Group collaboration is a vital part of the participative decision-making process in the Libraries. In order to facilitate good decisions, the Library regularly seeks input from its staff, whether it is part of the Libraries’ formal committee structure, a formally organized work group, task force, team or an informal group. On occasion, Library Administration may also name ad-hoc groups to address issues that do not clearly fall to one of these committees.
The Library’s committees and working groups etc variously advise on policy and program implementation and may have have decision-making powers as agreed to with the Library Administration.
Benefits of Membership
Membership on committees and working groups provides Library employees with opportunities:
- to influence library policies and practices;
- to meet and work with other staff with whom contact is otherwise limited or non-existent; and
- to broaden, experience, skills and/or perspective by performing tasks for committees that are not part of the employees normal assignment
Committee work is an important contributor to organizational operations, and work on committees and groups is included in assessment and feedback processes.
Demographics and Organization
Members are selected with the intention to broadly represent aspects of Library life that are relevant to the committee or working groups’s purpose. An appropriate balance is sought between librarians and staff; levels of classification; resource groups; areas of expertise, etc. Such broad representation is intended to facilitate information-gathering, constructive discussion and productive recommendations concerning the issues at hand.
Most committees elect a chair (see responsibilities, below) and make some decision on how minutes will be taken, approved and disseminated.
Many Committees have direct links to Library Administration via their ex-officio members.
To join a committee, contact the committee chair/co-chair to determine whether there are openings and the cycle for adding new members. If you remain interested, consult with your supervisor.
Attending committee meetings as a non-member:
With rare exception, library committees are open to attendance from all library employees. Some committees, however, are evaluative in nature, like the Tenure and Promotion Committee, or on occasion deal with sensitive considerations, like the Employee Recognition Committee. Every committee should ensure transparency to the extent possible and establish practices with this in mind. If you would like to sit-in on a library committee meeting as a non-member, contact the committee chair/co-chair to learn about committee meeting times and practices.
- provide direction for the work of the committee. They should distribute or assign committee work among the members in an equitable manner, encourage participation and discussion and delegate or take charge as appropriate
- meet with or submit a written report to the Library Administration as requested, advisable, or as needed to solicit advice
- maintain liaison with the Library Administration or with the committees ex-officio link thereto
- ensure that meeting minutes are kept and disseminated appropriately
- consult with their chair on issues/agendas and procedures as necessary to enhance committee effectiveness and further the committee’s agenda
- organize recruitment of members
- provide evaluation of member’s participation when requested by the member or his/her supervisor.
Members, or Appointed and Elected Members
- attend all committee meetings or notify the chair in advance of an absence, and, if absent, contact the chair or another member for an update on the meeting
- support and participate in the committee by preparing for meetings; forming and articulating opinions in discussions; contributing ideas, solutions and analyses to issues or problems; volunteering to work outside the committee, gathering information or input, writing proposals, drafting reports and other such activities that further the progress of committee work
- disseminate information back to their resource group or unit as appropriate
- respect and hold confidential information as appropriate.
- represent committee issues to those who may be influenced or effected by committee recommendations
- bring information from units they represent and help forge workable solutions and procedures
- Library Administration liaisons: maintain clear and timely communications between the committee and Library Administration.
Collaboration image by pikisuperstar on Freepik