Rights & Responsibilities

Minutes of Rights & Responsibilities Meeting

March 24, 1999

Nancy Hallock, Ardys Kozbial (minutes), Lynda Kresge, Susan Milstein, Lynn Shirey, Leena Siegelbaum

At this meeting, the committee continued its review of the Report by the Ad-Hoc Committee on Rights and Responsibilities, Moving the Library Toward Harvard's Fifth Century, 1995 and that report's follow-up: Report of the Ad Hoc Committee Reviewing the Status of the Recommendations of the Report -- Moving the Library toward Harvard's Fifth Century, 1997.

The R&R Committee discussed each of the Recommendations in the 1997 report and concluded that an update to each of the Recommendations should be given at the next Librarians' Assembly. If progress on a Recommendation was not easily apparent, the Committee identified the organization that should be responsible for that Recommendation. The R&R Committee will ask those organizations for updates to applicable Recommendations. The Recommendations, the organizations responsible for them, the status of the Recommendation as determined by the R&R Committee and the R&R Committee's questions follow.

The next Librarians' Assembly Executive Committee meeting with the University Library Council (ULC) is on Thursday April 15, 1999. At this meeting, the R&R Committee will ask the ULC to prepare a report of its activities for the Librarians' Assembly in May.


Review of the Recommendations

The following list of Recommendations originated in three reports. They are cited as follows:

1.      Moving, 1995. Moving the Library toward Harvard's Fifth Century. A report to the Librarians' Assembly by its Ad-Hoc Committee on Rights and Responsibilities, 1995. (This document is also known as the Carpenter Report.)

2.      Revised recommendations, 1996. The Ad-Hoc Committee's Recommendations (As Revised by the Librarians' Assembly), Harvard University Library Notes, January 4-18, 1996, numbers 1205-1207.

3.      Review, 1997. Report of the Ad Hoc Committee Reviewing the Status of the Recommendations of the Report -- Moving the Library toward Harvard's Fifth Century. Presented to the Librarian's [sic] Assembly on 3 October 1997.

University Initiatives
Recommendation: "In addition to his direct and supportive response to the concerns of librarians [Harvard University Library Notes, Nos. 1205-1207, January 4-18, 1996], President Rudenstine agreed to resume his role as presiding officer of the Librarian's [sic] Assembly." (Review, 1997, p 1)
Status: The President or Provost now presides at meetings of the Librarians' Assembly. (R&R minutes, 3/4/99)

Recommendation: "Undertake, under the direction of the Provost, a review of the PIQ grading and compensation program for administrative and professional staff with participation of the staff. The grading system is highly static and hierarchical whereas librarians themselves are now being asked to work in ways that are dynamic, creative, collegial, responsible. What is currently lacking in the grading/compensation program is process itself -- process that is ongoing, evaluative, participatory, and offering the hope of redress." (Revised recommendations, 1996)
Responsibility: Lynn Shirey to Barbara Graham, possibly through Malcolm Hamilton
       "The Library position analysis review was a collaborative effort involving librarians and human resource professionals. Although not yet released, one of the key accomplishments of the Position Analysis task group was the development and approval of a revised series of library position descriptions (AKA job matrices). The job matrices will be used throughout the Harvard libraries to help supervisors and staff members describe library jobs and assess salary grades. These matrices are a significant step towards insuring that salary grades and job descriptions will better recognize the unique skills of librarians." (Review, 1997, p 2)
       A system of job matrices was developed by the functional committees (i.e. cataloging, public services, collection development, etc.). Librarian positions by grade are listed on the HUL web site. (R&R minutes, 2/18/99)
       The PIQ program was reviewed and matrices were rewritten to reflect more accurately what librarians do. (Librarians' Position Analysis Steering Committee Report to the ULC, July 1997) (R&R minutes, 3/4/99)
       Two groups recommended by the report of the Advisory Task Force on Position Analysis have been constituted. (Sidney Verba announcement, December 1998)
       ULC Standing Committee on Position Analysis Implementation
       Advisory Task Force on Library Position Analysis Implementation
Questions: According to Verba's announcement, both committees should meet during the spring and fall semesters. Have these committees met? The Advisory Task Force was supposed to appoint a chair at its spring meeting. Has a chair been appointed? Have the library job families been implemented? How many librarians have requested a grade change since the implementation of the new job families? How many requests for grade change have been granted since the implementation of the new job families?

Recommendation: "Three librarians have been appointed to subcommittees of the University Benefits Committee, Suzanne Kemple, Hilles Library is on the Subcommittee on Retirement and Naomi Ronen, Law, is on the Subcommittee on Health, Ellen Westling, Countway Library, is serving on the Subcommittee on Administrative Issues." (Review, 1997, p 2)
Responsibility: Lynn Shirey to talk to Suzanne Kemple
Status: Library representatives on University Benefits subcommittees as well as the newly formed Librarians' Assembly Benefits Committee provide the means to gather and disseminate information about benefits. (R&R minutes 3/4/99)
       In addition to the membership on subcommittees, the R&R Committee recommends that a librarian be appointed to the University Benefits Committee.
       The R&R Committee recommends that the library representative to the University Benefits Committee also serve on the Library Benefits Committee, acting as a liaison. The R&R Committee recommends formal reporting obligations: communication should flow from the University Benefits Committee through the Library Benefits Committee to the Librarians' Assembly.

Recommendation: "We recommend that the deans, who will, of course participate in review of exempt staff, strive to make personnel issues an ongoing major concern, specifically that they: (1) Seek regular reports on aspects of librarianship and the work of the staff in their libraries, just as deans do on other matters." (Revised recommendations, 1996)
Responsibility: University Library Council
Questions: Are the Library Directors talking to the Deans? Is there any tangible evidence of this, i.e. reports?

University Library Council
Recommendation: "Affirm that the ULC members, both individually and as a body, have the power -- and desire -- to be strong advocates for librarians, with deans and with the central administration." (Revised recommendations, 1996)
Responsibility: University Library Council
Question: Does the ULC have any tangible evidence to show that it supports this recommendation?

Recommendation: "Develop open upward and downward communications with librarians." (Revised recommendations, 1996)
Responsibility: University Library Council
Questions: How is the ULC accomplishing this? What mechanisms are in place for upward communication? What mechanisms are in place for downward communication? Are the minutes of ULC meetings available on the HUL web site? Are the minutes of the ULC meetings published in Library Notes?

Recommendation: "Publish annually, before the fall meeting of the Assembly, for discussion at that meeting, a report on librarianship at Harvard, a report that is sufficiently detailed for librarians in the various faculties to see how they stand vis-a-vis colleagues in other faculty libraries and in other institutions. Establish in collaboration with a committee of the Assembly the content of the report. We suggest a survey of position classifications, salaries and other benefits, comparisons among Harvard libraries and faculties as well as between Harvard and peer institutions. For instance, the statistics could include median and average salaries in libraries across the University, a comparison of percentages of annual salary increases, and promotions." (Revised recommendations, 1996)
Responsibility: University Library Council
Status: The Library Compensation Page on the HUL web site addresses compensation and classification of Harvard librarians. It does not show a national comparison or a peer institution comparison of position classifications, salaries or other benefits.
Questions: Is the ULC preparing a report for the fall meeting of the Librarians' Assembly? Is the ULC working with one of the Library Committees to prepare this report? Will compensation comparisons of Harvard librarians to librarians at peer institutions be added to the HUL web site?

Recommendation: "Establish a uniform annual report process that provides the opportunity for each librarian to describe her or his work of the past year and to set forth goals for the coming year with her or his supervisor." (Revised recommendations, 1996)
"The Office of Human Resources and the University Library Council both endorse a regular annual review process. This process should include 'the opportunity for each librarian to set forth goals for the coming year with her or his supervisor.' Any individual librarian who is not given this opportunity is strongly encouraged to discuss this issue with their local HR representative or appropriate supervisor." (Review, 1997)
Responsibility: University Library Council
Status: Varies from library to library.
Questions: Does each of the libraries have an annual report process in place? Can each library give tangible evidence of this (i.e., a written goal setting process)?

Recommendation: "Seek additional funding for professional activities, the Bryant Fund now being inadequate." (Revised recommendations, 1996)
Responsibility: University Library Council
Questions: Are additional funds available for professional activities?

Recommendation: "Develop a policy of paid leaves for librarians." (Revised recommendations, 1996)
Responsibility: University Library Council
Status: In December 1998, Sidney Verba announced the creation of a new program ('A Program for Professional Development in the Harvard Library System') which will grant paid leave to librarians for research.
Questions: What is the status of the new professional development program? Have formal guidelines been written? How many people have applied? When will the first leaves be granted?

Recommendation: "Develop policies to encourage ongoing mastery of new skills and knowledge." (Revised recommendations, 1996)
Responsibility: University Library Council
Questions: Have these policies been written? Give examples of these policies from a variety of libraries.