Policy Number: 817

Policy Suffix:

I. General Policy

This policy applies to the ranked Professional Librarians who are hired in the ranks of Librarian I, II, III or IV, (hereinafter the "Professional Librarians").

The maintenance and development of the Library as an effective resource for education requires a team of skilled Professional Librarians who possess a thorough knowledge of the specialized techniques of bibliographic organization and an imaginative comprehension of the methods and needs of teaching and research.

I. Governance of the Library

The University Librarian is responsible, under the President, for the administration of the development, care and safekeeping of the University's library collection. The Vice-Provost and University Librarian (VP and UL) reports to the President through the Provost, who has general responsibility for the Library. The Committee on the Library, composed of faculty, students, and a representative of the Alumni Association appointed by the President, advises both the VP and UL and the President on the operation and development of the Library. The VP and UL is an ex officio member of the committee.

II. Ranked Professional Librarians

Professional Librarians are a distinct group of academic staff members at Rice University, closely associated with the teaching and research endeavors of the faculty, and sharing in the responsibilities involved in these endeavors. Historically, faculty ranking at Rice has been reserved for those who carry classroom teaching responsibilities in the departments of instruction and who are expected to carry out research projects and to publish the results thereof. Except in the case of joint appointments with academic departments, librarians are not accorded faculty status.

A. Appointments

Appointments of Professional Librarians are made by the VP and UL after consultation with appropriate staff members. Initial appointments to Rice are confirmed by formal notification from the VP and UL. All new appointees to ranked Professional Librarian positions must have either a master's degree in library science from a library school accredited by the American Library Association, or an advanced degree in a subject field related to the individual's assignment plus appropriate library experience.

B. Supervision and Promotion

In addition to this policy, the University employment policies applicable to staff employees also apply to the Professional Librarians.

A Career Advancement Program (CAP) is maintained for ranked Professional Librarians and is based on the premise that librarians possess talents and qualities in areas of professional expertise that are as valuable to academic libraries as supervisory or administrative skills. The provisions, procedures, and criteria governing professional job performance and promotion as outlined in the CAP document are applicable to those librarians who are hired as ranked Professional Librarians in the Career Advancement Program. In addition to the professional ranks, librarians may be appointed to the administrative posts of Associate or Assistant University Librarian or head or director of a library department. Librarians serve in administrative positions at the discretion of the VP and UL.

C. Termination

In the event of dismissal, Professional Librarians normally are entitled to a notice of termination of employment of at least three months in advance. Before a Professional Librarian is dismissed, they are entitled to receive a statement in writing of the reasons for their removal. A Professional Librarian who has been given notice of dismissal may appeal to the VP and UL. Professional Librarians are encouraged to provide at least one month's notice of resignation.

III. Professional Responsibilities and Activities

A Professional Librarian's obligation to the University goes considerably beyond their physical presence in the Library during their assigned working hours. The University recognizes that the Professional Librarian involved in the acquisition, organization and interpretation of the raw materials of learning has an essential function that complements classroom instruction. Each Professional Librarian realizes that they must meet this broad obligation in as conscientious and as creative a manner as they are able, and they should enjoy maximum latitude in fulfilling their responsibilities.

A. Service on University Committees

Because of the vital role of the Library in teaching and research, Professional Librarians may be asked to participate in academic planning through service as members of or consultants to appropriate University committees.

B. Attendance at Professional Meetings

Attendance at meetings of library associations and other professional societies is encouraged, particularly for those who participate in programs or hold office. Expenses may be shared by the library, depending upon the circumstances and the availability of funds.

C. Employment Outside the University

Professional Librarians wishing to engage in consulting work outside the University must request approval from the VP and UL.

D. Research Leaves

After a minimum of six years of employment, Professional Librarians may, in special circumstances, be granted leave with pay for the purpose of conducting research that is of direct benefit to the Library and the University. The period of such a leave must be appropriate to the training required, cannot exceed twelve months, and cannot be at a full time rate for more than the number of months involved in a single semester. Proposal for leave should contain a full account of the work to be undertaken and its relation to Library services and needs. Those approved by the appropriate department head/assistant university librarian will be reviewed by the VP and UL, who will make a decision on the proposal, taking into consideration whether the Library budget, unaugmented by any additional replacement funds, can support the leave in question without serious detriment to Library services.

E. Study Leaves

Professional Librarians are entitled to eight days per year for paid study leave. Study leaves are scheduled with the librarian's supervisor and are for the purpose of keeping current with professional trends and literature in the field of librarianship. Unused study leave days do not carry forward from one year to the next.

F. Educational Opportunities

Professional Librarians may receive time off to take one course per semester with the consent of the supervisor, VP, and UL, and the academic department in which the course is offered. Ordinarily, such course work should be related to the librarian's professional responsibilities in the Library. Eligibility for tuition waivers is described in the University's staff handbook.

IV. Other Staff Benefits

All other benefits available to Professional Librarians (i.e., benefit time, insurance programs, tuition waivers, athletic tickets, Faculty Club membership, etc.) are detailed in the University's staff handbook.

Responsible Official and Key Offices to Contact Regarding the Policy and its Implementation

Responsible Official: Provost

Policy History

Clerical Change

February 6, 2018

January 31, 2023


December 17, 1999

June 16, 1996

Replaces Memorandum 817-93