14 · Survey Results: Executive Summary
at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), and the University
of Wisconsin at Madison for Japanese studies, and
between Indiana University and UIUC in the field of
Middle Eastern studies.
Staff and Organizational Structure
Almost all of the respondents’ comments reflect an
awareness of the changes in publishing and scholarly
communication and a need to adjust organizational
structures in the libraries accordingly to maintain
high levels of service. Several mentioned the inter-
disciplinary, transnational nature of scholarship and
the strong focus on outreach, teaching, and liaison
activities among global resources librarians. While
they have traditionally played a strong role in these
areas, the trend points to even more encouragement
for global resources librarians to be involved with
their constituencies. Several respondents reported a
move away from the reference desk model toward one
where global resources librarians provide in-depth,
individualized reference service via chat, phone, or
While organizational change is evident in most
libraries, respondents reported a range of organiza-
tional models, based on how organizational struc-
tures have evolved at specific institutions historically
and on individual librarians’ expertise in certain ar-
eas. At some institutions global resource units are
responsible for their own cataloging others have cen-
tralized cataloging departments or a combination of
both models. Twenty-five libraries indicated that they
have distinct international and area studies units. The
organization of those units ranges from an integration
of special collections and area studies units to a struc-
ture where global resource collection units report to
public services. Many of these units, especially those
created more recently, have librarians’ offices in prox-
imity, with reference desks nearby.
Forty-eight respondents commented on changes in
the role of global resources librarians at their institu-
tions. Technological developments and the transition
from print to electronic formats mean that librarians
not only need to be informed about trends in elec-
tronic publishing in their respective world areas, but
also, increasingly, to be able to negotiate licensing
agreements for electronic sources. Moreover, as global
resources librarians become more involved in public
services and digitization projects, they must be able
to navigate the world of copyright issues.
The survey asked how many years of professional
experience global resources librarians have at each
library: fewer than five years of experience, six to ten
years, 11 to 20 years, and more than 20 years experi-
ence. Thirty-six of the 60 respondents (60%) have no
librarians with fewer than five years experience. Of
those that do have librarians with fewer than five
years experience, almost half have only one. Almost
an equal number of respondents have global resourc-
es librarians in the 6–10 years, 11–20 years, and 20+
years range of professional experience (44, 42, and 43
responses, respectively). The higher number in years
of experience can partially be explained with the wide
range of qualifications needed in this field. However,
this data also reflects a general graying of the pro-
fession. At the same time, it is encouraging to note
the significant number of institutions who reported
librarians in the 6–10 year range, suggesting that the
profession is renewing itself.
In spite of this positive trend, comments from
the responding institutions point to a number of
challenges when trying to recruit global resources
librarians. Among the main issues are lack of quali-
fied candidates who have both language and subject
expertise the current economic situation, which at
some institutions has resulted in hiring freezes and
not being competitive in offering good compensa-
tion packages a lack of motivation among students to
specialize in global resources librarianship in light of
the diminished number of available positions the in-
ability to provide green cards or work visas to recruit
non-US candidates and geographic locations that are
perceived as less desirable.
Some of the measures taken to address these chal-
lenges include giving librarians release time to take
foreign language classes, outsourcing some functions,
especially cataloging, removing the requirement for
an MLS degree and hiring PhD-holders with lan-
guage skills and subject expertise, offering higher
salaries to global resources librarians than to others,
prioritizing budget expenditures in the areas of cam-
pus need, and scaling down in the areas that are not
in high demand.
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