Category Archives: 4. Personnel

Personnel Policy and Unemployment

A personnel policy provides the staff with a clear understanding of employee rights and benefits, as well as the rules and regulations set forth by the library system.  A personnel policy is formalized and adopted by the Board of Trustees.  This policy is a reflection of the philosophy and mission of the library system; it sets rules of conduct, service standards, supervision of the staff, employee benefits, and other issues that are related to the employment of individuals.


A well-written personnel policy will serve as a reference guide for the employer and the employee.  But most important of all, a personnel policy provides structure.  A clear direction is established; the staff knows what is expected of them and the repercussions that may occur if they fail to comply with procedures.  Whenever a policy is changed or added, it is vital to have all current employees review the changes and confirm that they understand them in writing.

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Components of a personnel policy may include:

  • Introductory Materials
    • Statement of governance: who is responsible for creating and enforcing the policy
    • Organizational chart showing chain of command
  • Employment Practices
    • Recruitment and selection process
    • Staff orientation
    • Staff development and training
    • Personnel actions:  promotions, demotions, and transfers; complaints and grievances; disciplinary actions; terminations from employment
    • Performance appraisal system
    • Personnel records
  • Compensation Program
    • Wage and salary system
    • Payroll deductions
    • Payroll policies
  • Conditions at Work
    • Attendance, work schedules, and absenteeism
    • Health, safety and security issues
    • Alcohol and substance abuse
    • Customer service and business ethics
    • Standards of acceptable employee conduct
  •  Employee Benefits
    • Health and life insurance
    • Retirement
    • Government mandated benefits: Social Security, Workers’ Compensation, and unemployment insurance
    • Holidays
    • Leaves: personal leave, sick leave and leaves of absences

If a library employee becomes separated from a job for reasons beyond the employee’s control, that employee may be eligible for unemployment compensation. Claims of unemployment by library employees are covered under Mississippi Code 1972 Annotated §71-5-1 et seq.

Inquiries may be directed to the Mississippi Department of Employment Security or visit the web site at:



Public library employees that work 20 hours or more are in the state Public Employees Retirement System (PERS).   The library board has the authority to determine how many hours/days an employee receives for various leaves.  When determining the accumulated time of a public library employee pertaining to retirement, the State uses its own formula based on how much time a state employee can earn, accumulate, and apply toward retirement.



There are Attorney General’s Opinions (AGO, Stroud, January 16, 1990; Keyes, May 24, 1991; Carter, May 28, 1991) stating that municipal, county, and public library employees receive the same ten (10) holidays as state employees (Mississippi Code 1972 Annotated §3-3-7). These opinions also say that while these employees may receive fewer days they cannot receive more than ten (10) days. There is also the option of substituting one qualified holiday for a day selected by the library board.


Job Descriptions and Job Listings

A job description is a written narrative of the major duties and responsibilities of a job. The most important part of a job description is the identification of the duties or tasks that are essential to the successful performance of the job.  According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), essential functions are those tasks or functions of a particular position that are fundamental to the position as opposed to those that are marginal.

Elements of a Job Description

1. Employment Information.

  • job title and a short description of the job and its main purpose
  • library system name and geographic location of the job
  • salary range and special benefits
  • hours of work
  • hire date and starting date

2.  Job Functions.

  • list of duties or tasks that are essential to the successful performance of the job
  • “report to”; supervisory responsibility; and any other working relationships
  • any special working conditions (e.g., shift or weekend work, travel, periods when leave cannot be taken, etc.)

3. Requirementsminimum qualifications needed to perform the essential job functions:

  • education
  • experience and work history
  • knowledge, specialized skills, and attributes
  • physical demands, i.e., “must be able to lift 50 pounds”
  • special requirements, i.e., “must have a valid drivers license and be able to drive a vehicle”
Advertising a Job

Statewide Options:

Local Options:


Lawson, Judy, et al.  The New Information Professional: Your Guide to Careers in the Digital Age.  New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers, 2010. (020.23 L425)

Stueart, Robert D. and Maureen Sullivan.  Developing Library Leaders: A How-to-do-it Manual for Coaching, Team Building, and Mentoring Library Staff.  New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers, 2010. (020.3 S933)

Guidelines for the Recruitment of a New Director

This important function belongs to the administrative board of trustees.  The Mississippi Code §39-3-17 (1) (d) states that the trustees of the administrative board shall:


 Employ a library system director, prescribe his/her duties, fix his/her compensation, and remove him/her for cause.

Trustees are encouraged to be thoughtful and hire the best candidate for their library system.  There is much diversity among library directors.  The make-up of the library system itself and staff will dictate the type of individual sought.  Once again, the Mississippi Code provides essential information; § 39-3-17 (2) states:


There shall be one (1) library director for each library system. Said library system director shall have such educational qualifications as are prescribed by the Mississippi Library Commission. The library system director shall administer and establish procedures according to policies established by the administrative board of trustees. His or her duties shall include: (a) employment of staff with the approval of the board of trustees; (b) prescription of staff duties; (c) removal of staff for cause; (d) preparation of the budget; (e) financial and statistical management; (f) reporting to board of trustees; and (g) other acts necessary for the orderly and efficient administration of the library system.


Qualifications for Directorship:

Trustees are encouraged to hire a director with the professional degree (MLS/MLIS) to avoid the necessity to request an educational waiver from the Board of Commissioners of the Mississippi Library Commission.  The MLS/MLIS degree should be conferred by an American Library Association accredited institution. The American Library Association maintains a list of accredited programs of study ( library directors must request official transcripts be sent directly from the registrar of their university to the Mississippi Library Commission.


Job Announcements and Recruitment:

The Library Commission, particularly the library consultants, will assist trustees in this process.  Commission staff will review job announcements and offer suggestions if requested.  Library consultants can help find examples of job announcements to use as a starting point.  Consultants will identify placement options for the announcement including MLC’s website, library schools, and library publications. There are no cost/low cost options available for announcement placement.

Expensive options can be used as needed to broaden the search if the response is insufficient.  Some library systems may even hire outside consultants to lead the search for them.  This is permissible, but not required.  Most library systems have had successful searches without hiring an outside firm.