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Guidelines for the Appointment and Review of University Librarians and Other Library Administrators Outside the Bargaining Unit

CAUT Policy Statement

These guidelines are intended to clarify procedures regarding the appointment and review of library administrators1 outside the bargaining unit2.

The library3 at any academic institution is integral to the academic function of the institution and therefore must be understood to be an academic unit. The University Librarian occupies a position that is paralleled by other academic administrative positions in some respects and is unique in others. In most  institutions, the University Librarian ranks with deans of faculties or schools and shares many of the responsibilities of deans including but not limited to promotion and tenure, advocacy, budgeting, and the allocation of resources.

Since the University Librarian presides over a resource that is central to the academic life of the institution broad consultation is required within the institution on matters of appointment and review of the University Librarian.

The University Librarian functions as a member of, and also presides over, a group of academic staff with a unique set of concerns within the institutional community. The effective participation of librarians is essential in the processes that select the individual who will play a major role in their academic and professional lives.

The position of University Librarian of an academic institution is an administrative and academic position analogous to that of the dean of an academic faculty. Procedures for the appointment and review of University Librarians should therefore be the same as those used in the institution for appointments at that level.

A search committee should be constituted according to institutional practice for similar committees and should be broadly representative of the major constituencies within the academic institution. The library should be represented by professional librarians whose numbers constitute the majority of the selection committee. Other major constituencies may include senior academic administration, students, faculty and library support staff, and each constituency should have the right to name its representative(s) to the committee. The choice of the chair should be dependent upon institutional practice in the formation of similar committees. Subject only to the limitations suggested by these guidelines, the Committee should be free to adopt appropriate procedures for the conduct of its business. The Committee should report to the president or equivalent institutional administrator or her/his designate.

Whenever possible, the Committee should be appointed at least one year in advance of the date when a new University Librarian is expected to take up their appointment. In no case should acting University Librarian appointments last longer than two years.

The Committee should set the formal qualifications required for the position as well as any special criteria. Such qualifications must include recognized credentials in library science, appropriate experience in librarianship and demonstrated competence in library administration. Just as it is recognized that a dean of an academic department must possess considerable education and experience relevant to their academic department, so too is it essential that persons qualified to fulfil the role of University Librarian must possess considerable education and experience in the discipline of academic librarianship. Administrative experience alone, whether associated with a library, academic institution or any other employment, does not qualify a candidate for consideration or appointment to a University Librarian position.

The position should be advertised and nominations solicited in the CAUT Bulletin, University Affairs (Universities Canada), major library and academic journals, relevant professional electronic discussion lists, and in libraries and academic institution library schools. The advertisement should specify the qualifications required for the position, the term of the administrative appointment, eligibility for its renewal, and eligibility for continuing appointment as a professional librarian.

Representatives from institutional constituencies outside the library should be given the opportunity to meet with all candidates interviewed. The Committee should ensure that sufficient time is made for the professional Librarians and support staff to meet formally and informally with candidates interviewed. Feedback to the Committee from all of these groups should be considered before the selection is made.

Approved by the CAUT Council, November 2018.

1 The position of University Librarian is analogous to the position of Dean of a Faculty or School, or Vice President, and is often referred to as Chief Librarian, Dean of Libraries or Director of Libraries.
2 Terms of appointment and review for University Librarians should also apply to their Associates and Assistants, or equivalent positions.
3 Where archivists are integrated into the administrative structure of the library, all references to libraries or librarians shall be understood to include archives and archivists.