History: In 2012, the ARL (Association of Research Libraries) Board of Directors authorized the establishment of the ARL PD (Position Description) Bank. The system was developed by a team at the University of Florida, George A. Smathers Libraries with broad input from other institutions, including over 20 ARL member institutions, via surveys, focus groups, and beta testing. In 2013, the ARL PD Bank was officially launched. Initially, the PD Bank was only available to ARL members. In order to sustain the community, maximize the collection use, and create an even more comprehensive collection, access was expanded. Beginning in 2014, library consortia that included at least one ARL member institution were permitted to join the ARL PD Bank as a group and, as a result, extend access to their non-ARL members. The first consortium to join was the Association of Southeastern Research Libraries (ASERL). The Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) followed suit in 2015. In 2021, the Research Libraries UK (RLUK) also joined as a partner consortium. In 2022, leadership of these associations and the Smathers Libraries created a governance Memorandum of Understanding, and the name of the system was changed to the RL (Research Libraries) PD Bank. 

Background: The RL PD Bank (formerly the ARL PD Bank) was developed based on specifications determined by Library Personnel Officers through focus groups and other feedback channels. The intent is for the RL PD Bank to be maintained as the individual institutions use it to manage their documentation in instances such as when positions change, new positions are developed or positions are eliminated. The RL PD Bank will thus provide a useful source for current PDs and will depict the evolution of positions, and library functions and services as reflected over time in the PDs.

The opportunity: Perhaps the most common collaboration between personnel officers from different academic libraries is the sharing of position descriptions. This is usually initiated by a request for samples over an electronic mailing list. The responses are ‘hit or miss’ and not often distributed to the whole list, and neither the responses nor the requests are archived. Additionally, library human resources management staff spends a considerable amount of effort managing (archiving, locating, and retrieving) and distributing position descriptions. These documents serve as important elements of effective human resources management and are only useful if maintained, organized and accessible. Techniques for and effectiveness in managing these documents vary from institution to institution.