It's Not Personal, It's Professional: Causes of Academic Librarian Deference Behavior

Lyda Fontes McCartin, Raquel Wright-Mair

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


This mixed-methods study examined the experiences of academic librarians working in higher education, and explored how academic librarians act in response to disciplinary faculty colleagues. The study uncovers the historical context of the library profession, outlining how stereotypes of academic librarians began and how they continue to be destructive across the academy, especially to those in this profession. Even though academic librarians bring critical skillsets and vast experience to academe, findings indicate that academic librarians exhibit deference behavior when working with disciplinary faculty. This is because of existing perceptions they face that indicate they are solely in positions to support disciplinary faculty, and that disciplinary faculty are more esteemed because of credentials (i.e. doctorate), and academic rank and status. Implications for research and practice are outlined to further explore how academic institutions, and library education more broadly can help to dismantle the flawed and inherently problematic systems that contribute to deference behavior in academic librarians.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102483
JournalJournal of Academic Librarianship
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Library and Information Sciences


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