UC Santa Barbara's Library Shuffle
By edhat staff
UC Santa Barbara's (UCSB) plan to reorganize the university library staff has caused a petition to be signed by the majority of academic departments.
Sixteen of UCSB's academic department chairs authored a petition sent to Executive Vice Chancellor David Marshall on May 14 requesting a one-year moratorium on University Library Staff Reorganization.
According to an internal email by Deputy University Librarian Alan Grosenheider, librarians who are currently serving as a "Subject Liaison" were asked to express their preferences for reassignment to one of the three new departments in an online survey.
A subject liaison librarian is a primary contact for department/program faculty for questions and information regarding library collections, instructional support, and reference services. The petition explains the departments and faculty rely on the University Library for research and graduate programs as well as education and curriculum for students.
UCSB Departments and faculty stated they were "shocked and dismayed" to learn of this reorganization of 15 of the 22 subject librarians without being consulted or directly notified. "Faculty, graduate student and undergraduate working relationships with subject librarians are multi-dimensional and are a foundation of excellence in research and teaching. We are open to discussing changes that preserve the strengths of the current system, while addressing the issues that led to the reorganization plan in the first place," the petition stated.
The departments are requesting a moratorium until July 1, 2020 in order to "allow a thorough, transparent and inclusive process of consultation to take place."
Below is a statement provided to edhat by a UCSB Library spokesperson:
"The UC Santa Barbara Library is engaged in an internal staff re-organization that realigns the roles and responsibilities of our librarians with the 21st-century needs of faculty and students. The Library re-organization has two major components: the creation of a Digital Strategies Division and a restructuring of the departments responsible for providing collections, research, and instructional support. Broader goals include the addition of academic professional data curator positions, deeper connections to new pedagogical and student support efforts, and less vertical compartmentalization in favor of more interconnections and horizontal collaboration. No positions are being eliminated, and librarians will maintain liaison connections to all academic departments. The Library is currently working with the faculty to review the changes and the timing of their implementation."
A UCSB faculty member who asked to remain unnamed stated one library department head who is approaching retirement is losing all of her employes to the new departments, effectively being a department of one until retirement.
The staffing changes are expected to take place on July 1.