Minutes: June 15, 2006
Libraries Staff Association general meeting minutes June 15, 2006
23 people attended from several departments. Everyone in attendance introduced themselves since we had two new staff members present. We discussed 4 topics.
1) LSA behind the scenes
- We discussed the announcement of permanent use of Safe Choice carpet cleaner in Norlin Library. A suggestion was made to contact Environmental Center for a list of all ‘safe’ products including paint. Also, we were asked to check that FacMan actually uses Safe Choice. Received much positive feedback on this issue. People were surprised by the 3 year, rotating carpet cleaning schedule. An update was given on the progress of contacting branch building proctors and requesting the use of Safe Choice in branch libraries. Staff are encouraged to talk to their branch heads to get the building proctors on board.
- We reminded people that staff members were responsible for contributing 1/3 of all action items in the Strategic Plan.
- The Dean has been very responsive to LSA and wants to increase meetings with the LSA and staff to twice a year.
- LSA continues to field questions from staff on a variety of issues
- We gave an overview of the 2nd half of the year to come, including an ice cream social, a new staff meeting in the Fall, November elections, and a possible second Dean’s meeting.
2) Ice Cream Social
- LSA wants to revive up the annual staff ice cream social again in early August. We had a brief talk on how past socials were organized. Lorna Kent and Naomi Heiser volunteered to work with LSA on organizing it.
3) Name Tags
- Curt Williams and Laura Wright helped lead a discussion about staff wearing name tags to identify them Libraries’ employees. Norlin Circulation is starting a pilot program with name tags for their student employees and staff. Circ students had asked for the tags as a way to better identify themselves as employees of the library. They believe it makes them more approachable and will help with accountability. Circ wants name tags with the Libraries’ sundial logo on it and ones that are reusable.
- Laura wanted to know why some staff object to having name tags. Please email her or Lynnette Leiker with input and opinions on the name tag issue. Laura.firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
- Various ideas and topics were discussed regarding the name tags. Staff at the meeting expressed that a variety of tags without pins would be okay. People also want it to be voluntary but worry that supervisors could make it required. Idea that name tags could encourage better communication and a sense of community was brought up. Discussion on how name should be displayed on tag. Also, people think both staff and faculty should have them.
- In general, staff at the meeting didn’t seem too opposed to the idea of name tags. Curt will provide LSA with feedback on how the name tag trial works in circulation. Staff are encouraged to email Laura or Lynnette with feedback on the whole issue.
- LSA will revisit this issue in several months, after feedback and the circulation trial. It will most likely be taken to LAB since it involves both staff and faculty.
4) Morale Issues
This topic was carried over from the Dean’s meeting with staff and LSA. We had a brainstorming session with staff at the meeting to identify stressors and possible solutions to stressors. Below is a list of stressors that staff came up with:
- Consistently low salary increases, but high benefits cost increases
- Student budget mysteries, lack of information on status of student budget, no projected increase
- No pay for performance raise
- Increasing division between faculty and staff – pay and communication gaps
- Fewer people but increasing workloads
- Discussion on Tenure – is it a problem? Suggestion to stop hiring so many faculty and to hire more staff
- Staff carry work load while faculty do research, tenure, meetings
- Promotions can delete staff lines
- Technology discussion – fast pace creates more burden, can be inefficient due to rapid change and lack of training. False idea that technology does more for you so you should increase your work load
- Stress of faculty on tenure track can rub off on staff
- Meetings and committees are faculty heavy
- Work related injuries
- Appearance of having input and say-so but ideas not actually implemented
- Some staff feel they are not recognized or valued
- Some staff feel that faculty do not know what they do
Below are some solutions that staff came up with:
- More promotional options for staff, more staff lines
- Better job descriptions and plans not based on quotas
- Better training on how to write a plan
- More professional level jobs above LTIII
- Include more staff in decision making and meetings, search committees
- Attend department open houses, create more understanding between departments
- Supervisors should be open and recognize stressors
- Better communication, both internal and external
- Cross training
- Refer relevant issues to FSDC for more development
- Personal meetings with the Dean when an outstanding performance review is achieved
- Resolve and increase the student budget
LSA reps will discuss these possible solutions and decide on further action
The meeting was very positive and a lot of feedback was gathered. Staff are encouraged to contact any member of LSA with any other input or ideas.