Library Committee Handbook

Advisory Committee to the
Associate University Librarian for User Services

Committee Charge


FY2010 Annual Report
FY2011 Annual Report


Advisory Committee to the AUL for User Services

User Services Advisory Committee

Meeting Date:  December 11, 2012

Present: Jim Dohle; Joe Lenkart; Kelly McCusker (minute-taker); Lisa Romero; Geoffrey Ross; Susan Schnuer, Sue Searing (chair)


  1. Select minute-taker
  2. Additions to agenda?
  3. Discussion/updates
    1. Login on public computers (Jim)
    2. All-Library retreat plans (Susan, Sue)
  4. Policy review
    1. Confidentiality/privacy policies (Sue)
    2. Distinction Between Faculty, AP, and Staff Positions (Joe)
    3. Executive Committee Charge and Membership
    4. - What needs to be updated, added, cross-referenced, or dropped?  Plan and timeline for review.
  5. Committee charge: review charge, develop goals
  6. Informing the next Dean of Libraries regarding user services

3a. Login on Public Computers

USAC revisited the subject of authentication on public computers. According to Jim Dohle, this is still in the early stages of discussion. It has been table/rejected multiple times over the past six years. The idea was originally brought to IT’s attention by the Undergraduate Library as they were initially concerned about patrons leaving documents open on public computers. About one month ago, Jim Dohle met with Jason, Lee, and Michael to discuss what the library community is looking for. They created a pro-con list, which USAC reviewed. Questions and concerns about the pro-con list:

Geoffrey Ross asked if Lync would be available on the computers as some students use Lync to instant message classmates.

Joe Lenkart: The pro list is excellent. Will authenticated computers be in selected locations?

Jim Dohle: These computers do not have to be in all libraries or all access points. Grainger has authenticated login on the first floor, but also has open login in other areas. UGL has a unique profile hence their interest in authentication.

Joe Lenkart: Will guest computers have equal access to the collections or online resources?

Jim Dohle: Yes. And Microsoft Office would also be available on all computers.

Geoffrey Ross: Would Adobe Acrobat Pro be included? This is essential for peripheral machines, such as microform machines.

Jim Dohle: Peripheral machines would require special attention.

Joe Lenkart: Will this be tested in certain spaces or libraries?

Jim Dohle: No specific plans, but Grainger is an example.

Joe Lenkart: It could be frustrating to patrons if some computers ask for a login and others do not. This could be particularly true when visiting researchers, e.g. during the summer, are here.

Jim Dohle: The balance of authenticated vs. open computers can be shifted when needed.

Sue Searing: In a conversation with Lori Mestre, one concern was that a patron could use the computer immediately after another patron and print using the first patron’s account.

Jim Dohle: There has been no problems reported with this and there would be a very small amount of time when this could possibly happen.

Joe Lenkart brought up the historical nature of the library as part of a state university and funded by and for the public.

Jim Dohle said that with a mix of public use and authenticated this should be fine. The original idea was to provide guests with guest logins; however, there were too many problems connected with this.

Geoffrey Ross is concerned about long login times as some patrons can become frustrated easily.

Sue Searing: Patrons are also concerned about us tracking login information, e.g. information could be used for court purposes. How information is preserved and working with the administration is key.

Jim Dohle asked us who else should IT talk to about this. Our suggestions: International & Area Studies, as they receive many summer researchers; the University Librarian Student Advisory Group; and the Reference Services Group.

Jim Dohle will keep the group updated with more developments

3b. All-Library Retreat Plans

Susan Schnuer told the group that there have been multiple faces of the retreat since our last meeting. As there weren’t enough rooms to create breakout sessions, there will be one large group session.

The final plan is to invite Chancellor Phyllis Wise to talk about her six major themes for the university. Afterwards, there will be discussions in the “World Café” model where people move from table to table to discuss different themes. One person will remain at a table to mediate/develop the topic. This topic was chosen so that all Library employees can understand the themes. USAC members may be asked to facilitate a table. The retreat will end with an update from the search committee for the next Dean of Libraries and University Librarian. There will be no civility panel due to time constraints. If Chancellor Phyllis Wise is not available, the Library will ask Provost Ilesanmi Adesida.

Geoffrey Ross asked if the strategic plan will be discussed and if we have a strategic plan. The library has strategic initiatives, but these will not be discussed.

The retreat will not be mandatory; however, all units will be closed and the assumption is people will go to the retreat.


4a. and 4d. Library Policies

Sue Searing asked if we have the right policies in place. One major question is privacy of electronic search information. Some of our current policies are old; some are from the 1990’s when librarians mediated searches. For example, the Circulation Policies, with information about confidentiality, is from 1992.

The Reference group is looking into the Electronic Information Policy for Library Users, especially when applied to chat reference. University Archives is also creating a new policy for users. Sue Searing is interested in creating a new committee for library policies and asked for a volunteer to serve on the committee. Joe Lenkart volunteered.

One major concern, brought up by Geoffrey Ross, was point 6.1 in the Electronic Information Policy for Library Users. This states:

6.1. Library patrons have the right to confidentiality and privacy in the use of electronic information to the extent possible, given certain constraints such as proximity of other patrons and staff in public settings, security weaknesses inherent in electronic communications, and the library's need to conduct periodic use studies.

It might be useful to inform patrons that some websites track search usage using analytics, such as Google analytics.

Susan Schnuer’s major concern is that policies are everywhere! Not all policies are in one place, is it possible to make the policies more searchable? How do users, or even library staff, know which policy is correct or relevant? However, is it worth it to investigate where all the policies are and how they differ?  This information may be useful for the new University Librarian, especially since some of the information is old.

Joe Lenkart mentioned that the Service Values do not state that we need to acknowledge patron contact or request. More measureable items, such as replying to patrons within a certain period of time, could be helpful. It was suggested that we look at the Service Values more in-depth for our next meeting.

 Susan Schnuer also emphasized that polices should be about communication – policies should be easy to understand and clear.

The idea was brought up that this might be a good training opportunity, writing a policy. Also, should the term used be “policy” or “guidelines?”

Geoffrey Ross mentioned that different people have different views on what the policies mean. For example, “displaying overt signs of substance abuse, including drunkenness” (in Patron Conduct) as disruptive behavior is very broad and depends upon an individual’s definition. Perhaps a definition of  “disruptive behavior” would be better. Another question about Patron Conduct is the phrasing “refusing to identify self to library staff.” Is this true and why would it be necessary? Perhaps the phrase should state “security staff” rather than “library staff.”

Sue Searing brought up the idea that perhaps USAC should discuss one policy per meeting.

As the head of a library, Lisa Romero wants the Communications Library to be consistent with all libraries on campus. This way the Communications Library does not have to worry about updating their own policies/webpages. She stated that patrons do not ask questions about library policies often. The Communications Library patrons “self-police” as everyone knows everyone else. This is a special situation though as there is no anonymity in the library unlike other libraries on campus.

4b. Distinction Between Faculty, AP, and Staff Positions

Joe Lenkart asked about the definitions given to faculty/subject specialists, APs and staff positions. Sue Searing stated that the definitions were originally to assist in determining what type of position a new position would be. Now, the definitions are more of a statement about who we are.

Does this need to be revisited? As it was recently reviewed, probably not; however we may need to because there has been campus discussion about changing APs to civil service. It was also noted that some AP and faculty have overlapping responsibilities.


4c. Executive Committee Charge and Membership

Joe Lenkart was interested in the status of the discussion to expand the Executive Committee to non-faculty members. It is mandated in the statutes that the Executive Committee consists of faculty elected by faculty. The Assistant/Associate University Librarians are only allowed in the meetings once a month.


5. Committee Charge: Review Charge, Develop Goals

 A few members of the committee were interested in knowing the goals and charge of USAC as many of us are new. We are advisory, but we can draft documents and suggest topics to other committees.

6. Informing the next Dean of Libraries regarding user services

It was suggested that we use one meeting to decide what we want to present to the new Dean of Libraries.

Susan Schnuer mentioned that we have gathered a lot of data, but what are our values. Also, not all of the Library’s reports or evaluations are in one place and it might be useful to go through some of these to gather trends and provide a “big picture” of the Library. We decided that the past five years of reports would be sufficient.

Joe Lenkhart mentioned that the new Dean of Libraries would most likely want to know where the “holes” are at the beginning and that this information could also be useful to the search committee.

Susan Schnuer asked if USAC is the group to do this. She does not necessarily think so, but it was an idea and thought we may have other ideas about the topic.

Next meeting: Tuesday, January 8, 2013, 3-4 pm, 230B Main Library