Staff Resources

Appointment and Promotion of Librarians


Librarians at SMU Libraries may hold any of the following ranks: Librarian I, Librarian II, Librarian III, and Librarian IV.


Method of Appointment

Initial appointments of librarians are made by the Dean of SMU Libraries in consultation with the supervising librarian. Librarians are appointed to the rank appropriate to their qualifications. Relevant education and experience are taken into consideration.

Librarian I

This rank is assigned to entry-level librarians who have the required educational background but little or no pertinent experience in a comparable position elsewhere.

Librarian II

Appointment at this rank is granted to librarians with the required educational background who have demonstrated significant professional contributions as a Librarian I or equivalent at SMU or in a comparable position elsewhere.

Librarian III

Appointment at this rank is granted to librarians with the required educational background and a substantial and successful record of experience as a Librarian II or equivalent at SMU or in a comparable position elsewhere.

Librarian IV

Appointment at this rank is reserved for those librarians who have integrated superior job performance at SMU or in a comparable position elsewhere with a significant record of contributions to library/information science or academia.




In addition to competent performance of job duties, librarians will be evaluated for promotion based on their professional activities and job- or university-related service. Evidence of quality performance of assigned responsibilities must be central in all considerations of promotion. No amount of participation in professional activities, academic attainment, scholarly activities, or service can compensate for less than high quality job performance.

Promotion to a higher rank requires a record of successful fulfillment of criteria at the lower level, whether that experience occurs at SMU or at previous positions held by the candidate. The criteria below indicate what librarians are expected to have achieved in order to attain the described rank. The underlying criteria for promotion are sound performance in the assigned job, evidence of significant development or potential for development, and flexibility in the context of a changing work environment.

Ranks and Criteria for Promotion

Librarian II

To qualify for promotion to Librarian II, the candidate should:

  • Have received, at minimum, an overall rating of “Meets Expectations” in the most recent performance review.

  • Have enhanced the skills they started their position within a meaningful way and be able to perform their routine work efficiently enough that they are able to focus more on more complex and non-routine tasks.  Examples of this could include, but are not limited to

    • Learning new software and/or teaching it to others
    • Becoming proficient in cataloging a specific format
    • Taking on new responsibilities
    • Coding and integrating systems
    • Suggesting new methods or procedures
    • Enhancing or streamline digitization workflows with new descriptive practices
    • Incorporating new archival descriptive practices

  • Provide evidence of contributing to the profession in areas such as one or more of the following, as relevant for their position:

    • Service on library or university committees
    • Professional activities, such as presenting at a conference or webinar; poster presentations; publishing articles, reviews, or book chapters; or, participation on professional organization committees
    • Productive engagement in professional discussions, such as listservs and/or other forums
    • Conducting original research
    • Participating in other activities that demonstrate ongoing professional learning and development.  Examples could include certifications or degrees in progress, as well as continuing education

Librarian III

To qualify for promotion to Librarian III, the candidate should:

  • Have received, at minimum, an overall rating of “Meets Expectations” in the most recent performance review.

  • Demonstrate mastery in their particular areas of responsibility, and show evidence of continuing to increase their job-related expertise.

  • Meet one or more of the following criteria, as relevant for their position:

    • Demonstrate leadership abilities in library or university committees
    • Assume formal or informal leadership roles with library staff, including interns and student workers
    • Show evidence of significant outside professional activities
    • Show evidence of research, publication, or similar academic achievements
    • Demonstrate ongoing professional learning and development.  Examples could include certifications, degrees, or continuing education.

  • A Librarian III may assume responsibility for supervision of others, but supervising others is not necessary component of advancing to Librarian III.

Librarian IV

A Librarian IV furthers the image and mission of SMU's libraries while setting standards of performance and scholarship which other librarians and staff should emulate. Promotion to this rank reflects exceptional merit and an overall evaluation of excellence. A continued record of professional service outside the libraries must be maintained.


Procedures and Documentation

Individuals who are considering applying for promotion must confer with their supervisor. 

The following components are to be included in the promotion packet:

  1. Personal statement of achievement and philosophy of librarianship
  2. Personal and professional goals for the next 3-5 years
  3. Current CV
  4. Letters/statements of support (2-3 minimum) from colleagues, faculty, or library users, as appropriate. To ensure confidentiality, letters must be emailed to the Personnel Coordinator by the letter writer. See contact information below.
  5. Letters of recommendation from supervisor, also to be sent confidentially via email to the Personnel Coordinator by the supervisor. See contact information below.
  6. Professional/scholarly activities – Summary description of activities and relevant copies of any of the following: publications, presentations, book reviews, teaching activities, continuing education (courses and/or workshops taken, degrees or certificates attained), consulting activities, software/media programs created, fellowships, honors, awards, and any other items deemed relevant
  7. Service – Information about membership in library, university, community, or professional committees/organizations. Letters or documents related to such service may be submitted, as appropriate.
  8. Any other documentation, as appropriate

The complete packet should be submitted as a PDF to the Personnel Coordinator. All letters of support will be added to the packet by the Personnel Coordinator.



Compensation for promotions is added to the base salary:

  • Librarian II: $3,000
  • Librarian III: $4,000
  • Librarian IV: $5,000



August 19 

Candidates send intention to apply for promotion via email to the Personnel Coordinator by this date. Applicants should copy their supervisor and the Dean of SMU Libraries

Candidates begin compiling required documentation identified above
October 21 Documentation packet submitted electronically to the Personnel Coordinator by this date
October 22-November 1 Dean's Cabinet librarians meet to review promotion applications
November 4 Recommendation(s) of promotion sent to Dean of SMU Libraries by this date
November 11 Final decision is made by this date. Recommendations are submitted to the Provost by the budget deadline as set by the University. If promotion is denied, the supervisor and the Dean will write a report summarizing the reasons for denial.* Once the Provost confirms the promotion(s) (generally in early spring), the Dean will notify the candidates of the decision. All candidates, whether they are granted or denied promotion, should be notified at the same time.
June 1 New salary and rank go into effect

    * Candidates denied promotion are welcome to re-apply annually.


Submit all promotion materials to:

Carolyn Keenon, Personnel Coordinator,, 214-768-1850