Report: “Texas A&M Weighs Sweeping Changes to Library”
The Texas A&M University system is working on a plan that would make sweeping changes across its 10 libraries. Those changes, still being discussed, would include asking librarians to relinquish tenure or transfer to another academic department to keep it.
The plan grew out of recommendations from MGT Consulting, which Texas A&M hired in June 2021 “to conduct a high-level, comprehensive review of major functional areas,” according to a company report. But as administrators have suggested additional changes, including to employee classification, faculty members have pushed back, arguing that proposed structural changes to the library system will do more harm than good.
They are especially concerned about a proposal that would end tenure for librarians. Experts note that tenure for librarians, which is somewhat common in academia, though not universal, can be crucial for academic freedom, especially in a political environment in which librarians are under fire.
In response to reporting that Texas A&M University is considering a plan to remove tenure and faculty status for its librarians, Jeremy C. Young, senior manager for Free Expression and Education at PEN America, released the following statement:
“This plan at Texas A&M is fundamentally misguided. Texas is at the epicenter of a nationwide book banning frenzy, and the state’s lieutenant governor has made no secret of his political attacks on higher education. Given their unique role in the academy, librarians are obviously implicated in these political battles over free expression, literature, and knowledge. Now, at Texas A&M, they may have to participate in these battles without the rights and privileges of academic freedom and shared governance, free speech protections, eligibility for tenure, and representation in faculty senates and on faculty committees. The consequences for research, teaching, and learning in the university community could be grave.
About Gary Price
Gary Price (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.