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Minutes of the Rights and Responsibilities Committee

Rights & Responsibilities Committee
Meeting Minutes
Wednesday, October 18, 2005
Harvard University Library Office for Information Systems – 205A
1:00 – 2:00 PM

Present:          Patty Hatch (Co-Chair), Elizabeth McKeigue (Co-Chair), Amy Lucker, Renata Kalnins (minutes), Kazuko Sakaguchi, Erin Wise, Melanie Wisner

Absent:             Kim Dulin, Karen Storin Linitz, Amira Aaron (Librarians’ Assembly Liaison)


The minutes of the September meeting were approved with corrections. 

Setting up rotation for the taking of meeting minutes

Committee members will take turns taking minutes of the meetings according to alphabetical order of last names. Since Kim was absent, Renata, being next in line, agreed to write the minutes of the October meeting. 


  1. Librarians Assembly Executive Committee(LAEC) Meeting: Both Elizabeth and Patty attended the latest LAEC meeting. Patty reported that all committees presented new program ideas for the coming year. Ideas for the fall Librarians’ Assembly program were discussed but nothing was finalized.
  2. Ethics Program on Patron Privacy: Patty informed Committee members that, at the LAEC meeting, Alix Reiskind reported on the results of her meeting with Barbara Graham and Dana Hanify at which the status of the Patron Privacy Program (which had previously been forwarded to the Office of General Counsel for review) was discussed. At the meeting, it was decided that the program, as presently structured, was too narrowly focused on patron privacy for it to be viable. By framing the issues more broadly to deal with ethical issues in public services, it may be possible to develop a different program incorporating some of the existing program materials. After some discussion, Committee members decided that, at the present time, they would prefer to focus their energy on other programs and put this project on hold.
  3. Library Lunch Lectures: Patty informed Committee members that another outcome of Alix’s meeting with Barbara Graham and Dana Hanify was the approval of the Library Lunch lecture program. As a result, Committee members began preparations for a lunchtime lecture by Barbara Mitchell at the end of November or beginning of December. Elizabeth will determine Forum Room availability, forward proposed dates to Committee members, and make the room reservation. Elizabeth will prepare the text for introducing the speaker, and review notice and publicity content with her as well.
  4. Notification of Harvard staff involvement/presentation at major library conferences.  No decision appears to have been made regarding this proposal.

Review of Harvard libraries’ website policy documentation.

At the last Committee meeting, a suggestion was made that perhaps the Committee could create a guide on its website that would point Harvard librarians to publicly available information concerning library policies at individual library websites. A recommendation was made to scan some existing library web sites and collect information about what is currently available and then report on those findings at the next meeting.  

Following up on this suggestion from the last meeting, Committee members reported on their findings. Patty circulated a list summarizing some of the policy documentation she had found on the HUL and OIS websites. Patty also circulated a list of policy information from the Law School library website that Karen had forwarded. Renata summarized some of the policies found on the Divinity School library website. Because of the recent HCL website redesign resulting in some internal inconsistency that had not yet been corrected, Elizabeth, Melanie and Amy suggested that any references to HCL policies should be made only after discussion with Beth Brainard and/or Marilyn Wood.  

Some questions came up in the discussion. Among them were the following: (1) Who would be the audience for such a guide – a brand new professional, or someone who has been at Harvard for a while?(2) How comprehensive would such a guide be given that much policy information can not be found on websites? (3)Do we need LAEC approval to go forward on such a project? 

New Program Ideas

Amy suggested a program featuring several Harvard librarians that also teach at Simmons. Some of the themes of such a program could include: highlighting staff that are involved in training the next generation of professionals; changes that the younger age of current library students may bring to the profession; what do adjunct faculty from Harvard bring back to the Harvard library community as a result of their interaction with students; advice to those aspiring to teach on how to get a foot in the door. Committee members received this idea with great enthusiasm and were eager to start planning  such a program for the beginning of the next calendar year.  

With respect to new program development, Patty mentioned a concern raised by Amira about potential overlap with the Professional Development Committee’s work and the need to avoid unnecessary potential conflict. Discussion  indicated that the Committee did not wish to encroach on PDC’s charge, that the Committee would  gladly seek to cosponsor events with PDC in appropriate cases, and that the Committee was attempting to develop programs that highlight the contributions of professionals to their fields which falls within such elements of its charge as “identifies and promotes a vision of the professional roles of librarians and other members of the Librarians’ Assembly within the University” and “monitors, promotes, and facilitates the participation of Assembly members in activities and endeavors beyond the library”. 

Next meeting

The next meeting will be held Wednesday, November 16, 1pm, at OIS in Room 205A, unless otherwise notified.