Overview of Council and Communication Coordinator Responsibilities
Council representation and duties
- Council membership must include: other representatives of providers and users of library services in the school library system per Commissioner's Regulations 90.18(b)(2)(i).
- Councils work with the director to:
- recommend policy;
- do long-range and short-range planning, including overseeing the development of the system's Plan of Service;
- approve the annual system budget and the system's annual report; and
- evaluate the system's services.
- Committees -- either standing or ad hoc -- help assist in the planning, advising and organizing of council priorities and projects, for example: automation, long-range planning, continuing education/professional development, by-laws, nominating, etc. These committees not only create a structure to help the council's work get done, they enlarge the pool of workers, idea-producers and subject specialists for each project because they can include membership from the communication coordinator group, member libraries and other users and providers of system services.
- A council is a quasi-governing body and should be structured and run like a board of trustees, with officers, by-laws, official minutes, etc. Members should include, but not be limited to: school librarians, school administrators, and public library system staff.
- Council meetings constitute official business and are subject to the provisions of the Open Meetings Law. The director and the council should review this information carefully and, if necessary, be sure to adopt procedures to meet the requirements of this law.
- Don't forget the importance of the business conducted by the school library system council. This is a public trust for which the school library system receives state taxpayer funding. It is therefore essential for school library system councils to operate in a business-like way, demonstrating accountability by such means as meeting the Education Department standards, operating under an approved plan of service, holding open meetings, communicating with members, doing an annual evaluation, preparing an annual report and budget, etc.
- Communication Coordinators are a separate group from the school library system council with different roles and responsibilities. The main function of the communication coordinators (individually and as a group) is to provide two-way communication between the member libraries and the school library system. This can be accomplished through:
- regular meetings in which the communication coordinators discuss how to implement the policies recommended by the council;
- sharing information on system programs (e.g., training), procedures (e.g., interlibrary loan), data collection (e.g., database development, statistics on interlibrary loan, etc.);
- developing committees and/or interest groups (e.g., an elementary school librarians cluster group, automation users group, etc.);
- bringing the needs of school library system users (students, faculty and administrators) to the attention of the school library system council and director;
- identifying subject experts from among member librarians and others and recruiting them to participate in SLS projects and committees; and
- identifying and recruiting potential council members.
March 25, 2016
-- asm; for questions or comments contact Karen Balsen