Higher Education
College of Humanities and Social Sciences

The Academic Librarian as Blended Professional: Reassessing the Perception of the Position

Michael Perini

Major Professor: Jaime Lester, PhD, Higher Education Program

Committee Members: Jan Arminio, Todd Rose

Enterprise Hall, #318
December 16, 2014, 01:00 PM to 10:00 AM

Abstract:

This qualitative case study extends Whitchurch’s (2009) blended professional model, designed to consider the merging of academicians’ roles across several spheres of influence in a higher education setting, to academic librarians. Following the application of the blended professional model, this work contends that the academic librarians working at St. Jerome University have similar roles concerning research, instruction, and service when compared to the institution’s tenure-track faculty. The scope and expectation of the librarians, though, is much less regimented and the resulting productivity is on a lower scale. Consequently, the academic librarians find themselves in a tenuous working third space where their blended role is inhibited by real and perceived barriers. These obstacles in turn result in hurdles that effect the professional development of the academic librarians and impact their perceptions of their professional roles. This study achieves significance due to its use of higher education theory for an examination of the professional identity of academic librarians and issues impacting their professional development, as these concerns often are overlooked by higher education theorists. In addition, the work here provides a constructive design applicable to the analysis and understanding of how librarians in other academic settings perceive their positions in the context of higher education.

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