The University of Kansas Libraries
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Let's clear up these myths!
Myth #1 It doesn't matter if I participate or not, because no one listens to what Support staff members have to say.
In the past KULSS, (then Classified Conference (CC)) has consulted and surveyed staff to provide recommendations & input for discussions with library administration, KU & State Personnel Departments on various concerns including:
- Library job descriptions & classifications & reclassifications
- Class attendance policy (in place before University’s policy)
- Flexible hours policy
- Tuition assistance
- Working conditions
- Health, dental and family sick leave policies
- Absence reporting procedures
- Job sharing
- Library’s Grievance Committee
- Staff Development
In order for Support Staff voices to be heard, KULSS has invited helpful guests to general meetings:
- KU and Library administrators
- KU and Library Personnel / Human Resources Department people
- Local legislators, Governor, State Personnel officials
Before the KU University Support Staff Senate was founded, KULSS was proactive in dealing with area legislators, the governor, State insurance commissioner, and State personnel staff by writing letters and visiting Topeka as well as inviting them to general meetings to voice staff concerns and issues. Recently KULSS has sent members to attend candidate forums.
Myth #2 All the KU Library Support Staff Executive Board (KULSS-Exec) does is sit around and complain about things.
KULSS-Exec actively solicits concerns from the KULSS membership and works to address these concerns. When staff expressed the need for training programs and opportunities for personal development, KULSS established Administrative support for an annual Staff Development event to include in alternating years, a day-long Workshop and Staff Development Guest Speaker event. In the past KULSS prepared a needs-assessment survey to provide specific data to assist with making staff development changes in the libraries. Once the data and responses were compiled, KULSS listed highlights from the results and formed recommendations. Some of the recommendations have been accomplished. For example, more training is provided, a staff training and development officer is listed as a priority for hiring as soon as funding is available and the library administration is working to provide an in-house supervisory training program for all supervisors. This survey continues to provide information about KULSS concerns.
KULSS-Exec shares access to reports, decisions and activities of the library and KU administration, as well as State of Kansas directives, (e.g., departmental staffing, budgetary matters, including salary concerns; strategic planning initiatives; personnel-related decisions, etc.) which are then shared with all KU Library Support Staff through KULSS representatives.
To provide further opportunity for the KULSS voice to be heard, KULSS-Exec appoints or prepares slates of names of staff who are interested in serving on library administrative committees, joint committees with the Library Faculty & Professionals Assembly, University and USS committees. KULSS members participate in library- and university-wide committees to represent staff concerns, and to provide needed input for dean reviews, search committees and facilities planning as well as staff development, planning and resources, grievances, and awards.
Additionally, during the Kansas legislative session, KULSS-Exec tries to alert KULSS membership to staff issues brought out by local newspapers. To see more activities in which KULSS Exec Board is involved each year, check out our organizational timeline.
Myth #3 There’s nothing in it for me to participate.
Many staff who have become involved cite that meeting and working with other library staff and getting a broader perspective of the libraries or the university as being rewarding aside from completing the work of the committee or position. Other staff, figuring that knowledge is power, enjoy having access to information and using that information to promote change. Some people just want something different to do and enjoy the variety that becoming involved brings.
Perhaps more importantly, the Dean of Libraries confirms that participation in library committees and working groups are factors that may be helpful in justifying merit by virtue of an employee’s contribution towards collegial and professional relationships with coworkers and library users (see Merit Q&A with the Dean). Dean Haricombe noted, regarding merit, that joining a committee is not the sole way to earn merit, but contributing to the University mission through that committee is part of the "total package" when merit awards are considered.
Myth #4 I don't have time to participate in anything.
With change being the order of the day everyday, everyone is busier than ever with their individual position duties. But serving as a KULSS member on a committee doesn't require a huge time commitment, since many governance groups meet only once or twice a month. Some meet even less often than that, and the work done between meetings (much of which can be conducted via e-mail) is minimal. What’s important is that you share the valuable perspective of a KULSS member.
Myth #5 Even if I wanted to participate, my supervisor wouldn't let me.
The library administration strongly encourages staff to take part in other activities outside the realm of their immediate duties, and has emphasized their support for this time and time again to supervisors of KULSS. If you'd like to get involved but aren't quite sure of how your supervisor would react, come chat with a current member of the KULSS-Exec Board.
Myth #6 I was on the such-and-such committee ten years ago, so I've already done my part as far as participation is concerned.
In these times of transition and change, it's especially
helpful to have those of you who've previously been involved in library
governance on board. You already have a "feel" for how things
work and can provide valuable insight based on your past experiences.
Besides, things have probably changed since you were last participated,
so why not see what's new and get involved again?