Guide for SJVLS Committees by guy23


									Guidelines for SJVLS Committees
Committee structure
Membership of each standing committee consists of a voting representative
from each member jurisdiction. A member may choose to appoint a contact
person only. Use of the "contact person" option should only be used in cases
where regular attendance at meetings creates a hardship for the jurisdiction.
For the purposes of establishing a quorum, only the number of voting
representatives appointed/present are considered.

It is the responsibility of each library director to inform the FCFL
Administrative Assistant of appointments to each committee, indicating voting
or contact only. Voting members are expected to attend all meetings unless
excused prior to the meeting.

Each committee should elect a chair and a vice-chairperson. Establishment of
a regular rotation of chairperson duties among jurisdictions with voting
representatives is encouraged. Each committee should maintain a regular
schedule for transfer of chairperson duties.

Duties of the Chairperson
The committee Chair is responsible for ensuring that the committee meets a
minimum of 2 times a year. He/She ensures that committee business is
conducted in accordance with the Brown Act.

To this end, the Chairperson should:

      -Send out a call for agenda items at least 7 days prior to the meeting

      -Send out the agenda at least 72 hours prior to the meeting. Copies of
      the agenda should be sent to all appointed members and contact
      persons, the Administrative Council, the FCFL/SJVLS Administrative
      Secretary, and the SJVLS webmaster. Posting agendas to the SJVLS
      shared network directory and emailing the link is encouraged over email
      attachments to persons on the SJVLS network. The email message should
      have a subject line with the committee and meeting date, and the text
      should remind recipients of their responsibility to post the agenda in a
      public place.

      -Ensure that minutes of the previous meeting are distributed prior to the
      meeting. Committees are encouraged to post draft minutes to the
      SJVLS shared network directory as soon as possible after the meeting.
      The approved version of the minutes should be sent to the FCFL/SJVLS
      Administrative Secretary and the SJVLS webmaster.
     -Determine if a quorum will be present at the meeting. All voting
     members should inform the committee chair as soon as possible if
     they know they will miss a meeting so that the meeting can be
     rescheduled if a quorum will not be present. Prior notice also allows the
     meeting to start on time.

     -Ensure that members not present at the meeting, including "contact
     only" members, are informed of action taken at the meeting and sent
     copies of anything handed out at the meeting.

     -Inform the FCFL/SJVLS Administrative Secretary of committee
     recommendations to be placed on the Administrative Council agenda and
     provide electronic copies of the recommendation. Ideally, the
     committee chair or vice-chair should attend the Administrative Council
     meeting to present the recommendation and answer questions.

Duties of committee members

     Persons appointed as representative to a committee are expected to
     attend all meetings of the committee. They should prepare for the
     meeting by reading the minutes and discussing agenda items with
     appropriate co-workers/supervisors prior to the meeting.

     Voting members must contact the committee chair as soon as possible if
     they cannot attend a meeting. You are only "excused" if you let the
     Chair know in advance.

     Both voting and contact only members are responsible for
     communicating the actions of the committee back to appropriate staff
     of their jurisdiction.


     Committee agendas should include the following sections:

           "Meeting Announcement"
           Name of Committee
           Place, date and time of meeting*

           I. Call to Order
           II. Adoption of Agenda
           III. Comments from the Public
           IV. Approval of the minutes of the previous meeting
           V. Action/Discussion items
                     Anything that will results in recommendations for policies,
                     expenditures, or formation of a subcommittee must be
                     specifically listed as an action item.
             VI. Reports from other committees
             VII. Agenda Building for the next meeting to be held on
             __________, 200_.
             VIII. Announcements

      *if a member is participating via telephone or video conferencing, their
      location must also be listed as a telephone/video site so that the public
      has an opportunity to attend. At this time, online meetings are not

General guidelines for the orderly conduct of the meeting

The committee Chair is responsible for running the meeting. In his/her
absence, the vice-chair acts as chair for the meeting. In the absence of both
the chair and vice-chair, the past-chair should conduct the meeting.

The Chair calls the meeting to order and establishes a quorum. If there are new
people present, do introductions. Next, he/she calls for additions or changes
to the Agenda. If there are no changes, the chair may state that "hearing
none, the agenda is adopted as printed". Minor corrections or reordering of the
agenda can be "adopted as corrected." Additions or changes to the order of the
agenda should have a motion and go to a vote. Note: Action and discussion
items cannot be added to the agenda except under exceptional circumstances.

If there is no public present, you may state "Seeing no members of the public
present, we will move on to item IV, approval of the minutes." Of course, if
there are members of the public present, call for comments.

The next item is adoption of the minutes. Usually minutes are adopted without
discussion, therefore the Chair may call for "additions or corrections to the
minutes", and, if there are none, he/she may state that, "hearing none, the
minutes are adopted as printed", or "adopted as corrected" if there were minor
corrections. If there is a major change in the minutes, someone should move
that the minutes be adopted with the change that paragraph x read: "........"
The motion should be seconded and voted upon.

Action items should be dealt with in the order on the agenda. Anything that
would establish System-wide policy or recommend expenditures should be
stated as a motion, and seconded. After moved and seconded, the motion is

For the sake of clarity, it is good practice for the motion to be written down on
a sheet of paper, signed by the person making the motion and the person
seconding the motion. At the end of discussion the Chair should call for the
vote, reading the recommendation. The outcome of the vote should be noted
on the paper. This ensures that the members are clear on the recommendation
at hand, that the use of proper procedure in passing the motion is documented,
and that the recommendation is clearly communicated after the meeting.

Reports from officers and other committees follow the action items. Reports
can lead to discussion, but not actions.

The date of the next meeting should be set and agenda items solicited.

Finally, call for announcements.

When there is no further business, call for a motion to adjourn. The chair
cannot make this motion. The motion should be seconded and voted upon.


Each committee should have a member who is responsible for taking minutes.
Minutes should follow the following format:

Name of Committee

"The XXXX Committee met at XXXXX Library on _____ __, 200X"

Members present: list
Members excused: list
Members absent: list
Others present: list

"The meeting was called to order at ____ by Jane Doe, Chair."

"The agenda was adopted." If the agenda was changed in any way, the change
should be noted here.

"There were no members of the public present."

"The minutes were approved as printed" Or "... approved with the following
corrections:... "

Action/Discussion Items

Use a separate paragraph for each item. Minutes should provide enough detail
to impart a good sense of the discussion. Motions should be written out and the
person making the motion noted. The name of the person seconding the motion
does not need to be included, since the outcome of the vote implies that the
motion was seconded.

"There were no reports." Or if there were reports, summarize.

"The next meeting will be held _______ ___, 200_ at ___ am at the
__________ library."

"There were no announcements." Or, summarize the announcements, for
example: "Jane Doe announced that the X library will be closed for remodeling
January 18-30."

"The meeting adjourned at ____ pm."

Other considerations on conducting committee business

In the age of electronic communication, it may be tempting to conduct
committee business via email rather than meet. While the use of email
between system members is encouraged to facilitate problem resolution and
sharing, committee members must take care that "discussion" of items for a
meeting agenda does not take place via email. For example, a committee
charges one of its members to draft guidelines. That person may send the
preliminary draft to committee members and ask for feedback, but he/she may
not conduct email correspondence with a majority of members of the
committee to effect a serial discussion leading to consensus. How to know
when email discussion is not OK? A quick and dirty test would be a) Is the
subject under the purview of a committee for a decision? and b) are you
communicating with enough committee members to make it a discussion among
a quorum of the members? If you answer yes to both, leave it for the
Committee meeting.

Knowing when a committee may take final action, and when they should send a
recommendation to Administrative Council is another area that causes some
confusion. Here are examples of items that can be finalized in committee:

       content and layout of forms such as routing slips and library card
       procedures for already authorized operations such as problem
        reporting, GMD wording, adding Horizon users, adding devices to the
        network, etc.
       design issues, such as look and feel of HIP or shared databases

Items that should go to Administrative Council set policy for members or
impact the budget. Examples of items that should be passed out of committee
as a recommendation to Administrative Council include:
       policies that will be enforced system-wide, but especially anything
        with legal ramifications such as anything impacting borrower
        information, or monetary implications, such as replacement cycles
        for equipment or software required on all PCs.
       Recommendations on new services or changes to existing services
        such as databases, HIP add-ons, system-wide software purchases.

For more guidance on conducting the business of SJVLS committees see:

For parliamentary procedure such as making motions, amending motions, etc.
      Sturgis, Alice. The standard code of parliamentary procedure.
      328.1 St96s 1993
For details of the Brown Act see :
      The Brown Act: Open Meetings for Legislative Bodies. On the web at
For governing rules of SJVLS see :
      SJVLS By Laws at

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