The Role of the Library Faculty in the California Community College

Spring
2019
Topic: 
Library and Learning Resources
Committee: 
Transfer, Articulation, and Student Services Committee

Community college libraries change lives. Library faculty throughout the California Community Colleges System play a significant role in helping students achieve success while supporting their colleges’ missions and values, academic curriculum, and institutional learning outcomes. Moreover, libraries embody the spirit of community, creativity, and discovery that educators all seek to instill in their students. Libraries also promote literacy, equity, freedom of information, and lifelong learning. Students benefit greatly from access to library resources, services, instruction, and, more importantly, librarians.

Libraries are the central resource for supporting faculty and students in their research and information needs, both physically and remotely. This essential role of libraries and library faculty has remained consistent amid significant technological and pedagogical changes within the community college system. For this paper, the terms library faculty and librarian are used interchangeably to reinforce the faculty status of community college librarians. As librarians continue to determine their other roles within the California Community Colleges System and local districts in response to evolving demands, the inclusion and engagement of library faculty in college decision-making processes, program development, and other academic and professional matters are critical.

Just as each student body and community is diverse with its own characteristics, needs, and goals, so are each of the libraries throughout the California community colleges. This paper provides encouragement for library faculty, administrators, and staff to apply the various recommendations outlined throughout its text to meet their individual campus needs and requirements in providing impactful and equitable library instruction and services.

Recommendations: 

The Academic Senate for California Community Colleges recommends that the California Community Colleges Board of Governors do the following:

  1. Continue to explore and implement as appropriate Title 5 changes that integrate minimum faculty-to-student ratios for counseling, library, and other instructional and student support faculty into the 50% Law.
  2. Uphold requirements to meet Title 5 staffing guidelines for library faculty and staff to ensure optimal support for library service and programs.
  3. Support statewide library initiatives, such as the Library Service Platform project or other shared technologies and resources, to increase effectiveness and innovation in community college libraries.

The Academic Senate for California Community Colleges recommends that individual districts, colleges, and campuses as well as the California Community Colleges System at large do the following:

  1. Include library faculty in shared or participatory governance, local academic senate standing committees, and curriculum, budget, planning, and other decision-making groups.
  2. Incorporate and reinforce information literacy and competency standards in institutional, program, and student learning outcomes.
  3. Ensure library faculty participate in the planning and implementation of local, college, regional, and statewide initiatives.
  4. Ensure equitable access to all types of library resources and services for a wide range of patrons, including on-campus, distance education, incarcerated, dual-enrolled, and other student populations.
  5. Develop and sustain flexible, contemporary, and inclusive physical and virtual spaces that provide effective access to library services, resources, and instruction.
  6. Support the technological needs of each library in response to continual changes and advances in library technology, systems, and software.
  7. Include library faculty representation on major statewide initiatives related to teaching and learning so that the librarians’ role can be integrated into initiative design and policy development.