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Princeton University
Office of the Dean of the Faculty

Rules and Procedures of the Professional Library Staff of Princeton University and Other Provisions of Concern to These Staffs

Last printed Fall 1986; Last updated January 2013


A. Appointments and Advancements

1. Selection of New Staff Members

In the interest of locating the best qualified staff members and in accordance with the University’s commitment to equal opportunity and affirmative action, new appointments to the professional library staff are made after a thorough search has been conducted to locate the most qualified applicant for the position. Searches are documented by the Search Report Form submitted to the Dean of the Faculty as part of the initial appointment recommendation.

An advanced degree from an accredited graduate school of Library (and Information) Science is required for appointment to the professional library staff. In exceptional cases, normally involving archivist, curatorship, or subject specialist positions, equivalent prior experience or an advanced degree in a discipline other than Library (and Information) Science may be accepted instead of the M.L.(I.)S. Exceptional appointees lacking the M.L.(I.)S. are encouraged to acquire the degree.

Staff members are notified of each open position and a search committee is appointed to screen applications, arrange for interviews and propose a list of candidates to the Librarian. Recommendations for appointment are made by the University Librarian to the Dean of the Faculty.

2. Procedures for Initial Appointments

All appointments to the professional library staff, except that of the University Librarian, are made by the Dean of the Faculty. Candidates are notified in writing of the appointment by the Dean. Initial appointments normally terminate effective July 1. However, librarians who are hired after February 1 may be given a longer initial term of appointment.

3. Staff Review Procedures

a. Annual Performance Review

In late winter, the University Librarian submits to the Dean of the Faculty his or her recommendations on salary advancement, promotion, and reappointment for each member of the professional library staff. Normally, changes in rank and salary take place only as a result of this review and are effective on the following July 1.

The annual performance review process is carried out by the University Librarian with the coordination and advice of the Human Resources Librarian and the appropriate department head. The evaluation process that is part of this review is intended both to advise the University Librarian on recommendations to the Dean of the Faculty and to provide the opportunity for each librarian to review his or her progress and performance during the year with his or her supervisor.

Recommendations for Associate University Librarians and the Deputy University Librarian are made by the University Librarian.

Notification of reappointment, salary, and rank is made in writing by the Dean of the Faculty to each librarian.

b. Review of New Appointments

Monitoring the progress of librarians newly appointed to the professional library staff is the responsibility of the appropriate supervisor. Six months from the date of initial appointment the librarian and the supervisor review the librarian’s performance, i.e., whether the librarian has demonstrated an ability to fulfill the requirements of his/her position, and shows potential for superior contribution to the Library, University, and profession. The results of this review are discussed with the Deputy or appropriate Associate University Librarian.

c. Review of Promotion and Continuing Appointment Recommendations

Continuing appointment may be awarded to those librarians who exhibit excellence in service to the University and strong proven evidence of the capacity for sustained professional growth.

The procedure for promotion and/or continuing appointment typically encompasses the following:

    December 1

  1. The promotion and/or continuing appointment is discussed between the supervisor and the department head.
  2. The supervisor completes a change of status form.
  3. The change of status form, librarian’s resume, position description and supporting documentation are presented to the department head.

Examples of supporting documentation include supervisory recommendation, letters of reference, examples of service to the University, descriptions of professional development activities, and descriptions of service activities related to the library profession at the local, state and national level.

    February and March

  1. Promotion, Continuing Appointment and Review Committee meets to consider promotion and/or continuing appointment.
  2. No later than the end of March, the Committee makes its recommendations to the University Librarian.
  3. University Librarian reviews the Committee’s recommendation and makes his or her recommendations to the Dean of Faculty.

4. Definition of Continuing Appointment

Librarians on continuing appointment serve with the understanding of continued employment, with salary adjustments and promotions when appropriate, until retirement, as long as the services of the Library continue to be of a type and scope requiring their professional skills. Reduction or elimination of specific services of the Library may occur for reasons of financial stringency or as a result of a rearrangement of Library services to meet the needs of Library users or the objectives of the Library. In such instances, librarians on continuing appointment may be terminated with the appropriate notice. Librarians on continuing appointment may be terminated for cause as described in Section B.2 and for disability as described in Section B.3 of this chapter.

5. Part-Time Appointments

The rules, procedures, and other arrangements described in this publication apply in various ways to part-time employees. Those contemplating part-time employment should consult with their supervisors, the Human Resources Librarian, and the Associate Dean of the Faculty for specific questions of concern. In general:

a. All part-time staff members are covered by the rules and procedures governing salary advancement and promotion except that, at the discretion of the University Librarian, a staff member working less than 100% may have the decision for promotion from Associate Librarian to Librarian postponed for up to two years if conditions are such that a decision cannot be made within the normal time. Staff members employed less than 50% time are not eligible for continuing appointment.

b. Normally, those whose appointments are at least five months, at 50% or greater time, are eligible for the same benefits as full-time staff members. Some benefits are prorated based on duty time.

c. With special permission part-time staff members have the benefit of the research leave and other service arrangements described in Section C of this chapter (Chapter IV) and in the booklet Summary of Compensation, Service, and Benefit Plans and Programs for the Members of the Professional Research, Technical, and Library Staffs.

B. Non-reapppointments, Terminations, and Retirements

1. Notice of Termination or Non-reappointment

Librarians on annual appointment must receive at least three months’ notice of the University’s intention not to reappoint them. Librarians on continuing appointment must, except if terminated for cause, receive at least six months’ notice of termination or equivalent pay, at the option of the University. Time spent and benefits received on temporary disability may count toward satisfaction of this obligation by the University. It is expected that a librarian will give due consideration to the length of time that may be required for the University to fill his or her position when giving notice of resignation.

2. Disciplinary Action and Termination for Cause

A member of the staff may be subject to disciplinary action including but not limited to suspension, dismissal, or salary reduction for cause on the basis of: (a) continuing unsatisfactory performance after due notice; or (b) conduct which is shown to violate the University rules and procedures applicable to a member of the professional library staff or substantially to impair the individual’s performance of his or her responsibilities as a member of the staff. The range of penalties described above is provided so that the penalty may be commensurate with the nature of the offense.

Before any of the above actions are taken, a staff member is entitled to receive from his or her supervisor a statement in writing of the reasons for the proposed action. If the staff member wishes, he or she may receive a hearing under the provisions of the “Grievance Procedures for the Professional Library Staff” (Section C.2.e of this chapter).

3. Separation as a Result of Disability

Prior to any decision to terminate a librarian unable to perform the normal duties of his or her job due to disability, reasonable accommodation will be made as long as the librarian can continue to perform the essential functions of the position. The University will also attempt to transfer that person to another position for which he or she is qualified.

4. Retirement

Retirement from the University is a voluntary termination. A member of the staff who wishes to discuss retirement should consult with her or his supervisor, the Human Resources Librarian, and with the Associate Dean of the Faculty. The individual should also consult with the Office of Human Resources for information on the status of his or her benefits upon retirement.

The title of Emeritus Librarian may be bestowed upon librarians at the time of their retirement from the University after at least ten years of service. The title is conferred at the discretion of the University Librarian and with the approval of the Dean of the Faculty.

C. Other Service Arrangements

1. Moving and Relocation Expenses

New appointees to the professional library staff may be provided with a contribution toward the cost of moving furniture and personal effects to the Princeton area in accordance with the policies approved by the Dean of the Faculty.

2. Leaves of Absence

a. Research Leaves

Members of the professional library staff holding the rank of Librarian or higher are eligible for research leaves with pay. These leaves typically last between one and three months, but six months is the maximum time allowed at full pay.

All requests for research leaves are submitted to the Promotion, Continuing Appointment and Review Committee and to the department head level or higher. These requests should describe the applicant’s proposed research program and its purposes and be accompanied by a statement from the appropriate Deputy or appropriate Associate University Librarian indicating support of the application in terms of its scholarly merit, of its benefit to the department, and of its impact on the department during the individual’s absence. Committee recommendations are transmitted to the University Librarian who then makes a recommendation to the Dean of the Faculty. Approval of research leaves will be dependent upon the quality of the proposed program and financial considerations relating to the Library. Such activities should normally be funded from grants, contracts or fellowships.

b. Paid Periods of Absence

Refer to Summary of Compensation, Service and Benefits Plans and Programs for Professional Researchers, Specialists, and Librarians.

c. Leaves Without Pay

Staff members who take a leave without pay, other than an approved Family and Medical Leave, may or may not be guaranteed employment at the end of the leave period. Where reemployment cannot be guaranteed, efforts will be made to provide the same or comparable employment. It is important that the agreements for every such leave include a written understanding of the terms and conditions of the leave and subsequent return.

Staff members contemplating leaves of absence without pay should initially discuss their plans with their supervisor and the appropriate Deputy or appropriate Associate University Librarian. Following this discussion, the staff member should submit a formal request to the University Librarian indicating the purpose and duration of the leave.

All leaves without pay must be approved by the Dean of the Faculty. Requests for Family and Medical Leave, parental leaves, and leaves for other family obligations are submitted to the University Librarian who recommends to the Dean of the Faculty. All other leaves are reviewed by the Promotion, Continuing Appointment and Review Committee, which recommends to the University Librarian who recommends to the Dean of the Faculty.

The individual’s formal leave request should be supplemented by a statement by the Deputy or appropriate Associate University Librarian submitted directly to the University Librarian indicating the extent of support of the leave, arrangements which might be made in the department should it be granted, and the potential benefits of the leave to the department and the Library.

If such leaves are for the purpose of scholarship, the University will continue coverage under the Health Care Plan, Long Term Disability Insurance Plan, Life Insurance Plan, Health Benefit Expense Account Plan, Dependent Care Expense Account Plan, Children’s Educational Assistance Plan, and Staff Educational Assistance Plan, provided the member pays his/her regular contributions, if applicable, when due. The member will be sent a billing packet for direct payment of the applicable contributions. The University will not make contributions to the Princeton University Retirement Plan during the member’s leave of absence without pay and the member cannot make pretax contributions to the Tax Deferred Annuity Plan.

For Family and Parental Leave, Military Leave and Leave for Religious Observances, refer to Office of Human Resources Policy and Procedure Manual available at:

d. Outside Professional Activities

The general propriety of outside professional activities by members of the Princeton University professional library staff is recognized, subject to responsibility for timely and successful completion of the contract with which the individual is involved and the fulfillment of his/her other University responsibilities.

The term “outside” refers to professional activities not directly associated with the fulfillment of an individual’s teaching, research, and administrative commitments to the University. Such activities generally make use of the individual’s expertise and often bring professional benefits to the individual and the University. These activities may or may not involve compensation. A member of the professional library staff may, with the consent of his or her supervisor and the University Librarian, devote up to four 8 to 12-hour days out of all the days in one month to outside professional activities without prior approval of the Dean of the Faculty, provided that not more than two 8 to 12-hour days are for professional consulting activities. For professional library staff, there are two types of outside professional activities, which are defined as follows:

1) Professional development, contributions to research and scholarship and advancement of librarianship activities

Members of the professional library staff are encouraged to be active in professional organizations and to engage in independent research, writing, and activities which advance the goals of scholarship and the library profession, including classroom teaching at Princeton University. Members of the professional library staff may also occasionally be invited to teach in one of the academic departments of the University.  Those who take on this additional responsibility, on the recommendation of the department chair and with the approval of the University Librarian and the Dean of the Faculty, temporarily take on the additional title of "Lecturer." These activities do not include staff training and attendance at conferences. Attendance at meetings of professional library associations and learned societies is encouraged.

2) Professional consulting activities

When consulting professionally, the individual should make sure that it does not adversely affect his or her independence, or the integrity of the University. For example, an individual may not accept a regular and continuing position with significant responsibility for the management of an outside enterprise. Also, an individual may not become a regular and continuing employee of any outside organization, either part-time or full-time, or accept any outside position that would tend to create conflicts of interest with the position in the University. Any request for an exception to this policy must be approved by the University Librarian and the Dean of the Faculty. Exceptions are rarely granted and only in the most unusual circumstances.

Time devoted to professional consulting activities, including teaching courses at other universities, may not exceed the equivalent of two calendar days per month without prior approval of the immediate supervisor, the University Librarian and the Dean of the Faculty. The duty terms for part-time service may be obtained from the Office of the Dean of the Faculty.

The following principles and procedures must be applied to decisions on outside professional activities in both categories mentioned above:

  • The primary obligation of members of the professional library staff is to fulfill their responsibilities to the Library. This obligation is not merely to work during particular hours on particular days, but is professional in character. No other work activity may be undertaken, whether gainful or not, which conflicts with this obligation.
  • Before undertaking outside professional activities, individuals should be convinced that the activities contribute: (a) to teaching and scholarship at Princeton, (b) to communicating and applying special knowledge outside the University, and/or (c) to furthering the common good.
  • In outside professional activities, whether compensated or not, an individual shall not: (a) violate the University's patent policy, (b) permit an outside agent to have a preferred position with respect to information emanating from University activities, and/or (c) negotiate or influence the negotiation of contracts between the University and organizations with which they have consulting or other significant relationships.
  • In outside activities, whether professional in nature or not, an individual shall not commit University materials, facilities, students, or personnel for the gain or benefit of an outside enterprise. However, limited use may be made of materials, facilities, and secretarial assistance for service to professional societies in the individual's discipline and in connection with nonpartisan public service. The University Librarian and the Dean of the Faculty shall be kept informed of such activities. Questions arising out of special circumstances shall be reviewed by the Dean of the Faculty.
  • An individual shall inform the University Librarian, in writing, of all outside professional activities as part of the regular report on scholarly and other activities. An individual shall also consult with his or her direct supervisor whenever considering significant new outside professional activities and obtain the approval of the University Librarian. The University Librarian shall consult with the Dean of the Faculty concerning any exceptions to these rules and forward for consideration any special circumstances that may arise.
  • Only the Dean of the Faculty may approve exceptions to, or exemptions from these rules, concerning outside professional activities.

D. Grievance Procedures

It is expected that most job-related problems will be resolved by bringing them to the attention of the staff member’s supervisor, or where appropriate, the supervisor’s supervisor. If a satisfactory resolution is not obtained, the staff member may discuss the issues and the grieving process with the Office of the Dean of Faculty. A copy of the grievance procedure is available on the Office of the Dean of the Faculty's website at