Martha Hruska and I presented an update on NGTS to the Librarians Association of the University of California (LAUC) Spring 2012 Assembly last week. The theme of the assembly was “Next-Generation Librarianship,” and clearly the NGTS initiative is helping to frame thinking and discussion, given that topics examined by participants in breakout sessions included shared service models; lightning teams as a model for working together; communication models; and new skills.
So, among the questions raised at the end of our presentation, one was about what outcomes we saw or expected that would be “transformational” and one was about what “quick wins” we have attained thus far.
I think the fact that people are examining shared services and lightning teams as a way of working is an indicator that transformation is already happening. Beyond the specific objectives of each of the Power of Three groups, NGTS is about working together as a system to become even more collaborative and effective in how we provide services and resources to those we serve.
Enacting change at the University of California is steering a big ship. NGTS is not just about a few people at the helm, however; thus far, it is mobilizing over 100 members of the UC Libraries’ staff: from all campuses, CDL, and from a range of levels and areas of expertise.
We are figuring out ways of working together effectively. We are employing project management, and learning more about it as we go along. We are learning to make full use of online collaboration tools. We are defining new processes for getting things done, including communication and decision-making, and documenting them. We are doing this working from our eleven different locations, without new resources, without the ease of meeting in person or of a quick hallway conversation to work out any kinks or questions.
In short, we are establishing a culture of collaboration and coordination across our system as we learn to move forward concurrently on several complicated initiatives.
What Quick Wins?
At not quite one year since this implementation began, what are some of the quick wins thus far? One is implementation of the deposit system for CDL co-investments across all ten campuses. The Power of Three group 4 charged with that initiative has also identified best practices that can help streamline accounting practices.
Another is the deployment of Archivists’ Toolkit across eight of the ten campuses. As we move toward a common platform for some of our operations, there are greater opportunities to share expertise and improve our effective use of tools and technologies.
Power of Three group 6 has compiled existing shared collection services arrangements among the campuses to surface potential models and examples for further development. Power of Three group 7 has compiled and posted an inventory of existing cooperative collection development activities as a foundation for further coordination.
Quick wins are important in terms of building ongoing momentum. But some of the wins are perhaps not as obvious. They include, in my mind, the “softer” but significant steps of establishing working relationships among people at different locations and from different areas of expertise that will be essential for high-functioning, next-generation libraries. —Emily Lin