B.9 Library Personnel Practices (Old Number 54)

B.9.1 Library and Information Studies and Human Resource Utilization: A Statement of Policy (Old Number 54.1)

To meet the goals of library service, both professional and supportive staff are needed in libraries. Thus, the library occupation is much broader than that segment of it which is the library profession, but the library profession has responsibility for defining the training and education required for the preparation of personnel who work in libraries at any level, supportive or professional.

Skills other than those of library and information studies also have an important contribution to make to the achievement of superior library service. There should be equal recognition in both the professional and supportive ranks for those individuals whose expertise contributes to the effective performance of the library.

The title ‘‘Librarian’’ carries with it the connotation of ‘‘professional’’ in the sense that professional tasks are those which require a special background and education.

(See ‘‘Policy Reference File’’: ALA Library and Information Studies Education and Human Resource Utilization: A Statement of Policy 2001-2002 CD #3 - PDF, 23 pgs).


B.9.2 Librarians: Appropriate Degrees (Old Number 54.2)

The master’s degree from a program accredited by the American Library Association (or from a master’s level program in library and information studies accredited or recognized by the appropriate national body of another country) is the appropriate professional degree for librarians.

(See ‘‘Policy Reference File’’: Historical Note on the Use of Terminology Pertaining to Degree Programs Accredited by the American Library Association - PDF, 4 pgs).


B.9.2.1 Academic Librarians (Old Number 54.2.1)

The master’s degree in library and information studies from a library school program accredited by the American Library Association is the appropriate terminal professional degree for academic librarians.


B.9.2.2 School Librarians (Old Number 54.2.2)

The master’s degree in library and information studies from a program accredited by the American Library Association or a master’s degree with a specialty in school librarianship from an ALA/AASL Nationally Recognized program in an educational unit accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation is the appropriate first professional degree for school librarians.

(Adopted July 11, 1988, by ALA Council; revised 2008, 2013.)


B.9.3 Equal Employment Opportunity (Old Number 54.3)

The American Library Association is committed to equality of opportunity for all library employees or applicants for employment, regardless of race, color, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, individual life-style, or national origin: and believes that hiring individuals with disabilities in all types of libraries is consistent with good personnel and management practices.


B.9.3.1 Affirmative Action Plans (Old Number 54.3.1)

Member libraries and library schools with 15 or more staff shall formulate written affirmative action plans and shall submit these plans to HRDR for review.


B.9.3.2 Library Services for People with Disabilities (Old Number 54.3.2)

The American Library Association recognizes that people with disabilities are a large and neglected minority in the community and are severely under-represented in the library profession. Disabilities cause many personal challenges. In addition, many people with disabilities face economic inequity, illiteracy, cultural isolation, and discrimination in education, employment and the broad range of societal activities.

Libraries play a catalytic role in the lives of people with disabilities by facilitating their full participation in society. Libraries should use strategies based upon the principles of universal design to ensure that library policy, resources and services meet the needs of all people.

ALA, through its divisions, offices and units and through collaborations with outside associations and agencies, is dedicated to eradicating inequities and improving attitudes toward and services and opportunities for people with disabilities.

For the purposes of this policy, “must” means “mandated by law and/or within ALA’s control” and “should” means “it is strongly recommended that libraries make every effort to . . .” Please see http:// www.ala.org/ascla/accesspolicy.html for the complete text of the policy, which includes explanatory examples.

  1. The Scope of Disability Law. Providing equitable access for persons with disabilities to library facilities and services is required by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, applicable state and local statutes, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA).
  2. Library Services. Libraries must not discriminate against individuals with disabilities and shall ensure that individuals with disabilities have equal access to library resources. Libraries should include persons with disabilities as participants in the planning, implementing, and evaluating of library services, programs, and facilities.
  3. Facilities. The ADA requires that both architectural barriers in existing facilities and communication barriers that are structural in nature be removed as long as such removal is “readily achievable.” (i.e., easily accomplished and able to be carried out without much difficulty or expense.)
  4. Collections. Library materials must be accessible to all patrons including people with disabilities. Materials must be available to individuals with disabilities in a variety of formats and with accommodations, as long as the modified formats and accommodations are “reasonable,” do not “fundamentally alter” the library’s services, and do not place an “undue burden” on the library. Within the framework of the library’s mission and collection policies, public, school, and academic library collections should include materials with accurate and up-to-date information on the spectrum of disabilities, disability issues, and services for people with disabilities, their families, and other concerned persons.
  5. Assistive Technology. Well-planned technological solutions and access points, based on the concepts of universal design, are essential for effective use of information and other library services by all people. Libraries should work with people with disabilities, agencies, organizations and vendors to integrate assistive technology into their facilities and services to meet the needs of people with a broad range of disabilities, including learning, mobility, sensory and developmental disabilities. Library staff should be aware of how available technologies address disabilities and know how to assist all users with library technology.
  6. Employment. ALA must work with employers in the public and private sectors to recruit people with disabilities into the library profession, first into library schools and then into employment at all levels within the profession. Libraries must provide reasonable accommodations for qualified individuals with disabilities unless the library can show that the accommodations would impose an “undue hardship” on its operations. Libraries must also ensure that their policies and procedures are consistent with the ADA and other laws.
  7. Library Education, Training and Professional Development. All graduate programs in library and information studies should require students to learn about accessibility issues, assistive technology, the needs of people with disabilities both as users and employees, and laws applicable to the rights of people with disabilities as they impact library services. Libraries should provide training opportunities for all library employees and volunteers in order to sensitize them to issues affecting people with disabilities and to teach effective techniques for providing services for users with disabilities and for working with colleagues with disabilities.
  8. ALA Conferences. ALA conferences held at facilities that are “public accommodations” (e.g. hotels and convention centers) must be accessible to participants with disabilities. The association and its staff, members, exhibitors, and hospitality industry agents must consider the needs of conference participants with disabilities in the selection, planning, and layout of all conference facilities, especially meeting rooms and exhibit areas. ALA Conference Services Office and division offices offering conferences must make every effort to provide accessible accommodations as requested by individuals with special needs or alternative accessible arrangements must be made. Conference programs and meetings focusing on the needs of, services to, or of particular interest to people with disabilities should have priority for central meeting locations in the convention/conference center or official conference hotels.
  9. ALA Publications and Communications. All ALA publications, including books, journals, and correspondence, must be available in alternative formats including electronic text. The ALA website must conform to the currently accepted guidelines for accessibility, such as those issued by the World Wide Web Consortium.

(See “Policy Reference File”: Library Services for People with Disabilities Policy, 2000-2001 CD #24 - PDF, 20 pgs)


B.9.4 Comparable Rewards (Old Number 54.4)

The American Library Association supports salary administration which gives reasonable and comparable recognition to positions having administrative, technical, subject, and linguistic requirements. It is recognized that all such specialist competencies can be intellectually vigorous and meet demanding professional operational needs. In administering such a policy, it can be a useful guide that, in major libraries, as many non-administrative specialties be assigned to the top classifications as are administrative staff. Whenever possible there should be as many at the top rank with less than 30 percent administrative load as there are at the highest rank carrying over 70 percent administrative load.


B.9.5 Faculty Status of College and University Librarians (Old Number 54.5)

The intellectual contributions made by academic librarians to the teaching, research, and service mission of their colleges and universities merit the granting of faculty status. Faculty status for librarians should entail the same rights and responsibilities granted to and required of other members of the faculty.


B.9.6 Security of Employment for Library Employees (Old Number 54.6)

Security of employment means that, following the satisfactory completion of a probationary period, the employment of a library employee under permanent appointment* carries with it an institutional commitment to continuous employment. Job competence, in accordance with the aims and objectives of the library, should be the criterion for acceptable performance for a library employee with permanent appointment. Library employees shall not be terminated without adequate cause and then only after being accorded due process.


*Permanent appointment in different types of libraries is variously called tenure, continuous appointment, career service, regular contract, etc.

Employing anyone for successive, limited periods with the intent to avoid the granting of permanent appointment is deemed unethical.


Security of employment, as an elementary right, guarantees specifically

  1. Intellectual freedom, defined as freedom to assume the responsibility placed upon a person by a democratic society to educate oneself and to improve one’s ability to participate usefully in activities in which one is involved as a citizen of the United States and of the world, and institutional adherence to the Library Bill of Rights.
  2. Appointments and promotions based solely on merit without interference from political, economic, religious, or other groups.
  3. A sufficient degree of economic security to make employment in the library attractive to men and women of ability.
  4. The opportunity for the library employee to work without fear of undue interference or dismissal and freedom from discharge for racial, political, religious, or other unjust reasons.


B.9.7 Inclusiveness and Mutual Respect (Old Number 54.7)

The American Library Association values, respects, and welcomes the contributions and participation of all library workers. ALA actively promotes inclusiveness within the Association and communicates images and information about all types of library careers. ALA provides services and developmental opportunities for all library workers.

The American Library Association affirms the importance of inclusiveness and mutual respect as essential for employee productivity, morale, and learning. Library employers that have developed respectful organizational cultures with inclusive language and developmental opportunities for all library workers should be recognized as models for others.

(See “Policy Reference File”: ALA Policy on Inclusiveness and Mutual Respect, 2004-2005 ALA CD#49 - PDF, 4 pgs)


B.9.8 The Library’s Pay Plan (Old Number 54.8)

In order to assure equal pay for equal work, libraries should have a well-constructed and well-administered pay plan based on systematic analysis and evaluation of jobs in the library.

(See ‘‘Policy Reference File’’: The Library’s Pay Plan: A Public Policy Statement. - PDF, 4 pgs)


B.9.9 Permanent Part-Time Employment (Old Number 54.9)

The right to earn a living includes a right to part-time employment on a par with full-time employment, including prorated pay and fringe benefits, opportunity for advancement and protection of tenure, access to middle-and upper-level jobs, and exercise of full responsibilities at any level.

ALA shall create more voluntarily chosen upgraded permanent part-time jobs in its own organization and supports similar action on the part of all libraries.


B.9.10 Equal Opportunity and Salaries (Old Number 54.10)

The American Library Association supports and works for the achievement of equal salaries and opportunity for employment and promotion for men and women.

The Association fully supports the concept of comparable wages for comparable work that aims at levels of pay for female-oriented occupations equal to those of male-oriented occupations; ALA therefore supports all legal and legislative efforts to achieve wages for library workers commensurate with wages in other occupations with similar qualifications, training, and responsibilities.

ALA particularly supports the efforts of those library workers who have documented, and are legally challenging, the practice of discriminatory salaries, and whose success will benefit all library workers throughout the nation.


B.9.11 Collective Bargaining (Old Number 54.11)

The American Library Association recognizes the principle of collective bargaining as one of the methods of conducting labor-management relations used by private and public institutions. The Association affirms the right of eligible library employees to organize and bargain collectively with their employers, or to refrain from organizing and bargaining collectively, without fear of reprisal.

(See ‘‘Policy Reference File’’: Collective Bargaining, Statement of Guidelines. - PDF, 2 pgs)


B.9.12 Residency and Citizenship Requirements (Old Number 54.12)

The American Library Association is opposed to any rule, regulation or practice, imposing as a condition of new or continued employment in any library, a requirement of residence or U.S. citizenship except where a demonstrable danger to national security is involved.


B.9.13 Drug Testing (Old Number 54.13)

The American Library Association opposes mandatory drug testing of library employees and advocates employee assistance programs as the best way for library employers to respond to performance deficiencies due to drug use.

(See ‘‘Policy Reference File’’: 1987-88 CD #61 - PDF, 1 pg)


B.9.14 Information and Referral Services (Old Number 54.14)

ALA provides, through its offices, divisions, round tables, and committees, information and referral services regarding tenure, status, fair employment practices (including discrimination and sexual harassment), and the principles of intellectual freedom as set forth in policies adopted by Council.


B.9.15 Institutional Support of ALA Members to Attend ALA Conferences (Old Number 54.15)

The American Library Association supports the principle of giving preference, in libraries, to members of ALA in providing financial support and administrative leave to attend ALA Conferences. ALA supports encouraging staff in both administrative and nonadministrative positions in libraries to attend the annual ALA Conference.


B.9.16 Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights (Old Number 54.16)

The American Library Association supports equal employment opportunity for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender librarians and library workers. (See “Policy Reference File:” A Resolution Reaffirming Equal Employment Opportunity for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Librarians and Library Workers, 2010-2011 ALA CD#43 - PDF, 3 pages) (See also B.9.3)


B.9.17 Advertising Salary Ranges (Old Number 54.17)

Available salary ranges shall be given for positions listed in any placement services provided by ALA and its units. A regional salary guide delineating the latest minimum salary figures recommended by state library associations shall be made available from any placement services provided by ALA and its units.

All ALA and unit publications printing classified job advertisements shall list the salary ranges established for open positions where available and shall include a regional salary guide delineating the latest minimum salary figures recommended by state library associations for library positions.


B.9.18 Reproduction of Noncommercial Educational and Scholarly Journals (Old Number 54.18)

ALA encourages authors writing primarily for purposes of educational advancement and scholarship to reserve to themselves licensing and reproduction rights to their own works in the publishing contracts they sign.

ALA, in cooperation with other educational organizations, urges publishers to adopt and include in their journals or similar publications a notice of a policy for the noncommercial reproduction of their materials for educational and scholarly purposes.


B.9.19 AIDS Screening (Old Number 54.19)

The American Library Association opposes mandatory AIDS screening of library employees and advocates employee assistance programs as the best way for library employers to respond to performance deficiencies related to [such illness as] AIDS and AIDS-Related Complex (ARC).

(See ‘‘Policy Reference File’’: 1988-89 CD #22. - PDF, 1 pg)


B.9.20 Comprehensive Health Care (Old Number 54.20)

ALA recognizes the importance of comprehensive health care for all Americans and its impact on libraries.

ALA encourages that that potential employers specify explicitly in their job announces in ALA publications or website whether or not they provide domestic partner benefits by means of appending one of the following two phrases; ’Domestic-partner benefits are not offered by this institution’ or ‘Domestic-partner benefits are offered by this institution.’

ALA urges other publishers and providers to encourage potential employers to specify explicitly in their job announcements whether or not they provide domestic partner benefits by means of appending one of the following two phrases: ‘Domestic-partner benefits are not offered by this institution’ or ‘Domestic-partner benefits are offered by this institution’. Adopted 2005. Amended 2010

(See “Policy Reference File”: Clarification within Job Listings as to the Presence or Absence of Domestic Partner Benefits, 2010-2011 ALA CD#35 - PDF, 2 pages)


B.9.21 Workplace Speech (Old Number 54.21)

Libraries should encourage discussion among library workers, including library administrators, of non-confidential professional and policy matters about the operation of the library and matters of public concern within the framework of applicable laws.

(See “Policy Reference File”: Resolution on Workplace Speech, 2004-2005 ALA CD#38.1 - PDF, 1 pg)