LAUC SC General Committee Librarian Retention Final Report June 25, 2002

Committee Members:

Susan Chesley, LAUC-SC, CAPA Chair
Kate McGirr, AUL, Human Resources
Elisabeth Remak-Honnef, Librarian
Kerry Scott, LAUC-SC, General Committee, Chair


Introduction:The committee was charged with:

  • The investigation of the appropriate committees and library staff for handling retention issues for librarians; and with recommending issues to be explored
  • Identifying appropriate campus resources for assistance with librarian retention issues
  • Identifying ways to establish flexibility in the review calendar in order to handle cases when an individual, whom the library wishes to retain, receives a job offer from another institution (outside of the standard review calendar)
  • Preparing a report on the above-mentioned issues

Methodology:

  • The committee surveyed the LAUC-Santa Cruz membership to assess the top retention issues for local librarians.
  • The AUL-HR surveyed UC-wide UC-HR colleagues about campus-specific retention issues
  • The committee reviewed the ACRL-Personnel Administrators and Staff Development Officers Discussion Group Ad Hoc Task Force Report on Human Resources in Academic Libraries : Recruitment, Retention, and Restructuring (preliminary report) to identify nationwide issues, trends and strategies
  • The committee investigated both campus and statewide opportunities to address the issues and concerns elicited above
  • The committee also identified issues related to recruitment

Local and Statewide LAUC Survey Responses Summary:

The Santa Cruz LAUC membership identified the following areas of primary concern: housing/mortgage assistance, spousal support, tuition remission, childcare. Statewide concerns stressed housing mortgage assistance as well as the retention of specialized librarians given the projected impact of the "graying of the librarian workforce.

"The ACRL Preliminary Report: Ad Hoc Task Force Report on Human Resources in Academic Libraries : Recruitment, Retention, and Restructuring, Summary:

The ACRL report states, "With a significant percentage of academic librarians planning to retire in the next decade and declining numbers of LIS graduates and job applicants to academic libraries, retaining those current professionals takes on new importance" (ACRL Report, page 23). The following issues were identified as factors contributing to retention: salary and benefits, position responsibilities, opportunities for growth and development, ability to move laterally to learn new skills or to make a career change, potential for promotion, quality of work life, relationship with supervisor and co-workers, and work environment and image/reputation of the library and institution (ACRL Report, page 23). Recommended strategies can be classified into four general categories: salary, working conditions, job enrichment and education. The report recognizes that retention strategies will necessarily differ depending on the point at which a librarian is in within his/her career: entry level, mid-career, post mid-career.

Using the Data to Identify the Strategies for Santa Cruz:

To place LAUC-Santa Cruz librarians within the context of the data described in the preceding pages, the AUL-Human Resources compiled informal UCSC librarian demographics for the committee to consider. There are a total of 31 non-senate academic librarians at UCSC. Of this number, almost half will be eligible for retirement in the next ten years and a little over 15% will be eligible in five years. Affordable housing - based on starting salary and current cost of homes in the area – is out of reach for the majority of new hires (starting salary of $38,000)For about 16% of the current librarians, childcare is or potentially may become an important issue. About ten percent of the librarian population might be able to benefit from some form of spousal support.UCSC follows the national trend with almost half of its workforce eligible for retirement in the next ten years. It is also clear that the majority of the issues identified by the LAUC-SC membership are borne out by the demographics as well: housing, child care and spousal support would each benefit good percentages of the UCSC librarian population. The only issue not represented in the demographics above is tuition remission.

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Identifying Local and System-wide Opportunities

Housing:

The committee investigated the faculty housing situation on campus and confirmed what was already anecdotally known: librarians are low on the list used to determine priority assignments to available campus housing options - we are eighth after a succession of faculty levels. Specifically, the priority list breaks down in the following manner:

  1. New Assistant/Associate Professors
  2. New Professors
  3. Current Assistant/Associate Professors
  4. Current Professors
  5. Visiting Assistant/Associate Professors
  6. Visiting Professors
  7. Visiting Post-Graduate Researchers
  8. Lecturers/Librarians
  9. Post-Graduate Researchers

Librarians are losing ground to new faculty who are automatically placed higher on the priority list. For example, the same librarian who was 19th on the list last year is now 40th because more new faculty have been hired and are automatically placed ahead of librarians on the list.According to faculty housing staff, the waiting list for the 80 for-sale campus houses and town homes is "quite extensive" and the same priority lists (with the exception of visiting faculty and researchers) applies. Although the data above appears bleak for librarians, the committee learned that the UCSC Campus Welfare Committee (CWC) is in the process of assessing the housing priority list campus-wide and that an opportunity exists to suggest a library representative for the committee. Furthermore, the committee’s inquiries into the make-up of the CWC served to increase the committee’s awareness of librarian housing issues. It is good to know that CWC members are advocating for the librarians. In February, the retention committee recommended to library administration the importance of library representation on the CWC. To date, the CWC does not have library membership.

Mortgage Assistance:

In January, members of both the Faculty Welfare Committee and the Campus Welfare Committee informally suggested that the University Librarian pursue the possibilities of MOP loans for recruiting and retaining valued librarians. To date, the possibilities of these options have not been fully pursued.

Spousal Support:

This committee recommends that library administration follow the lead of support programs under consideration for ladder faculty.

Tuition Remission:

Tuition remission is an issue that is under discussion at the UC system-wide level. At this time, the committee feels that it cannot make further useful contributions to this effort.

Child Care:

The committee contacted campus daycare facilities to ascertain if priority lists existed. Faculty, staff and students are served by campus childcare services. Some community members, on a limited basis, are also using the services.Students are the first priority - based on income. The campus facilities receive Department of Education funding specifically to subsidize or pay for student childcare needs (for those who qualify as low income). There is essentially a parallel wait list: one for low-income students and one for faculty, staff and community members. Over the past year, childcare services have been able to accommodate more staff and faculty children because they have expanded their services – opening up more slots. The committee also surveyed local daycare facilities to assess costs.

The Review Process

The current CAPA review process follows a very specific calendar . The committee was charged with identifying ways to establish flexibility within the review process to facilitate library administration’s efforts to retain a valued librarian who receives an offer from another institution. This flexibility is essential for cases when an offer is made outside of the scheduled review cycle. After discussion the committee believes that Library Administration should have as much flexibility as is possible within the review process and recommends that in the case of a librarian receiving another offer, a review be performed outside of the normal review calendar if the library wishes to consider making a counter offer.

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Final Recommendations to Library Administration:

  1. Actively pursue library representation on the Campus Welfare Committee. This committee needs library representation and it is critical that we put someone on the committee so that our housing needs are heard and included in the campus dialogue
  2. Actively pursue MOP funding as part of the University Librarian’s role as a Divisional Dean
  3. Permit librarians to request out of calendar reviews when the library wishes to retain a librarian who has received an offer from another institution from outside of the UC system..
  4. Work to formalize current informal practices such as restructuring positions, movement within the library, and making changes to meet librarian's professional needs before they consider a job search.
  5. That the LAUC-SC Executive committee, 2002-2003, check in with Library Administration regarding the progress on recommendations 1 and 2 and report out to the LAUC-SC membership. (Recommendation 1 in September and Recommendation 2 in January of 2003.)

Retention and Recruitment: Identified Overlaps and Suggestions for Administration

Closely tied to the retention issue is the issue of recruitment. Decreasing numbers of LIS graduates and increasing competition from outside, higher salaried, private sector jobs, in conjunction with the Santa Cruz cost of living issue, will converge to create difficulties in the recruitment process (particularly as more experienced librarians retire). In investigating retention strategies the committee identified the following possibilities for administration to consider and investigate for feasibility when recruiting new hires:

  1. Investigate the possibility of creating a formal relationship with the UCSC Holiday Inn or Laureate Court. Allow new hires to "rent" an efficiency unit for two months – a reasonable time to find a suitable apartment. This would alleviate one of the stresses of moving for new hires.
  2. Consider the possibility of delaying librarian appointments until (if daycare is an issue) new hires have moved up on the campus childcare (or other) facility waiting list.
  3. Faculty are hired with very specific start dates (beginning of quarters). Librarians do not need to be hired at the start of the academic year or quarter. The committee recommends that library administration work with faculty housing to investigate ways that delaying librarian hires might help new hires to get an apartment in faculty housing.
  4. Provide applicants and candidates with information about the Santa Cruz community. Include information about housing, transportation, education, recreation, and other local resources.