Launching a Working Group
Working Groups are an excellent way to explore and develop topics of importance to research libraries, and proposals for new groups can be suggested by anyone working for a LIBER Institutional or Organisational Participant.
- Working Group proposals must be backed by a Steering Committee Chair and approved by the Executive Board.
- A proposal should give a clear picture of a group’s goals, including its mission, expected outcomes, scope and budget.
- Whether or not a proposal is approved will depend on how it fits with LIBER’s strategic priorities, as well as the overall capacity of LIBER to support new Working Groups.
When considering a proposal, an excellent first step is to contact Astrid Verheusen, LIBER’s Executive Director. She can advise, answer questions, share past experiences and make the connection with a Steering Committee Chair for further guidance.
The Board considers Working Group proposals at its meetings in February, June and October.
Ingredients for Success
There are five essential elements to a proposal.
- Mission and Relevance. The group’s proposed focus area should relate to LIBER’s 2018-2022 Strategy and fill a niche not already covered by other Working Groups. Share your vision by explaining which challenge or problem the group will address, and the impact or relevance for the LIBER network.
- Expected Outcomes. Working Groups are inherently practical in nature. What will your group produce? Typical outcomes are resources (reports, templates, case studies) and training opportunities (workshops, webinars). Other possibilities include new ideas, tools or approaches.
- Scope. Outline the framework of the group, including when work is expected to start an end. You might also want to include the frequency of meetings and expected interactions with groups outside of LIBER (e.g., other library organisations, the European Commission).
- Budget. Will funds be required to support group activities? If so, how much and for which tasks?
- Membership. Every proposal should be backed by enthusiastic people who are invested in leading and developing the group. To the extent known at the time of the proposal, group members should be listed. A general call for members will be issued after approval, in order to broaden membership and give all LIBER libraries an opportunity to participate.
Proposals must be submitted by the Steering Committee Chair at least two weeks before the relevant Board meeting at which they are to be discussed. The Board will evaluate each proposal based on its merits, as well as the overall capacity of LIBER to take on new Working Groups.
Once a new Working Group is approved, Chairs will be asked to provide:
- General information about the group (its purpose, goals, objectives)
- Profiles of group members
- An open invitation to staff in all LIBER libraries to take part in the group (in the form of a blog post)
This information will be used to create pages for the group on the LIBER website, after which the group can be promoted to the LIBER community. Shortly after the group is established, Chairs should also:
- Work on building membership of the group;
- Convene a first meeting so that the group can start getting to know each other and set priorities;
- Finalise the work plan including clear objectives and deadlines for each activity. Download a Workplan template.
How LIBER Supports Working Groups
Some of the ways in which LIBER supports its Working Groups include:
- Guidance on setting up and running a group, and help resolving obstacles;
- Setting up of group mailing lists;
- Help engaging with other Working Groups and LIBER’s funded projects;
- Workshop opportunities at LIBER’s Annual Conference;
- Communications support such as access to tools (SurveyMonkey, Mentimeter), editing and layout of documents, organisation of webinars and promotion of results and initiatives;
- Access to a small annual budget to carry out activities such as surveys, pilot schemes and to create professionally designed reports, graphics and other materials.