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The meanings of professional and academic as qualifiers of librarians are discussed and it is concluded that there is little difference in the expectations they engender. It is then argued that if librarians in academic institutions are to be accorded a status comparable with that of faculty, they must be prepared to be assessed by the comparable and traditional means, namely qualifications, research and publications. To make the attainment of true faculty status possible, it is then necessary for the 'professional' librarian at all levels to have opportunities to perform to these standards. 'This will require positive support from chief and other senior librarians and a significant change in attitudes to those prevailing in most Australian academic libraries. To describe oneself as a 'Librarian' may be a sufficient definition of role and function among librarians generally. It is widely accepted that there is an essential commonality of ideals, expertise and subject matter for 'professional' workers in libraries that will allow the use of the term 'Librarian' as a generic descriptor. Nevertheless, it would be foolish to assume either that this implies that all librarians 'are equal' or are engaged in 'identical activities', or least of all, that they are perceived by the community at large as anything like the reality that they are. It may not in fact matter greatly what the community at large, or even the creators of fictional librarian personalities such as Kingsley Amis (1955), perceive as the characteristics, functions or status of librarians, but it is of some concern to librarians how they are perceived and valued by other professions alongside which they necessarily practise.

Professional & Technical
November 1
Australian Library and Information Association

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