librarians may lose also. On March 20, 1973, the All-University Eaculty Council debated the make-up of the faculty of Indiana University, and the direction of their thoughts on this did not include librarians. It is possible that their actions may negate some local faculty council constitutions which include librarians in their local faculties. The All-University Faculty Council voted, 13 to 12, that "the President, professors and instructors shall constitute the faculty of Indiana University." So where do we stand? In my mind, pretty much where we stood in 1968. The university and its faculty are willing to throw a few fringe benefits our way, and allow us to organize ourselves internally, but they are still unwilling to accept librarians as full and equal, responsible partners in university activities.

Not wishing to leave you on such a pessimistic note, I must say there is still optimism among us. Out new Dean of Libraries is very much in favor of librarians being equal and active participants in university affairs, and I believe we can look forward to achieving our goal of full faculty status.

*All of the information regarding the Final Report is given in retrospect. The report submitted to the Dean was not released to the librarians, nor was the cover letter. (EDITOR'S NOTE: The Final Report was released by Liebenow to all librarians on March 24, 1972.)