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Draft Committee Governance Proposal Posted

A note from the Ad Hoc Working Group on Committee Governance


June 17, 2014

Dear colleagues,

Earlier this semester, Sarah Thomas tasked a Harvard Library Ad Hoc Working Group on Committee Governance with

  • Recommending a governance structure for Harvard Library committees and groups
  • Recommending a process for identifying core committees and groups to support HL and University priorities
  • Developing a timeline for establishing new committees and reviewing existing groups
  • Submitting recommendations to the LLT by early June 2014

On June 13, we discussed a proposed committee governance system with the Library Leadership Team (LLT). The draft report, which includes a graphic representation of the proposed structure (see pages 7-8), can be found here.

We hope you will join a discussion of the proposed structure at one of several open meetings we plan to hold in July. Feedback from these sessions will be incorporated into a final draft to be reviewed by the LLT.

The Working Group is recommending a concept for committee governance that reflects the Harvard Library strategic objectives and supports a new approach for doing our work. This committee structure positions us to implement Harvard Library priorities, adapt to new circumstances in an environment of continuous change and realize the goals outlined in our planning process.

Two other major concepts that helped shape the proposed committee structure: one, information technology (IT) is embedded in all our work, and IT priorities should flow from Library priorities; and two, committees should be directly linked to the LLT as the Harvard Library governing body responsible for strategic objectives, priority setting and policy decisions.

The draft report recommends the following Harvard Library groups:

Five Standing Committees. These are continuing, high-level committees that focus on critical issues and advance Harvard Library strategic objectives.

  • Collections & Content Development Standing Committee
  • Access & Discovery Standing Committee
  • Research, Teaching & Learning Standing Committee
  • Stewardship Standing Committee
  • Professional Development Standing Committee

Four Councils. These are continuing groups that address issues across the spectrum of library activities, based on interests by subject or function.

  • Arts, Design, & Music Council
  • IT Council
  • Science Libraries Council
  • Special Collections, Manuscripts & Archives Council

Working Groups. These are time-limited groups created to investigate specific problems, undertake specific tasks and recommend solutions.

  • Created as needed by Standing Committees and Councils.

Discussion Groups. These are informal groups on topics of interest convened for discussion and sharing expertise across the library community.

The draft document addresses:

  • Definitions of groups
  • Membership guidelines
  • Accountability, authority, and establishment of Standing Committees, Councils and Working Groups
  • Decision-making
  • General guidelines
  • Communication
  • Funding
  • Ground rules
  • Naming conventions
  • Relationship of School-based Committees and Harvard Library Committees
  • Timetable for establishing Standing Committees and Councils

We are looking forward to lively discussions in the open meetings in July. Meanwhile, please feel free to send questions to anyone on the Working Group.

Thank you.


The Harvard Library Ad-Hoc Working Group on Committee Governance

Franziska Frey
Kira Poplowski
Lynne Schmelz, chair
Lisa Schwallie
Matthew Sheehy
Megan Sniffin-Marinoff
Ann Whiteside