- Work place based collectives advocate for their members, no one else, and certainly not for any "profession". The use of language resonating with professionalism is a tool used for achieving bargaining goals.
- In any Library there is a wide range of skills, training, degrees and responsibilities represented by the collective, not just those who have chosen an MLS.
- What is good for the Library and what is good for the people represented by the collective are not the same thing, and can in fact be quite incompatible. A dollar spent on wages and benefits is not spent on the materials and content: you know the stuff that people actually go to a Library to use
- Libraries do not exist to employ Librarians
- Libraries are for the Members (a term us Library users prefer to be called, according to David Lankes in his Atlas), in that service community
- Members using a Library are concerned about service and product, not with the specific education of the person involved in providing that service or product
- The current educational path that within the Library community leads to one becoming a "Librarian" is a very recent construct in the grand history of Libraries and the Librarians that serve in them.
- Librarians were originally born of passion for the written word, an understanding of it's power, a desire to serve the conjoined needs of content and it's users, and a willingness to learn via apprenticeship and immersion in the arts of Librarianship
- The role of a voluntary association is by nature very different than that of the work place based collective, regardless of the industry. Getting involved in the details of any one workplace isn't the point.
- In the case of the Canadian Library Association, advocating for Libraries and those who work in them cannot include taking a position on one side of the bargaining table, if only because of the simple fact that the CLA has active and passionate members on both sides of that table.
- Advocating for Libraries is really about advocating for the user members of our Libraries, not for any one system or way of doing things or history of who does them in our Libraries
- The specifics of any Library workplace may be of concern to the CLA, or to any other voluntary Library Association, in so far as any number of activites negatively affect the user members served by that workplace
- Given points 3-6 and 9-10 above, it is simply wrong to suggest that the CLA has not upheld it's Code of Ethics by failing to engage in workplace collective bargaining politics
- A fuller investigation of the CLA's advocacy activities demonstrates significant success across many areas that touch the lives of every day Canadians, whether they are Library members or not.
- The good news is that the CLA's successes benefit Libraries and ALL those who work in them in myriad ways, even those who are disdainful and sometimes quite hateful towards it.
- Seeking some new kind of professional body for librarians is a purely Provincial responsibility. Such a badge will do nothing to enhance the abilities or skills of someone interested in serving in a Library, but it might make the chance of finding a job more difficult when it leads higher staff costs.
- Choosing to engage constructively with others through a voluntary association on projects that take time and create long term benefits is more fruitful than complaining about what is lacking now
Random Thoughts on Roles and Responsibilities
It's good that this discussion is happening. I've got a few points to add. I am a proud member of the CLA and I make NO claim to speak for the Canadian Library Association.