niversity sealEditor's notes:

POLICY TITLE: Policy on Librarian and Archivist Appointments

DATE OF ISSUANCE: This policy was approved by the President's Council on November 7, 2000 and by the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees on January 17, 2001.

ACCOUNTABLE DEPARTMENT/UNIT:  Office of the Provost. Questions on policy content should be directed to the Office of the Dean of University Libraries, ext. 8-2447.

ABSTRACT: Describes the criteria and procedures for Librarian and Archivist appointments.

MISC: See also:

Policy on Librarian and Archivist Appointments

Concept and Scope

This Policy on Librarians and Archivists governs the appointments of the full-time professionals serving in the University Libraries, at the ranks of librarian or archivist, senior librarian or senior archivist, and principal librarian or principal archivist. These professionals have potentially long-term responsibilities specifically focused on current and lifelong learning, with a considerable level of initiative and autonomy, in support of the educational, scientific, humanistic, artistic, and professional objectives of the university, in the context of the broadly conceived mission of the University Libraries.

The designations librarian, archivist, senior librarian, senior archivist, principal librarian, principal archivist (herein referred to in condensed form as librarian/archivist, senior librarian/archivist, principal librarian/archivist) are specific to positions governed by this Policy, and may not be used for any other positions in the university unless preceded by distinguishing qualifiers such as visiting, special, part-time, or adjunct.


The making of every appointment under this Policy (including reappointment with or without promotion), and the specification of its term and compensation require a recommendation by the university librarian, arrived at following the procedures specified in this Policy, and the approval of the president. The president shall also review every decision to let an appointment (other than a terminal appointment required to satisfy the provisions of this Policy for timely notice) lapse at the expiration of its term.

When provisions of other university policies are made applicable under this Policy, references to the dean are to be construed as references to the university librarian.

The word "year," when used in the specification of the duration of a term of appointment, is construed as specified in the subsection Years of the Appointment and Tenure Policy of Carnegie Mellon University.

Initial appointment as well as reappointment at the rank of librarian/archivist is for a term of three years. No more than two terms of appointment, whether consecutive or not, are permitted at this rank.

Initial appointment at, or promotion to, the rank of senior librarian/archivist is for a term of three years; every reappointment at this rank is for a term of five years. Senior librarians/archivists are expected to demonstrate superior mastery in their professional activity with a substantial contribution to the universityŐs mission.

Initial appointment at, promotion to, as well as reappointment at, the rank of principal librarian/archivist is for a term of five years. Appointment at this rank is made only for extraordinary professional accomplishment and fundamental contributions to the universityŐs mission.

It is the policy of the university that the timing of a decision to promote an appointee under this Policy is to be governed solely by the judgment that the candidate satisfies the criteria for the proposed promotion, as indicated in the preceding paragraphs.

When an appointment to a position governed by this Policy is made, it is the responsibility of the university librarian to ensure that the appointee is given clear and full information in writing regarding the terms of the appointment and the scope of his or her specific functions and responsibilities, as well as the contents of this Policy.

An appointment under this Policy does not establish an expectation of consideration for reappointment or promotion. However, timely notice must be given of every decision not to reappoint (where a reappointment is not ruled out by this Policy) or promote a librarian/archivist, senior librarian/archivist, or principal librarian/archivist or to let an appointment (other than a terminal appointment) lapse. Notice is timely if given one year before the expiration of the term of appointment. In order to comply with this provision, it may be necessary to extend a term by an additional appointment of up to one year, designated as a terminal appointment, the decision not to reappoint or to let the appointment lapse notwithstanding.

The university may establish policies on leaves for appointees governed by this Policy. Such leave policies may provide for circumstances in which the nature and aggregate duration, during a term of appointment (other than a terminal appointment), of certain leaves authorizes or requires the university librarian to grant, with the consent of the appointee, an extension of the current term of appointment, such extension being for one year only or, but only in the case of a five-year term, for two years only; and such policies may provide for restrictions on the number and/or frequency of such extensions. A leave policy providing for such extensions of terms of appointment requires the approval of the president.

During the terms of their appointments, librarians/archivists, senior librarians/archivists, and principal librarians/archivists are subject to, and protected by, the same provisions regarding academic freedom and sanctions (including dismissal for cause) as are applicable under the Appointment and Tenure Policy of Carnegie Mellon University to regular but untenured faculty members. Appointees under this Policy enjoy all normal regular faculty fringe benefits. Since the appointments governed by this Policy typically involve an annual twelve-month commitment, these benefits include vacation time. For the purpose of the application of policies referring to ranks, the ranks of librarian/archivist, senior librarian/archivist and principal librarian/archivist are regarded as equivalent to those of assistant professor, associate professor and professor, respectively.


The entire actual and potential contribution of the candidate to the mission of Carnegie Mellon University is to be evaluated. The main criteria for that contribution are librarianship and archival work and impact on the universityŐs goals and objectives.

Evidence may be organized in two main categories:

1. Librarianship and Archival Work

Librarians and archivists facilitate scholars' access to information in support of the research, artistic accomplishment, and teaching missions of the University. Increasingly, the environment for librarianship and archival work is technological, resources are digital, and student use is by remote access. Librarians and archivists need to be conversant with library/archival goals, standards, conventions and values, be able to interpret these within Carnegie MellonŐs context, and be able to translate these factors into appropriate services and collections. By its nature, librarianship and archival work are collaborative endeavors, but librarians and archivists also are expected to demonstrate individual creativity and initiative. Candidates for the appointments governed by this Policy must demonstrate knowledge that contributes to the profession and to academic excellence.

Librarians and archivists have a broad range of individual assignments. Their goals and responsibilities in a variety of different units will be recognized in the evaluation process. Areas of demonstrated expertise may include, but are not confined to, the ability to:

Competence in librarianship and archival work shall be documented by candidate statements, recommendations from faculty, student evaluations, statements from administrators and colleagues. Documentation may be obtained through a variety of means and solicited and unsolicited written opinions may be used.

2. Research, Scholarly or Artistic Activities

Research, scholarly, or artistic activities lead to new knowledge, to increased problem solving, to best practices, and to original theories. Librarians create scholarship in all four typical categories:

Competence should be documented by accomplishments, such as publications, presentations, commissions, inventions, honors from professional societies, and research proposals. The opinions of outstanding experts in the candidateŐs field will be sought for all decisions on appointments at the rank of senior or principal librarian/archivist.

Other Considerations

Consulting, professional committee involvement, editorial work on professional journals, contributions to the welfare of the university community, and to the larger community will be considered as they relate to the two categories above.

Criteria by Rank

To be promoted, a librarian/archivist must demonstrate activities in each of the two main categories: Librarianship and Archival Work and Research, Scholarly or Artistic Activities. All the areas mentioned above will be considered in the evaluation process.

For appointment at or prior to promotion to the rank of principal librarian/archivist, a candidate should:

For example, appropriate achievements might include leadership in state, national, or international professional organizations, published research in refereed journals, editorial assignments, consulting, and presentations. An evaluation for reappointment at this rank should confirm continued growth in leadership and reputation.

For initial appointment at or promotion to the rank of senior librarian/archivist, a candidate should:

For instance, accomplishments might include professional committee appointments at the state and national level, presentations, outreach initiatives, and publications. Superior activities in librarianship and archival work and contributions to university mission will receive positive attention for this promotion.

Procedures: Library Stage

The procedures and timing for preparing cases for appointment decisions, as well as the general rules for making these decisions, are adapted as closely as possible from those provided in existing university procedures as specified in writing by the university librarian and reported to the provost. In this adaptation, references to the dean are to be construed as references to the university librarian, and references to the department head are to be construed as references to the designated associate university librarian as defined below. In case of doubt regarding the implementation of the provisions of this paragraph, the university librarian makes a binding ruling in writing.

For each appointment case to be considered, the university librarian designates the associate university librarian he or she considers best placed to conduct the procedure; this designee is herein referred to as the designated associate university librarian.

A recommendation on a proposed appointment decision is made by a discussion and vote at a meeting chaired by the designated associate university librarian, at which the following are entitled to vote:

The meeting is conducted, and a report of its proceedings and the outcome of the vote is prepared in accordance with the procedures as specified in the first paragraph of this section. Every recommendation is submitted to the university librarian, together with the report of the designated associate university librarian and the complete documentation of the case.

When the action concerns an initial appointment at the rank of librarian/archivist, the university librarian makes the recommendation to the provost upon receiving the designated associate university librarianŐs report and the accompanying documentation. In every other case, the university librarian submits the appropriate documentation to an ad-hoc committee, constituted as provided below, and makes the final recommendation after receiving and considering the ad-hoc committeeŐs report.

For each case in which its report is required, the ad-hoc committee is appointed by the provost in consultation with the university librarian, and is constituted as follows:

The mission and procedure of the ad-hoc committee are those prescribed for the ad-hoc committees by the policies as specified in the first paragraph of this section.

Procedures: University Stage

All procedures of the Appointment and Tenure Policy of Carnegie Mellon University are applicable mutatis mutandis to a recommendation of the university librarian to appoint, reappoint, promote, or let an appointment lapse, with the exception that the presidentŐs decision does not require ratification by the Board of Trustees. In this process, the cognizant university committee is:

  1. The University Committee on Non-Tenured Appointments, for all evaluations for reappointment at the rank of librarian/archivist and for initial appointment at or promotion to the rank of senior librarian/archivist.
  2. The University Committee on Tenured Appointments for all evaluations for reappointment at the rank of senior librarian/archivist or for initial appointment at, or promotion to, or reappointment at, the rank of principal librarian/archivist.