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RTI Research Spotlight: Effects of Faculty Status on Perceptions of Medical Librarians

By Sa'ad Laws

What is in a title? For some health sciences librarians adding the title of faculty may be semantical, but for many it is an important recognition of their status within their institutions and a progressive step towards facilitating research. Conversely, it is easy to speculate that the lack of faculty status may be averting some health science librarians back from their true scholarly potential.

In fact, it was the difficulty to begin research as a non-faculty librarian at my own institution that started my interest in this subject. My fellowship during the 2019 iteration of MLA’s RTI aided me in defining and developing the objectives of this project. Additionally, it furthered my knowledge on conducting surveys and data analysis. Most importantly, having the opportunity to participate in a colloquium of this sort, where ideas were exchanged and new points of view gained, was both gratifying and motivating. All these skills and knowledge were imperative steps in authoring my article in JMLA 109(4):Oct 2021 (http://dx.doi.org/10.5195/jmla.2021.1138). I am very satisfied with this addition to the body of scholarly discussion and eager to add more.

This research project is notable for extending what is known about the demographics of faculty librarians to the health science spectrum. Further, it is interesting to see the correlation between faculty status and increased markers of scholarly activity. However, faculty status does not seem to effect clinical faculty perceptions, which are generally good, but may not extend to the point of viewing librarians as research partners or equals.

*Sa'ad Laws, is a fellow of the 2019 MLA Research Training Institute (RTI), and this project was the focus of his research. The RTI project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (RE-95-17-0025-17).

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