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Todaro ALA Initiative WORKSPACE "Libraries Transform: The Expert in the Library": Academic Libraries Draft Workspace

This is a work space for draft documents only. Please see your workspace tab for more information.

Academic Libraries - Membership

Maggie Farrell, Co-Chair

Martin Garnar, Co-Chair

Cynthia Steinhoff, Co-Chair

Pat Hawthorne

Diane Bruxvoort

Lisa German

Ellie Collier

Walter Betts

Jose Gauinaga

Kris Johnson

Academic Libraries - Charge

The “Expert” Presidential Initiative will focus on resources that provide tools that help librarians and library workers communicate their value. The Team will develop resources and tools to assist academic librarians and library workers in articulating their expertise and contributions to their educational organizations and higher education in general. Building on existing tools and studies, such as the ACRL Values project, the Team will identify the current resources, additional resources requiring development, and data needs for building the capacity of academic librarians and library workers to effectively communicate their value and to develop additional competencies for serving their communities.

Job Descriptions

Academic Library Job Descriptions Research for Todaro Academic Subcommittee

Kris Johnson, May 23, 2016

The following searches were done to identify possible resources for academic library job descriptions:

  1. Search of ALA’s Human Resource Development and Recruitment website ( for possible useful content:
    1. Results: Nothing useful. Lots of links to other sites, but nothing related to position descriptions and many of the sites linked were dead links.
  1. Search of ACRL website, look for position descriptions in the guidelines and standards area.
    1. Results: Nothing useful. In the Standards area or whole website for that matter.
    2. Possibly useful:  ACRL CUPA-HR ( College and University Professional Association for Human Resources) Position Descriptions of Academic Librarians Task Force:
      1. Not the type of ‘position descriptions’ we were looking for though. These are short paragraph descriptions of various types of academic library jobs. Might be useful though.
  1. Looked at ALA Editions (HR subcategory) to find books publishes on HR, job descriptions, etc.
    1. Possibly useful: “Everyday HR: A Human Resources Handbook for Academic Library Staff” by Gail Munde, Publisher: ALA Neal-Schuman, 2013:
      1. Chapter 5 *may* offer something useful but I can’t find an online edition to search.
    2. Not useful: “The Expert Library: Staffing, Sustaining, and Advancing The Academic Library in The 21st Century”, Edited by Scott Walter and Karen Williams, Publisher: ACRL, 2011:
      1. We own this book so I took a look at it and found nothing useful for our particular purpose.
  1. Search the Library Literature
    1. Results: Nothing useful. Searched both LISTA and LISA. Lots of literature pertaining to content analyses of job descriptions (research oriented mainly) but nothing useful for our particular purpose.
  1. Search of the ARL Position Description Bank Project (
    1. Results: Nothing useful. Because one has to log in to view the content:

Things I Stumbled on that *May* be Useful:

  • I found some technology focused job descriptions here - (Not clear who is responsible for this page or who maintains it.)
  • Community College Library Job Descriptions and Organizational Charts, CJCLS Guide #4: may be able to find a used book online but ALA no longer offers this publication - old, published in 2000
  • Position Descriptions in Health Sciences Libraries: Traditional and Emerging Roles: MLA Dockit #16: – Have to be a member to gain access.

Conclusion: Maintaining job banks of position descriptions is laborious and hard to keep current.

What I Think Is the Fastest and Best Way to Locate Position/Job Descriptions for Academic Libraries:

  • Simply search Google for the most current position descriptions. Combine the following types of searches to locate .pdf and .doc and .html versions of current position descriptions: "position description" - "job description" - "academic library" - "university library" - "college library"
    • This technique can be used to locate library job descriptions of all types: Student, staff, professional, and faculty

Overall Analysis: Because job descriptions are so easily obtained via the WWW, the library literature and web collections of resources may be focusing less on the specifics of job descriptions, and more on the broader topic of “talent recruitment.”

Doing some additional research I found some relevant literature. It is located in the journal of Library Leadership & Management: - If you click on do a search on ‘Search’ from the menu at the top, then type in ‘job descriptions’, several useful articles come up.  Here are the citations I found useful:

  • Vol 22, No 2 (2008)  “Making the Good Hire: Updating Hiring Practices for the Contemporary Multigenerational Workforce, Part One.” Pixey Anne Mosley, Wendi Arant Kaspar
  • Vol 22, No 3 (2008)  “Making the Good Hire: Updating Hiring Practices for the Contemporary Multigenerational Workforce, Part Two.” Wendi Arant Kaspar,Pixey Anne Mosley
  • Vol 26, No 3/4 (2012).  “Finding the Best People in a Tough Economy: The Role of Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, Attributes, and the Challenges of the Talent Acquisition Process.” Gail M. Staines
  • Vol 26, No 3/4 (2012). “Recruitment of Employees in Academic Libraries: Advice from the HR Perspective.” Dennis R. Defa
  • Vol 26, No 2 (2012) “Off to Market We Go: A Content Analysis of Marketing and Promotion Skills in Academic Librarian Job Ads.” Karen Okamoto, Mark Aaron Polger
  • Vol 28, No 4 (2014)  “Core Competencies for Assessment in Libraries: a Review and Analysis of Job Postings.” Sarah Passonneau, Susan Erickson
  • Vol 29, No 4 (2015)  “Best practices for talent acquisition in 21st-century academic libraries.” Kimberley Bugg

Academic Market Data Surveys

Academic Librarians and Staff Competencies

Market Data and Salary Surveys

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