Minutes of August 1, 2006 Meeting

J. Brennan, Y. Denda, M. Forster, J. Gardner (chair, recorder), S. McDonald, R. Marker, J. Shepard, R. Smith, M. Wilt, C. Wu, J. Zapcic
A. Watkins, J. Still


  1. Housekeeping.
  2. Review of RUL Personnel section in "Communications Analysis for the Rutgers University Libraries."
  3. Review Charge.
  4. Organizing our Work.

1. Housekeeping.

The group has a mailing list (rul_icr) and sakai site (RUL ICR Task Force). We agreed to meet monthly, with subgroups working and meeting in between. Our report is due December 2006. We will rotate minute taking beginning at our next meeting (Z to A, Zapcic first). Minutes will be distributed to rul_everyone and posted on the Libraries web site under Staff Resources / Planning. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the best days of the week for the entire group to meet.

2. Review of "Communications Analysis for the Rutgers University Libraries."

The group reviewed the RUL Personnel section of the Communications Audit. The audit reported a generally high level of staff satisfaction with internal communications-- "72% receive the information they need to do their jobs in a timely way or most of the time." Not much has changed since the audit; some suggested strategies are yet to be addressed.

The task force affirmed a number of the audit's findings: that teleconferencing works for us but the equipment could be improved and protocols are needed; we have an overabundance of communications and email in particular should be more focused; geographical barriers will always be with us and special efforts are needed to meet and communicate face-to-face; library personnel can do more to actively market the Libraries' message(s). The group concluded that the recommendations we make about improving how we communicate and the tools we use must be accompanied by organizational and cultural changes as well.

The new organizational structure, which is still being worked on, may eliminate some redundancy and improve communication between faculty and staff. The group discussed attributes of the culture we think is needed to foster a better communications environment at RUL: accessible and efficient; personnel who are educated about what's going on in the entire library system and what they need to do to communicate; inclusive not exclusive; sharing, unless information is confidential; promotes personal responsibility for proactively communicating; uninhibited when asking for information; connected to the best people to answer questions; transparent in knowing who is responsible, an expert, or authority; personnel who answer questions and give referrals when the answer is not known; best practices and good communication habits are valued; accountable; engaged so that everyone has a role in creating what is RUL; seamless (answer each other's questions); responsible for questions or problems wherever they come from.

3. Review Charge.

4. Organizing our Work.

After reviewing the task force's charge and the questions it posed, we decided to form the following subgroups. Each task force member volunteered for a subgroup. Judy will ask Julie Still and Ann Watkins to join a group (their choices are noted below). Questions from our charge are included in brackets if they relate to a subgroup's focus:

a. Staff directory. Y. Denda, J. Shepard, J. Brennan

An important part and often first step of communication is information gathering, finding out who is doing what. A better directory and activity roster is needed. [How can the staff directory be made more useful and kept more dynamically up to date?]

b. Virtual Spaces. M. Wilt, R. Smith, J. Zapcic, J. Still

For meetings, discussions, teleconferencing, and sharing work documents. Can we invite and involve others into group discussions, open online discussions to everyone. [How can we best enable virtual discussion among task and work groups? How can we best communicate library announcements to everyone in the Libraries? How can we best use technology for shared document creation? Is a communication method that requires everyone to go to a virtual space or spaces adequate: Or, do we need to push information to everyone?]

c. Staff Resources Web pages. What are finished RUL documents and where should they reside. S. McDonald, J. Gardner, R. Marker

[How should our internal information be organized? Is a departmental or functional approach more useful? How important is a consistent arrangement across areas? How important is a consistent vocabulary across areas? What documents should be made available to everyone on the World Wide Web and how should those be presented? If there are materials that need to be kept private, how those should be managed and accessed?]

d. Organizational Structure. C. Wu, R. Marker

[What changes are necessary to support the new administrative structure of the Libraries?]

e. Delivery of information to the front desk for public services. M.Forster

f. Best Practices. A. Watkins

What are best practices for technologies we currently use to communicate? (email, listservs, phone, teleconferencing, etc.) How can we encourage in person and phone communication more.

The subgroups will begin to examine existing practices and investigate options. We agreed to share a 1-page summary with the entire group on our sakai site, NO LATER THAN Sept. 1, 2006. Due to numerous conflicts in September, we don't anticipate meeting again until the end of the month.

NEXT MEETING has been scheduled: Wednesday, September 27, 2006, 9:30-11:30 a.m., Conference Room, TSB, Busch Campus, with teleconferencing to Dana and Robeson.

URL: http://www.libraries.rutgers.edu/rul/staff/groups/internal_communications/minutes/itc_06-08-01.shtml
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