April 6, 2009 Minutes - Library Organization Working Group

Present: Tina Chrzastowski, Tony Hynes, JoAnn Jacoby (Chair), Michael Norman, Jennifer Hain Teper, David Ward, Tom Teper, Scott Walter

Absent:  Beth Sandore

1. Review of Charge

The group reviewed the charge and will request a revised deadline of June 30 for submission of the final report, to allow more time to gather input from and communicate ideas widely within the Library.

At least one person was skeptical about "trying to legislative cultural change." How will a different structure fix entrenched attitude problems? Our goal should be to improve the process, make it easier to accomplish specific tasks and foster innovation and experimentation.  Structure is one aspect, but the core issue is clarifying how, when and where different types of decisions are made.

A concern was raised about the feasibility (and necessity) of overhauling the divisions, although it was acknowledged that the alignment of units within the divisions is increasingly problematic as the number of units decreases and new units bring together subject areas from different divisions.  Many collections and services issues, as well as policy and procedure, cut across divisional boundaries.

We should identify what we can move forward with immediately, e.g., more effective, result-oriented meetings and clarifying/streamlining decision making processes. If we make recommendations that necessitate Bylaws changes, we will also "Making recommendations to the Bylaws Committee about the process for writing new bylaws that will reflect the any changes to the organizational structure as approved by the Library's Executive Committee" as per our charge.

2. Housekeeping

Weekly meetings are scheduled through June 30th.  Not everyone will be able to attend each meeting, but no individual has a conflict 2 weeks in a row.  Using an alphabetical rotation, brief minutes will be taken recording decisions, actions items, and issues to be discussed further.  Minutes will be distribute promptly (by the following day) and posted to NSM website < http://www.library.uiuc.edu/nsm/news/liborg/index.html> before next meeting.

JoAnn emphasized that this should be an open process.  Talk to others, and bring their input back to the table.  If you need to share sensitive or confidential information, note that you want to speak "off the record" and confidentiality is to be respected in those cases.

Paula posted a note on LibNews announcing the formation of the team by unanimous consent at the March 30 retreat attended by the Library Executive Committee, Administrative Council, and Administration.

We may cancel the April 13 meeting, as there are 2 full and at least one partial absence.  JoAnn will remove the meeting from Oracle, after confirming the absences.


A. Decision Making Inventory:

  1. Chart groups and tasks (Michael or Tina will share the Committee inventory they worked on a couple of years ago)

  2. Identify and prioritize core areas (activities/functions) on which to focus

  3. Conduct focused discussions with key stakeholders involved in work in core area identified in step 2.  Questions based on issues discussed at this meeting and previous RTG sessions

    • Where and how are decisions being made in this area?
    • How are decisions implemented?
    • How are decisions communicated?
    • How are resources allocated to support decisions made in this area?
    • What confuses you about the process?
    • What are you suggestions for improving the process?

B. Focused group discussions:

Purpose:  To gather input; further clarify issues to be addressed; communicate about our purpose and share our thinking on initial recommendations

  • Respond to scenarios based on Decision Making Inventory, issues identified in focused discussions with stakeholders.
  • Working from recommendations in Appendix 1, discuss what "working committees" should be created, continued or retired?

Groups to target:

  • untenured librarians (when do they next meet?)
  • LSSC followed by open staff sessions (LSSC meets April 22nd at 2:30 in 428, next meeting?)

To be discussed:

  • Others groups to target? APs? Divisions? Open sessions for faculty?

C. Models from other libraries and units on campus

Review organizational structure, then follow-up calls/emails asking about:

  • Scope of faculty governance
  • Allocation of resources and process for making decisions to support innovation

To be discussed:

  • Identify a 2-3 institutions with strong faculty governance and 2-3 with  high innovation.  Are there any who have both?
  • What can we learn from the CITES/IT process?

D. Begin drafting recommendations

Using Appendix 1 as a starting point; revise and refine based on input and issues identified using the process outlined above


  • Alignment of units with divisions
  • How and when decisions are made
  • Allocation of resources to support decisions
  • Accountability/authority for implementing decisions and ensuring compliance with policies
  • Scope of faculty governance


  • JoAnn will write up minutes, cancel April 13 meeting (after confirming absences)
  • Michael and Tina will distribute the "Committee Inventory" they worked on a couple of years ago before the next meeting


  • What can we learn from the CITES/IT process? (Brief summary and discussion topics, distributed prior to next meeting)
  • When is the next untenured meeting? Next LSSC meeting? (for focused group discussions)
  • Identify a 2-3 institutions with strong faculty governance and 2-3 with high innovation. Are there any who have both? (draft preliminary list and identify potential contacts)



  • Translating existing Committee Inventory to chart groups and tasks. Does the existing document suffice? If not, what else is needed?

Focused group discussions

  • LSSC or open staff sessions?
  • Others groups to target? APs? Divisions? Open sessions for faculty?

Models from other libraries and units on campus

  • Identify a 2-3 institutions with strong faculty governance and 2-3 with high innovation. Are there any who have both?
  • What can we learn from the CITES/IT process?