MERLIN (Missouri Education and Research Libraries Information Network) Committee Structure
Saint Louis University and the University of Missouri
Purpose: MERLIN Committees assist the MERLIN Library Directors in making decisions about the operation of the cooperative MERLIN system and other cooperative projects of the MERLIN institutions. MERLIN Committees work to foster agreement and to provide input to the University of Missouri’s Library Systems Office (LSO). MERLIN committees recommend policies to the MERLIN Library Directors and facilitate the communication of information between LSO and the campuses about MERLIN activities.
Communication: MERLIN Committees are responsible for facilitating effective communication. Committee members ensure the flow of communication on their respective campuses. Each campus is responsible for establishing procedures by which library staff interact, learn, share experiences and provide information to the Directors, LSO, and MOBIUS Advisory Committees. MERLIN committee members are responsible for gathering input from their respective campuses prior to meetings and for disseminating information appropriately on their campuses immediately following MERLIN Committee meetings. Prior to reaching consensus or taking a vote within a MERLIN committee, members are responsible for gathering all viewpoints from the constituencies they represent. MERLIN Committees follow the Communication Guidelines, and that document is attached.
Principle of Consensus: MERLIN Committees will work to achieve consensus, as is the operational basis of the MERLIN Library Directors Committee.
Principle of one vote per campus: A vote will be recorded on each issue as appropriate, following discussion. The purpose of the vote is to formally record the achieving of consensus. Or, the vote will determine that consensus has not been achieved. If the latter occurs in any committee other than the Library Directors, the Chair of the committee can return to discussion of the issue or can forward the issue to the MERLIN Library Directors, with a record of the vote. When a vote is taken regarding an issue specific to one university (e.g., when a vote is taken on a ranking of databases to be purchased by the University of Missouri with the University as its sole source of funding), only the campuses of that institution may vote. All committee votes are recorded in the minutes.
- MERLIN Committees: The standing committees of MERLIN are the Library Directors Committee, the Integrated Library System (ILS) Coordinators Committee and the other standing committees, originally based upon the Innovative Interfaces, Inc. (III), system. Specifically, the MERLIN Committees are: the Library Directors Committee; ILS Coordinators Committee; Quality Control Committee; Reference Services Committee; Access Services Committee; Acquisitions/Serials Control Committee; and, MIRACL Collection Development Committee (see also Section II.A. below in regard to the latter).
The MERLIN Library Directors provide governance for MERLIN, while the other standing committees provide needed guidance. All other MERLIN committees are responsible to the Library Directors.
Resource people who can provide additional expertise and perspective may be invited to participate in meetings to discuss specific agenda items. The inclusion of resource people is particularly encouraged when needed to provide a balance between public and technical services.
- MERLIN Library Directors Committee: The members of the MERLIN Library Directors Committee are the library directors of each MERLIN Library. Specifically, the Saint Louis University members are the University Librarian for the Pius XII and the Health Sciences Libraries and the Law Librarian. The University of Missouri’s members are the Library Directors of UM Columbia, UM Kansas City, UM Rolla, UM St. Louis, and the UM Columbia Law Librarian and the UM Kansas City Law Librarian.
The Committee sets policy, establishes standing committees or other ad hoc groups as needed, confirms representatives to MOBIUS Committees and groups, receives recommendations from committees, reviews and establishes priorities and handles any matters requiring their attention, including deciding issues when consensus cannot be reached within the committees. The MERLIN Library Directors will meet at least once a year.
- Integrated Library System (ILS) Coordinators Committee: Committee membership consists of a representative from each MERLIN library. The ILS Coordinators Committee is responsible for overarching issues, such as assuring that needed standards exist for all functions where appropriate, making recommendations to the Library Directors concerning new III products and making recommendations concerning new functionality which may be needed.
The Chair is elected or rotated, based upon the wishes of the Committee members. The Chair ensures that minutes of each meeting are written and published on the MERLIN web page. The Committee formulates its charge, subject to the review of the Library Directors. Once the charge is approved by the Directors, it is published on the MERLIN web site. The charge should be reviewed annually. The Committee adheres to the MERLIN Communication Guidelines.
- Other Standing Committees: Each standing committee may have up to three members from each campus, i.e., three from Saint Louis University and three from each of the UM Campuses (UM C, UM KC, UM R and UM SL). Thus, each committee may have a total of 15 members. Each campus will have one vote, and it is expected that the members from each campus will reach agreement prior to a vote, as part of the consensus process. (See the above sections on consensus and vote.) In addition, within the limitations of seating, observers are welcome to attend. Observers will identify themselves to committee chairs and participate at the pleasure of the chair.
Committee members should be appropriately knowledgeable about the issues to be addressed. They should be prepared to serve as an effective avenue of communications between their committee and their respective campus library organizations. (See above section on communication and also the attached guidelines.) Members should come to meetings prepared to present their campus positions concerning any issues that are to be discussed.
Chairs are elected or rotated, based upon the wishes of the Committee members and approval of the Chair-selects’ respective Directors. The committee chair ensures that minutes of each meeting are written and published on the MERLIN web page. The committee is responsible for formulating its charge, and, once the charge is approved by the Directors, publishing it on the MERLIN web page. The charge should be reviewed periodically and revised when appropriate. The Committee follows the attached Communication Guidelines.
Chairs will also be responsible for interacting with other committee chairs when an issue crosses functional boundaries, for communicating with the MERLIN Coordinators regarding the work of their committees and for forwarding any issues which require the attention of the Coordinators or the Library Directors.
Each committee will meet at least once a year and at other times as needed. Each committee will be responsible for establishing its own meeting schedule, working with LSO to avoid conflicts and logistical problems.
- Ad Hoc Committees: The Library Directors establish ad hoc committees or task forces as needed to deal with issues that do not fit within the charge of an existing committee, that require the attention of representatives from two or more committees, or that may be more efficiently accomplished by a small group focusing on a problem for a short time. The charge for an ad hoc committee will be established by the Directors and put in complete, written form by members of the committee, with the approval of the Directors. Once the charge has been approved, it will be published on the MERLIN web site. Ad hoc committees must communicate with all appropriate standing committees to seek their input. Additionally, ad hoc committees should be guided by this document’s section on communication and the attached Communication Guidelines. Chairs will be appointed by the Directors. Chairs ensure that minutes of each meeting are written and published on the MERLIN web site and that channels of communications are established and maintained for the life of the committee.
- RELATED COMMITTEES
- MIRACL Committees: The MIRACL Collection Development Committee is the only standing committee within the Missouri Research Academic Libraries Consortium (MIRACL), and it is governed by this document. The MIRACL Library Directors meet informally twice a year and do not constitute a standing committee.
- MOBIUS Committees: MERLIN is a member of other consortia and as such has a formal relationship to MOBIUS Advisory Committees. The MOBIUS Advisory Committees are: Access Advisory Committee; Catalog Design Advisory Committee; and the Electronic Resources Advisory Committee. A provision exists for the MOBIUS Coordinators Advisory Committee; however, it has not been established.
In accordance with the governance of MOBIUS, representatives of each MERLIN institution are appointed by the Chief Executive Officer of her or his institution and sit on the MOBIUS Council. MERLIN has two representatives to each MOBIUS Advisory Committee, i.e., the member and the alternate. The member and the alternate to each MOBIUS Advisory Committees and to any ad hoc groups established by MOBIUS, will be appointed by the MERLIN Library Directors, normally from the membership of the MERLIN Committees, although exceptions may be made under unusual circumstances. Appointments to MOBIUS Advisory Committees are effective on July 1st of each year. The MERLIN Library Directors are responsible for ensuring that the representation to MOBIUS Advisory Committees is adequate and balanced, and that both public and technical services are represented where appropriate. The MERLIN representatives on MOBIUS committees are responsible for communicating effectively between the MERLIN and MOBIUS Committees. They also follow the attached guidelines for communication.
- Library Systems Office:
The Library Systems Office (LSO) and MOBIUS Consortium Office (MCO) provide support to the members of MERLIN. A unique relationship exists between the members of MERLIN and the Library Systems Office. LSO is a UM office charged with supporting the integrated library system software used by the MERLIN libraries. In addition, LSO provides support to the MERLIN committees, including the MERLIN and UM Library Directors’ committees. In its role as a UM office, LSO receives funding that is directed specifically towards the advancement of technology and the support of programs in the UM libraries.
The University of Missouri System (UM) is host institution to the MOBIUS Consortium. As part of the agreement between MOBIUS and UM, the MOBIUS Consortium Office was formed to support the libraries of the MOBIUS Consortium. LSO and MCO serve many of the same functions. All MERLIN libraries (University of Missouri and Saint Louis University) are members of MOBIUS.
LSO provides the following support and services to the MERLIN libraries:
- LSO hosts MERLIN committee meetings, provides clerical support, and supports the decisions of the committees by implementing those decisions in a timely fashion, dependent upon available resources.
- LSO staff members attend and participate in the MERLIN committee meetings.
- LSO facilitates effective communication between the MERLIN committees by hosting and maintaining automated discussion lists for each MERLIN committee and by providing web space for the dissemination of MERLIN committee information.
- LSO provides, for use by all MERLIN committees, statistical information about the systems and products obtained through the licensing efforts of LSO staff.
- LSO is responsible for keeping up with current technologies available to libraries and in sharing such information with all MERLIN committees.
Approved by MERLIN Library Directors, 3/21/02