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Issued: February 1977
Revised: February 1986
Revised: September 1992
Revised: January 2002



This document establishes guidelines for applying the criteria for academic review of appointees to the Librarian Series at the University of California, Riverside. A companion document, the UCR Library Personnel Administrative Memorandum No. 2.1, describes the academic review process and the review documents to be prepared by the candidate and the review initiator. References to both the Academic Personnel Manual (APM) for non-represented librarians and the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for represented librarians are provided for policy guidance and clarification. For represented librarians, the APM applies only to the extent provided for in the MOU. Section I discusses general considerations applicable to all ranks and steps in the Librarian Series, and some general concepts such as balance, planning, and growth. Section II explicates the criteria in relation to specific points in a librarian's career. The adaptable nature of the criteria and the variability of each individual career preclude expanding the criteria into lists of expected accomplishments.

  1. All members of the Librarian Series are subject to periodic review and consideration for continuation or advancement. Advancement is open to appointees in the series, regardless of specialization and regardless of assumption of administrative responsibilities.

    APM 210-4-e(2) (MOU Appendix E. III.A.2) states: "At the time of original appointment to a title in this series, each appointee shall be informed that continuation or advancement is justified only by demonstrated skills and achievement which will be determined after objective and thorough review. If, on the basis of a review, the individual does not meet the criteria for continuation or advancement, there is no obligation on the part of the University to continue or to promote. … The assumption of administrative responsibilities is not a necessary condition for promotion."

  2. The Librarian Series is an academic series consisting of three ranks, some steps of which overlap in salary. The time at each step shown below indicates the normal frequency of review at that step (APM 360-80-a(l)); MOU 4.C.1).

    Assistant Associate Librarian Time at step
    I     2
    II     2
    III I   2
      II   2
      III   2
      IV   2
      V   2
      VI   2
      VII I 3 (or --*)
        II 3
        III 3
        IV 3
        V --
        VI --
        VII --
    * Associate Librarian may stay at Step VII indefinitely without prejudice.

  3. The possible personnel actions are: one-step merit advancement, promotion, accelerated merit or accelerated promotion, continuation at present rank and step, attainment of career status, deferral, and termination.

    1. Merit and promotion

      The criteria for one-step merit advancement and promotion are outlined in Section I.D. below and detailed in Section II of this document.

    2. Career status

      A librarian, regardless of appointment level, is considered to be in "potential career status" when initially appointed (unless the appointment is explicitly temporary) and is in a trial period. The length of the trial period and the timing of the career status review depend upon the rank of the initial appointment (APM 360-17; MOU Appendix E.C.5.). As a result of the review, either the candidate is awarded career status or the appointment is terminated after due notice.

    3. Acceleration

      APM 210-4-e(2) (MOU Appendix W. III.2) states that “accelerated merit advancement or promotion is possible if achievement has been exceptional.” An acceleration is a merit advancement or promotion which results in more than a step advancement in salary, or a merit advancement or promotion which takes place before the normal period in rank and step. Acceleration is an unusual recommendation and is explicitly reserved for those individuals who have performed in an extraordinary manner during the review period. A recommendation for acceleration may be based upon performance in the primary job responsibilities when the librarian performs the Criterion 1 activities in an exceptional manner, while maintaining a level of activities in Criteria 2, 3, or 4 appropriate to that rank. A recommendation for acceleration might also be based on unusually strong accomplishments in Criteria 2, 3, or 4, as long as the performance of the primary responsibilities continued to be meritorious.

    4. Continuation at present rank and step

      Continuation at present rank and step may be recommended in several different circumstances. Librarians at the ranks of Associate Librarian Step VII or Librarian Step V are at plateau steps where they may remain without prejudice for an indefinite period; in these cases, a recommendation for continuation at present rank and step is a normal, favorable recommendation. However, for a librarian not at one of those steps, continuation at present rank and step may be recommended if, during the period under review, the librarian has not shown the achievements and qualities required for advancement. Even though performance of some specific responsibilities may be meritorious, an individual's total contribution might not justify advancement; both the level of competence and scope of contributions required for advancement become greater as a librarian advances in rank. If a librarian is not recommended for a merit increase or promotion when eligible, it does not necessarily mean that the individual is being considered for termination. However, a librarian in potential career status who is not recommended for a merit increase when eligible should consider this an indication that the performance may not ultimately merit the awarding of career status.

    5. Deferral

      The policy and procedures for deferral are detailed in Personnel Administrative Memorandum No. 2.1 and in APM 360-80-a(2) (MOU 4.C.2).

    6. Termination

      Termination of an appointment by dismissal is addressed by APM 360-20-b, APM 360-20-d, and APM 150; MOU Appendix IV.C.5.

    7. Temporary appointments

      Librarians holding temporary appointments follow the same appropriate review cycles as other librarians (APM 360-20; MOU 17.B.4).

  4. Criteria for advancement

    The four criteria under which librarians are reviewed are listed in APM 360-10-b and MOU Appendix E.IV.B.2 quoted below, and are further detailed in APM 210-4-e(3) and MOU Appendix III.A.2.c.

    "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:

    1. Professional competence and quality of service within the library;
    2. Professional activity outside the library;
    3. University and public service; and
    4. Research and other creative activity."

  5. Criterion 1.

    Criterion 1, Professional competence and quality of service within the library, is judged similarly in all ranks; librarians are judged on "consistency of performance, grasp of library methods, command of their subjects, continued growth in their fields, judgment, leadership, originality, ability to work effectively with others, and ability to relate their functions to the more general goals of the library and the University." (APM 210-4-e(3a); MOU Appendix III.2.c1.a). Consistently excellent performance in Criterion 1 is the primary and essential consideration in any review for merit increase or promotion.

    Growth as a professional librarian requires ongoing study. Librarians are expected to seek opportunities to learn and to contribute to the improvement of the Library's services. Leadership is demonstrated when the librarian identifies improvements or new ideas, generates a plan of action, and brings the idea to fruition. Originality of ideas or concepts may be demonstrated in one's primary responsibilities through the recognition of problems and their workable resolution, and through research and writing. The level of competence and scope of contribution required for continued advancement through the series become greater as the librarian progresses.

  6. Criteria 2-4 and the concepts of balance, quality, and planning.


    In advancing through the Librarian Series, the concept of balance should lead the librarian away from almost exclusive concentration on the primary responsibility toward increasing involvement with one or more of the activities in Criteria 2-4 (APM 360-10-b; MOU Appendix III.2.b and APM 210-4-e(3); MOU Appendix III.A.2.c). A balanced career must demonstrate consistent excellence in Criterion 1 and achievement in one or more of Criteria 2-4. Over an extended period of time, single-minded concentration in one activity, to the exclusion of others, is not enough to justify continued advancement through the ranks.

    However, balance is not attained by undertaking activities in all areas merely to show some activity in each period. A smattering of mediocre or low-level performance in all the areas would be unsatisfactory. The activities chosen must be of value and relevance to the librarian's career and to the Library and should show evidence of planned growth. The librarian advancing through the series should become an increasingly valuable asset to the Library and to the profession. The level of competence and the scope of contribution required for a one-step merit increase become greater as a librarian advances in rank; for example, performance expectations for Associate Librarian, Step V are higher than those for Associate Librarian, Step II.

    In their earliest years in the profession, librarians are most absorbed in continuing to learn from colleagues, locally and in wider contexts; in the more advanced ranks, they are expected also to be contributing back to their colleagues, the University, and the profession. For example, in regard to the requirements of Criterion 2, an Assistant Librarian would begin to identify opportunities for professional growth and involvement, such as attending meetings, conferences, and workshops of professional associations and similar groups. As progression through the Librarian Series occurs, an Associate Librarian would actively participate in association with group-related activities or projects. One contemplating advancement to or progress through the rank of Librarian would be actively involved in one or more of a broad range of activities, such as chairing committees or convening meetings, contributing as a speaker, panelist or presenter of scholarly papers, writing articles or books which are published, or providing leadership in the development of innovative instructional techniques or technological applications of value to the library or to the profession.

    Within Criteria 2, 3, and 4, a wide range of opportunities for involvement exists, such as membership on LAUC campus (divisional) or systemwide committees and task forces; local, regional, state, national, or international service; and research, publication, or other creative activity. Such a spectrum of possibilities would be limited only by individual interests and subject specialization. Typically, incumbents in the Assistant Librarian rank would be involved only minimally in such activities but would become increasingly active as their careers progressed through the Associate Librarian and Librarian ranks, where increasing involvement demonstrating both depth and breadth would be expected.

    For Associate Librarians, the emphasis begins to shift from the single measure of competent performance of primary job assignments; evidence should also be offered of a broader range of professional involvement within the Library, the University and the profession. Those seeking promotion to the rank of Librarian, as well as those moving through the rank of Librarian, must show evidence of a significantly expanding depth and breadth of professional achievement. Depth means recognized significant and useful professional contributions to appropriate associations on the state, national or international level, to the University or the community, or professional or scholarly publication or comparable creative activity. Breadth means significant contributions have been made in more than one of Criteria 2-4, over the course of a career. The value of such breadth lies in the way it broadens the influence of the librarian's contribution; each type of activity may reach a different audience. Breadth of contribution may come about in many ways; it often evolves naturally as a result of being open to opportunities. For instance, committee service might spark an interest leading to a presentation or a researched article. A development in a local system might lend itself to further dissemination as a presentation at a conference, workshop, or class. A poster session about a project might lead to further research and a published article. Research into a local problem and its resolution might result in a bibliography and/or an article, serving on a conference or workshop panel, or making a class presentation. The opportunities and career paths are as varied as the appointees in the series, but over the length of a career, the librarian is expected to take or create opportunities for breadth of involvement.


    In evaluating professional activities in Criteria 2-4, the quality of the involvement is also considered. For instance, passive membership on a committee which can point to no accomplishments is not valued as highly as active membership which results in commendation by the chair and/or results in a useful product or report. Attendance at a workshop is more highly valued when it results in an improvement in performance or in information which can be shared to the benefit of coworkers. Publication of a well-considered and carefully researched article in a professional journal is more highly valued than a brief article in the library newsletter. These examples only touch the surface, but illustrate the idea that there is an expectation of a degree of excellence, of high quality involvement, and of responsibility that should be demonstrated by a librarian at any step in the series.


    In planning career development, the librarian should make sure that personal goals and objectives are compatible with and contribute to institutional goals and objectives. Career plans should not be rigid; the librarian should be prepared to make changes as abilities grow and interests evolve, and as the profession itself changes over time.

    The review process, as detailed in Personnel Administrative Memoranda, mandates ongoing, regular consultation between the librarian and that person's supervisor(s). Such consultation can help each librarian to view objectively the quality and balance of activities in Criterion 1 and in the activities in Criteria 2-4 in order both to advance through the Librarian Series and to better serve the Library, University, and profession.

  7. It is recognized that occasionally organizational or professional pressures may make the optimum balance difficult or impossible to achieve. In this situation, the supervisor and the candidate should work together to restore balance, remembering in all cases the primacy of Criterion 1. A temporary imbalance (where the factors accounting for it can be clearly identified) should not adversely affect the merit action.


    In consideration of individual candidates and circumstances, reasonable flexibility must be exercised in applying the criteria (APM 360-10-b; MOU Appendix III.2.c). As pointed out in APM 210-4-e(3) (MOU Appendix III.2.c) , the criteria "are intended to serve as general guidelines and do not preclude consideration of other unique service to the University." Movement through the Librarian Series is based on professional growth and accomplishment in an individual's career; the APM and MOU do not emphasize any particular type of professional activity. The interpretation and weighing of criteria at the different levels of the Librarian Series are discussed in each section below, and more broadly in the preceding section on Balance (I., F.).

    1. Assistant Librarian - Movement through the rank
    2. Promotion to Associate Librarian
    3. Associate Librarian - Movement through the rank
    4. Promotion to Librarian
    5. Librarian - Movement through the rank
    6. Advancement to Distinguished Librarian
  1. Assistant Librarian - Movement through the rank

    Movement through the rank of Assistant Librarian is the first step in a progression that includes promotion to Associate Librarian with the attainment of Career Status and movement through the rank of Associate Librarian and, potentially, Librarian.

    For Assistant Librarians, the primary emphasis in evaluation for merit increase is on Criterion 1, Professional competence and quality of service within the library. As the librarian moves through the rank, there is the expectation that performance will reflect an increasing breadth and depth of understanding of both job responsibilities and the larger library and professional context in which they appear.

    Consideration of Criteria 2-4 need not play a major role in advancement through steps 1-2 of the Assistant Librarian rank. However, since promotion to Associate Librarian is based, among other factors, upon potential for further growth, by Step III the Assistant Librarian should demonstrate activity in some areas of Criteria 2, 3, or 4. Typical types of library service in this rank might include service on administrative committees, task forces, coordinating committees, and a wide variety of other appropriate activities and involvements.

    If denial of merit advancement occurs and performance does not improve significantly in the following year, the individual's appointment may be subject to termination after due notice.

    Assistant Librarians do not have Career Status; it is attained in conjunction with promotion to Associate Librarian. If promotion to Associate Librarian with Career Status does not occur within a reasonable time (not more than six years), the individual's appointment is subject to termination (APM 360-17-b(l); MOU Appendix IV.C.5.a).

  2. Promotion to Associate Librarian

    The review for promotion to Associate Librarian covers the total career of the candidate. Promotion is granted on the basis of evidence of maturing ability to handle the range of responsibilities assigned to the position under Criterion 1 and evidence of interest in and commitment to activities described in Criteria 2, 3, or 4, leading to an anticipation of competence in the Associate Librarian rank.

  3. Associate Librarian - Movement through the rank

    Movement through the rank of Associate Librarian is the next stage in the progression and may lead to promotion to Librarian.

    For Associate Librarians, the primary emphasis in evaluation for merit increase remains on Criterion 1, but there is the expectation of increased involvement in Criteria 2, 3, or 4 as the candidate moves through the rank.

    Failure to perform in primary job assignments, even with strong contributions in Criteria 2, 3, or 4, will result in denial of merit advancement. Conversely, denial of merit advancement might also result if continuing active involvement in Criteria 2, 3, or 4 is not shown. Continued denial of merit advancement may result in a recommendation for termination (APM 360-20-b; MOU Appendix IV.C.5.b).

    For Associate Librarians appointed in this rank, attainment of Career Status occurs in conjunction with a merit increase or promotion or as a separate action. If Career Status is not attained within a reasonable time (a minimum of two years and a maximum of four years), the individual's appointment may be subject to termination after due notice (APM 360-17-b(2); MOU Appendix IV. C.5.b).

  4. Promotion to Librarian

    Review for promotion to Librarian covers the total career of the candidate. In order to show the strength of an entire career, a candidate may need to provide documentation of significant professional achievement at other institutions. Promotion to Librarian requires a higher order of performance and contribution to the Library, the University, and the profession than is expected at lower ranks. The top step of the Associate Librarian rank may be the appropriate rank and step for many librarians; an individual may remain at Associate Librarian VII indefinitely and without prejudice (APM 360-80-a(1); MOU 4.C.1). 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 (APM 360-17-b(3); MOU Appendix IV.C.5.c).

    APM 210-4-e(2) (MOU Appendix III.A.2.a) states that "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 a 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." Advancement in rank is possible in any field of librarianship.

    A recommendation for promotion is based upon consistent and sustained demonstration of professional ability, emphasizing depth and breadth of contributions and experience as explained earlier in Section I. The candidate must have demonstrated the ability to balance solid excellent performance of job responsibilities with broader concerns for the Library, University, and profession. Recommendation for promotion indicates a strong anticipation that the candidate will continue to perform successfully in the Librarian rank. Denial of promotion to Librarian does not, in itself, constitute a judgment of unsatisfactory performance, nor does it preclude being considered again for promotion at a later time.

  5. Librarian - Movement through the rank

    Movement through the rank of Librarian is the last stage in the progression and may include advancement to Distinguished Librarian. Advancement through the rank to Step V is dependent on substantial and significant achievement of the highest level on a continuing basis in Criterion 1, and significant contributions in Criteria 2, 3, or 4, as explained in the statement about Balance in Section I above. Failure to perform at this level may result in denial of merit advancement. Continued performance at an unsatisfactory level, particularly in potential career status, may be cause for a recommendation of termination.

    For Librarians appointed in this rank, attainment of Career Status occurs in conjunction with a merit increase or as a separate action. If Career Status is not attained within a reasonable time (a minimum of two years and a maximum of three years), the individual's appointment may be subject to termination after due notice (APM 360-17-b(4); MOU Appendix E.IV.C.5.d).

  6. Advancement to Distinguished Librarian

    An individual may remain at Librarian V indefinitely and without prejudice (APM 360-80-a(l); MOU 4.C.1). Advancement from Step V to Step VI (Distinguished Librarian) is reserved for the librarian whose career and continuing achievements are regarded as truly distinguished. Distinction may be recognized in any area of specialization and is based on a career history of outstanding service to the library, the University, and the profession, as well as significant achievement in the period since attaining Step V. Distinguished achievement will be judged on its impact, influence, and significance.

Last modified: 3/12/2008 3:49 PM