Kent Weaver, manager of systems operations for information technology services at the University of Toronto Library, is the 2012 recipient of CAUT’s Academic Librarians’ Distinguished Service Award.
Kent Weaver, a University of Toronto librarian whose lengthy and prestigious career included unwavering dedication to improving working conditions for academic librarians in Canada, and who spear-headed development of groundbreaking policy on library governance, is the most recent winner of a CAUT top honour for contributions by a librarian.
Weaver, manager of systems operations for information technology services at UofT, received the Academic Librarians’ Distinguished Service Award at CAUT Council in Ottawa Nov. 24.
Francesca Holyoke, immediate past chair of CAUT’s librarians committee, noted that Weaver has packed a near four-decade long career with remarkable service, and that perhaps the highest testament to his tireless promotion and protection of the academic library community comes from his local association and colleagues from across the country.
“He has been on the front lines of all kinds of trouble,” Holyoke wryly suggests, trouble which ultimately provoked significant national change.
A member of the University of Toronto Faculty Association since librarians joined in 1978, Weaver initially worked with colleagues to write the first librarians policy governing working terms and conditions, and has continued a deep involvement with UTFA through the years, serving in a wide variety of capacities.
He represented UTFA at CAUT Council and on the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations’ board of directors, and has served as a member of CAUT’s librarians committee and also served as chair, overseeing a period in which definitive policy statements around issues of library governance were developed.
“Under his leadership the committee shifted the focus of CAUT librarians conferences to the substantive issues of bargaining for and by librarians. The conversations and initiatives sparked by these developments continue to reverberate on the CAUTLib listserv and at many bargaining tables,” Holyoke wrote in making the case for Weaver’s nomination for the award.
In a “watershed event” for Canadian academic librarians, Weaver, along with Dr. Toni Samek of the University of Alberta, undertook at “both professional and personal risk,” the first CAUT investigation into issues of academic freedom for librarians. Their investigative work contributed to many of the subsequent changes in academic staff rights and working conditions of librarians employed by McGill University Library.
This achievement, along with his “national leadership in advocacy for the importance of academic librarians to the academic enterprise” was recognized by the Canadian Library Association in 2010 when Weaver won their Advancement of Intellectual Freedom in Canada Award.
Weaver will retire in June after 40 years of service with the UofT, where he started out in 1973. He is the eighth recipient of the CAUT librarians’ award since it was established in 1994.