LAUC-B 2014 Fall Assembly

LAUC-B Fall Assembly, November 18, 2014

Morrison Library
8:30 - 10:00 am

Executive Committee members present: Rita Evans (chair), Lynn Jones, Kendra Levine, Jesse Silva, Elliott Smith (recorder), I-Wei Wang
Total attendance: 42 members

Business Meeting (8:30 - 8:50 am)

I. Call to order/Announcements (R. Evans)

Distinguished Librarian Award ceremony on Wednesday, December 3, 2014, 3-5pm in the Morrison Library will honor recipients William Benemann and Michaelyn Burnette.

II. Welcome to new LAUC-B members (R. Evans, E. Smith)

New LAUC-B members since April 30, 2014 were announced:

  • Lee Adams, Digital Services Librarian, Public Health Library
  • David Faulds, Curator of Rare Books and Literary Manuscripts, Bancroft Library
  • Rebecca Miller, Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences Librarian, Bioscience and Natural Resources Library
  • Shannon Supple, Head of Reference and Research Services, Bancroft Library
  • Kate Tasker, Digital Archivist, Bancroft Library

III. Committee Reports (see attached)

IV. Survey on professional development funding priorities (R. Evans)

Results of the recent LAUC-B survey on professional development funding priorities were reported to membership via a Nov. 17 e-mail message from Vice-Chair I-Wei Wang. That message reads in part, “It is clear from the data that the most important activities funded through LAUC-B are professional development funding for represented and non-represented librarians, with the LAUC-B Conference and Distinguished Librarian Award/ceremony also ranking very high. Because these are all high-ticket items, it is clear that some very hard choices and compromises may have to be made. In the coming months, we will be trying to grapple with many possible options, including:

  • ...alternative funding models…
  • whether the LAUC-B Conference and DLA ceremony costs can be scaled back and still remain meaningful activities…
  • whether modifications to LAUC-B's professional development funding policies... would help LAUC-B members use shrinking PD funds more effectively.”

The message also included a pledge to “advocate for a change in the Provost's Office's position about the appropriate source of support for what we know to be a valued, core academic research function of the University.”

Program: 2020[4]-Sight: What does it mean to be a professional librarian at UC between now, 2024 and beyond? (8:50 - 10 am)

Lynn Jones, Reference Coordinator, Instruction Services Division, moderated a panel discussion on three questions. Comments were invited from the audience both directly, and anonymously via Poll Everywhere.

The panelists and the areas they represent:

  • Harrison Dekker, Unit Head, Data Lab: AFT MOU
  • James Eason, Principal Archivist, Pictorial, Bancroft Library: LAUC-B CAPA Procedures
  • Julie LeFevre, Digital Services Librarian, Institute of Governmental Studies Library: Digital Collections and Technology
  • Brian Quigley, Acting Director, Engineering & Physical Sciences Division: STEM Collections
  • Dean Rowan, Reference Librarian, Law Library: Digital Humanities

Question 1: Should the rules governing LAUC membership be changed to include non-MLS library professionals?

The current state of things:

  • There is currently already some ambiguity regarding the necessity of an MLS in the LAUC Statewide membership bylaws.
  • LAUC-B is closely involved with implementing the MOU, peer review, and funding for professional development and research. These roles cannot be extended to other classifications.
  • New kinds of library positions are being created at peer institutions in areas such as data curation and research information that often do not list an MLS as a requirement.

Potential benefits and drawbacks for LAUC-B of expanding membership:

  • LAUC-B is tied to the professional identity of librarians, and expanding its membership may undermine the importance of the MLS and the Librarian Series.
  • Perhaps there are alternative criteria that could or should be used to define librarians professionally.
  • There are many people across campus involved in librarian-like activities such as data services and research computing; perhaps there should be a forum for the exploration of common interests.
  • An expanded membership could result in a more vital and dynamic organization.

Potential benefits and drawbacks of LAUC-B membership for non-MLS staff:

  • LAUC-B membership might help staff who are part-time or not in the Librarian Series to form stronger professional connections within the organization.
  • The benefits of peer review and professional development and research funding cannot be extended through LAUC-B to staff outside of the Librarian Series.
  • LAUC-B membership might frustrate people in staff positions who take on librarian responsibilities, but have no way to advance within the Library.
  • Non-MLS staff might not be interested in LAUC membership or might not see this as a boon, especially without the “full” benefits (research funding, etc.)

Can LAUC be more inclusive without expanding its criteria for membership?

  • LAUC has an important advisory and advocacy role with respect to issues that have an impact on librarians. In its advisory role LAUC-B should seek to include other viewpoints within the Library.
  • This could be done through environmental scans or staff participation on committees (perhaps in non-voting roles).

Selected Poll Everywhere comments:

  • “LAUC should represent all MLIS librarians.”
  • “Yes. We need to keep up with changing times.”
  • “Consult more widely[;] changes of bylaws [may be] complex for perhaps little benefit to anyone.”

Question 2. If professional development funding were reduced to $600 per person, what might be the impact?

  • Reducing professional development funding will make it more difficult to attend conferences. This will have an impact on librarians’ ability to develop professional networks, encounter new ideas, learn new skills, make contact with vendors and see new products, and participate in panels, presentations and committees.
  • Professional activity outside the Library, and research and other creative activity, are important elements of our reviews for merit increases and promotion.
  • Reducing librarians’ ability to participate in professional organizations reduces their ability to take on leadership roles and have a larger impact on the profession.
  • Lack of visibility in the profession will have an impact on the reputation of our institution and make it harder to recruit and retain good librarians.

Comments on alternatives to a flat-rate funding system:

  • Having to submit a proposal in a competitive system might encourage librarians to go beyond conference attendance and seek opportunities to present and participate.
  • A proposal system has been used before and would create huge overhead and logistical issues both for applicants and for LAUC-B.
  • Having to submit a proposal for approval would reduce our autonomy.
  • Other UC campuses have some sort of application and approval process for travel funds.
  • Under the current flat-rate system, librarians with greater departmental support or personal means can do more.
  • A sliding scale weighted toward new librarians might be more equitable but might mean more senior librarians are not able to fully participate in leadership at the national/international level that is expected of them.

Comments on fund sharing:

  • There is no mechanism for individual librarians to share unused professional development funds.
  • Unused funds have become a part of the next years’ total professional development fund, which is then distributed equally among librarians.
  • Perhaps a system could be devised so that funds could carry over for two or three years; however, we are being encouraged to spend down our funds and not carry them over.

Responding to the proposed cuts in funding

  • In effect, our professional association is being defunded. We need to formulate a strong response in defense of our professional status.
  • University Librarian Tom Leonard made a distinction between fundraising and revenue generation, and encouraged us to look for ways to generate revenue.
  • We could also take a look at making changes to programs such as the LAUC-B Conference or the Distinguished Librarian Award.
  • Charging non-LAUC-B members for the conference has been tried, and did not generate enough money to justify the logistical costs.
  • Affiliated librarians (25-30% of LAUC-B membership) do not receive money from or report through the Library -- funding should come from campus.
  • Elise Woods of LIbrary Business Services is attempting to ask the Provost’s Office to revisit the budget cut--so far without result.
  • This issue will be raised in our next contract negotiations; however, different provisions in the contract can only be opened for bargaining at certain times. We also need to set priorities for our negotiating team.

Selected Poll Everywhere comments:

  • The library already administers the LAUC budget through its business services dept; why is funding LAUC from its (newly increased) budget any different?”
  • “Has anyone talked with Affiliated Library deans about contributing?”
  • “What about not funding professional memberships? That was added because funds were unspent.”
  • “It’s worth noting that most other academics don’t receive funds of this sort at all. We should do our utmost to retain and grow these funds.”

Question 3. What should be the highest priorities for a new UL?

  • Strengthening relationships with the administration and advocating for the Library
  • Be an effective representative on the Council of University Librarians (CoUL)
  • Understand our unique systems, practices and culture
  • Help recruit and motivate staff through inspiring leadership
  • Be passionate about the Library and librarianship
  • Articulate a shared and integrated technology future
  • Understand the importance of traditional collections and services as well as technology
  • Develop ways to enable staff to work more closely together

Specific issues the UL will need to address:

  • NRLF
  • Fundraising for Moffitt and moving the renovation project forward
  • Articulating a clear strategic plan for the Library

Selected Poll Everywhere comments:

  • “[The new UL should] *Be* a librarian her or himself. Then we wouldn’t have to have discussions about deprofessionalizing, [as we do] with a nonlibrarian as our ul.”
  • “[The new UL should] Know what’s happening in all the departments.”
  • “We need a good fundraiser. I don’t see much future in campus library support.”