Meredith Farkas of Information Wants To Be Free has a great essay on one of the great conundrums of academic librarianship: Should we strive for tenured faculty status or should we embrace a support staff role within the context of the university? She leans towards the non-tenure side and makes some excellent points for it.
I’m a bit ambivalent. On the one hand, I do view myself as a colleague of the teaching faculty in that I use my expertise to educate our students just as they do. On the other hand, I’m more of a behind-the-scenes librarian, and most of my work is focused on providing research tools that are useful and functional. In that respect, I am more like support staff than faculty. As for my tenured librarian colleagues, I wish that there was still something that could light a fire under them because they often appear to be apathetic and uninterested in improving themselves or the library.
I will continue to jump through the hoops towards tenure, because in the end, that’s how I make myself a better librarian (and keep my job).