Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Waited unitl the storm blows over!

So much has been made over the past couple of months about Jeff Trzeciak presentation at Penn State that has much of the academic library community in an uproar. For those of you who haven't been paying attention, Trzeciak has said that he will not hire any more librarians at McMater University (where he is the University Librarian). Instead, he will hire Ph.D.'s and post-docs in various subject specialties.

My voice probably won't add much to the discussion, but I thought I'd say it anyways. This is an extremely dangerous course of action. As a librarian himself, Trzeciak should know better. Librarians do much more than staff the library, or sit at the reference desk. We are on committees, not just in the library, but in the University as a whole. We meet with students individually for sometimes an hour at a time to help them with their research. I myself have sat with a student for over two hours in my office working with her on her research. I don't think many post-docs can say that!

More importantly, as academic librarians, it is our job to know how to research, and to pass that knowledge on to the students and faculty that we serve. We have been trained to do this, and we are therefore eminently qualified to do this. It also takes years of practice to do it well. Many post-docs don't have that sort of training. In fact, many of these people rely on librarians to help them with their own research. If they need help with their own research, how are they going to be able to help undergraduate students with their research.

The next few years at McMaster and elsewhere will be very interesting.

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