Library Organizational Structure Plan 2010

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A plan to more effectively structure library departments, staff, and operations

Note: Here is a link to the PDF of the full Library Organizational Structure Plan 2010.



This plan documents the results of a planning process undertaken in the 2009-2010 period for more effectively structuring departments, staff, and operations of the University of North Texas Libraries. This planning process was initiated at the request of the new UNT Dean of Libraries Dr. Martin Halbert when he was appointed in October 2009. An Organizational Structure Working Group (OSWG) was convened in November 2009 to examine the existing structure and reporting lines of the Libraries. The OSWG was chaired by Susan Paz, and comprised of librarians and staff. An external consultant was also contracted to provide advice and recommendations to the working group and the Dean concerning organizational structure. The reports of both the OSWG and the consultant informed this organizational structure plan, and are included as appendices.


The UNT Libraries organizational structure that was in place in late 2009 included sixteen direct reports to the Dean, ranging from individuals to Assistant Deans supervising multiple departments. The structure was extremely uneven and unwieldy. Further, an exercise conducted at a meeting of library supervisors in the fall of 2009 demonstrated that there was great confusion concerning the current status of the organization chart of the libraries. The need for a reorganization of the libraries’ structure was marked by virtually the entire staff.

In order to begin analyzing possible ways of remediating this organizational structure, Dean Halbert directed that a library Organizational Structure Working Group be formed to examine the issue and also contracted with an external consultant, Katherine Kott of Stanford University. Kott visited UNT on two occasions in fall 2009, and produced a report that made a variety of recommendations (the report is included as an appendix). One of the primary recommendations was that the organizational structure be consolidated into a smaller number of organizational units with more consistent scope and numerical composition of staff. The library organizational structure working group used Kott’s report in studying the relevant issues, and produced a set of more specific recommendations for the Dean in the spring of 2010. Both Kott’s report and the recommendations of the working group have been taken into account to develop this document, a new plan for library organizational structure to be implemented before the fall of 2010 and the beginning of the university’s next fiscal year.


This reorganization of the UNT libraries’ overall structure is intended to accomplish a number of different goals, shaping library operations in coming months and years. The primary goals of this reorganization are as follow:

  • Consolidate the senior management of the libraries into a significantly smaller group
  • Enable the Dean to focus on external aims, including fund-raising and strategic directions
  • Create an organizational structure that is effective, functional, and clearer to understand
  • Utilize staff resources efficiently, saving money through consolidation of roles and salaries while simultaneously providing growth opportunities for talented managers currently available in the libraries
  • Align library organizational structure with the library’s role in campus strategic priorities

This plan will focus on the “top level” of the libraries. This top level is comprised of the largest organizational structures, divisions and offices, which are in turn composed of subsidiary units such as departments and individuals. While reporting lines for all existing staff will be specified, this plan is not intended to be the final word regarding placement of such subsidiary units or individuals. Indeed, the expectation is that after top level managers are recruited, that there will be some shifting of staff to more effectively meet the needs of the new functional structures created in the libraries.


UNT Org Chart

The new organizational structure includes four divisions and four offices, all of which jointly report to the Associate Dean and the Dean. In this arrangement the Dean will act as Chief Executive Officer and will deal primarily with external functions, while the Associate Dean will act as Chief Operating Officer and will deal primarily with internal functions. The Associate Dean will serve as the manager of daily operations and direct supervisor of the eight top level managers. While the Dean will also direct these top level managers as well as the Associate Dean, the intent of this structure is to allow the Dean to focus on external stakeholders and strategy.

All current staff and operations will be reorganized within these top level functional units as described in the remainder of this plan. One of these top level units, the Research Support Office, is prospective and will not be immediately staffed; it anticipates a function and funding stream that will grow over time as sponsored funding and collaborative research between the faculty and the library expands. The following are descriptions of the seven top level units created in this structure.

Two types of top level units are being created, divisions and offices. Divisions are the largest organizational structures, fulfill core library functions, and are similar in scale to academic departments in colleges of the university. Offices are somewhat smaller than divisions, and fulfill various library administrative functions. Divisions will be led by librarians, while offices may be led by either librarians or senior staff. Public Services Division

This division acts as the primary interface with the UNT community as a whole, as well as constituencies external to UNT (the public, scholars of other universities, etc.) that may be served by the UNT Libraries. As the primary point of contact with the UNT community and largest division, this group will be key to library success. The Public Services Division encompasses the functions and current staff of the following departments:

  • Research and Instructional Services: This group will be reorganized, and some librarians currently in RIS will likely be transferred to comprise the new Collection Development department (see below).
  • Government Documents: As a prominent feature of the UNT Libraries, the government documents department will continue to build on successful recent acquisitions. This department is situated in Public Services (rather than the Special Libraries Division) because it serves virtually all UNT and external clienteles, and includes non-unique materials in all subjects and formats.
  • Circulation: A major point of contact with the community and essential to good public service. This department includes remote storage retrieval and courier services.
  • Interlibrary Loan and Document Delivery: Obtaining an enormous range of materials for the UNT community, will also collaborate with Collection Management to identify gaps in the current collections
  • ISB Library Services: Creative new public service spaces and functions are a hallmark of ISB

Collection Management Division

This new division is responsible for strategically developing and managing the collections of the UNT Libraries. Special focus and attention will be devoted by this division to strengthening library collections in support of a key strategic goal of the UNT Libraries, the upcoming membership application to the Association of Research Libraries, which is in turn an element of the UNT campus strategic research plan to achieve top tier status as a Texas emerging research institution. The Collection Management Division encompasses the functions and current staff of the following departments:

  • Collection Development: This new department is being created to address needs for balanced collection development, with special attention to gap analysis and comparisons with peer institutions designated by the THECB. Librarians making up this department will likely be drawn from the current RIS department.
  • Technical Services: This large department will continue to be a critical foundational element of library operations and the effective processing of information resources.
  • Preservation: Preserving materials for the future is critical to long term access to library collections.

Special Libraries Division

The Special Libraries Division includes libraries and departments with collections that are: a) focused on narrowly targeted subject domains and clienteles, b) specialized formats, and/or c) unique items not held by other libraries. The units comprising the division of special libraries offer customized services to their clienteles requiring far more specialized approaches than the broader kinds of services offered in other divisions. The Special Libraries Division encompasses the functions and current staff of the following departments:

  • Music Library: One of the historically strongest units of the UNT Libraries, this unit will continue to collect extensively and work closely with the College of Music.
  • Discovery Park Library: Provides specialized services and collections for co-located academic groups.
  • Archives and Rare Books: Curates remarkably varied and rich specialty collections and services
  • Media Library: This unit works very closely with targeted segments of the UNT community to provide access to audiovisual media formats.
  • Microforms: Provides access to specialized high-density information formats.

Digital Libraries Division

The Digital Libraries Division leads efforts to develop innovative new digital services and collections in collaboration with scholars and other external stakeholders. The UNT Libraries have established a premier infrastructure for digital libraries and this division will build on established strengths to further advance the accomplishments of UNT in this area and be a point of attraction for further external sponsored funding. The Digital Libraries Division encompasses the functions and current staff of the following departments:

  • User Interfaces: This new department will include the current staff of the Multi-Media Development Lab, and will focus on developing and continuously improving user interfaces to various library online systems, for both library clientele and staff. It will include mash-up activities and integration of existing library systems to better address user needs, extensively utilizing usability testing as a methodology. This department will also include ILS staff functions, to improve the utility of the online catalog.
  • Digital Projects: Building on a long history of successes, digital projects will continue to be enhanced.
  • Digital Library Development Team: This new team will further cultivate the premier digital library infrastructure of the UNT Libraries, and create the next generation of specialized library applications.

Facilities and Systems Office

This new office will consolidate the various core elements of the libraries’ infrastructure, from physical bricks and mortar facilities to specialized library server and desktop systems. The Facilities and Systems Office encompasses the functions and current staff of the following departments:

  • Library Facilities: This functional area will encompass both day-to-day management functions as well as long-term planning and coordination with facilities groups of the campus as well as external consultants.
  • Library Systems: This is a critical department to maintain library-specific systems, both servers and desktop units. The strength of this unit is another important foundational element of strong library services.
  • Photocopy Services: Reliable and convenient reprographics are an expected service in any library.
  • 24-Hour Access Lab: As the most heavily used lab facility on campus, this lab needs to be well supported.

External Relations Office

This new office will take responsibility for a wide range of functions associated with interacting with external entities. While this office will initially be quite small, its growth will be key to success of the library as a whole. The items identified below will likely not be either departments or even full FTE commitments initially, but rather identify areas in which the office will grow into over time. The External Relations Office encompasses the functions and current staff of the following functional areas:

  • Sponsored Funding and Donor Relations: Fundraising and grantsmanship will be a critically important area for this office to spearhead. Working effectively with the campus advancement division will be a vital responsibility of this office, and is aligned with the campus strategic plan for advancement.
  • Communication, Marketing, and Outreach Efforts: This functional area is essential if the libraries are to better communicate both internally and externally. It will require proactive collaboration with many library groups and external agencies, ranging from other campus communications groups to news media.
  • Planning and Assessment: Effectively managing external reporting (to both campus and external agencies) efforts will be an important element of this office’s responsibilities. The current assessment staff of the libraries will become part of this office.
  • Project Management and Research Support: For the immediate future this office will manage sponsored projects and provide support for research efforts undertaken in the libraries. Especially as collaborative research projects with UNT faculty expand, research support and/or project management functions may move to the proposed Research Support Office (see below).

Finance and Administration Office

This office will formally consolidate financial and other administrative functions that have been loosely grouped together within the UNT Libraries for years. Providing effective oversight and coordination of these functions will be very important to effective and smooth operation of the libraries. This is the only one of the new top level positions which need not be recruited; Susan Paz already holds the position of Assistant Dean for Fiscal Resources, and has had senior leadership responsibilities for various administrative functions within the library for many years; she will continue in these roles formally as part of the new organizational structure. The Finance and Administration Office encompasses the functions and current staff of the following departments:

  • Finance and Budget: Effective management of budgetary resources is a crucial element of operations.
  • Human Resources: The libraries are composed of a large cluster of operational units with many specialized and complex human resource requirements.
  • Administrative Office and Cyber-Cafe Operations: The libraries entail many subsidiary administrative functions, including the Willis Cyber-Café. Effective coordination of these administrative services and functions contributes to the overall success of the libraries.

Research Support Office

This office will not be staffed immediately, but instead looks forward to future growth of collaborative research projects with UNT faculty (see notes in External Relations Office above). The hope is that research grants received by the libraries may eventually fund staffing lines in this area in ways that will synergistically expand such endeavors. This is a particular area of future importance because of the campus-wide imperative to grow restricted research funding income for UNT.


The examination of organizational structure in the library has highlighted the need for effective cross-divisional or “lateral” coordination of efforts. This functional need is not directly addressed in this organizational plan, but our expectation is that the new top-level of management recruited will take up this issue immediately. For example, a function that was frequently cited as requiring effective lateral coordination by virtually everyone is the subject liaison program. Lateral coordinating groups and mechanisms will be cultivated in a subsequent planning stage by the new top level management team, once it is in place.


Internal recruitment is the process envisioned for populating the top level of library leadership identified in this plan. Position announcements for the new division and office leader positions will be posted with the intent that internal candidates receive first consideration. There are several reasons for pursuing this strategy.

First, there are many strong leaders in mid-level management positions within the library that can be grown into senior leadership roles. Cultivation of internal library leaders is simultaneously a way of maximizing our existing staff resources while also instilling a sense of advancement within the staff of the libraries.

Second, this course of action will reduce the impact on the library budget by not creating a series of new positions. Instead, some funding from existing salary lines of recent senior retirees will be utilized to appropriately supplement existing managers’ salary lines as they step up to new responsibilities. Every effort to ensure reasonable equity and fairness in these appointments will be made.

Third, internal recruitments will be the fastest path to move forward, a pressing need in this period of rapid change for the UNT Libraries. Positions will be posted and recruited quickly, with the intent of concluding all searches by the mid-point of 2010, if not sooner. This will enable serious planning on next steps for the libraries to be undertaken by the beginning of the fall semester.


Position descriptions and the necessary processes for announcement of these positions will be forthcoming. The libraries will coordinate with both the Provost’s office and campus Human Resources to proceed with these internal recruitment efforts. Interested library staff should stay posted for position announcements and should follow application procedures described in these announcements when they appear.

This new organizational structure has been created with broad involvement by library staff, and holds great promise for more effective library operations that are better aligned with campus priorities. The UNT Libraries looks forward to implementation of this plan and a smoother, more effective organizational structure.

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