January 9, 2014 Meeting of Library Staff Support Committee

Time and Location of Meeting

January 9, 2014

Agenda Details


Agenda not yet available.

Minutes Details


Skye Arseneau, Becky Burner, Debora Pfeiffer, Dani Postula, Laura Poulosky, Barb Trumpinski-Roberts, Julie Watkins, Sandy Wolf


New LSSC Member:  We welcome Skye Arseneau as the new LSSC liaison from Administrative Services. She has filled the spot vacated by Douglas Heintz.

Upcoming American Library Association Conference:

The Library will provide up to $1,000 each toward the expenses for two staff members to attend ALA in Las Vegas, June 26-July 1, 2014.  Early Bird registration for ALA is from January 13 to March 3.  LSSC plans to send out the call for applications for Library support during the week of Jan. 13, as a web form that will allow interested staff members to submit anonymous essays explaining how attending ALA would serve them in their work at the Library.  These applications for Library support will be due Friday, January 31st.  Debora agreed to serve as the LSSC participant on the application-reading committee, which will also include a member of the Human Resources staff and an at-large staff member yet to be recruited.

General Discussion of the Faculty and AP “Unretreat”:

The members of LSSC were invited to attend the Faculty/AP “unretreat” held Tuesday, January 7th, at the Levis Center, in order to offer some staff perspectives on the issues being discussed.  The following LSSC members were able to attend:  Skye Arseneau, Jim Cotter, Debora Pfeiffer, Laura Poulosky, Barb Trumpinski-Roberts, Julie Watkins, and Sandy Wolf.  While more comprehensive reports are expected from the leaders of the small group sessions in about a month or two, the following are some highlights from and reactions to sessions that LSSC members attended.
Following John Wilkin’s opening remarks, the “unretreat” consisted of two small-group sessions.  In the first session, each group spent about two hours discussing one of the nine topics:

1. Culture (e.g., workplace respect, inclusiveness and diversity); 2. Digitization (coordination, access, workflows);
3. Data (curation and use); 4. Instruction (info literacy in general and providing transformative learning experiences); 5. International (global reach, support for programs and initiatives);  6. Outreach (public service, meaningful outreach, developing cohesive research support); 7. Publishing (building a scholarly publishing and communication program); 8. Discovery and access (Primo or what’s next); and 9. CMS/web presence (defining a strategy to replace the existing CMS and creating a more effective web presence).  The groups concluded the first session by summarizing their discussion on a worksheet, identifying the main challenge presented by the topic, two primary goals related to it, and strategies for achieving these goals.  The groups in the second session reviewed and reacted to the notes provided by the groups in the first session.

Here were a few observations LSSC members had about the mechanics of the “unretreat” :
•The second session was a bit too brief to provide sufficient time for reflection on what the first session had accomplished.
•It was suggested that the topic leaders have an opportunity to meet for approximately 15 minutes before the second session work begins to allow conveyance of first groups ideas/efforts to ensure that duplication of ideas and problem solving doesn’t occur.

•It would have been useful to have a printed schedule distributed at the event.
•In the future, we should try to have LSSC members more evenly distributed across all topical groups.

Highlights of “Unretreat” Sessions:

Instruction:  Barb, Sandy, and Laura attended the first session on instruction; Skye and Debora attended the second session.  Following the U of I Strategic Plan, the first session focused on how the Library can provide “transformative learning experiences,” meaning experiences that teach students skills they can use during their time at the University, but also afterward in “the world in which they will live and work.”  We talked about how to best promote the Library and library instruction to all faculty and students.  We discussed the importance of establishing best practices for user education, both in formal instruction sessions and during reference interactions, and advocating for widespread adherence to these practices.  We talked about opening Reference Hub training to all staff and widely encouraging participation in this training.  It could also be helpful to provide user education sessions led by experienced instructors that Library faculty and staff could observe, and then to offer visits by experienced instructors to user education sessions given by departmental libraries, so that expert instructors could give constructive feedback following these sessions.

Culture:  Julie and Debora attended the first session on Library culture; Barb and Laura attended the second session.  Discussion was organized around an article provided by the first session’s leader, John Wagstaff, about four different types of organizational cultures:  1. Hierarchical, which is highly structured and in which each member’s role is strictly defined; 2. Market, which is competitive and focused on results and pleasing customers; 3. Adhocracy, in which individuals are encouraged to find ways in which they can lead, and in which innovation and risk-taking are encouraged; and 4. Clan, in which all members’ ideas and feelings are sought and valued.  The first group did their own analysis of the Library’s organization and described it as primarily hierarchical and market-driven; they felt it would be good to develop more characteristics of adhocracy and clan cultures as well.  In the second group, there was some disagreement about how hierarchical the Library system is.  For tenured faculty, it may seem less hierarchical, because they do not report to many supervisors.  However, for untenured faculty and staff, who still have a lot of work to do if they want to move to a higher level, the culture may feel rather hierarchical.  In the second group, we discussed the need for making mentoring available to faculty and staff at all levels.  We noted that the four organizational cultures do all have their benefits and drawbacks and that in reality, all organizations do tend to include some aspects of all of these types of cultures; it’s the balance between the four types that varies.

Outreach/Public Engagement:  Skye attended the first session on this topic.  They discussed the need for the Library to do more outreach to the community, since this is a public university.  Many in the community may not even know that the Library is a resource open to them.  We can offer the public information, access to our varied collections, and attendance of special events.  We need to keep the Library in the forefront of the minds of the University administration, alumni, and the general public, so that the Library, the University, and the public all support each other.  One reasonably-priced option for publicizing Library events and service would be bus ads, which are only $35.  We need a more centralized office in the Library from which to distribute ads to the public.  We also need broader, more coordinated marketing and public engagement.  We should consider making more use of the Quad for public events.  The Library could also get more involved with college open houses (such as those held by ACES and Engineering).

Digitization:  Julie attended the second session on this topic.  She said that the main goal discussed was to figure out how to develop a more cohesive, systematic approach to what gets digitized, as digitization at UIUC up to this point has been focused on special projects.  Work is also being done on system compatibility.  A lot of the discussion in this group was rather technical.

Closing remarks:

Again, these are only a few highlights of the unretreat discussed by LSSC.  More thorough reports are expected from unretreat session leaders in about a month or two.

LSSC members were very appreciative to have the chance to attend the unretreat and would like to suggest that in the future, attendance of similar retreats might be made open to, but not required of, all Library staff members.