Applying for sabbaticals

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Applying for a sabbatical is an important scholarly benefit enjoyed by academic librarians undertaking specific research and/or academic projects for six- and twelve-month sabbaticals. The purpose of the sabbatical is not to rest but to shore up one's intellectual energies by pursuing additional professional development. Some other reasons include enabling academic librarians to stay current in emerging technologies, or to enhance one's effectiveness as a librarian within the academy. In other words, a sabbatical is generally undertaken by a seasoned academic librarian to pursue a project and/or course of study that will benefit the host institution. Whether short or long in duration, a sabbatical should be linked directly to the role(s) of academic librarians within their institutions.

Typically, a sabbatical will last anywhere from six months to a year. As faculty members, most academic librarians earn the right to take a year-long sabbatical after serving "X number of years" of service in their organizations. Some examples of recent sabbatical projects include completing a subject master's degree, conducting research into specific library issues and working on specific research projects. In most academic institutions, academic librarians must serve from between four to seven full-time years to qualify for the sabbatical. Some library organizations do not provide a sabbatical benefit to their librarians at all.

Ganshorn (2010) argues that librarians must be more accountable for demonstrating how their sabbaticals add institutional value and in meeting their goals for their sabbaticals. Ganshorn conducted her study while on sabbatical herself, and provided examples of how academic librarians can create manageable research projects that link academic rigour to something of personal value.


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