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A guide to the professional status of academic librarians in the United States (and other places)

This wiki is a gathering place for information about the professional status of academic librarians. Specifically it is intended as an aid to Rank and Tenure committees, library administrators, librarian job applicants, and others interested in issues related to professional status in the library science field.

Like it or not, faculty status, the tenure track, and variations of these designations are facts of life for a majority of academic librarians. As such, peer reviews in one form or another are among the most relied-upon validations of a librarian’s work when up for review. One form of this is the external peer review that is sometimes solicited by a rank-and-tenure committee or administrator. When soliciting external reviewers it’s usually important that the requests be directed toward librarians with similar status. The chief goal of this wiki is to simplify the process of finding an institution comparable to one's own in regard to the professional status of its librarians.

Entries for academic libraries of all types are encouraged, including law schools, medical schools, and community colleges. As a wiki, librarians can contribute text about their status or link directly to the relevant part of their website that describes the status or, if desired, send information about a given institution to Chris Lewis, Media Librarian at American University,, who will add it.

Narrative descriptions will be most useful to the reader, though a link to an online library manual or rank-and-tenure guidelines would also be a valuable addition. For those interested in adding their libraries to the list, some of the basic questions to which it would be useful to know the answers include: Are your librarians tenure-track or not? Do you have more than one option? If tenure-track, how often are pre-tenure librarians up for review prior to the request-for-tenure year? Are external peer reviews solicited at any point in the pre-tenure process? Are your librarians unionized? Are there any mandatory reviews that follow the granting of tenure?

If you think your library doesn't fit under one of the major categories, add a new one.

If an institution doesn't accord faculty status to its librarians, that information is also welcome. This wiki is also expected to be of interest to job seekers who want to know about professional status at a given institution before applying for a job there.

There are some universities where letters from external reviewers evaluating requests for promotion/continuing appointments need to be from AAU tenured librarians. If your external reviewers options are limited to AAU institutions, here is an AAU Membership web page.

Supporting documents:
ACRL Guidelines for Appointment, Promotion, and Tenure of Academic Librarians .

Note: The status of academic librarians in the US has been undergoing a seismic shift away from faculty status and tenure-track positions. Many universities now have a mixed model where some librarians are hired as tenure-track and others with fixed term contracts. There are also universities where their professional librarians comprise a mix of faculty and staff positions. So please be aware that the categories the universities listed below fall into may have become out of date. If you are aware of such a change, please notify Chris Lewis and he will add a note indicating whether a university has a mixed status.

Commentary and scholarship on library faculty status - A selection of links to blogs, news, and articles on the topic

  1. Librarians with full faculty status and tenure = librarians have titles denoting their rank (e.g., associate professor or associate librarian); are likely required to publish; have seats on faculty committees; and are considered to be members of the university’s faculty with accompanying benefits.
  2. Librarians with faculty or academic status but no tenure = librarians likely have titles denoting their rank; have option to contribute to the profession but may not be required to; may have seats on faculty committees; and have renewable contracts with opportunities for continuing appointments.
  3. College and University Libraries with a mix of professional statuses = institutions that have tenure-track and non-tenure track librarians or faculty and non-faculty librarians, or a combination of each.
  4. Librarians without faculty or academic status = Librarians have staff positions without the protections or privileges accorded to faculty or librarians with academic status.
  5. Librarians without faculty or academic status but with status similar to tenure = librarians may have formal ranks; may have option to contribute to the profession but are not required to; do not serve on faculty committees nor receive other faculty benefits; have renewable contracts with opportunities for continuing appointments.

Librarians with faculty status and tenure

Librarians with faculty status but no tenure

College and University Libraries with a mix of professional statuses

  • American University, Washington, DC
  • Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, OH
  • Fontbonne University, St. Louis, MO
  • Iowa State University
  • Kansas State University
  • Purdue University, Main Campus
  • Southern Illinois University, Carbondale
  • University of Akron
  • University of Central Missouri, Warrensburg, MO
  • University of Florida, Gainesville
  • University of Kansas
  • University of Oklahoma
  • University of Oregon
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • University of Virginia - As of March 2013 future openings will be posted as University Staff

Librarians without faculty status
  • Aurora University
  • Cornell University
  • Dickinson College, Carlisle, PA
  • Gallaudet University Library
  • The George Washington University-The Gelman Library
  • Harvard University
  • John Hopkins
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology Libraries
  • New Jersey Institute of Technology
  • North Dakota State University
  • Stanford University
  • Texas Christian University
  • University of Massachusetts
  • University of Minnesota - St. Paul
  • University of Missouri-Columbia
  • University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • University of Texas, Austin
  • University of Tulsa
  • Vanderbilt University
  • Wellesley College
  • Western State College of Colorado
  • West Texas A&M University
  • Wilkes University, Wilkes-Barre, PA

Librarians without faculty status but with status similar to tenure