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Librarians discuss lack of incentive to pursue promotions

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A Texas State librarian representative voiced concerns to faculty senators Wednesday about a lack of incentive for librarians to pursue promotions at their meeting.

Selene Hinojosa, university librarian, presented a report conducted about librarians’ career paths. A committee of five librarians and three administrative librarians worked on the report January through December 2015, Hinojosa said.

Many librarians eligible for a promotion decided not to pursue it, she said. There was a sense that something was keeping librarians from seeking promotion.

After President Denise Trauth said she would like the university to be recognized by the Association of Research Libraries, librarians decided to conduct a study of their career path.

“We really hadn’t done a study of the career ladder, of the people involved in the career ladder, what their perception was of it,” Hinojosa said. “We wanted to see what other libraries were doing.”

The current career path was created in 1998 and modified in 2006, she said. The report and presentation was shared with the librarians.

“We had a really good discussion on this,” Hinojosa said. “We came out with several recommendations for the future.”

Part of the report focused on studying libraries recognized by ARL. To be recognized by ARL, libraries are reviewed on the total library expenditure, and salaries and wages for professional staff. Libraries are also reviewed on the total library material expenditure, as well as salaries of professional and support staff.

The report also focused on internal information about the library gathered by surveys. Employees who begin as assistant librarians may be promoted.

“One of the reasons for a career ladder is librarians don’t have a lot of opportunity for advancement,” Hinojosa said.

The career path offers librarians opportunities for growth and increased salary and incentivizes employees to stay at the university.

However, the report proves eligible librarians are not applying for promotions, especially a senior positions.

Hinojosa said it seems librarians chose not to apply for a promotion because the additional work is sometimes not worth the increased salary. To apply for a promotion, librarians must prove they are qualified, a time-consuming process.

According to the report, library administrators and librarians who were surveyed expressed similar satisfaction with the career path, but had concerns. Librarians are wary about the set salary at the senior level, the lack of opportunities for developmental leave and paid travel.

Based on the data, the committee formed recommendations. The proposals include exploring options to make leave easier and supporting travel and professional development. Librarians only receive four weeks of development leave, Hinojosa said.

To offer development opportunities, librarians will be asking administrators to allow them to conduct needed research and studies for the university.

Another recommendation includes exploring how to make seeking promotion to senior librarian less challenging, Hinojosa said. There is no official mentoring program for librarians seeking promotion.