History and Purpose
The Librarians Association of the University of California (LAUC), founded in 1967, is a state-wide organization of all librarians employed at least half time by the University. In 1971, the Association was authorized to use the name of the University, and in 1975 LAUC was formally recognized as an official unit of the University. The formal objectives of LAUC are: to advise the University on professional and governance matters, to make recommendations concerning UC librarians’ rights, privileges, and obligations, and to promote full use of UC librarians’ professional abilities.
Improving UC Libraries
Perhaps LAUC’s most important function is the advice it provides to the systemwide, campus and library administrations on the best course for the University’s libraries. Because the front-line librarians who work most closely with faculty and students in fulfilling the University’s educational mission are often leaders in LAUC, the organization is able to convey user needs to senior management. LAUC has provided leadership in such crucial areas as: cooperative collection development and resource sharing during a period of retrenchment; the impact of new information technologies on libraries; enhanced bibliographic access to diverse collections and service to diverse users.
The LAUC statewide organization is composed of an Executive Board, including the President, Vice-President/President-Elect, Secretary, immediate Past President, and the chairs of the ten campus divisions. The Executive Board meets about six times each year. Larger assemblies, to which each division sends delegates in proportion to the size of its membership, are held in the Fall and Spring.
LAUC has five standing committees each with representatives from all ten campus divisions: the Committee on Committees, Rules and Jurisdiction, which oversees the bylaws of the Association; the recently constituted Committee on Cultural Diversity; the Library Plans and Policies Committee; the Professional Governance Committee; and the Research and Professional Development Committee. The LAUC President and Past President are members of the Library Council, along with the ten University Librarians and other administrators and faculty. LAUC is also represented on systemwide committees for such areas as public and technical services, collection development, personnel, and regional libraries; and on the Academic Senate Committee on Library.
Ad Hoc Committee Projects
Recent LAUC ad hoc committees have explored the following aspects of policy, practice or planning at the ten campuses: the impact of electronic publishing; options and rewards for library managers; cultural diversity; shared resources; and librarians’ role in University governance.
LAUC annually administers a research program with funding provided by the Office of the President. Since 1980, well over 150 projects have been supported by this program.
Librarians are academic appointees at the University of California. Academic status confers privileges, rights and responsibilities on librarians as professional employees whose work is closely related to the teaching and research functions of the University. Self- governance, University support of professional development and discretionary use of time in the fulfillment of responsibilities reflect this status, based on academic traditions of autonomy and sustained professional growth. Academic status therefore includes but is not limited to: the freedom to perform a range of functions within the profession, a choice of avenues for professional development, performance evaluation based on activities relevant to the profession, review by one’s peers and job security as stated in University policies and contracts.
Librarians, like other academic staff, are evaluated for appointment, advancement, and promotion by committees of their peers, elected or appointed at each of the campus divisions. Like faculty, librarians are required to progress through a three-part series, consisting of the ranks of Assistant, Associate and full Librarian.