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The Case of the Declining use of the word "library"

The word “library” in the Principles, Standards, Criteria or Guidelines of the six Regional accreditors is a dying entry. Take for example The Principles for Accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges SACS/COC.  The occurrence of the word “library” is greatly reduced since 1997. And a new term has been introduced “information resources”. Where the word “library” used to be enjoined with a slash to the term “learning resources”,  that has been replaced with learning/information resources as a phrase.  Either way, the word “library” is a disappearing word. I do not mean to imply  that the institution of the library is threatened, (although with the growth of online learning and the battle with the publishers on the cost of digital content I do have my opinions) just that the word “library” is not specified at length as it used to be. Presumably it is a by-product of the regional accreditation commissions as they amend their standards or guidelines to meet their members’ current education needs – and not to forget the U.S. Department of Education requirements.

In the December 1997 Criteria for Accreditation from the SACS/COC in Sections 2.9 and 3.8 there were 32 mentions of the word “ library”, 3 mentions of the word “ librarian” and 1 mention of the term “information literacy”.

Approved in December 2001 The Principles of Accreditation replaced the Criteria. the Commission divided the Criteria to create 2 categories, one for the Core Requirements and one for Comprehensive Standards. Luckily the library was mentioned as a Core Requirement in 2.9.
In the December 2001 The Principles of Accreditation: Foundations for Quality Enhancement SACS/COC there are 4 mentions of the word “library”, and the word “librarians” is a now-show. And specific mention of “information literacy” which was in the December 1997 Criteria now has no mention.  This is now where the addition of learning/information resources begins, replacing library/learning resources.

2006 and all amendments up to the December 2012
In the 2006/2012 The Principles of Accreditation: Foundations for Quality Enhancement from the SACS/COC the word “library” holds its own in Sections 2.9 and 3.8 mentioned 4 times in total.

Luckily, the Table of Contents Heading Library and Other Learning Resources is consistent across all years so you can at least find the library.

To see the SACS/COC Principles follow the link to SACS/COC from my website's Accreditation Links page.