Position Paper No. 1

Criteria for Appointment, Promotion and Advancement in the Librarian Series

Note: References to sections of the Academic Personnel Manual include references to the same sections incorporated in the current Memorandum of Understanding for University of California Librarians.

The criteria for promotion within or appointment to the ranks of the Librarian Series are established in the Academic Personnel Manual in Section 210-4e(3) (a)-(d) and 360-10b-c. These criteria fully define on what basis a librarian can be appointed or promoted. Expansion of these criteria into detailed lists of expected accomplishments serves no useful purpose because of the adaptable nature of the criteria and the individuality of each career.

The Assistant Librarian rank is the basic entry level for professional librarians. An appointee may remain in this rank for a maximum of six years, a period which is considered sufficient for an appointee to demonstrate professional competence and a potential for further professional growth.

Section 360-10b states: "A candidate for merit increase or promotion in this series shall be judged on the basis of the first of the following criteria, and, to the extent they are relevant, on one or more of the last three." The first criterion is professional competence and quality of service within the library. Outstanding service within the library is the primary and absolutely essential consideration in any merit or promotion review. However, for a librarian to be considered for promotion or appointment above the Assistant level, recognition should also be accorded to performance in other areas as well; e.g., professional activity outside the library, university and public service, research and other activity. Furthermore, as is stated in Section 360-10b: "In the consideration of individual candidates, reasonable flexibility shall be exercised in weighing the comparative relevance of these criteria."

The promotion from Assistant to Associate Librarian is a major and critical step for librarians of the University of California. It is that review which normally awards career status and documents that the librarian has the potential for continued growth, which is the prerequisite for promotion to the rank of Librarian. The promotion from Associate to Librarian differs in that it documents that the librarian has realized this potential through demonstrated superior professional ability and attainment.

The potential for advancement to the rank of Librarian is open to all members of the Librarian series, although the Academic Personnel Manual states that "there is no obligation on the part of the University to promote an Associate Librarian to the rank of Librarian solely on the basis of years of service" (360-17b(3)). It is the merit of the individual librarian which will determine whether a promotion is achieved. There should be no quotas, either with regard to the number of librarians in the Librarian rank, or to the amount of money in the budget, for a promotion recommendation should be made solely on the individual merits of the librarian under review. The same considerations apply to advancement to the top of the Librarian rank.

Section 210-4e(2) states: "An appointee will be eligible for promotion only if there are demonstrated superior professional skills and achievement. For some, promotion may involve a position change; for others, promotion may not necessarily involve position change but will depend upon increased responsibility as well as growing competence and contribution in the same position. The assumption of administrative responsibilities is not a necessary condition for promotion." This statement is interpreted to mean that promotion is an opportunity open equally to librarians with or without administrative responsibilities.

A review for promotion or appointment to the rank of Librarian should give full consideration to the total career of the candidate. This is interpreted to be the spirit of Section 360-10c, which states: “Promotion shall be justified by demonstrated superior professional skills and achievement, and, in addition, demonstrated professional growth and accomplishment and/or the assumption of increased responsibility. The assumption of administrative responsibility is not a necessary condition for promotion."

Advancement to the top of the Librarian rank should be predicated upon a career history of outstanding service.


Originally adopted in January 1978. Revised version incorporating relevant revisions to the University of California Academic Personnel Manual adopted December 1988. Final corrected version issued July 14, 1989. Last update 6/5/98. Revised version adopted at LAUC Spring Assembly, May 30, 2003.