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What's in a Name?
What's in a Name?
What's in a Name?


Speakers: Janet Swan Hill 
What Our Title Means to Our Stakeholders


Speaker biography
Presentation abstract

Biography: Janet Swan Hill received her undergraduate degree in geology from Vassar College (1967), and her Masters in Library Science from the University of Denver (1970). She began her professional career as an intern at the Library of Congress, whereupon she became a map cataloger, and eventually Head of LC's Map Cataloging Unit. In 1978 she went to Northwestern University as Head of the Cataloging Department, and in 1989 she moved to the University of Colorado as Head of Technical Services.

Her primary scholarly focus has been on bibliographic control, technical services management, and education and recruitment for technical services. She has been active in service to the field, serving as the ALA representative to the Joint Steering Committee for the Revision of the Anglo American Cataloging Rules (AACR), and as president of the Association for Library Collections and Technical Services. She is currently in her third term as an ALA Councilor.

As one of few tenured librarians at CU when she first arrived, she served a number of years as Chair of the CU Libraries Tenure Committee, revising the statement of criteria and standards, preparing a variety of documents to guide librarians seeking tenure, and also preparing for the campus tenure committee a guide to librarians as faculty. This document formed the basis of her 1994 article in the Journal of Academic Librarianship: "Wearing Our Own Clothes: Librarians as Faculty". She has also served on the campus tenure committee, which provides advice for the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs regarding tenure and promotion recommendations for faculty in all schools and colleges. She is a judge for the United States Figure Skating Association, holding appointments in singles, pairs, figures, and ice dancing. She is captain and manager of a Masters Synchronized Figure Skating team, and has competed at seven U.S. National Synchronized Skating Championships.

Abstract: There is a conflict between librarianship’s fundamentally egalitarian ethic and the necessarily status-conscious requirements of maintaining and supporting a profession. Failure to acknowledge what librarians bring to their work, and thus the validity of their status can result in managerial and personal decisions that undermine the profession, its practitioners, and its clientele. Academic librarians add another layer of complexity to status issues as they attempt to fit into a system of status originally designed for a different profession. The value of the faculty status and tenure system to librarians both as individuals and as contributors to the academic enterprise makes the struggle worthwhile. Academic librarians can successfully fit into and navigate the system, but it requires an understanding of the needs and characteristics of both librarianship and of the remainder of academe.