PUL Position Management Process

Princeton University Library has a finite number of staff lines available from Human Resources (HR) and the Dean of the Faculty (DoF). It is the Library Strategy Council (LSC) and Library Administration Team (LAT)’s responsibility to ensure that PUL is making the best possible use of these lines and University resources.

While many of the processes between HR and the DoF differ, all staff allocation is ultimately managed and approved by the Office of the Provost. Given that PUL has a significant number of HR and DoF staff and therefore different routes to the Provost, internal processes must be understood and handled consistently and in communication with the Provost to avoid confusion further downstream in position management processes.

To achieve these two goals—making the best possible use of existing staff lines and clear communication with the Office of the Provost—PUL will begin reviewing all vacancies and requests for new positions, term or permanent, approximately every three months. The aim of this approach is to create an opportunity to review positions in larger groups and promote more strategic and equitable use and reuse of staff lines across the Library.


There are many times in which a position refill without further analysis is warranted, however, this should not be an assumption. Managers should see vacancies as an opportunity to review their staffing arrangement and work with closely related units to determine whether a refill is truly necessary. A formal review of job descriptions for the remaining roles may be possible in the event that a decision is made to not refill a vacant position.

When a refill is necessary, it is good practice to work with HR to review the job description and compensation for the role. Even if the job is not changing substantially, this will be required if HR does not have a job description on file, which tends to be the case if the position was last vacant more than a few years ago. When in doubt, seek a review.

It is understood that emergencies will arise and that smaller teams, in particular, may not be able to wait months before beginning the replacement process. When this occurs, it should be discussed with the relevant member of LSC.

New Positions

The creation of newly funded positions that increase the number of Library employees is rare, especially if the position is to be permanently funded. This further underscores the importance of reviewing vacancies as an opportunity to allocate staff toward other needs. New strategic initiatives or significant growth in an existing area may warrant proposing new positions, but this is an infrequent occurrence. Even roles funded by Library endowments are considered new staff and it should not be assumed that these will be approved.

Term-limited positions are an alternative to creating new positions, but require careful consideration and should not be used when the true intention of the role is to have a permanent member of staff, or the work itself is ongoing and not finite. Term positions are for project-based roles, such as grants or strategic initiatives that will last a determinate amount of time. They may also be used to test whether or not a role is necessary, but should never be used to audition an individual in a specific role. Generally, term appointments should last 1-3 years and will require identifying a staff line or funds to be used.

[Note that “term” positions are distinct from hiring temporary employees through an agency. LSC members may sign off on hiring temps without further process after they have confirmed that they have funding available from an appropriate source. Due to certain federal regulations, temporary positions should never exceed one year or 1000 hours of work, whichever is less.]

Term Position Extensions

Term position extensions should be rare, and generally only happen once. When they are necessary, they should be handled as part of the New Positions process described above.

DoF to HR Transfers and PULA Considerations

Often, when a staff line is repurposed, it may need to be transferred from the DoF to HR. This requires permission from the DoF and is brokered by the University Librarian. Transfers from HR to the DoF are uncommon and generally not possible.

Similarly, review or reuse of a vacancy may have an impact on the Princeton University Library Assistants union (PULA) membership, and any possibility of a transfer should be addressed with HR and if HR advises, potentially, the PULA Executive Council, before moving forward with any action.


Vacancy refills and requests for new positions are accumulated by the Deputy University Librarian and reviewed according to the schedule below. Requests should include:

  • A draft job description form for all positions, including DoF and PULA
  • A short (~200 words) description and justification
  • Position number (for HR, if an existing role)
  • The name of the last person to occupy the position (for existing roles)
  • The manager/supervisor of this role

These should be submitted by the relevant member of LSC to Nish Contractor, who will accumulate a package for LAT.

For HR roles, while waiting for the review deadline, the hiring manager should work with HR to review the position grade, title, and compensation by providing them with an updated job description and organizational chart. Even if the job is not new, this can prove useful, though it is not strictly necessary if the position has an existing grade and salary range and is not changing.

LAT will assemble a list of positions and documentation along with any recommendation, and submit a package to LSC for further review and prioritization. The Deputy University Librarian and Director of Finance will work with the Provost’s Office to review the package. Once the hiring manager receives notification of approval from their LSC or LAT representative, the administrative assistant supporting the search should fill out the Provost’s Position Management Form and wait for approval unless the position is a straight refill without any change in grade or compensation, in which case they may proceed with the search.


Proposals Due to LAT

Proposals Due to LSC

Target Decision Date

May 17, 2022

May 24, 2022

June 10, 2022

August 9, 2022

August 16, 2022

September 9, 2022

November 13, 2022

November 20, 2022

December 13, 2022

This process will be reviewed in January, 2023.

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