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Minutes of the Rights and Responsibilities Committee

Rights & Responsibilities Committee
Meeting Minutes
Friday, September 23, 2005
Harvard University Library Office for Information Systems – 205A
1:00 – 2:00 PM

Present: Elizabeth McKeigue (Co-Chair), Patty Hatch (Co-Chair & minutes), Amira Aaron (Librarians' Assembly Liaison), Renata Kalnins, Karen Storin Linitz, Amy Lucker, Kazuko Sakaguchi, Melanie Wisner

Minutes.  The June and July 2005 minutes were approved.

Introductions and Meeting Formats.  Elizabeth opened the meeting with introductions, particularly for the Committee’s newest members, Karen Storin Linitz and Amy Lucker.  Elizabeth explained that the she and Patty would be taking turns chairing the meetings for the group.  Elizabeth would lead this meeting; Patty will lead the October meeting.  Patty agreed to take minutes for this meeting.

Review of Previous Year Activities.  Elizabeth reviewed the programs ideas from last year and brought everyone up to date with the program that was successfully launched and the other initiatives that were proposed and are awaiting approval: 

  1. Disabilities Program: On May 25, 2005, the Committee sponsored a program on reasonable accommodation at Harvard.  The program was led by Marie Trottier, University Disability Coordinator from the Office of the President and Provost, and was attended by over 30 people in the Lamont Forum Room.  Marie’s talk focused on providing reasonable accommodation for those using Harvard’s services and facilities.  Marie did get a number of questions from staff about reasonable accommodation within the Harvard workplace.  Marie handled these questions well.  Overall, the first program for the newly reconstituted Rights and Responsibilities Committee was very successful.


  1. Ethics Program on Patron Privacy.  Last year, the Committee proposed a program on patron privacy.  The program would feature a speaker from Widener Library who would frame the discussion, and then small groups would be formed to read through and evaluate case studies that were composed by the Committee and presented possible scenarios concerning patron privacy.  The program raised some concerns and the program idea and materials were referred to the Harvard Office of General Counsel, through Wadsworth House, for their consideration and input.  Patty sent a message to Barbara Graham asking her about the status of the proposal.  Patty reported that she heard back from Alix Reiskind, the Chair of the Librarians’ Assembly Executive Committee, who indicated that this year any program ideas/activities from the committees of the Librarians’ Assembly that need consideration from Wadsworth House should be funneled through the Executive Committee.  Alix asked Patty to send her some information about this program and other programs that our group had proposed to Wadsworth House over the last few months.  Alix has a meeting set up with Barbara Graham to review these proposals.  Patty forwarded a copy of her email to Barbara to Alix for their meeting.  We are hoping that we will get an update from Alix and the Librarians’ Assembly Executive Committee meeting that is scheduled for Wednesday, October 5.

Later in the meeting, it was requested that the materials forwarded to Wadsworth House be forwarded to the new members of the Committee.  Melanie, who had compiled the materials for Wadsworth House, agreed to forward this material.

  1. Lunch Program featuring Harvard Librarians: Another proposal submitted earlier to Wadsworth House proposed that the Committee host some brown bag lunches featuring talks by Harvard librarians who have written papers or given presentations outside of Harvard.  Concerns raised about these programs had to do with how information about staff activities are communicated generally to the Harvard community.  Alix Reiskind was also going to inquire at Wadsworth House about the status of this proposal.

Assuming that the response received by the LAEC to this proposal is positive, it was recommended that the Committee begin thinking about lining up potential speakers.  Elizabeth indicated that she has already had a conversation with Barbara Mitchell of the Loeb Design School Library about giving a presentation concerning a paper she has written on women catalogers during the Civil War.  Barbara has expanded her project and is the recipient of a Bryant Fellowship to continue her work in this area.  Barbara has indicated that she is willing to appear at a lunch meeting.

  1. Email notice to Harvard Library Community of Harvard Staff Activities at Major Conferences.  This proposal would solicit information from Harvard staff serving on panels or making presentations at large Library Association meetings such as ALA.  The information would be consolidated and an email would be sent to the HULINFO mailing list to alert staff to the activities that Harvard library staff are contributing to on behalf of the library profession.  Concerns similar to the concerns raised about the Lunch Program also prevented this idea from moving forward last year, and Alix Reiskind was going to ask about this program idea as well when she meets with Barbara Graham at Wadsworth House.

New Program Ideas.  Requests were made about possible programs for this year.  Renata recommended a program on disaster preparedness in libraries, and suggested that Jane Hedberg of the Preservation Office would be a good speaker for this program.  With all of the recent news concerning disasters, it was unclear as to whether or not the Librarians’ Assembly might want to do a more broad-based program on this topic.  Amy suggested that perhaps Jeff Spurr could provide a follow-up about libraries recovering from disasters, referencing his work with the rebuilding of libraries in Bosnia and Iraq.  Although this was a topic at the Librarians’ Assembly last May, we could approach this from the point of view of lessons learned for libraries that could potentially face problems like this in the future. 

Other possible initiatives.  Kim asked if the Committee could consider projects other than programs to help Harvard librarians.  A suggestion was made perhaps a guide could be created on our web site that would point Harvard Librarians to publicly available information concerning library policies at individual library websites.  The group recommended scanning existing web sites and collect information on what is currently available and report on those findings at the next meeting.  A suggestion was also made about the possibility of linking to information available on intraweb sites, but this idea would needs more flushing out.


Future meetings.  Calendars were consulted to see if it would be possible to set up a standing meeting time for the group.  After some consideration of various dates, it was proposed that the Committee meet every third Wednesday from 1 pm-2pm, with a backup time of 12 noon-1 pm.  Elizabeth will check with Erin Wise, who was unable to make this meeting, to confirm that this time would work for her before we set it as a standing meeting.  For our next meeting, Patty agreed to check to see if OIS 205A was available.  It may be possible to hold meetings at other locations throughout the year.


Next Meeting.  The next meeting was tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, October 19, 1 pm at OIS in Room 205A.