Library committees provide an important vehicle for addressing issues and problems that require a broad representation of expertise and ideas. Committees also serve an important role by providing staff members with opportunities to participate in activities, discussions, and problem solving outside of their own job assignments and/or units.
There are two kinds of service on Library committees: Service that is related directly to one’s position and role in the Library. In this case, a particular position is represented on a committee. Service that offers a staff member an opportunity for involvement beyond his/her particular position, thereby providing additional professional knowledge and experience.
Authority to Establish Committees
The establishing of an interdepartmental or interdivisional committee should be reviewed with and approved by the University Librarian or the appropriate Associate University Librarian. This same administrator provides a formal written charge to the committee.
Before accepting a committee assignment (including any outside the Library), a staff member should review all of his/her commitments with their supervisor. The Library recommends that a staff member not serve simultaneously on more than one Library committee that is not directly required for the performance of his/her primary job assignment. A committee may have members who are either appointed or elected, or it may be made up of a combination of both appointed and elected members.
The determination of how committee seats are to be filled is made by the administrator responsible for the committee.
Elections to Committees
Staff members may be elected to serve on committees as representatives of specific organizational units (e.g., Technical or Public Service) or specific staff groups (e.g., Librarian, Library Staff). Elections to committees occur in the Spring of each year. Exceptions to this schedule are made when a vacancy occurs at another time and when the seat must be filled immediately to accomplish the work of the committee and/or to provide a balanced staff representation.
To identify a pool of possible candidates for election to committees with vacancies, a “primary”election is held. When information is distributed for this election, the list of all eligible staff members is accompanied by a list of all current committee memberships.
In some cases, a nominating committee may be appointed by the University Librarian to identify a slate of candidates.
Committee elections proceed by the following steps:
- Once a pool of candidates has been identified, the University Librarian’s Office notifies each candidate and each candidate’s supervisor of his/her potential for election to the committee.
- The candidate and supervisor discuss the committee assignment.
- Afterward, the candidate notifies the University Librarian’s Office of his/her decision on whether or not to stand for election.
- Once a final slate of candidates is identified, a “run-off”election is conducted.
The University Librarian’s Office notifies winning candidates in writing of their election.
Appointments to Committees
Appointments to committees are made in the Spring of each year. Exceptions to this schedule are allowed when a vacancy occurs and when the seat must be filled immediately to accomplish the work of the committee and/or to provide a balanced staff representation. A staff member who is eligible to serve on a committee may submit his/her own name for consideration and may submit the names of other staff members as well.
The University Librarian’s Office notifies a candidate and the candidate’s supervisor of his/her potential for appointment to a committee. The candidate and supervisor discuss the committee assignment. Afterward, the candidate notifies the University Librarian’s Office of his/her decision on whether or not to accept appointment.
If a staff member is also on a final slate of candidates for an elective seat on another committee, the University Librarian’s Office would notify the person of the possible appointment to a committee other than the one for which an election is to be held.
New Members on Committees
A new member may be invited by the chair to begin service on a committee during the summer months even if the official appointment date is not until September. This time should allow for an opportunity to learn the work of the committee before full responsibility is assumed.
Each committee member should receive a copy of the administrator’s written charge to the committee. This directive provides the context within which the committee sets goals and priorities for each year’s activities. Each committee chair should submit a brief yearly report summarizing the activities and accomplishments during the previous fiscal year and outlining issues and problems within the context of the committee’s charge that are still to be addressed. This brief report should be forwarded to the appropriate administrator in August, when units’ annual reports are submitted.