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Future Undergraduate Library Administration

-------- Original Message --------

Subject:    future Undergraduate Library administration

Date:       Thu, 17 Nov 2005 10:49:16 -0600

From:       Mary Laskowski <>

To:   Paula T Kaufman <>

CC:   David Ward <>, Susan Avery <>,

Joyce C Wright <>,




Dear Paula,


The Undergraduate Librarians (Mary Laskowski, David Ward, and Susan

Avery) would like to recommend a team-based administrative structure as

an alternative to appointing an Acting Head of the Undergraduate Library

when Joyce Wright leaves the unit next July.


With the advent of the Learning Commons and a renewed campus focus on

the undergraduate experience, the focus of the Undergraduate Library

services and collections should be on teaching, learning, and creating a

welcoming environment geared specifically towards first- and second-year

incoming students. We feel the best way to support undergraduate

services is with a team based approach where each member of the team has

an active role in the services the library provides, and administrative

duties are spread out amongst team members to facilitate the most

efficient use of librarian time. Replacing Joyce Wright’s current

position with a new administrator whose primary duties are

administrative and do not involve regular contact with our users is not

the best way to meet the strategic goals of the Undergraduate Library.


Currently, The Media & Reserve Center, managed by Mary Laskowski, serves

primarily as a centralized support unit serving patrons at all levels,

particularly the research and instruction of needs of faculty and

instructors, and is heavily process oriented.. David Ward supervises the

reference services of the Undergraduate Library, including supervision

of the nine graduate assistants who help staff the desk and work on

other service-related projects, while Susan Avery manages instructional

services serving the Comp I requirement on campus, and also coordinates

outreach to other units on campus.


We feel strongly that our most pressing needs are for more faculty and

possibly future academic professional positions geared towards provision

of frontline services rather than administrative responsibilities. The

Undergraduate Library functions in a collaborative environment, and we

feel our involvement with our primary clientele on a day-to-day basis

provides us with the necessary insight as we move the library forward to

a learning commons that addresses the changing needs of undergraduate



Rather than appointing an interim Acting Head of the Undergraduate

Library, we’d like to suggest the hire of a Coordinator of Circulation

and Collections for the Undergraduate Library on a visiting basis, and

split administrative duties between the remaining librarians. Both Mary

Laskowski and David Ward will be tenured by July 2006, and could

shoulder the burden of any additional administrative responsibilities

that may result from adopting this solution. As the library pursues

initiatives such as the Learning Commons, Scholarly Commons, and Access

Services over the next few years, we feel this would create the

flexibility necessary to adapt to change without locking the Library

into a permanent solution, and could be a test case for considering

other administrative changes in the future. At the end of the

interim/visiting appointment period the Library could reassess needs and

determine whether to continue a team-based approach or return to a

hierarchical structure.


We look forward to the opportunity to discuss this with you further.




Mary Laskowski

David Ward

Susan Avery



Mary S. Laskowski

Media and Reserve Librarian

Associate Professor of Library Administration


Media & Reserve Center at the Undergraduate Library

1402 W. Gregory Drive

Urbana, IL 61801


fax (217)265-0936