Governance & Staffing

Governance and Staffing Model Examples

Governance plays an important role in determining how many organizations function, and staffing resources are critical to ensuring the execution of the organization’s mission. Library consortia generally manage and coordinate shared print programs, but there is no right answer for which governance solution works best in how that program functions. Most programs are governed by an MOU, policies, and best practices. Existing models are set up to incentivize libraries to work together to address their identified shared problems and structured to provide leadership and operational management of the program. For those interested in starting a program, know that there is no “best model” or a one size fits all for approach. The following description of existing governance and staffing models is provided as a starting point to highlight how current programs are managed and staffed. 

Model Types

Committee Management: The program policy and operations responsibilities and activities are generally split into separate committees, such as an operational and executive committee. Each oversees issues related to policy and procedure development, membership, finances, or collections. For example, policy recommendations developed by an operations committee may be submitted to the executive committee for approval. This model generally constitutes working groups as needed, and members of the committees are appointed or elected from participating libraries for term periods.  If the program is part of, or hosted by, an existing consortium, a representative or director from the consortium will generally serve on a management committee, but the program committees do not necessarily report to the consortial decision-making body The governing documents or bylaws detail how committees are constituted.

Governing Board: The program runs and receives strategic input from an advisory board, or board of directors, that may have direct or indirect involvement related to day-to-day operations but oversees the establishment of all policies of the program, such as retention criteria or setting membership fees. Board members may consist of representatives from the membership libraries, who may be elected or appointed for certain term limits. If the program is part of an existing consortia, a representative or director from the consortia will generally serve on a management committee. The board members may establish additional committees or working groups with representatives from member libraries to work on certain projects as needed. 


Dedicated staff: Programs may appoint an executive director, director, program manager, and/or staff to oversee day-to-day activities, with broad responsibility to administer the fiscal, policy, and governance aspects of the program. These staff will generally be responsible for relations of the program with vendors, contractors, other shared print agreements, the advisory board, and the program membership. Funding for position(s) may be full or part-time provided by the member organizations, provided “in-kind” by member libraries, or contract or consultant positions may be established. For example, a member organization may contract with a consultant to dedicate a portion of their activities to shared print. The Executive Director or Director role is usually an additional position separate from a consortium leadership position. These positions also coordinate and report back to the governing board, advisory committee, or other leadership committee.

Shared/“In-kind” staffing: A program may establish a shared responsibilities or resources model where organizations agree to provide “‘in-kind” management actions, administrative services or operational functions, such as project or program management, communications, coordination activities, or other tasks to ensure the operations of the program. In these models, usually governed by the MOU, there is no funding for positions and it’s agreed that no funding exchanges between organizations. Existing staff at organizations generally assume certain activities of a program officer, manager or establish a team approach, and depending on the governance structure, would receive direction from a board or committee and/or report on program activities. 

Administrative host: An established organization may serve as host for the program management, member support, and fiscal activities of a shared print program, that essentially provides the infrastructure coordination necessary to run day-to-day operations. A host is usually a member library, and staffing may be dedicated, with funding for position(s) provided by the member organizations, provided “in-kind” by the host organization, or a combination thereof. 

This chart provides some examples of existing shared print programs and is provided as a resource for emerging shared print programs. Editorial note on the definition of model types: Governing board is usually appointed or elected, as determined by the share print program bylaws, with executive leadership serving on the board. Committee Management usually functions similarly, with one or multiple committees managing the program, and may include executive leadership positions.