Library Organization Working Group

Background and Rationale:

The library has undergone many organizational changes in its long history.  In "Library Services for the 21st Century at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign", the Budget Plus Group identified two recommendations related to the University Library's organization and decision-making process for further examination. Recommending that the Library's Executive Committee charge two bodies to "Review and Realign the Divisional Structure" and "Review and Realign Decision Making-Structures," the authors of that document wrote:  

21. Review and Re-Align the Divisional Structure
Library Divisions play a central role in faculty governance and faculty affairs, dissemination of information across the Library, and fostering collaboration and community among Library faculty and staff. The Budget Group Plus has received feedback from faculty and staff across the Library suggesting the need for a comprehensive review of the current divisional structure owing to increasing overlap among areas such as Physical and Life Sciences, Central Public Services and Technical Services, etc. The Budget Group Plus recommends that the Library Executive Committee initiate this review as soon as possible with the goal of ensuring continued support for Library faculty and staff, and for shared governance, within an organizational structure less likely to perpetuate existing divisions, both among disciplinary groupings, and between disciplinary groupings and central service groupings. The Budget Group Plus recognizes that a re-alignment of the divisional structure will have significant implications for a number of standing committees and governance activities, and recommends that the review process identify instances where representative committee memberships, etc., will need to likewise be reviewed and revised.

22. Review and Re-Align Decision-Making Structures
The University's focus on strategic investments and measurable outcomes requires prompt and coherent responses to requests for new ideas, information, and proposals for new programs. The Library's dual role as an academic unit and a service unit requires there to be a close working relationship between its policy-setting and administrative leadership groups. The Budget Group Plus recommends that the Library Executive Committee initiate a thorough review of current decision-making structures, and identify a group responsible for preparing information routinely required to support decisions about strategic investments.

Responses to early drafts of "Library Services for the 21st Century..." were largely in favor of reviewing both the Library's organizational model and its decision-making structure. The intent of both being to increase the Library's effectiveness as it navigates an environment that requires the institution to be increasingly nimble in its decision-making and functional in its organization, these two separate proposals dovetailed with the on-going collaborative work of the University Librarian's Office, the Library's Executive Committee, and the Renewal and Transformation Group (RTG), a team of individuals working with the Provost's Office. Building upon the ongoing collaborative work of RTG, the Library's Executive Committee and the Library's Administration, it was recommended that a New Service Model Team be charged that will review the ongoing work done with RTG and develop a set of recommendations that will address the aforementioned NSM proposals.

Charging the Library Management and Organizational Development Team:

  • In order to streamline the process, the following recommendations are respectfully submitted for the Library's Executive Committee's consideration as it charges the team that will address this need. We recommend that one working group be charged to address the concerns in points 21 and 22 above.
  • We recommend that the Library Management and Organizational Development Team's membership be drawn largely from individuals that have worked consistently in the UL/EC/RTG programming.
  • We recommend that the group utilize materials prepared for previous RTG retreats as a starting point for its discussions, with particular emphasis on the divisional structure, decision-making, and the creation of functional teams.
  • We recommend the inclusion of at least one newly or recently tenured faculty member from the UL/EC/RTG programming.

The charge below is intended to begin the process of transforming the University Library's decision-making, divisional, and overall organizational structure in order to develop a more streamlined processes that respect our history of shared governance while enabling the University Library to more nimbly meet the functional requirements necessary to operate effectively in the 21st Century.


The Library Management and Organizational Development Team is charged with:

  • Making concrete recommendations for the organization of an appropriate decision-making structure within the University Library;
  • Making concrete recommendations for the development of functional teams that build upon the directions established by other New Service Model recommendations and reports and incorporates the functional intent of existing committees and working groups;
  • Making concrete recommendations about reconfiguring the divisional structure;
  • Making recommendations about the organization of an appropriate model for addressing the Promotion and Tenure and Faculty Review Committee functions within the proposed organizational structure;
  • 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.

The group should produce a report for the University Librarian and submit it to the University Librarian by June 30, 2009.


Tina Chrzastowski
Tony Hynes
JoAnn Jacoby, Chair
Michael Norman
Jennifer Hain Teper
David Ward
Beth Sandore (ex officio)
Tom Teper (ex officio)
Scott Walter (ex officio)

Appendix I: Functional Teams

Developed by members of and presented to the UL/EC/RTG Library Retreat, February 20, 2009. The outline of functional teams is the culmination of extended discussions with RTG over the course of the last two years.

Centralized management team and task- focused functional groups

  • The University Librarian reviews with an Executive Committee the matters that focus on Library faculty and academic professional appointments, evaluation, promotion and tenure, and professional advancement
  • A management team convened by the University Librarian reviews and makes recommendations on proposals and strategic opportunities made by individuals or groups in the Library or the campus. This group holds all other groups below accountable for fulfilling their assignments. The group includes the Associate University Librarians and Assistant Dean for Business Affairs, the Director of Human Resources, Assistant Dean of Facilities, two members of the Library's Executive Committee, and two Library staff members. This group provides advice to the University Librarian on proposals of Library-wide impact, coordinates strategic planning, and ensures the continued assessment of progress toward strategic goals.
  • The Budget Group is a sub-group of the management team that is convened by the University Librarian, focusing on the specifics of budget allocation that are generated by the management team, and supporting the budget planning process.
  • All standing advisory committees are abolished. Functional groups are formed that facilitate the work of new or existing programs or services, with mandates that include decision-making, implementation, and assessment authority.
    • Each group, formed by the management team, would be made up of appropriate representation from across the Library and including all staff. The groups would have a leader who is responsible for coordinating group activities and for reporting back to the management team.
    • AULs would work closely with the functional group leads to ensure that the groups plan within their means, and seek support for additional needs through fruitful channels. Everyone else in the library must abide by the decisions made by this group in their area. These groups hold individual librarians accountable for following the library policies and procedures over which they have authority. 
    • Possible functional groups could include the following: Cataloging (practice, policies, OPAC, and rules), Circulation (practice, policies, rules), Reference (including Instruction?), Research and Consulting Services, Scholarly (Communication) Services, Undergraduate Services, Digitization, Collections (budgeting and large purchases), Web presence, Budget + Staffing, Promotion and Tenure, Faculty Review.
  • The responsibilities of the AULs include leadership across and support the needs of functional groups as they come into existence and phase out, as work comes to a close.
  • Divisions will have functional responsibilities in the Promotion and Tenure process, and meet to discuss those functions. No formal meetings outside of fulfilling functional duties are required. Any other functions assigned to Divisions should be clearly explained and carry with them the authority to make and enforce decisions related to the functions.
  • In Library units, local decisions are made locally with agreement by a supervisor, unit head, or designated group leader, and are carried out with existing resources. Local decisions include the routine use of existing central support (e.g., Library Facilities assists in reasonable furniture and equipment moves). 

Appendix II: Decision-Making Principles

Prepared by Lynne Rudasill, Scott Walter, David Ward for the April 13th, 2007, RTG Library Retreat

  1. Decisions need to be made
  2. Appropriate individuals or groups need to be given the authority to make decisions
  3. In making decisions, individuals and/or groups should follow established, Library-wide organizational initiatives and directions articulated in governing documents such as the Library Strategic Plan
  4. In making decisions, individuals and/or groups should follow an accepted path that includes: 1) needs analysis; 2) appropriate (and clearly defined) opportunities for input prior to decision-making; and 3) clearly defined plans for implementation and accountability
  5. Decisions, once made, need to be implemented in a timely fashion
  6. Individuals, units, or other groups responsible for implementation must be held accountable for doing their part
  7. Decisions and timelines for implementation should be communicated to the Library in a timely manner