University Library Associates (ULAs) are graduate students in the School of Information who participate in a program specializing in research librarianship. They are appointed jointly by the University Library and the School of Information to a special program offering professional work experience in the Library and additional credit hours beyond those normally required for the Masters degree in Information Science. For purposes of compensation, benefits, and representation, the University officially recognizes Library Associates as Graduate Student Staff Assistants and adheres to the Graduate Employees Organization’s union contract.
The ULA Program is coordinated by a joint committee with representatives from the University Library and the School of Information. This committee recommends policies affecting all aspects of this Program including selection, assignments, and research projects. The committee also acts to maintain active communication between the School and the Library to anticipate and respond to necessary changes in the Program.
The selection of participants in the ULA Program is a joint responsibility of the School and the Library. The School screens for academic preparation and the Library selects for job qualifications. Associates are recruited and accepted into the graduate program by the School of Information. Their applications for the ULA Program are then forwarded to the Library for further consideration. Library supervisors with ULA positions review the pool of applicants, conduct telephone interviews, and complete reference checks before submitting their final recommendations. (Three recommendations should be submitted for each vacancy, if possible.) When two or more supervisors recommend the same applicant, appointment is made either by deferring to the supervisor with the (previously determined) highest priority status in the ULA Program or by allowing the recommended applicant to choose his/her own appointment from among those offered.
Term of Appointment
Associates are appointed for a twelve-month period, usually from September 1 through August 31. (For training purposes, an early starting date of August 15 may be established for a given position. In such a case, hours worked during the August 15-31 training period are credited toward the Associate’s commitment in hours for the regular September 1–August 31 appointment year.) Library Associates are required to work a total of 1035 hours in the appointment year, or an average of 345 hours per term (Fall, Winter, and Spring-Summer). The details of each Associate’s schedule are arranged with his/her immediate supervisor.
During their period of appointment, Library Associates must be enrolled for a minimum of six credit hours per full term. (They are not required to take course work during half-terms.) The details of each Associate’s course work are arranged with his/her academic advisor.
A ULA appointment concludes upon the Associate’s completion of the academic requirements for the ULA Program or upon his/her removal from the Program or Graduate Program: the School of Information.
The maximum period of appointment for a ULA is two years; exceptions to this limitation are made only in unusual cases.
To accommodate special needs during final examination periods, supervisors may adjust Associates’ work schedules. School of Information activities. The Library encourages Associates’ participation in School of Information activities (e.g., convocations, field trips). Accordingly, supervisors will try to temporarily adjust Associates’ work schedules, if necessary, to accommodate such participation when reasonable advance notice has been given. The time taken to engage in School activities, however, may not be applied to an Associate’s work commitment to the Library.
Staff Development activities
The Library’s Staff Development Program is conducted to provide staff with access to workshops and other programs that will enhance their job performance. A supervisor may support a Library Associate’s involvement in a staff development activity and make any necessary scheduling adjustments in light of the relevance of that activity to the individual’s assignment in the Library. When a workshop or other program is oversubscribed, the benefit of the activity to the Associate will be weighed against the benefits to regular staff members as the final list of participants is determined.
Associates’ participation in development activities outside the Library is seldom supported, due to limited funds. A supervisor and Associate who believe that a compelling reason justifies support should submit a request, which will be considered, but all parties should be aware that few requests are funded. However, unfunded release time to attend such functions is always negotiable with the immediate supervisor, who will consider the relevance of the activity to the Associate’s job responsibilities.
Library Associates are not eligible for funding for Staff Travel. Travel funds are available only to regular staff members.
Interviews for jobs
Associates should attend job interviews on their own time. If given reasonable advance notice, supervisors may adjust work schedules to accommodate this purpose whenever possible.
Library Associates submit the same attendance cards as do non-exempt staff members, but report on them only the number of hours they have worked and the number of sick time hours they have used. Because Associates do not accrue vacation time and are required to work only their specified number of hours, the other categories of information normally reported on the attendance cards do not apply to the ULA program.
Library Associates do not accrue vacation time.
Library Associates are allowed 60 hours of sick time per yearly 12-month appointment. They are not allowed, however, to accrue sick time from one appointment year to the next. Allowable sick time is registered as time worked when it is used, and it is included in the 1035 hours per year that Associates are required to work.
Compensation is exempt from Social Security tax, but deductions are made for federal and state income taxes.
Associates are eligible to choose from among several health and hospitalization insurance plans, including major medical coverage, and to enroll for group life insurance coverage.
Associates are given staff identification cards and have the same borrowing privileges as librarians.
Additional Appointments In The Library System
University Library Associates may work as temporary hourly employees in the Library to supplement their income from the ULA Program. In recognition of Associates’ priorities as students , the total of their time worked each week, both in their ULA appointment and in their temporary hourly position, may not exceed 30 hours. To avoid confusion over assigned tasks and levels of compensation, as well as other potential conflicts, Library Human Resources suggests that Associates perform additional temporary hourly work in units other than their own or in special projects within their own units that are completely separate from their normal duties as Library Associates.
Associates working in temporary hourly positions are recognized in those positions as student employees and are compensated at appropriate hourly rates. Hiring by supervisors follows the same process used for hiring other student employees. (See Temporary Hourly Employment.)
Since continuation in the Program depends upon successful performance on the job and in the academic component, communication between the Library and the School is important in giving adequate support to Associates.
University Library Associates are expected to meet the Library’s established standards of performance. In cases of inadequate performance of duties, the usual policies and practices of counseling, monitoring, and discipline are followed, with Library Human Resources serving as a resource for both supervisors and Associates.
When an Associate’s performance has not improved sufficiently after counseling, or is of very poor quality, the supervisor notifies Library Human Resources, which in turn notifies the Program Coordinator in the School of Information in preparation for further formal action.
When discharge from the job component of the ULA Program becomes necessary, the Library coordinates its actions with the School. Whenever possible, the Library tries to retain an Associate until the end of a semester to avoid disrupting the person’s tuition support, though this restraint is neither required nor guaranteed.
When academic problems arise and are not adequately resolved, the School’s Program Coordinator informs Library Human Resources, who then notifies the supervisor of the Associate’s potential for removal from the ULA Program.
In all cases, Library Associates are encouraged to first discuss job-related and academic problems with their supervisors and academic advisors. As members of the Library staff, they may also call upon Library Human Resources for advice and assistance. Broader questions about their roles in the ULA Program may be directed to the Program Coordinator and Library Human Resources.
School of Information
- Forwards resumes and other appropriate and materials to Library Human Resources.
Library Human Resources
- Reviews materials and provides circulating and non-circulating copies to supervisors who have open ULA positions.
- Reviews applications and conducts telephone interviews and reference checks after SI’s staff has had the opportunity to contact applicants and explain the selection process. (Exact date varies according to the Selection Schedule for that year.) Note: Supervisor arranges formal telephone interview. When initially contacting candidates, identifies self and position, and sets up a separate time for the actual telephone interview.
- May elect to have others review the applications and assist with the decision; identifies those individuals to Library Human Resources and explains to them selection process confidentiality aspects.
- Submits summary evaluation of each interviewed candidate (whether selected or not), along with the documentation from each reference check, and makes ranked recommendations to Library Human Resources. (Three recommended candidates should be submitted, in order of preference, for each ULA position, if possible.)
Library Human Resources
- Reviews the recommendations and informs the School of selected applicants.
School of Information
- Reviews and approves names of recommended candidates, and informs Library Human Resources.
Library Human Resources
- Offers the position.
- Accepts or rejects the appointment.
Library Human Resources
- Forwards a formal letter of appointment, forms, and informational materials to each candidate upon his/her acceptance.