In Support of Strategic Leadership
Of the University of Illinois Library, 2014
Beginning in 2014, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library (hereafter Library) began a series of conversations about the organizational structure of the Library. Those conversations took place in the Executive Committee and with the AULs, with reports in faculty meetings and email, as well as at Library-wide forums designed to share information on a variety of topics. The process culminated in a document that was shared broadly to solicit input from faculty and staff in the Library. That document, the associated discussions, and feedback became the basis for what follows.
A key guiding assertion in this effort is that our greatness as a library can be improved by giving attention to the organizational structure. The Library is an exceptional and leading institution, influencing the research library landscape. Its accomplishments are many, shaped by an extraordinary faculty and staff, and encouraged by the support of our administration, faculty and students. Nevertheless, there are occasional gaps between our capabilities and our operational aspirations. Although our strength as a faculty, with strong, practice-based research, is without peer, we can strengthen our operational capabilities by making adjustments to our organizational structure.
Our goals in undertaking this organizational effort are to:
- Increase our impact and ensure better alignment of goals, resources and outcomes;
- Give the AULs more authority by moving work done in a matrix model into a formally-structured organization with better accountability in both directions;
- Complement a vigorous use of matrix models with a well-defined organizational structure;
- Sustain the collective sense of responsibility that shared governance brings while organizing work and reporting lines within areas of library scope.
Our library faculty model fosters a sense of entrepreneurship and a shared sense of ownership, and this in turn helps our library address the challenges that cut across organizational lines. In any organizational model we employ, we must keep this in mind.
In the proposed changes, the Dean will continue to have broad oversight, convening the Cabinet (the AULs along with the Assistant Deans) to execute work consistent with the Library’s mission and goals. As established by the Library’s bylaws, the Executive Committee functions as the Dean’s primary advisory body, a function that only increases in importance with this model.
As the Library embarks on this effort, we will also keep the following in mind:
- We must avoid high walls between organizational structures: we have collective responsibility for the functioning of the Library, and most areas of work will be owned broadly.
- This will be a work in progress. We won’t get it right at the outset. We commit to continuing to tweak this model over time.
- Other changes we hope to make will necessarily affect the outcome of our effort, but we must not wait until everything is in place. Change is constant.
- The engagement of Dean in this new arrangement must not diminish: the new structure should not result in the Dean being less accessible to faculty and staff, and should not diminish the Dean’s sense of responsibility.
The Library will create clearer reporting lines in distinct administrative areas, balancing that increase in structure with attention to shared responsibility and shared governance. Those areas include Collections and Technical Services, Information Technology, Research, and User Services. The current effort as laid out here does not entail immediate restructuring of the Library’s divisions; the functions of the divisions, and how they relate to administrative operations, will be assessed at a later date.
University Librarian and Dean of Libraries:
As per the University Statutes Article VI, the University Librarian and Dean of Libraries is the Chief Executive Officer. As the leader of the University Library’s faculty, the Dean builds a shared vision for the fulfillment of its educational mission, assures the Library’s financial and political future, and serves as a member of the Council of Deans. In addition to providing intellectual leadership of the Library, the Dean leads the following administrative program areas:
- Senior management
- Human resources
Associate University Librarians and Associate Deans:
The AULs coordinate programs and activities in a manner that enables success to be achieved in a collaborative fashion. The AULs accomplish this by working closely and communicating openly with each other and by engaging the Library’s faculty in various programs, initiatives, and ongoing functional responsibilities. This document lays out the distinctive leadership portfolios of each member of the Library’s Administration, as well explaining “reporting” within the Library.
In addition to the responsibilities for the Associate University Librarians, each keeps in mind this set of underlying principles:
- Each AUL builds and guides programs and services, with designated reporting, supervisory, and in some cases, budget lines.
- Each AUL is responsible for initiating, guiding, and synthesizing Library-wide planning for new programs and services in their respective areas of focus.
- Each AUL initiates and forges partnerships in the library, on campus, and at the state, regional, and national levels in support of strategic areas.
- The responsibilities of the AULs are grouped in meaningful arrangements to support the Library’s mission.
- The portfolio of each AUL should generally be understandable in a way that makes clear which individual is responsible for each area of Library operations.
- The responsibility of each AUL is assigned in order to facilitate maximum effectiveness, cooperation, and collaboration, both within and beyond the Library, on campus and in all external collaborations.
In addition to the AULs, the assistant deans (administrative officers of the Library appointed without faculty status) report directly to the University Librarian and Dean of Libraries. They work with the AULs on specific programs and projects. Each has a similarly clear portfolio of responsibilities (e.g., Advancement, Facilities and Budget).
What “reporting” means in the University Library’s administrative structure
“Reporting” should function to facilitate effective work within the Library’s governance structure, such that the reporting relationship does not infringe upon the Dean’s availability to individual members of the Library’s professional and classified personnel.
- 1. Library faculty report to the Dean, and have faculty rights and responsibilities as stated in the Statutes and the Library Bylaws.
- 2. Faculty and APs in a unit with a designated unit head or director report to that person regarding unit operations.
- 3. Library units report to a designated AUL:
3.1. The designated AUL must be familiar with the unit’s goals, operations, staffing and resources, and must be able to communicate broader programmatic needs and issues to the Dean and the other members of the Cabinet (a body consisting of the Dean, Associate and Assistant Deans). The designated AUL works closely with units to ensure that requests align with the broader Library mission, especially where Library or University priorities require that a unit adjust its request.
3.2. The responsibilities of unit heads are spelled out in the Guidelines for Unit Head Responsibilities, https://www.library.illinois.edu/staff/administration/policies/guidelines-for-unit-head-responsibilities/
3.3. Annual unit reports and goals will be submitted to and discussed with the designated AUL prior to final submission. The AUL will advise on unit goals and priorities in light of Library-wide directions prior to their development.
3.4. Over time, the AULs may be given greater budgetary authority, including responsibility for the operational allocations of units within their portfolios. The objective is to enable expedient decisions about operational needs of the programs that fall clearly in the AUL’s respective portfolios. The desired outcome will be greater organizational agility in these areas. In considering this, we also acknowledge the risk of losing flexibility for the Library as a whole and fostering an unproductive competition among units; therefore, moving toward distributed budgets under AUL control must be undertaken with care.
3.5. Unless otherwise specified, programs and initiatives (both permanent and temporary) that cut across units will be assigned to report to a designated AUL. Examples include Repository management; Collection development; Reference hubs; Main Library; Assessment; Staff development and training; Information literacy and instruction; Outreach/engagement.
- 4. The Cabinet shall function in many respects as an administrative team engaged in collaborative problem-solving and strategic action. Although members of the Cabinet will meet periodically with the Executive Committee, the Dean is responsible for the effective functioning of the Cabinet.
- 5. The AULs and ADs consult with and work with Library faculty and staff across the Library. Although reporting lines are defined, communication around day-to-day work must be fluid and efficient.
- 6. The processes for annual performance reviews remain the same: annual faculty performance evaluation relies on peer review from FRC and peer committees; immediate supervisors conduct annual AP and staff performance evaluation. The Dean may request additional feedback from the AULs on the performance of unit heads. In keeping with the Library Bylaws, Article VI.2.A.3, the AULs and ADs are evaluated annually by the Dean with input from the Faculty.
Broad Responsibilities – University Librarian and Dean of Libraries:
As specified in the Statutes and the University Library Bylaws, the University Librarian and Dean of Libraries is the chief executive officer of the Library and the chair of the Library Faculty. In addition to providing intellectual leadership of the Library, the Dean is responsible for the overall leadership of the Library, including advancement, budgeting, facilities, human resources, and strategic planning. The Dean may delegate aspects of these responsibilities to individual members of Cabinet and to individual faculty members.
Broad Responsibilities – Associate University Librarians:
Like all members of the faculty, the AULs roles include broader, Library-wide responsibilities that may extend beyond their primary areas and overlap with those of other individuals within the Library. These may include general responsibilities to the Library or may include specific duties assigned by the Dean, such as involvement in planning, budget formation, faculty recruitment, and hiring negotiations.
Specific Responsibilities of the AULs
Associate University Librarian for Collections and Technical Services
The Associate University Librarian for Collections and Technical Services and Associate Dean of Libraries is responsible for providing leadership in the acquisition, development, management, and curation of materials in all formats. With an overarching vision of “Facilitating Acquisition, Enabling Preservation, and Ensuring Access” the Office of Collections and Technical Services includes among its core programs: collection development, assessment, and management; preservation and conservation services; and content acquisition and discovery. The AUL for Collections and Technical Services seeks the advice of the Collection Development Committee with respect to the annual allocation and management of the Library’s materials allocation and works closely with individuals throughout the Library on issues of collection development.
Within the context of this document, Collections and Technical Services are broadly considered to include the following:
- Collection development, assessment, and management programs, services, and policies
- Fiscal oversight for the materials allocation (coordinated with the Library Business Office and Library Advancement)
- Cooperative collection development and management initiatives
- Acquisitions & licensing for library materials
- Cataloging and metadata
- Collections access and discovery
- Digitization and reformatting
- Preservation and conservation
- eReserve services
- Scholarly communications
The following units/programs/committees are formally aligned with, are accountable to, and may receive resources through the AUL for Collections and Technical Services:
- Cataloging and Metadata (CAM)
- Collection Management Services (CMS)
- Digital Content Curation (DCC)
- Preservation and Conservation
- Coordinators or specialists affiliated with the Office of Collections and Technical Services
- Content Access Policy & Technology Committee (CAPT) – co-chaired
Additionally, the Collection Development Committee (CDC) is statutorily defined in the Library’s Bylaws; CDC deliberates on collection policies and advises the AUL.
Associate University Librarian for Research
The primary role of the Associate University Librarian for Research and Associate Dean of Libraries is to provide vision and leadership for research-focused services and initiatives that support scholarship in the research-intensive environment at Illinois. The Research program supports subject liaisons, data services librarians, and functional specialists to enhance existing programs, and to integrate new activities such as research data curation and management, partnerships around scholarly communications, copyright, and publishing into current Library outreach and liaison activities. The AUL for Research supports the Library’s strategic commitment to involvement in multi-institutional collaborations to provide research services that are possible only through the combined efforts of organizations working collaboratively. Further, the AUL for Research guides the Library’s faculty and academic professional research support services, professional development, and sponsored research efforts.
Organizationally, Research includes the following programs and themes:
- Research programs and policies
- Scholarly communications and publishing
- Copyright and intellectual property programs and services
- Research Data Service, including creation, identification, management, curation, and outreach
- Researcher information and analytics
- Specific research focus areas, such as the HathiTrust Research Center, Visual Resources, GIS, and Data Services
- Research support and grants
The following units/programs/committees are formally aligned with, are accountable to, and may receive resources through, the AUL for Research:
- Scholarly Commons
- Research Data Service
- eResearch Implementation Committee
- Research and Publication Committee
- Repository Management Team
Associate University Librarian for Library Information Technology
The Associate University Librarian for Library IT and Associate Dean of Libraries leads the development of information technology, primarily focused on the advancement of the Library’s programs in support of information discovery and access, and the campus mission of research, teaching and learning, and engagement.
Organizationally, Library Information Technology includes the following programs and themes:
- Systems for discovery and access
- Systems for content management and access
- Systems for digital preservation and curation
- Systems and expertise for User eXperience, usability, and accessibility
- Technology infrastructure and related services
- Systems to support business operations and internal information management
The following units/programs/committees are formally aligned with, are accountable to, and may receive resources through, the AUL for Library IT:
- IT production services (Help Desk/technology assistance, Infrastructure Management and Support, Workstation and Network Support)
- Software Development Group
- Web Systems Team
- Content Access Policy & Technology Committee (CAPT) – co-chaired
Associate University Librarian for User Services
The Associate University Librarian for User Services and Associate Dean of Libraries develops the Library’s overall vision and programs that support teaching and learning, by working collaboratively within the Library, across campus, and with local and other communities to offer services designed to meet the current and emergent needs of library users. The Library’s multi-faceted user support structure includes library orientation, information literacy, reference services, access policies and procedures, user needs assessment, and evaluation of Library services. Given the distributed nature of services in the Library, the AUL for User Services works to ensure consistently high service quality and customer satisfaction throughout the Library.
Organizationally, User Services includes the following programs and themes:
- Public service programs and policies
- Access services
- Accessibility for users with disabilities
- Information literacy and instruction services
- Reference services
- User experience
- Outreach and public engagement
- Staff training and development
- New Service Models
The following units/programs/committees are formally aligned with, are accountable to, and may receive resources through, the AUL for User Services:
- Central Access Services
- Reference, Research & Scholarly Services
- Undergraduate Library
- Grainger Engineering Library & Information Center
- Funk Family Library (i.e., ACES library)
- Government Information Services
- All departmental libraries, embedded librarians, and virtual libraries that are organized within the University Library (excluding the Scholarly Commons [reporting to the AUL for Research] and the Rare Book & Manuscript Library and University Archives [reporting to the Dean].)
- Coordinators affiliated with the Office of User Services (i.e., Information Literacy Services & Instruction; Staff Development & Training; Assessment; User Experience)
- Reference Services Committee
- Advisory Committee to the Associate University Librarian for User Services
Appendix I: Table of Significant AUL Responsibilities
AUL for Collections & Technical Services –
AUL for Library Information Technology – Vacant
AUL for Research – Beth Namachchivaya
AUL for User Services – Sue Searing
Collection development and management programs, services, and policies, including budgeting and cooperative programs
Library IT policy and programs
Research programs and policies
Public service programs and policies
Acquisitions & licensing for library materials
Systems for discovery and access
Specific research focus areas: GIS, visual resources, data services, HathiTrust Research Center
Collections access and discovery, including cataloging and metadata operations
Systems for content management and access
Scholarly communications and publishing
Information literacy and instruction
Digitization & reformatting
Systems for digital preservation and curation
Copyright and intellectual property programs
Preservation and conservation
Systems and expertise for User eXperience, usability, and accessibility
Research data services and curation
Technology infrastructure and related services
Research information and analytics
Outreach and public engagement
Systems to support business operations and internal information management
Research support and grants
New service models
Staff development and training