OCAD University recently announced changes to its Library structure, which has generated much interest and misinformation. To help people better understand the Library’s reorganization, the University has issued the following statement below.
STATEMENT FROM OCAD UNIVERSITY, RE: LIBRARY REORGANIZATION
It’s important to provide the context of the Library reorganization, which is part of the University’s plan to protect and enhance its mission by achieving financial sustainability while enhancing the student experience. As part of this overall plan, a review of the Library was undertaken to see how it could improve services to support our students while supporting the institutional goal of achieving financial sustainability.
The Library’s reorganization is bringing together three functional units – the Dorothy H. Hoover Library, the Learning Zone and Visual Resources & Special Collections – to create one cohesive University department. The new structure aligns with the decolonization approach by flattening hierarchies and promoting a peer-to-peer environment.
Before the reorganization, the Library had 18 positions, including 10 librarian positions. Under the new structure, there will be 16 positions, including 8 librarian positions. These include four new positions: two trained professional librarians, one management role (also a trained librarian) and one library assistant.
While we in no way minimize the impact of the changes on Library staff, we believe these changes will lead to a more equitable and student-focused structure that will improve the Library environment and lead to a better student experience. OCAD U will continue to support the four individuals impacted by the reorganization through the transition process, with OPSEU Local 576, Unit 1.
The reorganization will also expand the Library’s capacity to support students and faculty across the University in all programs, as well as within Graduate Studies. As a result, more librarians will be engaged in faculty/department liaison work and, in turn, with student engagement and there will be greater equity and access to Library research education.
While the librarians at OCAD University have supported curriculum and academic initiatives, they are academic support staff who are represented by OPSEU Local 576, Unit 1 and, therefore, are not covered by the Memorandum of Agreement and are not members of the OCAD U Faculty Association (OCADFA).
Additionally, the Library staff and its structure, or decisions regarding its reorganization, are the purview of OCAD U’s administration and Board of Governors, respectively.
THE REVIEW PROCESS
The University followed the process normally undertaken for the reorganization of a unit.
Of specific note, we:
- provided a briefing to Senate at its March 1 meeting regarding the context and process being undertaken to review the Library;
- solicited feedback and input from faculty, students and staff through an OCAD University-wide survey on how they use the Library collections and services, pre-pandemic and at present;
- engaged with OPSEU Local 576, Unit 1 throughout the review;
- held several meetings with the Interim University Librarian and Library staff, and Human Resources joined a Library department meeting on April 1, 2021 to provide context and planned timing for decisions on the Library reorganization;
- complied with the processes outlined in the collective agreement in providing notice to the four impacted individuals; and
- made decisions through appropriate governance processes, which included HR, Executive Team and the Board of Governors.