LIBRES: Library and Information Science Research
Electronic Journal ISSN 1058-6768
1999 Volume 9 Issue 1; March 31.
Bi-annual LIBRE9N1


Canadian Academic Libraries and Cross-Divisional Assignments: A Survey



Sandra Hoffman                                                Anne-Marie Bélanger
 Reference/Selection Librarian                           formerly Head, Database Maintenance & Receiving Unit
 Webster Library                                               Webster Library
 Concordia University                                        Concordia University
 Montreal, QC Canada H3G 1M8                     Montreal, QC Canada H3G 1M8
 514/848-7684
 shoffmn@vax2.concordia.ca


Abstract
This paper reports the results of a survey of Canadian academic libraries to determine whether traditional technical/public services divisions still exist, and where they do, to what extent professional librarians were performing both technical and public services functions. Data was gathered in the fall and winter of 1995/96 through a mailed questionnaire which was then discussed with each participant in a telephone interview. Findings show that separate divisions still predominate, but that 74% of the libraries had librarians performing functions in another division. Respondents indicated when cross-divisional assignments had been initiated, factors involved in the implementation, advantages and disadvantages to the library, the numbers and types of duties performed, and the proportion of time spent in these split assignments. All participants with professional librarians performing both public and technical services functions stated that the practice would continue. Cross-divisional assignments appear to work well for the libraries where they are in place.

Introduction
The idea that librarians should perform both technical services and public services functions has been discussed in the literature for at least 20 years. One of its earlier and most outspoken advocates was Michael Gorman (1979) whose call for ecumenical librarianship (1983) has been echoed in such terms as holism (Murray-Lachapelle, 1983), renaissance librarianship (McCombs, 1986), or dual function librarianship (DeDonato, 1991; Linsley; 1984; Paster, 1991). Several authors have described factors conducive to integration (Busch, 1985; McCombs, 1986), while others enumerate advantages, disadvantages and organizational consequences (Altmann, 1988; Davenport, 1991; Moeckel,1993; Paster, 1991). Researchers have conducted studies to obtain statistical data on its prevalence. (Busch, 1985; Eskoz, 1991; McCombs 1986; Martin, 1995). Others have described its implementation on a library-wide scale (Gorman, 1983; Neal, 1989; Smith, 1993), in a more limited way (Testi, 1993), or the ramifications for the individuals involved (Avery, 1977; Gossen,1990; Hardin, 1993; Linsley, 1984).

The goal of our study was to determine to what degree the integration of technical and public services divisions has taken place in Canadian academic libraries, and, where technical/public services still exist, to establish the extent to which librarians are working across divisions in terms of the numbers and types of duties performed, and the proportion of time spent in these split assignments. Further, where cross-divisional work was occurring, an attempt was made to determine the factors leading to its implementation, when it was instituted, and the likelihood of its continuance. The two Canadian associations of academic libraries, Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) and Canadian Association of Small University Libraries (CASUL), formed the basis for our comparisons.1

Data was gathered in the fall and winter of 1995/96 through a mailed questionnaire which was then discussed with each participant in a telephone interview. This enabled us to ensure that our questions were being interpreted similarly, clarify responses, and allowed us to compile further comments on participants' evaluation of their staffing arrangements.

Response
The survey was limited to Canadian university libraries whose student enrolment was at least 2,000 full-time students, as reported in the Directory of Canadian Universities, 1995/96. Library directors were contacted by the Director of Libraries at the time, Dr. Roy Bonin, who explained the purpose of the study, asked for the library's participation, and requested the name of a contact person who would receive and take responsibility for the completion of the questionnaire. Of the 27 academic library members of the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL), 24 agreed to participate, for a response rate of 89%. Of the 16 members of the Canadian Association of Small University Libraries (CASUL) who met our enrolment criteria, 11 participated for a response rate of 69%. In addition, the questionnaire was translated into French in order to include French university libraries, but the response from this sector was limited to the 4 members of CARL: the 6 smaller libraries contacted were unable to participate. Thus, of the total of 49 libraries contacted, 35 participated for an overall response rate of 71%. (Table 1)

                            Table 1: Response by Type of Library

  Libraries Contacted Respondents Percentage
CARL libraries 27 24 89
CASUL libraries 16 11 69
Other libraries 6 - -
Total 49 35 71

The respondents designated by the library director were usually administrators, either the director of libraries (37%) or an administrator whose title clearly indicated technical services responsibilities (34%). However, we know from the telephone interviews that many participants consulted widely in completing the questionnaire, both with fellow administrators in public services and, in many cases, with the librarians in cross-divisional assignments.

Organizational structure
We asked if the library's organizational structure separated technical services librarians from public services librarians, regardless of the labels these divisions might have. Of the respondents, there were only 2 libraries (6%) where technical services and public services were not separated structurally: one was a research library and the other a smaller library. It seems that the large majority of Canadian academic libraries still have a traditional structure in terms of public services and technical services, although the names of these structures vary widely.

A decade earlier, B.J. Busch found that 56% of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) surveyed were organized along traditional technical/public services lines, the remainder had some integration of technical and public services functions and none of the libraries surveyed reported having "no functional split between technical and public services " (Busch, 1985, p. 2). Patricia Larsen's survey of academic library administrators covering the time period 1985-1990 found that 79% of the libraries surveyed had a public services division and 81% had technical services divisions, although the names of the divisions varied (Larsen, 1991, p.83). Our finding that 96% of Canadian academic libraries still have a traditional public service/technical services split confirms Larsen's conclusion that "the longstanding divisional structure is still very much an accepted, viable organizational pattern," although there are also a few libraries experimenting with new organizational formations. In the introduction to ARL's Spec Kit entitled Library Reorganization and Restructuring (1996), Eustis and Kenney state that "change in most research libraries is incremental rather than dramatic." Indeed, "blurring the lines" between the two divisions seems to more adequately describe what is happening in Canadian academic libraries rather than structural integration.

Cross-Divisional Assignments
Traditional structures did not prevent librarians from working across divisional lines. Indeed, 74% of the traditionally-structured libraries indicated that at least some of their librarians had cross-divisional assignments. This is significantly higher than Busch's survey (1985) of ARL libraries a decade earlier which found 43% involved professional librarians in sharing of functions between public and technical services.

Looking at the results by division, 64% of the libraries indicated that professional librarians based in technical services were also performing public services functions, either on a regular or a seasonal basis. This finding is very similar to the results of a 1983/84 study by Eskoz (1991) who surveyed 106 United States academic libraries and found that 60.4 % of the libraries in her study had catalogue librarians involved in public service activities. In 1986/87, when 40 of the original respondents were contacted to update the survey, Eskoz found that the percentage in the reduced sample of those libraries with cataloguers involved in noncataloguing assignments remained unchanged (72.5% in 1983/84 and 1986/87).

Where crossover assignments were not in place, it was sometimes for purely practical reasons. Of the 12 libraries where technical services librarians were not working in public services, one library indicated that 2 technical services professionals would be moved to public services, and 3 other libraries indicated that the number of professional positions in technical services had been so greatly reduced that cross-divisional assignments were not viable, although 2 of the 3 had had such assignments in the past. Another administrator who had several technical services librarians working in public services stated that if he had more staff in technical services, he would "send everybody down to public services," as he "strongly endorses" this practice.

There has been very little study of crossover in the opposite direction: i.e., professional librarians based in public services performing technical services functions. We found only 30% of the respondents reported this assignment of duties. In 20% of libraries, librarians were crossing divisions in both directions. In general, there was little difference in response according to the type of library, as shown in Table 2, although it is often assumed that cross divisional assignments would be more common in smaller libraries. It is perhaps not surprising to note that a library where cross-divisional assignments exist is twice as likely to have technical services librarians performing public services functions as vice versa, given the emphasis on user service and the growing demands in that area.

Table 2: Libraries by Divisional Work Assignments of Professional Librarians

Divisional Work Assignments of Professional Librarians  CARL libraries 
n=24
 CASUL libraries 
n=11
        Total 
N= 35
no. % no. % no. %
Technical services librarians perform public services functions 14 58 7 64 21 60
Technical services librarians do not perform public services functions. 9 38 3 27 12 34
Public service librarians perform technical services functions 8 33 2 18 10 29
Public services librarians do not perform technical services functions 15 63 8 73 23 66
Technical services librarians perform public services functions and public services librarians perform technical services functions 5 21 2 18 7 20
Librarians do not work across divisions 6 25 3 27 9 26
Libraries without public services/technical services divisions 1 4 1 9 2 6

Note: Percentages may not add to 100 because of rounding to integers.

Factors affecting Decision to Implement Cross-Divisional Work
Factors affecting the decision to have professional librarians perform both technical and public services functions were rated by participants on a 6-point scale (1=not relevant and 6= extremely important). We calculated the average importance for CARL and CASUL libraries for each factor: the higher the score, the greater the importance of the factor. Figure 1 indicates that averages are fairly similar except for budget cuts for staff where the average for CARL libraries was 2.9 whereas for CASUL libraries it was 1.3. Overall, improving service to users emerged as the most important factor, being rated important to very important for 78% of the libraries.
 



When Busch (1985) asked ARL libraries to assign a priority to eight possible factors contributing to organizational change, emphasis on mission (service to users) placed sixth, after: introduction of integrated systems, changes in administration, need for improved staff performance, introduction of online catalogues, and economic factors. Larson (1991) found that library organizational structures were changed for reasons either on the level of moving individual functions or because of library-wide reorganization. Reasons for library-wide reorganization were reported as: changes in administration (37%); to achieve increased efficiency (32%); to improve services (32%); the introduction of an online system (18%); and economic conditions (18%). The difference in priorities in these three studies may reflect a change in philosophy over the decade, or it may be that other factors (integrated systems, need for improved staff performance, and economic factors, for example) have worked together to bring service to users to the top of the list for many Canadian libraries. In all three studies, a variety of factors are at work resulting in either library-wide reorganization, re-assignment of duties within existing structures or both.

As can be seen from Figure 1, outsourcing ranked the lowest in the factors affecting the decision to implement cross-divisional work assignments. In fact, for 92% of libraries, outsourcing was not a relevant factor. In Busch's study (1985), the use of bibliographic utilities and the need for improved staff development/morale tied for last place as factors affecting organizational change.

In order to assess the importance of the factors participants had given, we also asked respondents to indicate the two most important and the two least important factors in the decision (Table 3). Although not listed on our questionnaire as a choice, 6 libraries indicated that the most important factor in their decision was the use of existing expertise.

                   Table 3: Factors in Decision to Implement Cross-Divisional Work

Factors in Decision

   24 respondents

Most important

Least important

no. % no. %
Improve service to users 13 57 - -
Budget cuts for staff 7 31 - -
Use of expertisea 6 27 - -
Restructuring of the library 5 22 3 16
Size of library 4 18   21
Changes in administration 3 14 7 36
Outsourcing - - 7 36
Cut in acquisitions budget - - 2 11
Change in institutional mission - - 2 11
Implementation of integrated system - - 2 11
Increase effectiveness of staff performance 2 9 1 5
Implementation of online public access catalogue 1 5 3 16
Increase staff morale - - 6 31
Provide opportunity for staff development 1 5 2 11

                        aFactor added by respondents

Advantages and Disadvantages of Cross-Divisional Work
In attempting to determine the advantages and disadvantages to the library of having librarians perform both technical and public services functions, we used two approaches. First, we asked respondents to indicate specific advantages and disadvantages to their cross-divisional work assignments (Tables 6 and 7) but we also calculated the number of advantages and disadvantages reported for each library as a measure of their enthusiasm. (Tables 4 and 5)

It was noteworthy that all libraries reported at least one advantage to having technical services librarians working in public services, and 71% of the libraries reported 3 or more advantages to this arrangement. When we looked at libraries where public service librarians were also working in technical services, there was one library which declared no advantages to this arrangement (in fact, the same library cited 3 disadvantages). At the same time, it must be pointed out that 60% of the libraries with this assignment of duties claimed between 2 and 4 specific advantages to this practice.

        Table 4: Number of Advantages Reported by Type of Library

Number of Advantages reported Technical Services Librarians Working in Public Services Public Services Librarians Working in Technical Services
CARL libraries
n=14
CASUL libraries
n =7
Total
n=21
CARL libraries
n=8
CASUL libraries
n=2
Total
n=10
0 - - - 1 - 1
1 - 2 2 1 1 2
2 3 1 4 1 1 2
3 1 2 3 3 - 3
4 2 - 2 1 - 1
5 3 1 4 - - -
6 2 1 3 1 - 1
7 1 - 1 - - -
8 2 - 2 - - -

When it came to reporting major disadvantages of assigning public services duties to technical services librarians (Table 5), 33 % of respondents reported none and a further 29% listed only one disadvantage. In terms of sheer numbers alone, respondents found more advantages to this arrangement than disadvantages. There appears to be general agreement that having technical services librarians performing public services functions works well for the libraries involved.

When we look at public services librarians being assigned technical services duties, we see that 50% of the libraries report no disadvantages and a further 30% report only one disadvantage. Although few libraries have public services librarians working in technical services, again, the practice seems to work well for those who do. (Table 5)

        Table 5: Number of Disadvantages Reported by Type of Library

Number of Disadvantages reported Technical Services Librarians Working in Public Services Public Services Librarians Working in Technical Services
CARL libraries
n=14
CASUL libraries
n=7
Total
n=21
CARL libraries
n=8
CASUL libraries
n=2
Total
n=10
0 4 3 7 5 - 5
1 2 4 6 1 2 3
2 2 - 2 1   1
3 3 - 3 1 - 1
4 2 - 2 - - -
5 - - - - - -
6 1 - 1 - - -

Although flexibility in staffing, helping public services staff at peak times, and better understanding of user needs were the advantages most frequently gained by having technical services librarians also working in public services, other advantages were also cited frequently as indicated in Table 6.

Table 6: Major Advantages of Technical Services Librarians Performing Public Services Functions

Major Advantages: Technical Services Librarians Working in Public Services   CARL Libraries 
n=14
CASUL Libraries
n=7
       Total 
n=21
no. % no. % no. %
Provide flexibility in staffing 11 79 4 57 15 71
Help public services staff at peak times 10 71 3 43 13 62
Provide better understanding of user needs 11 79 2 29 13 62
Increase variety of work 8 57 4 57 12 57
Increase understanding between technical services and public services staff 8 57 4 57 12 57
Increase staff morale 8 57 1 14 9 43
Enhance service to the public 6 43 2 29 8 38
Othera 5 36 1 14 6 29

aOther advantages mentioned in the course of the interview were: increase in job satisfaction (2 respondents), increased contact with faculty (1), and more even distribution of workload (1)

Sharing staff across divisions also has its downside, as evidenced by the disadvantages most frequently cited: difficulty in acquiring and/or maintaining expertise; fragmentation of time and schedules; and technical services work taking second priority (Table 7).

Table 7: Major Disadvantages of Technical Services Librarians Performing Public Services Functions

Major Disadvantages: Technical Services Librarians Working in Public Services   CARL Libraries 
n=14
CASUL Libraries
n=7
      Total 
n=21
no. % no. % no. %
None reported 4 29 3 43 7 33
Difficulty in acquiring and/or maintaining expertise 6 43 2 29 8 38
Fragmentation of time and schedules 6 43 2 29 38
Technical services work takes second priority 7 50 - - 7 33
Decrease in staff morale 2 14 - - 2 10
Increase in stress levels 5 36 - - 5 24
Decrease in quality of service to users - - - - - -
Difficulties involved in reporting to two department heads 3 21 - - 3 14
Othera 1 7 1 14 2 10

a Other disadvantages mentioned during the interview were: increased workload (1) and one library indicated that it was too early to ascertain disadvantages.

When looking at the specific advantages and disadvantages of public services librarians performing technical services functions, the sample was much smaller: of the 10 such libraries, 8 were CARL libraries and 2 CASUL. The advantages cited were scattered over the range of options but helping technical services with their backlog rated highest for both CARL and CASUL libraries, followed by producing more user-oriented cataloguing (Table 8). In CARL libraries, backlog reduction was followed by increasing understanding between technical and public service staff, and increasing the variety of work for the librarians in technical services. As mentioned above, one CARL library reported no advantages and 3 disadvantages but counterbalancing this is the finding that 5 of the 8 CARL libraries reported no disadvantages. (See Table 9)

Table 8: Major Advantages of Public Services Librarians Performing Technical Services Functions

Major Advantages: Public Services Librarians Working in Technical Services  CARL Libraries
n=8
CASUL Libraries
n=2
      Total 
 n=10
no. % no. % no. %
None reported 1 13 - - 1 10
Help technical services with backlog 5 63 1 50 6 60
Produce more user-oriented cataloguing 3 38 1 50 4 40
Increase understanding between technical services and public services 4 50 - - 4 40
Increase variety in work 4 50 - - 4 40
Foster better understanding of cataloguing and acquisitions procedures 2 25 - - 2 20
Increase staff morale 1 13 - - 1 10
Increase in quality of cataloguing 3 38 - - 3 30
Improve service to users - - 1 50 1 10

Table 9: Major Disadvantages of Public Services Librarians Performing Technical Services Functions

Major Disadvantages: Public Services Librarians Working in Technical Services   CARL Libraries 
n=8
CASUL Libraries
n=2
         Total 
   n=10
no. % no. % no. %
None reported 5 63 - - 5 50
Decrease in staff morale 1 13 - - 1 10
Increase in stress levels 1 13 - - 1 10
Difficulty in acquiring and/or maintaining expertise 1 13 - - 1 10
Decrease in quality of service to users - - - - - -
Difficulties involved in reporting to two department heads 1 13 - - 1 10
Fragmentation of time and schedules 1 13 1 50 2 20
Othera - - 1 50 1 10

aAnother disadvantage mentioned in the course of the interview: additional time constraints on other services.

Timetable of Implementation
The practice of having technical services librarians perform public services functions and vice versa was not a recent innovation for the majority of libraries; however, there was a difference by type of library (Table 10). The majority of CARL libraries began having technical services librarians work in public services within the last 10 years, while in CASUL libraries the majority of those who could date when the practice had begun stated that it was at least 10 years previously. If, as is frequently stated, sharing duties across divisions is more common in a small library, then it is not surprising to find the practice established in the CASUL libraries more than 10 years ago.

In libraries where public services librarians were working in technical services, the large majority of libraries had begun the practice more than 10 years previously. Again, given the increasing demands on user services and the effects of budget cuts on staffing, it is perhaps to be expected that few libraries will have initiated programs in the past 10 years which would have public services librarians also assuming technical services functions.

Table 10: Implementation of Work Assignments Across Divisions

Practice begun Technical Services Librarians Performing Public Services Functions  Public Services Librarians Performing Technical Services Functions 
CARL libraries
n=13
CASUL libraries
n=7
Total
n=20
CARL libraries
n=8
CASUL libraries
n=2
Total
n=10
no. % no. % no. % no. % no. % no. %
This past year 2 15 1 14 3 15 1 12 - - 1 10
1-3 years ago 1 8 1 14 2 10 1 12 - - 1 10
4-6 years ago 2 15 - - 2 10 1 12 - - 1 10
7-9 years ago 3 23 - - 3 15 - - - - - -
10 years ago or more 4 31 3 43 7 35 5 63 2 100 7 70
Don't know 1 8 2 29 3 15 - - - - - -

Increase/Decrease in Cross-Divisional Work
In addition to determining when libraries had begun to have librarians from one division work in the other division, it was of interest to learn whether this involvement had increased or decreased since the practice was begun, and further, to learn of plans for the future. The results of these questions are presented in Tables 11 and 12. It is notable that 48% of the respondents indicated that the percentage of technical services librarians involved in public services had increased since the practice was first begun. Only 5% indicated that it had decreased, while 24% said that it had not changed and 5% did not know. On the other hand, in libraries where public services librarians were also working in technical services, 50% of the libraries indicated that there had been no change since the practice was begun and only 20% indicated that there had been an increase (Table 11). Given that the top ranked factor in the decision to implement cross-divisional assignments was in order to improve service to users, this finding might be seen as corroborating the increased focus on the user by increasing staff presence in public services.
 

Table 11: Change in Percentage of Librarians Involved in Cross Division Functions

Change since instituted Libraries where technical services librarians involved in public services Libraries where public services librarians involved in technical services
CARL
n=14
CASUL
n=7
Total
n=21
CARL
n=8
CASUL
n=2
Total
n=10
no. % no. % no. % no. % no. % no. %
Increased 8 57 2 29 10 48 2 20 - - 2 20
No change 2 14 3 43 5 24 3 30 2 100 5 50
Decreased 1 7 - - 1 5 1 10 - - 1 10
Has varied 3 21 1 14 4 19 1 10 - - 1 10
Do not know/Not sure - - 1 14 1 5 1 10 - - 1 10

Staffing
In libraries where technical services librarians were assigned public services duties, 90% of respondents (14 CARL libraries and 7 CASUL libraries) indicated that existing technical services librarians were used at the outset. Only 1 CASUL library hired additional technical services librarians, and one CARL library used both existing and newly hired technical services librarians. Findings were similar in the libraries where public services librarians began to work also in technical services: 80% of the respondents (8 CARL libraries and 2 CASUL libraries) used existing staff. None of these libraries hired new staff except for one CARL library which used both existing and additional staff. There was also one CARL library which did not know the staffing situation at the time of implementation. (See Table 11) Given the financial climate in which libraries have operated in the first half of the decade, it was expected that changes in work assignments would be accomplished for the most part without hiring new staff.

Consultation of Staff
We attempted to determine whether the viewpoints of the librarians in both divisions were considered when dual assignments were implemented by asking the respondents to indicate whether the staff would agree/disagree that their viewpoints had been considered when the new duties were assigned. In the case of technical services librarians being assigned public services functions, the majority of respondents either thought that both public services librarians and technical services had opportunity to present their points of view before the practice was implemented, or did not know if consultation had taken place. Specifically, 48% of the administrators completing the questionnaire indicated that technical services librarians would agree that they were consulted before being assigned public services duties, 15% thought they would disagree, and 38% did not know. We also asked if the public services librarians would agree that they had been consulted before technical services librarians assumed public service functions. In this case, 53% of the administrators judged that they would agree, 29% thought they would disagree, and 20% did not know.

When public services librarians were assigned duties in technical services, we again asked if the viewpoints of all librarians concerned were considered. In this case, 70% of the administrators agreed that the public service librarians had been consulted, and the remaining 30% did not know how they would respond. When asked about consultation with technical services librarians before public service librarians began to work in their division, 60% of respondents thought technical services librarians would agree that they had been consulted, 30% did not know and 10% thought that technical services librarians would disagree with the statement that their points of view were presented.

The percentage of respondents who did not know whether consultation had taken place was expected, considering that some of the working arrangements across divisions had been in place 10 years or more, and the administrators appointed since then were not always in a position to know what had happened at that time.

With few exceptions, the questionnaires were completed by administrators, some of whom told us they consulted with their staff before answering these questions, but in many cases this was not practical nor was it expected. This is an area where it would be useful to conduct further research, preferably by questioning directly the technical and public services librarians involved as to their perception of the extent of the consultation process.

Variety of Functions
Where technical services librarians were performing public services functions or vice versa, we tried to determine to what extent this was the case in terms of the both the variety of functions and the percentage of time spent in the other division. We did not attempt to establish the number of functions being performed by individual librarians, but rather by the technical services librarians or public services librarians of a library as a group. Table 12 presents the analysis of this data by division and by type of library. We found that the majority of technical services departments providing public services were performing, as a group, from 1 to 3 functions. Further breakdown of the data shows that 29% of libraries had technical services librarians performing only 1 public service duty, 24% of libraries had librarians performing 2 functions, and 19% were performing 3 functions, which accounted for 73% of the libraries responding.

Libraries where public services librarians were working in technical services were only 10 in number (29% of respondents), and were spread rather evenly over the range of one to five functions per library for CARL libraries, whereas in CASUL libraries, the 2 respondents were performing 1 or 2 functions.

Table 12: Number of Functions Performed by Librarians as a Group in Other Library Division

Number of Functions being performed Technical Services Librarians Performing Public Service Functions Public Services Librarians Performing Technical Services Functions
   CARL Libraries
n=14
CASUL Libraries
n=7
Total

n=21

   CARL Libraries
n=8
CASUL Libraries
n=2
Total

n=10

no. % no. % no. % no. % no. % no. %
3 21 3 43 6 29 2 25 1 50 3 30
2 4 29 1 14 5 24 2 25 1 50 3 30
3 21 1 14 4 19 2 25 - - 2 20
4 - 5 1 7 - - 1 5 2 25 - - 2 20
6 or more 3 21 2 29 5 24 - - - - - -

Full-time Technical Services Librarians working in Public Services
In an attempt to provide a more precise idea of the work being done in the second division, the libraries where technical services librarians were also working in public services were asked for the total of full-time librarians based in technical services and the number working in the second division. For CARL libraries, the number of librarians based in technical services varied from a high of 17 to a low of 4 for an average of 9 professional librarians based in technical services. CASUL library responses varied from a high of 4 to a low of 1 for an average of 1.7 professional librarians based in technical services.

We calculated the number of full-time librarians working across divisions as a percentage of the total number of librarians in the primary division. As might be expected, there was a marked difference in the numbers reported by CARL and CASUL libraries. In the 14 CARL libraries where technical services librarians were working in public services, 57 (45%) of the 126 technical services librarians were also working in public services. In the 7 such CASUL libraries, 10 (83%) of the 12 librarians were also working in public services. Eskoz (1991) found that libraries were more likely to assign non-cataloguing duties to technical services librarians in the largest (over 30,000 student enrolment) and smallest (under 10,000 enrolment) libraries. Our findings are similar for the smaller libraries, in this case, the CASUL libraries. Our survey had only two libraries with enrolments above 30,000 (only one of which had cross-divisional assignments).

Full-time Public Services Librarians working in Technical Services
The libraries where public services librarians were also working in technical services were asked for the total of full-time librarians based in public services and the number working in the second division. For CARL libraries, the number of librarians based in public services varied from a high of 60 to a low of 3 for an average of 23.6 professional librarians based in public services. CASUL library responses varied from a high of 5 to a low of 1 for an average of 3.5 professional librarians based in public services. The sample size of libraries where public services librarians were also working in technical services was much smaller - 10 (8 CARL, 2 CASUL).

Of the 8 CARL libraries where public services librarians were working in technical services, 34 (18%) of the 189 public services librarians were participating. In the 2 CASUL libraries, there was only one public services librarian in each of the two libraries, and both were also working in technical services.

Percentage of Time Spent Working in the other Division
As a further measure of the time spent in cross-divisional activities, we asked for the percentage of time on an annual basis spent on public service activities (Table 13). An annual basis seemed the best measure, as some technical services librarians are involved only seasonally in public services activities (for example, in bibliographic instruction or library tours). Likewise, respondents indicated that some public services librarians help with cataloguing functions in the summer when public services may be less busy.

Table 13. Percentage of Time Full-Time Librarians Work in Another Division

Percentage of Time Spent Annually Technical Services Librarians Working in Public Services Public Services Librarians Working in Technical Services
CARL Librarians 

n=126

CASUL Librarians 

n=12 

Total 

Librarians 

n=138

CARL Librarians 

n=189

CASUL Librarians 

n=7

Total 

Librarians 

n=196

no. % no. % no. % no. % no. % no. %
no time  69 55 2 17 71 51 155 82 4 57 159 81
1-10% 38 30 7 58 45 33 18 10 3 43 21 11
11-20% 5 4 1 8 6 4 3 2 - - 3 2
21-30% 6 5 - - 6 4 7 4 - - 7 4
31-40% 1 1 - - 1 1 3 2 - - 3 2
41-50% 6 5 - - 6 4 1 .5 - - 1 .5
51% or more 1 1 2 17 3 2 2 1 - - 2 1

In summary, as Table 13 indicates, it is the technical services librarians who are more likely to have cross-divisional assignments, and cross-divisional assignments occur more frequently in the smaller libraries. Also, the majority of those who have cross-divisional assignments, whether in public services or technical services, spend from 1-10 % of their time in the second division. Eskoz (1991, p. 81) also found in her survey of 40 academic libraries in the U.S. that the amount of time catalogue librarians spent working in public services was usually limited to a few hours per week.

Part-time Librarians
In order to determine the contribution of part-time librarians in working across divisions, we requested the numbers of part-time librarians based either in technical services or public services, broken down by those who were working only in one division, and by those who were working in both technical and public services. Part-time librarians were working in only 8 CARL and 3 CASUL libraries. Although there were 18 part-time librarians based in public services, there were only 6 of them who also performed technical services functions. All 6 were working in CARL libraries. There were only 9 part-time librarians based in technical services but half of them were also performing public services functions. As Table 14 indicates, the number of part-time librarians is limited, they are spread across the libraries involved, and for the majority of libraries, whether CASUL or CARL, they are not a major factor in the overall contribution of technical services librarians to public services work or vice versa. Given the training involved and the difficulty in maintaining expertise in two divisions, it may not be worthwhile for libraries to assign part-time librarians duties across divisions.
 

Table 14: Work Assignments of Part-time Librarians by Division

Work Assignments of Part-Time Librarians by Division CARL libraries CASUL libraries Total
no. of 
librarians
 no. of 
  libraries
no. of 
librarians
no. of 
 libraries
no. of 
librarians
no. of 
 libraries
Technical Services only 5 4 - - 5 4
Technical Services (base) and Public Services 2 2 2 2 4 4
Public Services only 11 4 1 1 12 5
Public Services (base) and Technical Services 6 4 - - 6 4

Note: Of the 8 CARL libraries who had part-time librarians, 4 had part-timers in both public services and technical services. Of the 3 CASUL libraries, none had part-timers in both divisions.
 

Specific Functions Being Performed
Participants were presented with a list and asked to indicate those which their professional staff were performing, and to add to the list where appropriate. The most frequently cited functions being performed by technical services librarians were: reference desk, selection/collection development, and bibliographic instruction. Table 15 lists the functions and their occurrence by type of library. One library added to the public services functions we had listed by reporting that they had technical services librarian(s) performing document delivery functions, which they considered to be a public services function.

We also asked if there had been a change in the activities listed in Table 15 in the past 5 years. Eighty-six per cent of the libraries indicated that there had been a change, and the areas of change most frequently cited were: reference desk, selection/collection development, CD-ROM instruction, and library tours. The alteration could have been adding or removing a function. This is an area which we would have liked to investigate in further detail but, owing to the increasing length and complexity of the questionnaire, the decision was taken not to request further information on the nature, extent and reasons for the change. One can guess that areas such as CD-ROM instruction were probably added in the last 5 years, whereas automated catalogue desks may have become less common with the advances in user-friendly software, but these are hypotheses which would need to be tested by further research.
 

Table 15. Public Services Functions Performed by Technical Services Librarians by Library Type

Functions Performed

Libraries where Technical Services Librarians Perform Public Services Libraries where Functions Changed in last 5 years
CARL
n=14 
CASUL
n=7 
Total
n=21 
CARL
n=13 
CASUL
n=5 
Total
n=18 
no. % no. % no. % no. %a no. %a no. %a
Reference desk 9 64 6 86 15 71 6 46 3 60 9 50
Selection/collection development 10 71 3 43 13 62 3 23 2 40 5 28
Bibliographic instruction 5 36 3 43 8 38 3 23 1 20 4 22
CD-ROM instruction 4 29 2 29 6 29 3 23 2 40 5 28
Library tours 5 36 1 14 6 29 5 38 - - 5 28
Automated catalogue instruction 3 21 3 43 6 29 2 15 2 40 4 33
Information desk 3 21 2 29 5 24 2 15 1 20 3 17
Catalogue information desk 2 14 2 29 4 19 2 15 1 20 3 17
Online database searching 2 14 - - 2 10 2 15 1 20 3 17

aThe percentage change is based on the total of the libraries who made a change in the past 5 years.

Table 16: Technical Services functions Performed by Public Services Librarians by Library Type


Functions Performed
Libraries where Public Services Librarians Perform Technical Services Libraries where Functions Changed in last 5 years
 CARL 
n=8
CASUL
n=2

  Total
n=10

   CARL 
n=3

 CASUL n=1

 Total  n=4

no.

no.

no.

no. no. no.
Cataloguing of monographs 3 1 4 1 - 1
Cataloguing of non-book materials 3 1 4 1 - 1
Cataloguing of theses 2 - 2 1 - 1
Subject analysis of materials 3 - 3 1 - 1
Online database corrections 1 - 1 1 - 1
Cataloguing serialsa 2 - 2 - - -
Acquisitionsa 2 - 2 - - -
Cataloguing of problem materiala 2 - 2 - - -
Otherb 2 1 3 1 1 2

aThese functions were mentioned by respondents during the interview.
bOther functions mentioned during the course of the interview were: liaison with technical services (2) and binding (1)
 

Conclusion
This study found that the traditional public/technical services divisions were still prevalent in Canadian academic libraries in 1995/96. However, in three-quarters of these libraries there were professional librarians working across the divisional boundaries. From this survey, the practice appeared to work well for the libraries involved, as evidenced by the number of advantages versus the number of disadvantages cited, and the stated intention to continue and even increase the practice. In general, CARL and CASUL results were similar. If, as Moeckel (1993, p. 183) states, "dual assignments often arise out of a need to produce more work with less staff," investigation of cross-divisional work should go beyond findings at the library level. Further research in the form of a survey of the librarians involved would produce insight into the individual professional librarian's view of the efficiency of working across divisions and the quality of service provided, and contribute another viewpoint of cross-divisional work.
 


Endnotes

1. "[CARL's] Membership is institutional and is open primarily to libraries of Canadian universities which have doctoral graduates in both the arts and the sciences." http://www.uottawa.ca/library/carl/about/factsh-e.htm . CASUL libraries are generally smaller in enrolment, collection size, and staff. In our sample, enrolments ranged from 2,000 to 10,000 full-time students with the majority being under 5,000. By contrast, only 2 CARL libraries had enrolments under 10,000.
 


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