My apologies for the title of this question, but I didn't know how to turn it. The fact is this is actually a set of many small questions.
I have completed my postgraduate studies in France where, unless I am mistaken, librarians that work in an academic library do more or less the same work as, say, librarians that work in a public library.
When I started to seek information about faculty jobs in Canada, I was struck by the fact that librarians seem to be pretty much considered as faculty.
Is that a fact? Is it the same in the United States? Is in the same in different types of institutions, i.e. more or less research/teaching-oriented?
I have looked at a few faculty collective agreements, and it seems like they usually include librarians. They seem to have pretty much the same working conditions, e.g. in terms of salary, sabbaticals and workload. The last agreement I read specified that librarians have a maximum of 12 hours of "schedules student contacts", in the same article that specifies that professors teach a maximum of 12 credits per year.
I would like to know what exactly is the job of an academic librarian, besides acting as "regular" reference librarians. I suppose they must keep up with the progress in their field and be able to assess the relevance of journal subscriptions and book purchases, but that probably doesn't account for the missing 23–28 hours a week.
Do librarians actually perform and publish research? If so, would that be mostly in their respective field, or in library and library science? Do they have tenure, and is the process similar to the one applied to professors?
Also, how does one become an academic librarian? Do you need an MLIS like a "regular" librarian? Do you need a PhD, and if so, must it be a PhD in library and information science, or in a field related to the position?