The Academic Librarian as Blended Professional: Reassessing the Position




Perini, Michael R.

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This qualitative case study extends Whitchurch's (2009) blended professional model, designed to consider the merging of academicians' roles across several spheres of professional and academic influence in a higher education setting, to academic librarians. Following the application of the blended professional model, this work contends that the academic librarians working at St. Jerome University have similar roles concerning research, instruction, and service when compared to the institution's tenure-track faculty. The scope of professional productivity and the expectation of the librarians, though, are much less regimented. Consequently, the academic librarians find themselves in a tenuous working third space where their blended role is inhibited by real and perceived barriers. These obstacles- a lack of time and money, perceptions of gender, and organizational complexity- in turn result in hurdles that affect the professional development of the academic librarians and impact the attitudes about their professional roles. Librarians and their impact on the academic community often are overlooked and unrecognized as professionals by higher education theorists. This study consequently achieves significance due to its use of higher education theory for an examination of the professional identity of academic librarians and the issues impacting librarian professional development. The work here also offers a constructive, replicable research design appropriate for the analysis of librarians in other academic settings, providing additional insight into how these professionals might perceive their roles within the larger context of a higher education environment.


This work was embargoed by the author and will not be publicly available until May 2016.


Academic librarian, Professional development, Professional identity