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CAP (Continuing Appointment) Explained

What is Continuing Appointment and what is its function?

Continuing Appointment refers to a system of appointment and promotion processes at Duke Libraries for staff who have been hired into a Professional Librarian position, a category applied to certain positions as determined by Duke University’s Office of the Provost.  It is modelled after a faculty tenure system.

This system is applicable only to staff at Duke Libraries (DUL): the professional libraries (Divinity, Fuqua, Law, and Medical Center libraries) have their own appointment promotion process.

CAP provides an opportunity to be reviewed by peers who can offer an objective assessment of the CAP candidate’s professional work both within and outside of the institution.  The resulting acknowledgement of professional achievement is recognizable both within and across institutions where similar review processes are in place for librarians and faculty.

By granting continuing appointment, the University shows its support for academic freedom and makes a long-term financial commitment to the librarian. In return, the librarian continues a commitment to the career of librarianship.

  • Before continuing appointment may be granted, seven years of experience in a position classified as Professional Librarian, including three years in the Duke University Libraries, are normally required.
  • Based on performance and potential, continuing appointment is granted to librarians who are expected to continue to contribute to Duke University, whose performance is of consistently high quality, and who evidence an active interest in the profession.
  • The CAP system is not tied to salary, benefits, or to the Performance Evaluation Process (PEP).

What is the ranking structure in the Continuing Appointment and Promotion system?

The ranking structure for librarians, with periodic review, peer evaluation, and continuing appointment, is designed to parallel the faculty structure for promotion and tenure.

Each individual holds a position title and a ranking title, for instance, Instruction and Reference Librarian with the rank of Senior Assistant Librarian.

There are four available ranks:

  • Assistant Librarian
  • Senior Assistant Librarian
  • Associate Librarian
  • Librarian

Advancement through the ranks is most commonly achieved at a rate of 3-5 years per rank.

The primary criterion for continuing appointment and promotion is a high level of job performance.

Secondary criteria encompass a broad array of professional contributions, depending on the individual’s proclivities and position. These may include, but are not limited to:

  • Membership – but especially committee service or officer roles – in professional organizations. The organizations include ALA, organizations for specialized librarians (ARLIS for art librarians, MLA for music librarians, SAA or RBMS for Rubenstein Library staff), or other academic service associations;
  • Publishing in professional journals and other outlets;
  • Service on Duke University Libraries committees;
  • Service on university committees, Triangle Research Library Network (TRLN) groups, or other area/regional committees;
  • Speaking engagements;
  • Teaching

This information has been adapted and condensed from the Libraries Assembly governing documents for CAP. The full text of the CAP Governing Document, Duke University Libraries Consolidated Guidelines for Continuing Appointment and Promotion, can be found here.

If you want to know more, see this Library HR Powerpoint slide show, presented in 2019 at a talk titled “How the Library Works”: Brief Overview of Job Classifications

QUESTIONS?  Please contact any Libraries Assembly Executive Committee member! (current contact names are listed here)