MIT Libraries

Administrative Services

Classification and Promotion:
Librarian Promotion Policies

To Librarian/Archivist II | To Librarian/Archivist III

Promotion from Librarian/Archivist II to Librarian/Archivist III

The promotion track for the MIT librarians and archivists serves to encourage and recognize ongoing professional growth and leadership development. It provides an opportunity for advancement through professional ranks by developing increasing levels of competence and contribution within any given Librarian or Archivist position. While promotion to Librarian/ Archivist II is an expectation of all library professionals in the MIT Libraries, promotion to Librarian/Archivist III represents the value the Libraries place on continuing growth and development in areas of special expertise, breadth of contribution, and leadership ability. The Libraries provide support for this development through established career path guidelines, counsel from senior professionals, and financial support for appropriate training, development, and professional participation.

Promotion Criteria
Calls for Promotion Requests
Promotion Requests
Promotion Recommendation

Promotion Approval
Notification and Announcement
Promotion Increase
Statement of Confidentiality


Promotion to Librarian/Archivist III is an opportunity open equally to all librarians and archivists in the MIT Libraries. Professionals at this level are expected to take responsibility for the direction and pace of their own careers and, for those who seek promotion within the MIT Libraries, to do so within the context of the established criteria.

A department head, in consultation with the appropriate Associate Director, may prompt an individual to consider seeking promotion to Librarian/ Archivist III and is expected to serve in an advisory capacity to professionals in their departments who are submitting promotion requests. However, it is expected that pursuit of promotion to this rank will be at the direct discretion and initiative of the staff member.

Promotion Criteria

The following criteria will be used to measure the professional growth and development of candidates for promotion to Librarian/Archivist III. These criteria are intended to serve as guidelines. Reasonable flexibility will be exercised in weighing their comparative relevance. While the applicability of these criteria to specific positions will vary, depending upon the nature of the staff member's responsibilities, it is expected that all promotion candidates will demonstrate significant achievement within each of the criteria categories identified. Consistently high quality job performance is a prerequisite for any promotion. Holding the rank of Librarian/Archivist II is also a prerequisite for seeking a promotion to the Librarian/Archivist III.

Experience and expertise

  • Has at least 5-7 years professional, increasingly complex, and successful library/archives experience.
  • Exhibits a breadth of knowledge of the MIT Libraries' organization and employs that knowledge in contributing to effective interrelationships of library functions and services.
  • Demonstrates significant expertise in a subject discipline or functional area of librarianship or archives, and is recognized for it by staff, users, and/or professional colleagues.

Commitment to service excellence

  • Suggests and implements innovations in services or processes which serve as models for others.
  • Identifies areas of processes or services needing improvement and proactively seeks solutions.
  • Using knowledge of technology and/or external trends, recognizes and champions opportunities for enhancements to services or processes.
  • Exhibits a willingness to take risks to affect improvements, enhancements, and innovations in library services and processes.

Demonstrated leadership ability

  • Actively contributes to departmental and cross-departmental planning, communication, and problem resolution.
  • Contributes to the advancement of the Libraries' strategic directions through leadership of key programs and initiatives, utilizing project management skills and professional knowledge.
  • Contributes to a positive collegial environment by establishing and nurturing effective work relationships, facilitating group processes, promoting effective change, and demonstrating support of the Libraries' strategic directives.
  • Offers professional guidance and/or developmental support to other library or archives professionals, either informally or in a formal mentoring relationship.

Outside contribution

  • As a member of the Institute community, contributes professional knowledge and expertise to Institute initiatives independent of Library initiatives.
  • Contributes to shaping professional practice through professional organizations, presentations, and/or writing.
  • Acts to increase visibility and credibility of the Libraries both within the Institute and beyond.

Calls for Promotion Requests

Requests for promotion will be called for and accepted on an annual basis. An annual call from the Human Resources Administrator will be sent out in September.


Promotion Requests

Promotion requests from the candidates are due to the Human Resources Administrator at the deadline established at the time of the annual call for promotions - on or about November 15. They should be prepared in close consultation with the Department Head and Associate Director and should consist of the following:

1. Letter of documentation from librarian/archivist. This letter should take the form of a self-evaluation and should be organized around the promotion criteria, demonstrating substantive achievement within each of the established criteria categories. The librarian/archivist should discuss the impact her/his development and achievements have had on the MIT Libraries and/or the profession, and describe their significance in his or her own professional career. The candidate should articulate plans for future personal development and career growth in this letter as well.

2. Current resume. A current resume should be included, which documents the professional’s career history, including any relevant prior experience; lists achievements, awards, recognitions; notes MIT library and outside professional committee service; lists publications, research, and presentations; and, notes other significant professional activities.

3. List of References. In preparing the recommendation, candidates should consult with their Department Head in identifying appropriate references. Promotion candidates should submit information for no less than five and no more than ten references. The reference list should include both internal references (MIT Libraries' staff members at the Librarian/ Archivist III level or above) and external references (external to the Libraries' and or MIT), who can address the substance and impact of the librarian/archivist's development and/or contributions to the organization and/or the profession. Reference information should include the name and contact information (address, phone number and e-mail address) of the reference, as well as a brief description of the candidate's professional relationship to the individual.


Promotion Recommendation

Upon receipt of the promotion request from the candidate, the Human Resources Administrator, in consultation with the Department Head and Associate Director, will establish a deadline for the promotion recommendation materials and shepherd the process through to the review process. The promotion recommendation should be prepared by the Department Head, in close consultation with the Associate Director, and consists of the following:

1. Letters of reference. Using a standard letter prepared by the Human Resources Administrator, the Department Head contacts the references via e-mail and requests a confidential reference letter in support of the librarian/archivist’s case. Of the minimum of five referees submitted, at least three letters must be received, from at least one internal reference and one external reference, in order to proceed with submission of the case to the review board.

2. Letter of recommendation from department head and supervisor. The Department Head should write a justification for promotion, which documents the high level of performance of the librarian/archivist, his or her growth as a professional, and the increasing impact she or he has had on the organization and the profession. It should address the four established criteria categories, emphasizing particularly the candidate’s professional expertise, commitment to service excellence, demonstrated leadership, and outside contributions. In cases where the Department Head is not the Supervisor, a similar letter of justification from the Supervisor or a joint letter from the Department Head and Supervisor is required. These letters of support may use information gleaned from the references.

3. Supporting material/examples of work . Upon review of the promotion package, the appropriate Associate Director may suggest that additional material such as copies of publications or other work products accompany the promotion recommendation.

4. Grid. An approved, standardized grid for identifying the applicant’s achievements within the framework of the four criteria categories and summarizing supporting documentation of the case must be completed by the Department Head. The grid template will be provided to the Department Head by the Human Resources Administrator.

Upon completion of these components of the promotion recommendation, they should be submitted to the Human Resources Administrator, who will schedule the promotion review and copy and distribute the promotion materials to the review board.


Promotion Approval

Department Heads and Associate Directors of the RIS and IR directorates plus the Associate Director for Administration, serve as the initial review board for Librarian/Archivist III promotion cases. The promotion candidate’s Department Head is responsible for presenting the case to the group. The Associate Director for RIS or IR under whose functional area a particular promotion candidate does not reside will be responsible for chairing that particular promotion review discussion.

The review board will assess the merit of the promotion case and, by consensus, determine whether or not to recommend the candidate for promotion. In some cases a second meeting may be required to resolve questions or to review further support documentation that may be requested by the group. The Department Head will work with the candidate in resolving these issues. In cases where promotion is not supported by the review board, the Department Head will inform the candidate of the decision and may work with them in developing their case for resubmission in a future cycle.

For purposes of a quorum at these review meetings, no more than two department heads may be absent from this meeting; no substitutes are permitted; and, attendance of the appropriate Associate Director is required.

Steering Committee serves as the final review body for all promotion cases. Once the promotion case receives the endorsement of initial review board, the Human Resources Administrator will place the case on the next available Steering Committee agenda and the appropriate Associate Director will present the case.


Notification and Announcement

Final review of promotion cases will be completed no later than March 15 and successful candidates will be notified in writing by the Director. An announcement of the promoted librarian will be sent by the Associate Director to all-lib.

In cases where promotion is not approved, a written notification will be provided by the appropriate Associate Director to the librarian/archivist, copying the department head, and detailing the reasons for that action..


Promotion Increase

Promotions will include a salary increase and, in as much as is within the Libraries’ control, will be made retroactive to January 1.


Statement of Confidentiality

Submission of requests for promotion will be held in strict confidence. Only those individuals directly involved in the preparation, recommendation and review process should be aware of submissions.



Policy approved by Steering Committee, September 27, 2001.
Policy revised August 6, 2001.
Policy reviewed by Library Council, November 18 and December 16, 1987.
Policy approved by Steering Committee, December 17, 1987.
Policy issued, February 2, 1988.

Policy updated, February 24, 2008.
Policy updated, September 1, 2010.



Classification and Promotion


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