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Guidelines for Law Librarian Appointment and Promotion

Information and Timeline for 2013 Promotions

A. Introduction

B. Appointment and Promotion Procedures

  1. Nomination
  2. Committee on Promotion
  3. Appointment of New Law Library Faculty
  4. Letters of Reference
  5. Dossier
  6. Review Process

C. Law Librarian Ranks

  1. Librarian I
  2. Librarian II
  3. Librarian III
  4. Librarian IV

    D. Criteria for Appointment and Promotion

    1. Job Performance
    2. Service to the University, Law School, and the Law Library
    3. Professional Activities
    4. Contributions to Research and Other Creative Activities
    5. Service to the Community

    E. Appeals

     


     

    A. Introduction

     

    Rank among the professional staff of the Law Library is to be distinguished from job assignment. Rank is awarded in recognition of job performance, achievements and qualifications. No particular rank entitles a professional staff member to any particular job title. Job assignments may require a law librarian of a lower rank to supervise a law librarian of a higher rank.

    Salaries in the Law Library are determined by job assignments and, therefore, no salary range is attached to any particular rank. Successful candidates will receive a salary increase effective with the new fiscal year. The amount is determined by the University.

    Rank in the Law Library does not confer tenure upon the staff member nor does it grant appointment to the Law Faculty. Denial of promotion does not mean termination of employment. Employment and dismissal of law librarians is controlled by the policies and procedures of the Board of Regents.

    The criteria listed under each rank indicate the level of achievement candidates must meet in order to be promoted to that rank. Prior service as a law librarian or in other legal professional activities entitles an individual to consideration for a rank, but does not guarantee promotion to that rank. Increasing levels of achievement based on these criteria are expected as a law librarian moves sequentially through the ranks.

    Appointment as a law librarian requires a Master's degree from an American Library Association accredited library school. Appointments of those with only a law degree and not a librarian's degree are non-academic professional appointments (e.g., legal research associate). These employees are classified employees subject to the jurisdiction of the Personnel Services Division. A Legal Research Associate is a member of the Law Library staff entitled to full participation in all activities of the Law Library except promotion.
     

    B. Appointment and Promotion Procedures

     

    1. Nomination

    At the first Steering Group meeting in April, law librarians seeking promotion in the upcoming year must declare their intent.If there are candidates a Committee on Promotion will be appointed.

    2. Committee on Promotion

    The Committee on Promotion, comprised of three law librarians excluding the Law Library Director and those applying for promotion, will meet by May 1 each year to select a chair and establish a timetable and the appropriate current procedures. The Chair will be chosen by the members and will vote only in case of a tie.

    The Committee on Promotion will review the professional competence and contributions of librarians being considered for promotion. The Committee is responsible for recommending action to the Law Library Director.

    After any promotions have been announced by the University, the Committee on Promotion will prepare a final report for submission to the Steering Group with recommendations for changes to the promotion process.

    3. Appointment of New Law Library Faculty

    The Law Library Director will determine the appropriate rank for a new appointee.

     Because promotion plays an important role in the career of the law librarian, the Law Library Director will present these guidelines to each Law Library faculty member soon after employment begins. The Law Library Director will also be responsible during the annual evaluation process for reviewing the promotion process with the librarian and discussing opportunities to progress toward fulfilling the requirements.

    4. Letters of Reference

    The Committee will ask each promotion candidate to supply a list of three to five references. The references should be able to address evidence of professional growth in any of the following four areas: a) job performance; b) service to the law library, law school, legal community, university libraries or the university; c) professional activities; or d) research and other creative activities. Service to the community may be addressed for additional support. The Law Library Director and the members of the Committee shall not supply letters of reference.

    5. Dossier

    Each candidate for promotion is responsible for organizing documentation of his or her readiness for promotion into a dossier. The candidate may select either a print or an electronic dossier and will submit two copies to the committee: one copy will be retained by the Law Library and one copy will be returned to the candidate. The candidate may use library resources such as photocopy equipment and office supplies to prepare the dossier. A candidate who has previously attained promotion at the Law Library may submit a dossier containing only new information since their last dossier was submitted. The Committee will consider all dossiers submitted. A typical dossier includes the following components:

    A letter of application that explains why the candidate believes he or she is qualified for promotion. In the letter of application, candidates may include a statement granting the Committee permission to see previous evaluations from the candidate’s personnel file.

    1. A Curriculum Vitae.

    2. The candidate's current job description and last evaluation.

    3. Highlights of the candidate's professional experience.

    4. A chronological description and documentation, covering at least the minimum number of years required for the rank sought, of:

      • the candidate's service to the Law Library including committee activities, workshops presented, publications, etc.

      • the candidate's professional activities including continuing education courses, workshops, and professional organization affiliations.

      • the candidate's contributions to research and other creative activities.

    If the candidate desires, the following may be included:

    1. A chronological description of the candidate's service to the community.

    2. Letters of appreciation

    ** Although a dossier is required for the internal, Law Library, consideration of applications for promotion, the dossier is not necessarily part of the documentation forwarded for review at the University level.  Consequently, candidates should consult the current University guidelines for Librarian Promotion for a list of what documents are reviewed at that level; and they should prepare those documents with the realization that they must stand alone, without the dossier, at the University level of review.  Copies of completed dossiers that can be used as models are available in the Law Library Archives.

    6. Review Process

    The Committee, in strict confidence, will review all documentation and vote on all candidates.  A Committee member who feels that he or she cannot vote in an individual case because of a conflict of interest will abstain. Voting will be by written ballot, and the decisions will be determined by majority vote. The Committee chair will vote only in the case of a tie. For each candidate the Committee will forward its recommendation, the vote tally, and a narrative supporting the recommendation to the Law Library Director. After formal approval of the promotions, the Committee chair will request authorization from the Steering Group to destroy all ballots and return one dossier to the candidates. Original letters of reference will be retained according to the University of Georgia retention standards.

    The Law Library Director will review the documentation and notify the candidates in writing of his or her decision along with the recommendation and narrative of the Committee. The Law Library Director will also notify the Committee of his or her decision regarding each candidate. In the case of a negative recommendation from either the Committee or the Law Library Director, the Law Library Director will confer with the candidate and specify the reasons for the denial. If the candidate decides against appealing the denial, the matter of promotion will be closed for the academic year.

    Unless both the Law Library Director and the Committee have recommended against promotion, the Law Library Director will forward the appropriate documentation to the Dean of the Law School.

    A candidate may view and add to his/her dossier at any time prior to the Committee’s vote but may not see confidential letters of recommendation.

    C. Law Librarian Ranks

     

    Librarian I

    Definition: Entry level rank; used for persons with limited or no professional experience.

    Criteria:

    1. ALA-accredited master's degree in librarianship/information science.

    2. Exhibit the potential for successful overall performance as a librarian.

    Librarian II

    Definition: Lower intermediate rank. Individuals with both the law and library science degrees may be initially appointed to this rank rather than Law Librarian I.
     
    Criteria:

    1. ALA-accredited master's degree in librarianship/information science.

    2. Successful job performance which includes adjustment to the particular requirements of a Law Library.

    3. Initial professional growth as evidenced by involvement in any of the following three areas: (a) service to the law library, law school, legal community, university libraries or the university (b) professional activities; or (c) research and other creative activities pertaining to librarianship. Service to the community may be used as additional support.

    Length of Service: Before meeting the criteria for promotion to Librarian II, an individual appointed as a Librarian I will have completed two years of professional library experience by the promotion application deadline. Candidates may be recommended for early promotion if they are exceptionally meritorious. Librarians with previous professional appointments (i.e. Legal Research Associates) may include their library experience in meeting the length-of-service criteria. 

    Librarian III

    Definition: Upper intermediate rank.

    Criteria:

    1. ALA-accredited master's degree in librarianship/information science

    2. Continued successful job performance.  The candidate is expected to demonstrate the potential for:  (a) performing or administering complex or highly specialized duties; or (b) for developing a high level of expertise in his/her specific areas of librarianship.

    3. Continued professional growth as evidenced by significant contributions in the following three areas: (a) service to the law library, law school, legal community, university libraries or the university; (b) professional activities; and (c) research and other creative activities pertaining to librarianship. Service to the community may be used as additional support.

    Length of Service: Before meeting the criteria for promotion to Librarian III, an individual will have completed a minimum of 5 years of cumulative professional experience by the promotion application deadline. Candidates may be recommended for early promotion if they are exceptionally meritorious.

    Librarian IV

    Definition: Highest rank.

    Criteria:

    1. ALA-accredited master's degree in librarianship/ information.

    2. Consistently successful job performance. The candidate is expected to: (a) perform or administer complex or highly specialized duties; and (b) demonstrate a high level of expertise in law librarianship.

    3. Recognition by colleagues (subordinate, peer or supervisor) as being outstanding in at least one specific area of librarianship.

    4. A record of sustained professional growth as evidenced by extensive contributions in the following three areas: (a) service to the law library, law school, legal community, university libraries or the university; (b) professional activities, including service to the library profession; and (c) research and other creative activities pertaining to librarianship.

    Length of Service: Before meeting the criteria for promotion to Librarian IV, an individual will have completed 10 years of cumulative professional library experience by the promotion application deadline. Candidates may be recommended for early promotion if they are exceptionally meritorious.

    D. Criteria for Appointment and Promotion

     

    1. Job Performance

    The law librarian has a major role in the academic and legal communities. He/she assumes primary responsibility for developing the library's collections, for extending bibliographic control over these collections, and for assisting the law school community, the university community, and other scholars to utilize the library collections. The law librarian serves as a resource person for the law school and legal profession providing a wide range of services, but avoiding the practice of law. Without the services of highly skilled law librarians, research and the quality of teaching in the law school would be seriously impaired.

    Law librarians assume professional tasks that require a special background and education in at least one of the technical, public, or administrative areas of the law library; make independent judgments; and plan, organize, communicate, and administer programs of service to users of the law library's materials and services. Candidates must be judged on criteria appropriate to their assigned duties. In any of the ranks, responsibilities may include supervision or management; however, supervisory duties are not a prerequisite for any appointment or promotion.

    The performance of the law librarian in his/her assigned duties is a critical factor in the law library's continuing successful service to the legal community and to the university. Successful job performance, which is defined as performance evaluated at the “meets expectations” level or above on annual performance appraisals, is the single most important criterion for promotion in rank. The law librarian should have demonstrated the ability to carry out competently and independently the complete range of functions and duties relating to his/her particular assignment. Each position necessitates particular requirements and skills and these must be carefully considered. Job-related characteristics such as accuracy, judgment, ability to organize work, dependability, initiative, positive relationships with staff and patrons, written and oral skills, and understanding of the relationship of one's function to the more general goals of the law library and of the university should be considered in the overall performance. 

    Documentation of Job Performance

    All candidates are required to submit their current performance evaluations if available; earlier evaluations may be submitted if desired. Other evidence of effective job performance may come from sources including, but not limited to the following:

    1. Letters or other documentation from colleagues, subordinates, or supervisors inside the library profession.

    2. Letters or other documentation from students, faculty, or other law library users.

    3. Letters or other documentation from sources outside the profession.

    Documentation should include items covering at least the minimum number of years required for the rank sought.

    2. Service to the University, Law School, and the Law Library

    The quality and extent of contributions to the law library and the law school as a whole will merit consideration for promotion. Contributions may include service on university, law school or Law Library governing bodies or committees or projects or involvement in any other way that would further the objectives of the university or the Law Library. Examples include participation in the development and training of staff, serving as a Law Library team leader or member, providing Law Library orientation sessions, and participating  in continuing legal education seminars.

    Documentation of Service to the University, Law School, and the Law Library

    Evidence of service may come from sources including, but not limited to those listed below:

    1. Brief descriptions of teams, committees, governing bodies, projects, workshops, or programs with copies of any reports or results appended

    2. Letters or other documentation from faculty, students, or other law library users

    3.  Letters or other documentation from colleagues, subordinates, or supervisors

    4. Letters or other documentation from sources outside the profession.

    Documentation should include items covering at least the minimum number of years required for the rank sought.

    3. Professional Activities

    Participation in professional activities on the local, state, regional, and national levels will be considered in determining appointment and promotion. Examples of such participation include active involvement in professional and learned societies as a member, committee member or officer, as

    well as attendance at professional, scholarly, or technical meetings, workshops, and conferences; consulting services to other libraries or academic institutions; service as a professional advisor to special programs or projects sponsored by scholarly organizations, consortia, or interdisciplinary academic groups; and outstanding achievements or promise as evidenced by awards, fellowships, grants, teaching and lecturing, and editorial activity.

    Professional activities also include continuing education. Examples include: obtaining an additional advanced degree; completion of advanced courses relevant to law  librarianship  or courses relevant to the candidate's position; participation in continuing education programs including professional short courses, seminars, workshops, lectures, or conferences; or acquisition of additional skills relevant to the candidate's position such as a foreign language or computer programming; or participation in an internship program or other similar program outside the law library that is relevant to the candidate's position.

    Documentation of Professional Activities

    Evidence of participation in professional activities may come from sources including, but not limited to those listed below:

    1. Reports or other documentation generated from the activity

    2. Candidate's statement of membership in organizations or continuing education activity

    3. Evidence of courses or degrees completed

    4. Letters or other documentation from faculty, students, or other law library users

    5. Letters or other documentation from colleagues, subordinates, or supervisors

    6. Letters or other documentation from sources outside the profession.

    Documentation should include items covering at least the minimum number of years required for the rank sought.

    4. Contributions to Research and Other Creative Activities

    Contributions include research, publications, or teaching in the field of law librarianship or a related field. Specific endeavors which may fulfill the requirements in this area include, but are not limited to:

    1. Publication in professional literature

    2. Citations to the candidate's research

    3. Presentations of lectures, papers, or demonstrations

    4. Participation in other creative activities related to the librarian's specialization

    5. Development of substantial processes, computer programs, or apparatus useful in library   operations

    6. Membership on editorial boards reviewing publications, panels judging grant/contract proposals

    7. Substantial in-house publications, such as bibliographies, indexes, or catalogs for public distribution

    8. Receipt of fellowships, grants, awards or other special honors for research or instruction

    9. Teaching a course in one's area of specialization.

    Documentation of Research Activities

    Evidence of contributions to research and other creative activities may come from sources including, but not limited to those listed below:

    1. Copies of publications or citations to publications

    2. Candidate's statement of participation in such activities

    3. Letters or other documentation from faculty, students, or other law library users

    4. Letters or other documentation from colleagues, subordinates, or supervisors

    5. Letters or other documentation from sources outside the profession.

    Documentation should include items covering at least the minimum number of years required for the rank sought.

    5. Service to the Community

    Service to the community involves participation in activities outside the university that help to carry forth the university's service to the community, or that in any way enhance the image of the university to the community at large. Examples include: serving as a consultant, teaching, or otherwise extending one's knowledge to the public and participation in civic or community activities such as committee work, holding an office, or volunteer work.

    Documentation of Service to Community

     

    Evidence of service to the community may come from sources including, but not limited to those listed below:-

    1. Reports or other documentation generated from the activity

    2. Candidate's statement of participation

    3. Letters or other documentation.

    E. Appeals

     

    A candidate, in the case of a negative recommendation from either the Committee or the Law Library Director, may file a written appeal with the Law Library Director within five working days of the notification.

    Within ten working days of the appeal the Law Library Director will establish an Appeal Committee to review the promotion decision. The Committee will consist of three librarians chosen from either the Law Library or the University Libraries Committee on Promotions selected as follows:

    1. The first is designated by the appellant.

    2. The secondis designated by the Committee.

    3. The third is designated by the Law Library Director.

    The Appeal Committee will select a Chair from among its members. The Chair will arrange for the appellant to have a hearing before the Committee within ten working days of the Committee's establishment. At this hearing the appellant may:

    1. Explain and remedy omissions or inaccuracies in the evidence presented to the Committee on Promotion.

    2. Present documentation of a failure on the part of the Committee on Promotion to apply the guidelines correctly.

    3. Outline procedural irregularities that may have affected the dossier's review.

    The Appeal Committee will review the above aspects of the process only. Its purpose is not to evaluate the substance of the dossier. It will have access-to relevant records and can call any witnesses that it deems necessary to complete its deliberations.

    Committee proceedings will be conducted in strict confidence. Voting will be by written ballot, and decisions will be determined by majority vote. The Chair will be a voting member. The Chair will destroy ballots at the end of the appeals process.

    Within five working days after the hearing, the Appeal Committee will notify the candidate, the Committee on Promotion, and the Law Library Director of the recommendation. The Director and the Chair of the Appeal Committee will meet with the appellant to discuss the decision within ten working days following notification of the appellant.

    When the Appeal Committee has recommended that the candidate be promoted, the decision will be transmitted by the Law Library director to the Dean's Office along with supporting evidence. If the Committee recommends denial, the matter of promotion will be closed for the academic year.

     

    Last Revised: March 2012