LAUC Committee on Professional Governance
Report to the Assembly, December 11, 1998
At the Spring Assembly on May 1, 1998, the following resolutions were passed:
These resolutions resulted in the charge to the present Committee on Professional Governance:
Since its last revision in the early 1970s the Librarian series has paralleled the University’s other academic title series. Other academic title series have been revised since then, and the Librarian series is overdue for a revision that would increase the salary levels at the Assistant Librarian rank and add an additional three steps at the Librarian level. The top step of the series should be reserved for librarians who have given distinguished service to their profession and to the University.
The LAUC Committee on Professional Governance urges the LAUC President and Executive Board to use this report to provide evidence to the Assistant Vice President for Academic Advancement that the Librarian series should be revised to correct the deficiencies in its present structure outlined above. The LAUC Executive Board and LAUC divisions should also actively seek the support of the University Librarians and campus administrators for the revision of the Librarian series.
Justifications for Restructuring the Librarian Series
A. Current Responsibilities of UC Librarians
1. Growing responsibilities.
Like other non-Senate academic employees, librarians support the academic structure of the University in the following areas, reflected in the Criteria for Advancement:
In addition to the specific responsibilities of their positions, librarians are active in a variety of professional and University organizations and committees. They also teach and are engaged in research in areas of professional expertise as well as subject areas for which they are responsible. The explosion of electronic information sources and bibliographic databases is exponential and the milieu in which academic librarians operate will continue to become more complex and demanding in the coming decades. Librarians provide expertise in negotiating the increasingly complex world of electronic information sources and assisting faculty and students in making the best use of these new resources.
2. Professional activities.
A recent survey of UC librarians conducted by the LAUC Committee on Professional Governance (see Appendix I) shows a very high level of activity in the areas defined in Criteria 2-4 for librarian reviews (i.e., involvement in professional organizations, publication, post-graduate education). Seventy-eight percent of respondents had published a book, article, review, book chapter, or had edited a journal or column in the last five years, 66% had held an office in a professional organization, and 35% have advanced degrees beyond the MLS.
3. Increasing workloads.
The number of UC librarians is shrinking, while incumbents are accepting greater workloads and more challenging duties. All campuses, particularly Berkeley, Santa Barbara and San Diego, lost many senior librarians through VERIP. Many of these vacated positions were not filled. Appendix IX (UC Librarian Headcounts 1987 and 1998) shows us that there were 582 librarians in 1987 versus 473 in 1998, a decrease of 109 librarians or 19% . The enrollment numbers and the library collections are growing meanwhile, as are the new modes of access such as the Internet. As a result, so is the workload for librarians.
B. Limitations of the Librarian Series in Its Present Form
It is generally recognized by the LAUC membership that the UC Librarian series in its present form has serious limitations. This has been the topic of discussions, reports, and resolutions in the past. A chronological overview of the development of the UC Librarian series is included as Appendix II.
1. Career path.
The Librarian series is restrictive because there are not enough steps or years in step to accommodate the normal length of a career. For example, were a UC librarian to start his or her career at the entry-level step, Assistant Librarian Step I, after completing a graduate library program at age 24, at normal movement through the ranks, he or she would reach the step below that reserved for the distinguished career (the first step of indefinite duration) after 21 years, at age 45 and possibly remain there for the next 20 years. Examination of the data in Appendix X, "Comparisons With Other Academic Non-Senate Series," reveals that it takes employees in similar non-Senate academic series much longer to reach this step (e.g., Professional Research series, 28 years; Cooperative Extension Specialist, 32 years).
In addition, the salary increases between the steps have eroded over the years so that the series is "compressed" and the rewards for moving from one step to the next are no longer what they were originally intended to be.
2. Concentration at the top step.
Because many librarians at UC begin their careers at a step or rank above the entry level, they advance through the series to Librarian Step IV and Step V at mid-career, giving them little material incentive to perform at a high level of excellence for the remainder of their careers. A full 65% of UC librarians are currently at the Librarian rank, and 41% of those are at Librarian Step IV (the highest step in the series except for the Distinguished Librarian Step V). The number of librarians at Librarian Step IV exceeds the total number currently in the Associate Librarian rank. Most of these librarians will spend a significant portion of their careers at this step with no chance of further advancement. One campus currently has 45% of its librarians (55 out of 120) at this step.
3. Entry level.
The current entry level is failing its purpose. Fewer and fewer librarians are being hired into the Assistant Librarian rank. A total of 38 out of 473 (8%) UC librarians are in the Assistant rank. Most of the campuses have no librarians at entry level. According to the latest (July 1998) figures supplied by UC Office of the President on "Headcount of Librarians (CTO 621) by campus, by rank, by step" (Appendix III), one campus has one librarian at Assistant Librarian, Step I. Four campuses have a total of eight librarians at Assistant Librarian, Step II.
A suggestion was made not too long ago by the University Librarians to eliminate these bottom two steps, since they were so seldom used. This demonstrates that the salaries offered at the lower steps of Assistant Librarian are not competitive. The Committee favors raising the salaries at the lower steps rather than eliminating steps in order to maintain the integrity of the rank, and to provide for a career path of sufficient duration.
C. Comparative Nationwide Statistics and Cost of Living
The concentration of librarians at the very top steps of the series, and the tendency to hire at higher beginning steps has an effect on comparative nationwide salary statistics. The high number of librarians in the top rank and step tends to skew UC’s median or average salary statistics upward so that UC appears to compare favorably with the eight institutions across the country to which we are compared. A further complicating factor is the higher cost of living in California, which has been a serious impediment to recruitment of the best candidates for positions at some campuses.
As a result of being hired in at higher starting levels, the librarian’s career or rise through the ranks is foreshortened – we reach the top quickly and stay there, yet the requirement for excellent performance remains with us unchanged through our career.
Salaries of UC librarians are not competitive with those at UC comparison institutions after the cost of living is factored in. Appendix IV "ARL Comparison 8 – UC – Pac/West Comparison Data" (FY97) lists the average librarian salaries at these schools, and the UC average lands in second place behind Stanford, another California university subject to the same living expenses as the UCs. But when compared with what the earned dollar actually buys, the California librarians do not come out nearly as well.
An interesting resource on the World Wide Web called the "International Salary Calculator," (), which is based on the cost of renting or owning a home, gives us a hint at how the cost of living in some of our UC towns compares with the rest of the nation. Looking at New Haven, Connecticut (Yale) and Los Angeles (UCLA), two universities which figure in the "ARL Comparison 8" salary comparison statistics, bears the following results: "If you make $52, 000 in New Haven, then you would need to make $70,079 in Los Angeles ($75,123 in Irvine, $91,538 in Santa Barbara)."
D. Recruitment and Retention Surveys
In its examination of the existing data, the Committee found that past recruitment and retention surveys do not elucidate all of the factors causing librarians to leave the UC system or to decline employment offers. Appendix V, "LAUC Recruitment and Retention Survey Results (11/20/98)" presents a detailed analysis of the data collected from a newly designed survey conducted in October, 1998. The most common reasons given by librarians leaving the system were "upward professional move" and "better salary offer," while cost of living and housing costs figured prominently in decisions not to accept an offered position.
Retention of current library administrators was given as a factor in the recently proposed revision of the Assistant/Associate University Librarian series; the same is true for the Librarian series. Recruitment of new librarians of high caliber is less successful than it used to be. The number of rejected job offers for UC librarians has increased by 36% since 1994.
E. Salary Comparisons With Other California Academic Libraries
Librarians in the California State University system are the largest comparable group of librarians in the state (see Appendix VI, "CSU Salary Scale Information"). Librarians at the California State Universities are usually hired initially at Senior Assistant Step 1 with a starting salary of $43,584. The top salary in the Librarian rank is $94,684. Compare that to the starting and ending ranges of UC librarians at $32,292 (Assistant Librarian Step I, admittedly a rarely-used level today) to $73,560 (Librarian V, the Distinguished step). [Source: Appendix VII, "Table 33, Librarians Series, Fiscal Year (Salary Scale10/1/98)"]
F. Hiring Librarians Into Other Series As a Means Of Compensating Them At a Higher Level
Further evidence that the Librarian series offers inadequate salaries is supplied by the fact that in some UC libraries, librarians are being hired into series such as "Management and Senior Professionals" and "Programmer Analyst." The former, a six-step series, begins at a minimum of $50,700 annually and goes to $146,900 at step six. The latter begins at a minimum of $34,596 and goes to $69,096 at P/A III (Source: Appendix VIII, "Personnel Program for Staff Members, 1998-99 Salary Grade Ranges"). Compare this again to the Librarian series, which starts at $32,292 annually and tops out at $66,780 ($73,560 at the distinguished step). [Source: Appendix VII, "Table 33, Librarian Series, Fiscal Year Salary Scale 10/1/98"]
In a closely related case, it has recently been recognized by the University Librarians and University administration that the Assistant and Associate University Librarian (AUL) series need to be expanded upward to adopt the "maximum salaries of managers and senior professionals at levels IV and V. The higher salary ranges will assist campus administrators to retain the services of the AULs and to remain competitive in the recruitment of AULs" (memo dated November 4, 1998 from Judson King, Provost and Senior Vice President-Academic Affairs). According to more than one University Librarian, remaining competitive means hiring librarians (at both the Librarian and AUL level) in series that are carefully defined and tailored for the librarian’s responsibilities, rather than utilizing Administrative series purely because the salary levels in the Librarian and AUL series are inadequate and a barrier to recruitment and retention.
G. Comparisons With Other Academic Non-Senate Series
An examination of some of the other academic non-Senate series at the University of California pointed out some of the limitations in the Librarian series, including both salary and structure. Obvious differences were discovered in the time spent at each step (as mentioned above in section B.) These data are presented in Appendix X "Comparisons with Other Academic Non-Senate Series."
H. Expansion Of the Series With the Top Step As the Distinguished Step
The Librarian series must be expanded to permit the advancement of the 41% of UC librarians who are at Librarian Step IV. Currently Librarian Step V is the top and distinguished step; under the suggested restructuring, Librarian Step VIII would represent the distinguished step. The requirements for the distinguished step, which is treated in the librarian peer review system like a promotion rather than a merit step increase, are so rigorous that only 43 (9%) UC librarians currently hold this rank. On some campuses the percentage is much lower, in one case 1.6%.
LAUC Committee on Professional Governance
Heidi Hutchinson, Riverside, Chair
Myrtis Cochran, Berkeley
Linda Kennedy, Davis
Angela Yang, Irvine
Miki Goral, Los Angeles
Cathy Chiu, Santa Barbara
Tami Echavarria, San Diego
Paul Wakeford, San Francisco
Cynthia Jahns, Santa Cruz