Libraries and library faculty play a significant role in supporting college curriculum and helping students succeed academically. In particular, libraries are the primary location both physically and remotely for supporting faculty and students in their research and information needs. Over the years, this role of libraries and library faculty has remained consistent, yet funding, institutional support, and resources have been in decline. In addition, specific standards for library services have appeared piecemeal in various regulations and guidelines, but nowhere have these standards been collected, reviewed, and presented systematically with specific application to the roles of library faculty in the California community colleges. In response to this concern, the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges (Academic Senate) passed a resolution calling for the development of a paper addressing standards of practice for California community college (CCC) libraries, including the role of library faculty, resources, services, instruction, and other aspects of library service to faculty and students. Unlike the adopted 1996 Academic Senate paper titled Library Faculty in California Community College Libraries: Qualifications, Roles, and Responsibilities, which describes the range of activities of library faculty, this paper suggests specific standards for how those activities would be performed.
In addition to outlining the importance of library faculty in facilitating student success and to providing information on the core roles of library faculty and organization of libraries in the CCC system, these standards can assist in the dialog between faculty and administration regarding the role, services, design, and development of libraries and library faculty. They are designed to be specific enough to be meaningful, yet general enough to allow flexibility in meeting local needs, constraints, and cultures. These standards can also be used to inform the development of and changes to local and external policies, regulations, and guidelines that pertain to the operation and performance of CCC libraries.
This paper was developed by the Counseling and Library Faculty Issues Committee of the Academic Senate in response to Academic Senate resolution 16.01 S09 (See Appendix) and asserts that a set of universal standards for all community college libraries should exist, regardless of institution or department size or fiscal constraints. Compliance with these standards requires both adequate staffing and support.
These standards have been developed by library and other faculty through review of current practice, policy, legislation, and study of national standards for the library discipline. The outline of this paper was based on the Academic Senate adopted 2008 paper, Standards of Practice for California Community College Counseling Faculty and Programs, and was reviewed by CCC library faculty and the Council of Chief Librarians who offered input and suggestions. Furthermore, library and other discipline faculty contributed ideas and recommendations regarding topics and organizational structure for this paper at a Fall 2009 Academic Senate breakout session.
The publication Standards for Libraries in Higher Education developed by the Association for College and Research Libraries (ACRL, 2006b) was also consulted in the development of this paper. However, the ACRL standards were written to cover all types of academic libraries across the United States, whereas the standards in this paper focus specifically on CCC libraries. Furthermore, the ACRL standards in some cases are used to make longitudinal comparisons to other peer institutions. Given the noted decline in library resources, as well as the lack of systematic standards in CCC libraries, such comparisons are not useful. A set of common standards to measure against offers a better method to identify the true state of CCC libraries and to develop efforts to address and improve them. Other professional standards referred to in the development of this paper include the Guidelines for Instruction Programs in Academic Libraries, Standards for Distance Learning Library Services, both by ACRL, and the Library Bill of Rights by the American Library Association (ALA, 1996).