In Solidarity with UC System Librarians


September 11, 2018 by joshbolick

Yesterday my colleagues in the University of Kansas Libraries’ Library Faculty Assembly (3 of the authors of this blog are represented in this body) voted to send a letter to University of California System President Janet Napolitano ( and the UC Board of Regents ( affirming the value of academic freedom for librarians. The vote was unanimous among the library faculty present.

In brief, while negotiating a new contract, UC librarians were shocked to be informed by the UC administration that “academic freedom is not a good fit for your unit.” You can (and should) read more about it on the UC-AFT Librarians blog here and here, consider signing their petition (1200+ signatures at time of writing), discuss with colleagues, consider similar actions from your governance unit, or outside of governance, share widely, etc. Also check out #librarianAF, #UCLibrarians, & #UCAFT on Twitter.

The KU Library Faculty Assembly letter is available on our faculty governance page. It reads:

September 10, 2018

President Janet Napolitano
University of California
1111 Franklin St., 12th Floor
Oakland, CA 94607

Dear President Napolitano:

The librarians represented by the Library Faculty Assembly of the University of Kansas Libraries write in support of academic freedom for librarians in solidarity with our colleagues in the University of California system. Academic freedom is vital to the successful functioning of academic librarianship.

We depend on it when we publish scholarship critical of for-profit academic publishing practices; when we collect, curate, exhibit and provide access to controversial content; when we highlight marginalized people and issues in teaching information literacy. Without the protection of academic freedom, these and many other vital functions are undermined, to the detriment of our students, faculty, staff, institution, profession, and society.

We therefore urge you to instruct UC negotiators to grant academic freedom to university librarians as they rightly deserve and have requested.



Lars Leon, Chair
Library Faculty Assembly Executive Committee
University of Kansas Libraries
cc: UC Regents

Without academic freedom much of our work, indeed this blog itself, might not be possible. We hope this gesture, however small, is helpful to our colleagues in California.

In Solidarity,

Josh Bolick, Scholarly Communication Librarian, KU Libraries


2 thoughts on “In Solidarity with UC System Librarians

  1. […] system have issued a letter of support for our fight for academic freedom.  Read their blog post, In Solidarity with UC Librarians, and see below the text of the letter sent to UC President Napolitano and the UC Board of Regents. […]


  2. Peter Fritzler says:

    “academic freedom is not a good fit for your unit.” In other words, “If I want your opinion, I’ll give it to you.”


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The opinions here emerge from work done by OA advocates at our university in the Midwest. The opinions are those of the authors themselves and not necessarily of our home institution.


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