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Governance Procedures
of the Women's Studies Section

November 2010 Revision


A. Name

The name of the organization shall be the Women's Studies Section (WSS) of the Association of College and Research Libraries, a division of the American Library Association, hereinafter referred to as the Section.

B. Purpose

This section shall represent librarians and others who specialize or are otherwise professionally concerned with the cross-disciplinary field of Women's Studies. It may cooperate with other professional groups in regard to those aspects of library and information services that require special knowledge of Women's Studies. The Women & Gender Studies Section has specific responsibilities a) To discuss, promote, and support Women's Studies collections and services in academic and research libraries b) To foster the development of bibliographic instruction, liaison with faculty, and database searching in this cross-disciplinary field c) To encourage cooperative collection development of and access to Women's Studies materials d) To foster cooperation among Women's Studies librarians, archivists, scholars, students, and publishers e) To work with other ALA groups to promote library and information services to women.

C. Membership

Any member of the Association of College and Research Libraries may elect membership in this Section. Members of the Section may participate as virtual members, but are expected to work with committee chairs to carry out any expected duties. The number of “community of practice” affiliations included in the basic ACRL dues is determined by the ACRL Board. The dues for additional affiliations are also set by the ACRL Board.

D. Relationship to ACRL Board

The Board shall be authorized to establish Communities of Practice (including Sections), to monitor their activities, and determine their continuance in consultation with the respective groups. The Board shall also be entitled to establish policies to govern the activities of Communities of Practice. (ACRL Bylaws, Article XV) The Board liaison role provides a critical connection between membership structures and the ACRL Board of Directors. This liaison role can be particularly helpful in providing perspective, guidance, and insight regarding ACRL policies, procedures, and initiatives; soliciting feedback from Communities of Practice regarding proposed Board actions; and providing helpful advice regarding Action Plan Proposals and Board Action Forms which community of practice leaders will need to submit for official ACRL Board and ACRL Executive Committee action/decisions. The liaison relationship is meant to enhance communication; it is not an advocacy role and for that reason Board members are asked to liaison with communities in which they have not been active. (Tip Sheet for Board Responsibilities) The Board of Directors is the voice for the association. Sections, committees, and other established units are not authorized to speak for the association except through the Board. This is to say that unit leaders should refrain from issuing statements, taking positions, or endorsing any statements or positions except with Board approval. (ACRL Guide to Policies and Procedures, Chapter 5.12.8, Use of ACRL’s Name)

E. Meetings

Section meetings at the ALA Midwinter Meeting and ALA Annual Conference are scheduled by the Section chair. ACRL units are encouraged to work outside of Midwinter and/or Annual Conference to increase group participation, efficiency, and productivity. Electronic meetings are conducted within the environment of ALA/ACRL bylaws and policies. In all cases these requirements must be adhered to, although they may have to be adopted to fit the virtual environment. The ALA Policy Manual 7.4.1 defines a meeting as “an official assembly, for any length of time following a designated starting time, of the members of any board, committee task force, commission, etc., during which the members do not separate except for a recess and in which the assembly has the capacity to formalize decisions.” Conference calls, Internet chat sessions (and their equivalents), and in-person meetings are recognized as meetings subject to the open meetings policy (ALA Policy 7.4.4). Committees must confirm all decisions made in these forums by affirming the actions at the next face-to-face meeting. There is a distinction between carrying on work of a committee electronically and conducting an electronic meeting. Asynchronous electronic discussions by electronic mail or other asynchronous communication methods do not constitute meetings because they are not an official assembly with a designated starting time (ALA Policy Manual 7.4.1). The Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure (Alice Sturgis) applies to meetings of the Section to the extent that it is applicable, upholds the integrity of the voting processes, helps facilitate progress, and ensures equality, fairness, and common sense. The Section shall hold an annual business meeting at the time and place of the Annual Conference of the American Library Association. Midwinter meetings of the Section may be conducted electronically. Members of the Section present at an annual meeting shall constitute a voting body.

F. Officers

Each Section will have a vice-chair/chair-elect and a chair to ensure succession. Elective officers of this Section shall be a chair, a vice-chair / chair-elect, the immediate past chair, a secretary, and two members-at-large who shall represent the membership. Duties are detailed in the Section’s Orientation Guide All officers shall serve for a term of one year except members-at-large who shall serve two year staggered terms. All terms begin at the adjournment of the annual conference.

G. Executive Committee

The Section Executive Committee is responsible for the stewardship of the Section and the coordination of its activities, provided that it operates within the Section mandate and budget as determined by membership level (ACRL Guide to Policy and Procedure, Basic Services, 4.3.2). A Section’s Executive Committee may establish and appoint standing or ad-hoc committees to assist it in fulfilling the Section’s mandate. The Executive Committee shall consist of the officers, and the chairs of standing committees and projects. The Executive Committee shall conduct the business of the Section during the period between annual Section meetings. Regular meetings of the Executive Committee shall be held at the time of the Annual and Midwinter Conferences of the American Library Association, including virtual meetings. Special meetings may be called at the discretion of the chair. A majority of members shall constitute a voting body at any meeting of the Executive Committee.

H. Nominations and Elections

To be nominated, elected, and continue to serve on a Section’s Executive Committee, a person must be a current member of the Section (with ALA, ACRL, and section dues—if applicable—paid). The vice-chair / chair-elect of the Section, with the approval of the chair, shall appoint a Nominating Committee of at least three personal members of the Section. This committee shall choose a slate of at least two candidates for each office of the Section. Additional nominations may be made by petitions signed by no fewer than five Section members. All nominees must be members in good standing of the Section and must consent to candidacy in writing. All nominations shall be filed with both the Executive Director of ACRL and the secretary of the Section within the deadlines prescribed by ACRL. Involvement in or commitment to the acquisition, organization, or use of Women's Studies information sources should be considered in selecting nominees for office. Elections shall be conducted by mail ballot in accordance with the procedures and deadlines established by the American Library Association. For each office, the candidate receiving a plurality of votes cast shall be elected, and the results reported to the Executive Director of ACRL. In case of a tie vote, the successful candidate shall be determined by lot.

I. Vacancies

In case of a vacancy in the office of the chair, the vice-chair / chair-elect shall succeed to the office of the chair and shall continue in that office until the expiration of the term for which s/he was originally elected to serve as chair. A vacancy in the office of vice-chair / chair-elect shall be filled by election. In case of a vacancy in the offices of the secretary or one of the members-at-large, a replacement will be appointed by the chair. In case of vacancies in both the offices of chair and vice-chair / chair-elect, the Executive Committee shall elect one from their membership to act as chair until the next election.

J. Amendments to Governance Procedures

These Operating Procedures may be amended by a majority vote of the Executive Committee as long they are not in conflict with ALA/ACRL bylaws, policies, and procedures. Changes to these governance procedures do not require, and should not include, a ballot vote by the membership. A current copy shall be provided to the Executive Director per ACRL Bylaws, Article XV, Section 3.

Governance Procedures updated to reflect section name change, May, 2011
Governance Procedures adopted, November, 2010
Bylaws retired, November, 2010
Revised Bylaws approved by ballot, June, 1991
Revised Bylaws on WSS ballot for approval, April, 1991
Bylaws on WSS ballot for approval, April, 1987
Bylaws approved by ACRL Board, January, 1987
Contact ALA archives for previous versions.

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Last updated: June 14, 2011
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