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Consultants in Academic Libraries: Challenging, Renewing, and Extending the Dialogue

Resource type
Date created
2018
Authors/Contributors
Abstract
There is a trend in academic libraries to hire consultants for internal crises, change management projects, strategic planning processes, outcomes assessment, evidence-based decision making, information literacy instruction, and more. Although we hear informally about the use of consultants in academic libraries, the practice has gone unexamined. We employ a historical and linguistic analysis of consultants in academic libraries, using a critical framework for this research. A critical perspective provides a structure to discuss issues that librarians may not have been able to previously fit into library practice dialogue. A chronological history of consulting in libraries acts as our literature review. This review, along with a targeted examination of library and information science resources, is used to guide two lines of linguistic analysis. The first provides a critique of the core tenets used to define and characterize library consultants, namely, the claim that consultants are unbiased professionals who bring “expertise” and “fresh” ideas to libraries. The second analysis investigates the rhetorical strategies used in existing texts: polarizing language, straw man reasoning, and figurative and indirect language. The discussion section unpacks these linguistic strategies, reflects on what is missing from the texts, and considers how knowledge and power are exerted through language, making connections to the broader context of neoliberalism.
Document
Published as
Harrington, Marni R., and Ania Dymarz. 2018. “Consultants in Academic Libraries: Challenging, Renewing, and Extending the Dialogue.” Canadian Journal of Academic Librarianship 3: 1–28. Retrieved from http://www.cjal.ca/index.php/capal/article/view/28203/21153
Publication title
Canadian Journal of Academic Librarianship
Document title
Consultants in Academic Libraries: Challenging, Renewing, and Extending the Dialogue
First page
1
Last page
28
Copyright statement
Copyright is held by the author(s).
Permissions
You are free to copy, distribute and transmit this work under the following conditions: You must give attribution to the work (but not in any way that suggests that the author endorses you or your use of the work); You may not use this work for commercial purposes.
Scholarly level
Peer reviewed?
Yes
Language
English
Member of collection
Download file Size
input_data\nid_17389\Harrington%2526Dymarz.pdf 221.74 KB

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