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Commitment to Transparency and Collaboration

The principles of transparency, participation, and collaboration are central tenets for SWON Libraries, and are essential for SWON Libraries to fulfill its mission and maintain member confidence.

Transparency refers to an environment in which the objectives of SWON Libraries’ policies; SWON Libraries’ legal, institutional, and economic framework; policy decisions and their rationale; and the terms of SWON Libraries’ accountability, are provided to SWON Libraries members and the public in a comprehensive, accessible, and timely manner. Transparency is an essential condition for a free and open exchange with SWON Libraries members and others, whereby the rules and reasons behind SWON Libraries policies and practices are fair and clear to all. Participation allows SWON Libraries members to contribute their ideas and expertise so that SWON Libraries can make informed decisions and policies. Collaboration improves the effectiveness of SWON Libraries staff and the SWON Libraries Executive Board by encouraging partnerships and cooperation with SWON Libraries members, across all kinds of member libraries and all levels of library staff, from support staff to Directors.

SWON Libraries therefore takes the following steps toward the goal of creating a more transparent and member-driven organization:

Institutionalize a Culture of Openness

To create a sustained level of openness and accountability at SWON Libraries, SWON Libraries staff and the SWON Libraries Executive Board strives to incorporate the values of transparency, participation, and collaboration into the ongoing work of SWON Libraries. With respect to information, the presumption is in favor of openness (to the extent permitted by law and subject to valid privacy, confidentiality, security, or other restrictions). SWON Libraries abides by all relevant requirements of the Sunshine Laws of the State of Ohio and State of Kentucky. The SWON Libraries Board shall annually consider a report, to be provided by SWON Libraries staff, noting accomplishments and challenges with regard to transparency and communication.

Post SWON Libraries Information Online

To increase accountability, and promote informed participation by SWON Libraries members and others, SWON Libraries continues to expand access to information by making it available online. SWON Libraries is committed to giving stakeholders access to the information that will enable them to understand SWON Libraries’ governance, strategy, policies, activities, practices, performance, impacts and outcomes, to allow members to be fully informed.

Improve the Quality and Timeliness of Information from SWON Libraries

To improve the quality of information available from SWON Libraries to its members, SWON Libraries staff and the SWON Libraries Executive Board make certain that all information provided is detailed, descriptive, and accurate, and whenever possible, will be provided to member libraries in advance of important decisions and major meetings so that members might comment and contribute.

Use Multiple Means of Communication

SWON Libraries communicates via various methods to reach a broad audience. Emerging technologies will also open new forms of communication between SWON Libraries and its members – SWON Libraries should continue to seek these new ways of communicating with its constituents.

Seek and Respond to Feedback

SWON Libraries is committed to listening and responding to its members’ input. SWON Libraries members are encouraged to send their comments, questions and concerns directly to SWON Libraries staff and/or the SWON Libraries Executive Board, and members should expect timely and fully-considered responses to their inquiries. SWON Libraries staff continuously survey staff at member libraries with regard to continuing education opportunities and other various SWON Libraries services and policies, using online surveys, evaluation forms, focus groups, qualitative research, and other means. SWON Libraries staff regularly report to the Board regarding survey results and member inquiries, and offer interpretation and suggestions for responding to members’ needs and requests. To the extent possible, SWON Libraries staff will make survey results accessible to SWON Libraries members. A detailed Grievance Policy describes mechanisms through which anyone associated with SWON Libraries may file formal complaints, and may be assured that these complaints will receive full consideration.

Approved by the SWON Libraries’ Executive Board on October 13, 2010.

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