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The WEST Executive Committee Establishes a Steering Committee & Updates Composition and Eligibility Requirements

In February 2024, the WEST Executive Committee approved a proposal to shift from a committee leadership structure of Subcommittees to a Steering Committee. Additionally, the Executive Committee finalized updates to the committee’s composition and eligibility requirements. 

Establishing an Executive Steering Committee & Sunsetting the Executive Subcommittees

Since 2017, WEST’s governance structure has included two Executive Subcommittees: one for finance and one for membership, convened by the Executive Committee Past Chair and Vice Chair respectively. 1-2 other Executive members are annually appointed to the Subcommittees and the WEST Program Manager serves on both. 

The Executive Committee is choosing to sunset the Subcommittees in favor of a Steering Committee for several reasons:

  1. The Subcommittee structure inadvertently silos expertise and discussion on related topics. Consolidating Executive Committee planning and leadership into a single Steering Committee affords more opportunities to make connections across issues and develop robust discussion and decision items for the full Executive Committee.
  2. Executive officers value the opportunity to build and share expertise with one another. Bringing together the leadership of the Subcommittees into a single Steering Committee supports more peer connection and information-sharing amongst WEST Executive officers.
  3. The Subcommittee structure makes participation in the Executive Committee a potentially large commitment for most members. Overall, this shift would mean fewer Executive members have to commit to fewer additional meetings. It also reduces the meeting support workload on WEST program staff.

The Steering Committee includes:

  1. Chair (Rosemont Executive oversight and responsibility) – Michael Brewer 2024
  2. Vice chair (Membership oversight and responsibility) – Jo Anne Newyear-Ramirez 2024
  3. Past chair (Financial oversight and responsibility) – Denise Stephens in 2024
  4. OCC Liaison (OCC communications/issues responsibility) – Jill Emery in 2024
  5. Admin rep (Host communications/issues responsibility) – Miranda Bennett ex officio
  6. Program Manager (program support) – Alison Wohlers ex officio
  7. Program Analyst (program & administrative support) – tbd ex officio

The Executive Committee will review this new approach at the end of the calendar year to assess its effectiveness.

Updates to Representation and Composition Requirements

The WEST Executive Committee also made two updates to the Executive Committee’s representation and composition requirements. 

Amending the Requirements for Builder, Holder, and Non-Holder Representation 

Since 2013, WEST has stipulated that the Executive Committee must include a certain number of representatives based on the roles members play in the trust network: Builder, Holder, or Non-Holder. However, at this stage of WEST’s evolution the differentiation is less meaningful than it used to be. In 2021, the WEST membership endorsed a vision, mission, and guiding principles that affirmed WEST’s commitment to expanding participation to the widest range of libraries possible and to preserving a collective collection that represents the diversity of the communities we serve. Around the same time, WEST’s archiving priorities expanded to include scarce and unique material. 

WEST took action on that philosophical commitment by opening up participation in the collections analysis to supporting members, who were previously not eligible to participate in the analysis or as Archive Holders. This widening of participation has helped WEST meet its aims to diversify participation and preserve more unique materials across the region. It has also increased the proportion of members who serve as Archive Holders. 

For that reason and because WEST intends to continue to develop and deploy myriad ways for members to participate in and contribute to WEST, the Executive Committee is amending the Committee’s representation requirements to generally target diverse characteristics of member institution size, type, and geography, rather than focusing on the division of Builder, Holder, and Non-Holder roles. 

Original Language – Five (5) voting representatives from members that are Archive Holders or Archive Builders; at least two (2) of these representatives are from Archive Builders. Three (3) voting representatives from members that are non-Archive Holders.

Amended Language – Eight (8) voting representatives from WEST Member Libraries of varying sizes, types, and geography.

Amending the Candidate Requirements 

In 2021, the Executive Committee updated the candidate requirements to include senior-level management leaders, such as Associate University Librarians and Associate Deans and established an Operations and Collections Council role on the Committee. These changes have enhanced the Committee’s conversations by creating stronger connections between operational and strategic considerations. 

At the time, the Executive Committee included language to ensure that the Committee would still have a balance of Director, Dean, and University Librarian perspectives. Reflecting on the characteristics of the library leaders self-nominating and being nominated in the last 2-3 years, the Executive Committee endorsed a change in 2024 to give its Nominating Committee more flexibility to bring forth nominees from library senior-level management. The Executive Committee will continue to seek a balance of perspectives that includes Library Directors, Deans, and University Librarians. 

Original Language – To ensure a balance of perspectives, there shall be no fewer than six (6) representatives that are Library Directors or Deans.
Amended Language – To ensure a balance of perspectives, there shall be no fewer than three (3) representatives that are Library Directors or Deans.

To learn more about these governance bodies, please see the complete and updated documentation here

You can also review the current WEST Executive and OCC rosters here

If you have any questions or comments about these updates or WEST’s governance, please reach out to WEST’s Program Manager, Alison Wohlers, at