Investigation Time Policy

October 14, 2021

Academic Professionals and Civil Service Professionals (Professionals) in the University Library engage in professional work that directly supports library activity and services. This involves varying mixtures of focus in librarianship and a related specialized domain, such as a technology or subject. In the course of that professional work, and in collaboration with faculty, Professionals may investigate and innovate best practices in librarianship and in their related specialized domain through a combination of their librarianship, research, and service activities. Both librarianship and related specialized domains require continued professional development to support ongoing contributions to the activities and services of their units.

The University Library seeks to support and actively encourage the continued development of skills and knowledge in Professionals in a fashion that recognizes their specialized backgrounds and contributions to the field of librarianship and to their related specialized domains.

This document articulates the University Library’s policy regarding use of Investigation Time as well as guidelines for utilizing this optional resource available to all full-time Academic Professionals and Civil Service Professionals. Civil Service Professionals, for the purposes of this policy, include over-time exempt Civil Service employees who are not represented by unions.

Investigation Time, for the purposes of this policy, consists of time Professionals use to pursue the development of skills and knowledge of librarianship and related specialized domains. This can, but does not necessarily, include research activities.

Scope & Context
The Professional’s primary role is to engage in professional work that directly supports Library activities and services. They work collegially and cooperatively to fulfill the mission of their unit, the University Library, and campus. The shape of the position and the range of responsibilities are determined by the needs of the unit as defined by the supervisor. The University Library provides basic support, including investigation time and a professional development budget, to support professional development. In addition, Professionals are empowered to seek additional support dependent on eligibility from the University Library’s Research and Publication Committee as well as the campus-wide Academic Professional Development Fund, in addition to external sources to fulfill their professional development interests.

Guidance for Use

Full-time Professionals regardless of their official title may investigate areas of interest to them as they pursue the development of skills and knowledge of librarianship and related specialized domains, even if those investigations are not directly in support of an immediate programmatic need. Those supervising Professionals are expected to create an environment that nurtures creativity, independent thinking, and innovation by flexibly structuring opportunities for autonomous professional development activities. Professionals are expected to communicate and coordinate with their supervisors regarding the timing, topics, and other particulars of using investigation time.


  • Continuing Education, such as courses, tutorials, webinars, and independent projects (librarianship, related specialization, project management, management)
  • Working with a career mentor within the library or elsewhere on campus
  • Data analytics focused on an area of librarianship or related specialized domain
  • Conducting research
  • Articulating and sharing information about practices
  • Authoring scholarly work intended for publication, such as a paper or multimedia publication
Time Allotment

A Professional can typically spend around 5% of their time on investigations, which equates to 2 hours per week during weeks the Professional works 40 hours. This could be increased up to 10% if the Professional and supervisor determine the investigation may have a more immediate direct benefit to the University Library.

Schedule Negotiation and Flexibility

The Professional and supervisor can negotiate minor shifts of this time (e.g., half a day, bi-weekly, or one day per month), but Investigation Time does not accumulate and accrue over time. A Professional and supervisor can determine that an activity that could be considered within the guidelines of use of Investigation Time is part of regular work responsibilities.

Professionals are encouraged but not required to utilize investigation time. A Professional’s decision whether to utilize investigation time must remain free from implied or explicit pressure from supervisors or peers. However, supervisors should ensure Professionals are aware of investigation time when they begin their work in the library, and it is good practice for the supervisor to check in at least annually (for example, during the annual performance review process) to make sure employees feel welcome to make use of investigation time if they desire.

Relationship to Regular Work Responsibilities

Professional-driven research or other professional development is to be distinguished from that which is done as part of the Professional’s regular work responsibilities or at the direction of a supervisor. This distinction includes training activities, conferences, data gathering, and production of scholarly work assigned as a work task. These activities should not count towards the Investigation Time described in this document. Beneficial investigations may evolve into a regular work assignment or production activities at which point it is no longer subject to this categorization.


In the case where a Professional feels they are not getting adequate investigation time or flexibility, they should first work with their direct supervisor to resolve the issue. If necessary, the next steps would be to contact the unit head; if no agreed upon resolution is reached, then the issue should be brought to the attention of the University Library administration for resolution.

Related Resources

Research and Publication Committee website

Academic Professional Development Fund