Policy Statement on Job Security, Remuneration, and Employment Practices


Adopted by the membership at the sixty-eighth annual meeting in 1975, 68 Law Library Journal 382-83 (1975).


In the interest of promoting fair relationships and understanding, the American Association of Law Libraries endorses this statement of Policy on Job Security, Remuneration and Employment Practices, which is intended to serve as a guideline for law libraries and their employers, whether such employers are themselves law librarians, firms, institutions or other persons who employ law librarians. Full and responsive communication between law librarians and their employers at the beginning of the employment relationship can prevent later misunderstanding. Employment relationships based upon fundamental fairness and good faith are a necessary prerequisite for effective and professional law librarianship.

Statement of Policy

Security of employment enables a law librarian to work responsibly without fear of interference or of arbitrary or unjust dismissal. Security of employment encourages a law librarian to make professional decisions without fear of reprisal. Security of employment provides a sufficient degree of economic security to make the profession of law librarianship attractive to persons of ability.

Security of employment means that, following the satisfactory completion of a probationary period, the employment of a law librarian under any form of permanent appointment status carries with it a commitment to continuous employment. Professional competence, in accordance with the aims and objectives of law librarianship and the official policies of the library's governing body, should be the criterion for acceptable performance for a law librarian with permanent appointment status, who should not be terminated without adequate cause, and then only after being accorded the forms and substance of due process.

A mutual understanding of the role of the law librarian in the employer's organization is desirable. The authority and responsibilities of the law librarian should be defined as clearly as possible. The terms and conditions of appointment should be stated in writing and should include a clear statement of practice in regard to probation, security of employment, retirement and other benefits. This statement should be in the possession of both the employer and the prospective employee before appointment is made. It is also appropriate for a law librarian to request a letter of confirmation which delineates matters discussed in pre-employment interviews.

Permanent employment status should not preclude evaluation of performance. If such evaluations are conducted at regular intervals according to applicable institutional policies and procedures, they can facilitate communication and encourage improved performance. Those employing law librarians should have or be willing to acquire, enough knowledge of law library methods and procedures in order that such evaluations of a law librarian's performance can be made on an informed and intelligent basis. In order to facilitate this, the law librarian keep adequate statistics and records, and provide the kinds of information the employer needs to judge the performance of the law librarian and the requirements of the law library. Employers should recognize that professional association memberships and professional meetings are important for the continuing education and effective performance of the law librarian.

As previously stated, employment should only be terminated for adequate cause. Adequate cause is defined to mean demonstrable incompetence; gross misconduct, or other serious departure from professional behavior; the employer's bona fide financial exigency; or retirement for reasons of age, mental, or physical disability.

Employers of law librarians should have or acquire a general awareness of appropriate and competitive rates of remuneration and fringe benefits of law librarians in position similar to those of the law librarian(s) they employ. Employers should seek to meet or exceed such general levels of compensation and benefits and should also be prepared to preview the level of compensation as rates of remuneration and the cost of living rise.

Employers of law librarians should also be aware of federal, state, and local laws forbidding discrimination on the basis of race, sex, or other grounds, and at all times seek to comply with the letter and spirit of such laws.