Minutes of January 27, 2016 Open Meeting

Consuela Askew, Stephanie Bartz, Natalie Borisovets (Deputy Faculty Coordinator), Jeanne Boyle, Leslin Charles, Judy Cohn, Janet Croft, Adriana Cuervo, Kayo Denda, Rebecca Gardner, Melissa Gasparotto, Tom Glynn (Faculty Coordinator), Karen Hartman, Melissa Just, Yu Hung Lin, Krisellen Maloney (University Librarian), Laura Mullen, Laura Palumbo, Jonathan Sauceda, Julie Still, Bobbie Tipton, Minglu Wang, Ann Watkins, Zara Wilkinson, Tao Yang

This was the second open meeting of the committee to discuss the reconfiguration of RUL groups. At the open meeting in December, we decided to solicit from the User Services Council (USC), the Library Resources Council (LRC), and the Committee on Scholarly Communication (CSC) advice regarding the creation of new groups to assume the work done previously by faculty committees. According to the recently enacted changes to our bylaws, those committees are advisory. The councils and the committee and also the New Brunswick Libraries Faculty (NBLF) submitted statements that appear below as appendices A-D. The meeting opened with brief summaries of those statements:

A broad-ranging discussion ensued. In advance of the meeting, Tom Glynn, Faculty Coordinator, sent the faculty two questions that we might use to structure our discussion:

Some suggested guiding principles:

The University Librarian outlined some principles that are useful from the perspective of the administration. Groups need to be flexible. We need to grant appropriate autonomy at the local level. Groups need to be accountable, responsible to the Libraries mission, and there needs to be a clear path of authority and decision making. For important proposed projects there needs to be someone who will decide yes or no; often that will not be the person who initiated the proposal, since he or she will not always know what resources are required or available. Input from faculty, generating innovative ideas is very important, but we need to determine what is feasible. Kris noted that she is also accountable to administrators on the local level and to RU administrators. She also stressed the distinction between faculty groups, which are important but have an advisory role, and library groups, which report to administrators and do work.

Much of our discussion focused on the principle of effective representation. Obviously, we need wide representation, faculty, staff, and administrators. We should take full advantage of the expertise and experience of all three groups. This applies to the process for creating groups as well the membership of the groups that are created. It is important for faculty and staff to work together and understand the work that each group does. It is also important that Technical Services colleagues be involved from the beginning of major projects, so the group that is implementing understands what is technically feasible and what resources might be required. For any project there should be representation of the expertise and experience that is needed. A corollary of that is that not everyone in a group needs to be involved; we can create subgroups as appropriate. One of our colleagues once worked for a corporation where the principle for attendance at meetings was that you not attend unless you have something to contribute to the discussion.

Another important guiding principle is trust. We should trust that our colleagues are implementing decisions in a way that best serves our users and that advances the Libraries' mission. Among other things, this would make our work more efficient; not every issue has to be discussed in multiple groups. We also discussed effective communication to and from groups. It was noted, however, that this can mean different things to different people, that we are not always in agreement as to the best ways to report on our work and the level of detail that is required. It was suggested that the new groups will need effective direction and advocacy from the Libraries' administration and that the administrative structure should mesh effectively with the groups we create. The University Librarian said that she does not anticipate making any major changes in the Libraries' Cabinet in the immediate future.

Broad areas into which we might organize groups:

Our major faculty groups are currently organized around collections, public services, and scholarly communication. Are there better ways that we might do this? We decided that a productive way to approach this question would be to enumerate the main functions that we are responsible for and that need to be coordinated. We felt this was a fairly comprehensive list:

  • Reference
  • Instruction
  • Technical Services
  • Digital Libraries
  • Special Collections
  • Digital Humanities
  • RUcore
  • Discovery
  • Collection Development and Management
  • Scholarly Communications
  • Website
  • Digital Preservation
  • Physical Preservation

It was stressed that technology enables many of these functions. The new groups need to be configured such that public services librarians can envision new services for our users and TAS colleagues can explain what is technically feasible. Public services, our users' needs, should guide all of our work.

Finally, we discussed our next steps forward. We decided that at the next faculty meeting we will vote on whether to forego elections this spring for LRC, USC, and CSC. We would be electing colleagues to groups that may not continue in their current configuration. Instead we should ask the current members to continue serving until we have reconfigured our groups. We will also continue this broad, open discussion at the faculty meeting. We offered advice regarding ways to solicit input as we create groups. The open meetings that guided the New Brunswick Libraries reorganization provide a useful model. There were multiple opportunities for both faculty and staff to contribute to the discussion in an open, friendly atmosphere. Our RUL meetings might have more focus and be more productive if they were themed, if each of them, or a series of them at different locations, was devoted to a number of related main functions listed above. Lastly, we suggest that the faculty delay any decisions about faculty groups and faculty bylaws until we have created the RUL groups. The new faculty group or groups may be more effective if they complement, parallel to some extent the library groups.

Appendix A: CSC Statement

Recap of Special CSC Meeting on Jan. 12, 2016: The future of the Committee on Scholarly Communication (CSC)

Prepared for PlanCo by Laura Mullen, CSC Chair

CSC held a special meeting on Jan. 12, 2016 in order to discuss its future, and to imagine other ways of getting the work of scholarly communication done in some kind of coordinated, systemwide manner. CSC's focus is on scholarly communication-related topics that are of interest to RUL as well as to outside Rutgers constituencies such as research offices, departmental groups, faculty and students.

CSC has been the main group that brings both elected and appointed (due to functional work roles in scholarly communication) members together for discussion, planning events (such as for OA Week each year), disseminating information (via the ORED Newsletter, for instance), determining new user service needs, working on the CSC website, and following new developments in the large area of scholarly communication. With the Rutgers Open Access Policy and other high level initiatives now, RUL's expertise in these areas has been showcased, and members are very engaged and enthusiastic participants. CSC includes experts in research data management, copyright and licensing, all areas of open access, repository collections building, SOAR implementation, biomedical sciences issues (such as NIH mandate compliance), and more. The broad disciplinary areas are represented by elected members, and this allows for important field-specific perspectives to be taken into consideration in any discussion.

CSC communicates the results of its monthly meetings via regular minutes (sent to RUL_everyone), which generally come out quickly after meetings, and are found at: http://www.libraries.rutgers.edu/rul/staff/groups/com_of_schol-comm/minutes.shtml

CSC maintains a website, and regularly works as a group to enhance this public-facing portal of services at: http://www.libraries.rutgers.edu/services_researchers

CSC has not had a dedicated AUL/Director presence, or leadership/vision over the years from an RUL administrator. It has been run as a faculty/invited guests high level committee. As scholarly communication grows as a focus of the profession, it is a detriment that there is no RUL administrative leadership focused on this area. The committee has done so much, even in the absence of leadership and vision from the RUL administration. The interim AULs for Collection Development and Management (serving as ex officio) have made the committee appointments each year, and have always attended meetings if possible. AULs have not been involved in agenda setting or other futures thinking for CSC. CSC could really benefit from a dedicated AUL/Director that is knowledgeable in scholarly communication areas, especially as the work becomes even more high profile in the university. Without this dedicated assigned AUL/Director, it is difficult to imagine how CSC's recommendations would get to Cabinet. Would the chair take them there? CSC wonders how our recommendations would turn to action in a timely way, allowing the committee to move forward. Members seemed positive about keeping the committee, and not disbanding it at this point. There seems no obvious other group or mechanism for important areas of scholarly communication to be discussed, moved forward, or acted upon. It is also unclear how any agenda items would get to cabinet, and whether the people that have the most expertise on the area would be even invited to be there for the decision-making.

At its special meeting on Jan. 12, CSC discussed various scenarios to see what might resonate for the future:

1. Keep the committee as is (and just remove the action orientation of the work), advising the Cabinet and VP/UL about important issues in scholarly communication that arise. Flaws in the current makeup of the committee include heavy reliance on multiple regular appointments (used to make sure that the needed expertise and skill sets are available for discussions). Currently appointed members represent SOAR implementation, Copyright and Licensing, Health Sciences Libraries, Research Data Management, and SOAR implementation for instance. Members are appointed for their expertise and what they can bring to the table, and are not all members of the RUL faculty. The committee includes RUL faculty, a staff member, a Health Sciences Librarian, and making this a "faculty only" committee would lose valuable representation. We need key players regardless of whether the person is faculty or not. Some feel that having a faculty body is very important; making sure there are library faculty voices representing these areas.

CSC discussed populating the committee, not through elections, but by criteria for membership based on skill sets, expertise and functional roles. The charge could be reworked, and CSC could recommend what would work best in terms of representation of areas. Another issue that is important is continuity. People have served multiple terms of appointment, and that really helps in many cases where we don't have to spend time getting up to speed. We really need to have those actually doing the work at the table alongside other elected members. Another issue with faculty groups is the chair role, which is not well defined, yet important for agenda setting, organization, etc. For CSC, the chair is chosen each year from the group's membership. CSC will be choosing a new chair next this coming June.

2. The second part of the CSC discussion brought up a topic that was the focus of PlanCo and RUL faculty discussions in the recent past. PlanCo discussed both "research services" and "scholarly communication organization" at RUL during the successive faculty coordinator terms of Womack and Mullen. The idea of this second scenario is that we may not want to do this important work via committee going forward. The idea of organizing scholarly communication work more formally, via an "Office of Scholarly Communication" or perhaps a "Scholarly Communication Group" or some larger umbrella under which certain librarians and staff, currently represented in CSC, would be pulled together to function as a formal work group under an AUL/Director who is accountable for the work. When brought up previously, this idea did not gain any traction, but it could be time for CSC to transition to a more formal organization. Of course, this would necessitate the assigning of an administrator to this group. There has been no accountable party (Cabinet member assigned to this area), and no matter what happens to CSC, there will need to be leadership and vision and clear communication between various units and the team responsible for scholarly communication. Who engages with the research offices and others interested in various aspects of scholarly communication? This is an open question, and there is a lot happening on the ground, such as RUL implementing the largest open access policy in the U.S. and the first in the world for graduate students. CSC has always been a sounding board for updates on SOAR and Open Access.

3. A third scenario discussed by CSC was the possibility of RUL having only one faculty group; the one mandated by the University. This would be a Planning Committee or Planning and Coordinating Committee. There could be assigned representation that would cover the topic of scholarly communication on such a committee. The group was not sure how this would work in practice, and what kind of engagement would be lost.

4. CSC discussed the possibility of simply ceasing to exist, without transitioning to any other scenario. CSC would just sunset after this year, in June. The group felt that this was a recipe for falling further behind. We would lose a forum to discuss many things; library publishing, digital humanities, future planning for open access initiatives, metrics services, research data topics, or upcoming new federal mandates that will affect the university (for instance). We would not have a broad group with which to discuss best practices, or newly emerging issues. Some felt it was unclear just how far along we are (in comparison to other universities related to scholarly communication services). We have done traditional services but RUL needs some dedicated group that can focus on scholarly communication.

5. A member proposed the possibility of starting a "special interest group (SIG)" where everyone in the organization would feel welcome to come and discuss issues and ideas. This group might invite professional and programmatic speakers, and we could include faculty outside of RUL. This idea was met with enthusiasm, that we might consider this idea of a "scholarly communication interest group" even as we deal with the current CSC. The committee feels there would be great interest in such a SIG throughout RUL.

6. The group discussed proceeding as usual without actually making any decisions or doing anything without cabinet input. The group wonders how small something has to be to bring it to cabinet. We have a lot of questions about who will do the work of CSC now? An example is the website, since we all work on that, but there are other pieces too. We need the advice of PlanCo/Cabinet as we transition this active committee. CSC has been a committee where members bring things to the table, but also make things happen. How would it work now? What permanent leadership/accountable party does the RUL administration have in mind to assist CSC?

The committee is happy to provide further input.

Appendix B: NBLF Statement

The New Brunswick Libraries faculty discussed various matters relating to the reorganization of Rutgers University Libraries groups. This reorganization is occasioned by, among other things, the recent changes in the RUL bylaws that make the faculty bodies explicitly advisory groups.

There was a consensus that there should be just one RUL advisory faculty body, the Planning Committee that is mandated by university regulations. The role of that body would be (in alignment with reg. 50.1.9, B5) to advise on long-term planning and priorities and fundamental professional issues (print vs ebooks; future directions in reference; etc.). As appropriate, the Planning Committee would prepare and bring these issues before the RUL faculty for discussion. It would also advise and assist the faculty in matters exclusively under their purview, such as our role in the tenure and promotion process. The NBL faculty did not discuss the composition of the reorganized Planning Committee.

Additional bodies would report to the RUL administration and act as working groups, rather than faculty groups. We briefly discussed some possible approaches to the organization of the administrative structure. One approach would be to maintain three groups working on services, resources, and scholarly communication. Another might be to insert an additional administrative layer between the AULs/directors and the faculty, separate departments, with heads reporting to an AUL/director. And a third might be simply to have administrators create and dissolve groups to meet our changing needs. It was noted that none of these approaches are mutually exclusive. It was also stressed that this needn't be one size fits all; collections, for example, might be organized quite differently from services. Again, we did not discuss how any of these prospective groups might be constituted.

In terms of the process by which we might plan these changes, it was suggested the recent NBL reorganization provides some useful examples. We had town hall meetings and other events that brought faculty and staff together to discuss the best way forward. Finally, it was noted that, as with NBL, if we find the structure we come up with does not meet our needs, we can always change it.

Appendix C: USC Statement

The User Services Council co-chairs were asked to provide a statement or bullet points regarding RUL Groups. At the same time, a new Directors Group, composed of the Dana, New Brunswick, RBHS and Robeson directors was formed. USC met in late December to discuss the issues. The conversation was continued via email. USC recommends that the following points, considerations and questions be taken into account when thinking about the relationship between the new Directors Group and USC, or a scenario in which USC no longer exists:

Current USC


  1. Representatives with expertise from all different universities, subject areas and departments are at the table to discuss matters common to all. Allows for collegial feedback and consultation.
  2. RUL faculty and staff know where to bring user services issues for consideration.
  3. Each university has a unique culture. USC allows for people to hear from others about issues for which they had no original knowledge/interest, but that become learning opportunities.
  4. Discussion with the council helps create "buy in" from those involved.


  1. Meeting monthly is too infrequent and hampers productivity, especially when a meeting has been cancelled. But gathering such a large group together more often may be problematic.
  2. Although membership may seem too large, some groups (like public services staff) are not represented.
  3. Some topics don't have direct impact on all members.
  4. USC is not always composed of the right stakeholders (i.e., faculty and staff) to solve challenges that come to the table.
  5. The lines between system-wide and local issues are not always clear.
  6. Communication does not always go back to local level for directors' input; directors feel disenfranchised, directors need to "know what they don't know".
  7. Need to clarify who USC makes recommendations "to"-whether to an AUL, the directors, or Cabinet.

New Directors Group

  1. The Directors Group will meet monthly to coordinate public services across the system.
  2. Directors have the authority to coordinate and assign work.
  3. May be able to manage/handle local user services issues in a more timely manner than the current USC.


  1. If USC no longer exists, what mechanism would there be for anyone from RUL to suggest a topic of discussion regarding user services? (Currently, everyone knows to contact their USC rep to bring ideas/issues forward.)
  2. Perhaps USC could become a "think tank" or community of practice, rather than a deciding body for user services issues. What would the membership be? Appointed, elected or self-identified? Where would their ideas/recommendations go? Perhaps a core group could organize open meetings around certain topics, which would then be open to a larger community of practice.
  3. In place of USC, it may be valuable to create groups that represent reference, instruction, outreach and other public services responsibilities, similar to the New Brunswick reorganization, but this would be difficult to do on a system-wide scale. Would there be duplication of effort?
  4. Directors must determine how they will identify and resolve public services issues. (i.e., do they need a group of representatives from each campus, or?) How would those reps be identified?
  5. How will the Directors Group get input from Access Services, IIS, etc.?
  6. How will decisions made by directors be communicated? To whom? What is the relationship with PlanCo, USC (if it still exists), and Cabinet?

Rebecca Gardner and Yu-Hung Lin
USC Co-Chairs

Appendix D: LRC Statement

On January 13, Library Resources Council (LRC) members met to discuss the group's accomplishments and what characteristics should be preserved and enhanced in a new faculty organization structure. Following a discussion of various scenarios including integration with the User Services Council, the group concluded that LRC's role as the advisory group on collections and technical services to the University Libraries' administration is vital and unique.

In an examination of LRC's accomplishments, the members noted the importance of policy recommendations concerning use of the Annex, the Last Copy Policy, deed of gift and accompanying policy, supporting the development of digital humanities and participating in the realization of book and article delivery as well as digital access to media. The Annex policy makes deposit available to all unit libraries. The Last Copy Policy maintains the integrity of RUL's collection content. The deed of gift formalizes the process to meet the needs of large donors as well as those who drop off a few books at Access Services Desks. The group maintains interest in interlibrary loan services as well as the use of streaming media since they represent another place where collections, technology and users meet. The LRC has allowed librarians to explore new technologies and services, especially allowing topics to bubble up from the faculty, including new librarians. The cross-pollination of ideas is more easily done in a group that has broad representation. The group has recently explored the issue of open textbooks and is looking forward to other open access opportunities.

LRC's historical foundation indicates strengths that would be lost if the group were completely dissolved. They include:

LRC has an additional strength in its equitable representation of broad discipline groups, universities, special collections and library functions. Each member brings a unique perspective based on experience with users and collections that is invaluable. The group provides an opportunity to share expertise based on job-related knowledge, networking, or personal exploration. This is crucial with the exchange of information. Part of each meeting is spent on reporting from co-chairs, the Interim AUL for Collection Development and Management, the AUL for Digital Library Systems, the Head of Central Technical Services, the Head of Distributed Technical Services, the Head of the Scholarly Communication Center and Repository Collection Librarian, the Director of Operations of the Institute of Jazz Studies, and the representative from Special Collections and University Archives. The report content informs members and can provide a springboard for further investigations of existing challenges and trends in academic libraries. Concerns of those who are doing the work surface and can be explored further. This opportunity is especially important to the representatives from Technical Services as there is no other group where they participate.

The Collection Analysis Group (CAG) which was formed a few years ago contrasts with LRC in focus. They address specific issues and devise practical solutions using data analysis. Although the same people may be participating in both groups, they fulfill different roles. In agreement with the AUL for Collection Development and Management, LRC members determined that LRC is the faculty advisory group while CAG operates as a working group. The CAG is more focused on daily expenditures and product usage. This is a time consuming venture and does not allow for the big picture discussions that occur in the LRC.

Suggested Scenario

LRC members recommend to PlanCo that the group be reorganized as the Library Resources Advisory Group (LRAG). The new group should maintain the same equitable representation from broad discipline areas, universities, special collections, and library functions. The current meeting structure and frequency have led to viable outcomes and should be maintained. By allowing the AUL for Collection Development and Management to commission reports or encourage discussions on timely or upcoming issues, and to hear concerns before they develop into serious problems, the LRAG can provide discerning and comprehensive recommendations to the University Libraries' administration.

Library Resources Council

Grace Agnew, AUL for Digital Library Systems
Kayo Denda, Social Sciences Discipline Group Representative
Rebecca Gardner, General Discipline Group Representative
Erika Gorder, Special Collections and University Archives Representative
Barry Lipinski, Access Services Representative
Rhonda Marker, RUcore Collection Manager and Representative, Committee for Scholarly Communication
Laura Palumbo, Sciences Discipline Group Representative
Vincent Pelote, Institute of Jazz Studies Representative
Janice Pilch, Copyright and Licensing Librarian and Representative, Committee for Scholarly Communication
Jonathan Sauceda, Humanities Discipline Group Representative
Gracemary Smulewitz, Distributed Technical Services Head
Elizabeth Sosnowska, RBHS Collections Coordinator
Julie Still, Camden Collections Coordinator (co-chair)
Ann Watkins, Newark Collections Coordinator (co-chair)
Mary Beth Weber, Central Technical Services Head
Ryan Womack, New Brunswick Collections Coordinator
Tao Yang, Interim AUL for Collection Development and Management

URL: http://www.libraries.rutgers.edu/rul/staff/groups/fac_coordinating_com/minutes/coordcom_16_01_27.shtml
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