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Librarian, Copyright and Licensing

Date: August 16, 2016
Reports to (Job Title): Head, Collection Develpment
Jobs Reporting (Job Titles): Library Associate
Department: Library


Main Campus (Dana Porter Library)


USG 8-13
35 hr/wk

Primary Purpose

The Copyright and Licensing Librarian is the primary coordinator and campus consultant on issues that span copyright risks and accountabilities as well as information resources’ licenses and contracts. This campus role serves as a key educator on copyright and licensing issues; provides expert assessment and analysis concerning licensing and copyright issues, such as information resource usage rights; supports risk management and compliance.

Key Accountabilities:


As a copyright and licensing expert, the incumbent supports the Library and University Community by:

  • Developing and communicating copyright policies and procedures to the University Community, in close consultation with Library and campus partners
  • Developing informational materials for distribution in multiple formats for diverse stakeholders
  • Responding to copyright and licensing queries from within the Library and across the University
  • Advising library and campus personnel on intellectual property issues relating to collections, services, and digital projects
  • Coordinating additional services with existing vendors on behalf of the Library and University Community, e.g. ad hoc text and data mining allowance, one-time bulk data purchases, etc.
  • Maintaining a collaborative working relationship with campus and Library counterparts
  • Working collaboratively to review vendor licenses, make recommendations for changes, and negotiate terms to ensure the rights and privileges of the University Community are upheld and furthered
  • Working collaboratively to provide ongoing quality assurance and risk management oversite, in line with University auditing rules, policies, and regulations related to copyright and contracts
  • Maintaining a strong working relationship with University legal counsel, ensuring appropriate escalation as required
  • Overseeing, reviewing, and documenting copyright support and information resource licensing workflows
  • Standing member of campus copyright committee and working groups, including providing support for:
    • Establishing priorities and developing long and short term goals within the context of the Library’s overall goals
    • Identifying changing circumstances and trends that require review and revision of policies and practices.


As an educator and instructor, the Copyright and Licensing Librarian provides support for information sessions and educational activities by:

  • Developing, organizing, and delivering seminars, programs, modules, and workshops to educate faculty, students, and other campus partners about copyright, author’s rights, and licensing issues and practices 
  • Liaising with campus partners to develop and promote community engagement tools
  • Providing campus wide education on Open Access and Open Education Resources and strategies, e.g. collaborating on the coordination of local Open Access Week events.


As a unit leader in the Collection Development Department, the Copyright and Licensing Librarian participates in, and serves as a critical backup for the Head, Collection Development for:

  • Establishing priorities and developing long and short term goals within the context of the Library’s overall goals
  • Identifying changing circumstances and trends that require review and revision of policies and practices
  • Managing change, including the temporary redeployment of staff
  • Ensuring collaboration and coordination with other departments, branch libraries, resource centres, vendor partners, and with the University of Waterloo’s federated and affiliated colleges and universities (AFIW)
  • Participating in electronic resource access troubleshooting as it relates to licensing and access rights, e.g. access loss due to license infractions
  • Ensuring that timely and accurate licensing and entitlement information is maintained in the Library’s electronic resources management system [ERM]
  • Ensuring that licensed resource usage rights are public and accurately displayed
  • Coordinating and / or leading vendor or third party visits as appropriate
  • Representing the department library-wide or beyond in committee work or on special projects such as with the Copyright Advisory Committee (CAC), Information Resources Management Committee (IRMC), vendor partners, the TriUniversity Group of Libraries (TUG) or the Ontario Council of University Libraries (OCUL).


As a professional librarian, maintains expertise in copyright and licensing by:

  • Participating in professional development in areas such as research, courses, conference presentations, posters, and ongoing skills acquisition
  • Actively participating on specialized teams or working groups to support the unique needs and strategic goals at the University of Waterloo. Activities could include for example:
    • Participating in research projects and grant-funded projects as the information specialist
    • Providing of training as related to area of expertise
  • Maintaining awareness of projects and initiatives from key consortia partners such as the TUG, OCUL, and the Canadian Research Knowledge Network (CRKN)
  • Monitoring, and remaining current on legislative developments in copyright, fair dealing, intellectual property, licensing, open access and related matters; providing summaries to executive leadership
  • Identifying and staying current on projects and initiatives undertaken by key government and industry bodies and groups (e.g. Copyright Boards, lobby groups, etc.)
  • Liaising with other college and university copyright positions and external copyright groups to maintain currency, identify best practices, and share information.


The incumbent provides leadership, expertise, and support to staff working on the Collection Development team, which is anticipated to include a direct report as well as indirect reports, contract, student, and casual staff. Maintains a collegial management style that fosters open communication by:

  • Coaching and training employees to assure the growth and development of those individuals
  • Conducting regular performance reviews with direct reports and ensures adherence to the annual performance planning process
  • Participating in the hiring of employees, in consultation with the Head, Collection Development

Position Requirements


ALA-accredited MLS/MLIS degree, or equivalent.


Demonstrated experience with Canadian copyright law and its applications, particularly in the context of higher education

Demonstrated experience reviewing and analysing contracts and licences, particularly in the context of higher education

Outstanding interpersonal skills and good judgement, with a demonstrated ability to maintain respectful, and constructive working relationships across multiple levels and diverse stakeholders

Proven ability to work independently, professionally, and collaboratively to manage and mitigate complex problems

Proven ability to clearly and positively communicate complex concepts; excellent oral and written communication skills

Proven ability to take initiative and to manage rapid change in a proactive manner

Comfort with ambiguity while managing multiple projects, priorities, deadlines, and developing/implementing process improvements

Experience leading and coaching staff, colleagues, and team members in addressing challenges and opportunities associated with a rapidly changing academic environment

Proven ability to work effectively in a service oriented environment

Proven self-starter committed to innovation and ongoing development of knowledge

Proven understanding of electronic information resources landscape and associated issues

Demonstrated supervisory and mentoring experience





MS Word Excel PowerPoint Other
Intermediate Intermediate Beginner Acquisitions Module (intermediate), ERM (intermediate)

Nature and Scope

Interpersonal Skills:

Internally, communicates with campus staff to present/describe/analyze information and to obtain decision/action on issues. Externally, communicates with vendors and consortia partners to present/describe information, obtain action on issues, and establish relationships.

Level of Responsibility:

Responsible for ensuring the timely and effective management of copyright and licensing queries, including day-to-day access troubleshooting, deployment of usage rights, and creation of related documentation. Responsible and accountable for the overall effectiveness of copyright and usage rights education materials and approaches. Works closely with other staff to develop and act on recommendations and implement decisions.

Decision-Making Authority:

Responsible for triggering review of electronic resources licenses and fair dealing investigations. Responsible for addressing entitlement issues, answering copyright and usage rights queries, and deciding when to escalate these issues to the Head, Collection Development and/or AUL, Information Resources & Academic Excellence. Works with Secretariat and Office of General Counsel and vendors to solve more complex problems.

Physical and Sensory Demands:

Minimal physical requirements. Exposure to conditions typical of a position in a fast-paced office environment, with frequent urgent demands and a wide range of stakeholders.

Working Environment:

Exposure to conditions associated with urgent, time-sensitive activities, and troubleshooting.