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Thursday, November 3 • 3:35pm - 4:15pm
Rolling On or Getting Rolled Over? Introducing New Functional Specializations in Academic Libraries

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In 2000, Wilder identified the most significant shift in the hiring practices of Association of Research Libraries (ARL) as "the growth of the job category 'functional specialist' (p. 4), defined by ARL as 'media specialists or...experts in management fields such as personnel, fiscal matters, systems, preservation, etc." (ibid.) This trend continues today. According to Sierra's (2012) review of jobs posted by ARL member libraries in 2011, two thirds of functional specialist positions were newly created or redefined.

Functional specialist librarians confront unique challenges. These positions are often "one-person shops" in which the function in question is performed by a very small staff, limiting in-house training and mentoring opportunities. Furthermore, the work of individual functional specialist positions differs significantly from specialization to specialization. While a newly-minted Cataloging Librarian would likely have the opportunity to be trained and guided by another professional librarian in their home library, a Digital Humanities specialist's work and training, for example, differs significantly from that of an Assessment Librarian. How, then, do individual functional specializations develop as sub-professions of academic librarianship?
This presentation will discuss and compare findings from large-scale surveys of librarians in two areas of specialization: Electronic Resources Management and Assessment. Attendees will learn about similarities and differences in the practices and concerns of librarians in the two groups, and how members of each group acquired the skills and knowledge required of their specializations. Attendees will be asked to share their own experiences as functional specialists to inform each other and future research efforts.

avatar for Rachel Fleming-May

Rachel Fleming-May

Associate Professor, School of Information Sciences, The University of Tennessee
Rachel Fleming-May is an Associate Professor in the University of Tennessee’s School of Information Sciences. Her research and teaching interests include assessment, academic librarianship, and the intersection of creative writing and information
avatar for Jill Grogg

Jill Grogg

Senior Strategist, LYRASIS
Jill Grogg is a Strategist with the Content & Scholarly Communication Initiatives team at LYRASIS. Previously, she was electronic resources coorindator at The University of Alabama Libraries for over a decade.

Regina Mays

Head (Interim), Assessment Programs and Collection Strategy, University of Tennessee Libraries

Thursday November 3, 2016 3:35pm - 4:15pm EDT
Gold Ballroom, Francis Marion Hotel 387 King Street, Charleston, SC 29403