A Colloquium with Dr. Daniel O’Connor
“Attracting the Best and the Brightest”
November 9, 2016
Byron Auditorium – Law School Room 204
Abstract: Library and Information Science (LIS) educational programs have had a traditional connection to libraries but that link is wearing thin. There are many reasons for this, including the feeling on the part of many, that librarianship is being overshadowed by the several information fields. The crisis confronting libraries of all types could be defined by their long-term, unprecedented decline in funding. This financial decline, which stifles innovation and inhibits the ability to support core services or pay appropriate compensation to employees, was ignored by the American Library Association (ALA) in its March 2015 State of America’s Libraries report. Unlike other institutions and professions, our collective of academic, school, and public libraries did not grow financially during the tremendous economic expanse from the mid-1990s to 2008. Rather, funding levels for libraries have continued to decline and many libraries have seen their percent of institutional or municipal budgets seriously cut over the past several decades. The attractiveness of choosing a library career may be tempered by the downward spiral libraries are now experiencing and the concomitant decline in articulated standards by accredited library education programs. If librarianship is to thrive and expand, then it will need to attract the best individuals in our society. The future potential of a library career is also dampened by some projections that there is a decline in job opportunities combined with low pay. Significant changes may be needed to make librarianship attractive and productive if top individuals are to choose librarianship as a career. If that is not possible, then librarianship may need to merge into other fields that are perceived to perform the functions associated with libraries.
Daniel O. O’Connor has his MSLS and Ph.D. from Syracuse University and he is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Library and Information Science at Rutgers where he teaches research methods in the undergraduate, masters and doctoral programs at the School of Communication & Information. At the graduate level he has also taught courses in Data Analytics, Evaluation of Library and Information Services and Systems, Financial Management, Cataloging and Classification, Collection Development and Management, and Information Sources in Science and Technology. His dissertation dealt with library catalog design. He has served as an elected member of the Council of the American Library Association (ALA), chaired ALA’s Education Committee, chaired its Committee on Research and Statistics, and served as a member of ALA’s Committee on Accreditation. He has also served on the Executive Board and Public Policy Committee of the New Jersey Library Association. Dan O’Connor recently served as a nationally elected member the Executive Committee of the American Association of University Professors. At Rutgers, Dan O’Connor is the past-chair of the New Brunswick Faculty Council which includes over 60 academic departments on the flagship campus. He has served on the Executive Committee of the University Senate and as a co-chair of its Budget Committee. Dan O’Connor has served on over 50 dissertation committees at Rutgers and several dissertation committees at other universities in the U.S. and internationally. He has served as the President of the Rutgers Faculty Union (AAUP/AFT), as its Chief Negotiator, as Chair of its Committee A on Academic Freedom, and as a long-term member of its Executive Council. Dan O’Connor is the current Past-President of the New Jersey State Conference of the American Association of University Professors, representing over 7,500 faculty and professional staff at 13 higher education institutions. He is currently Chair of the NJ Higher Education Leadership Council representing the interests of over 31,000 New Jersey faculty and staff. He has held consulting positions with the New York Public Library and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He and Phil Mulvaney have served as consultants to Queens College and they are currently consultants to Pratt Institute and Clarion University advising them on their upcoming ALA accreditation.