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Orientation Guide for Committees & Officers: Committee Tasks

ACRL WSS Committee Tasks and Services

This is a brief overview of the tasks of the Committee Chair and the services that Chairs can expect from ALA, ACRL, and WSS. It should be used in conjunction with the ACRL Guide to Policies and Procedures. Special projects, publications, awards and programs may involve additional work; consult with the WSS Chair and/or ACRL staff. This does not cover specific assignments given to particular committees or to officers.

At the level of ALA:

  • Services to expect from ALA:
  • ALA Handbook of Organization , conference schedules (sent to Section Chair), promotional material (Public Information Office).
  • During conference, at the ALA offices area:
    Free coffee, typewriters, computers; photocopying services (not free, see under ACRL). Up-to-date documents are distributed here during conference, for example skeleton schedules of future conferenc es and ALA Council proposals. It’s a good place to meet people, to drop off papers or revise a report due at next Executive Committee or other ACRL meetings. At the ACRL table you can get help, leave notes and reports, etc. The Conference Services Office can help you set up a last-minute meeting.

At the level of ACRL:

  • Services to expect from ACRL:
    Help and advice from ACRL Associate Director ; ACRL stationery, documents, and brochures; reimburs ement for committee expenses as allocated (need signature of WSS Chair); photocopying of agendas, minutes, etc. charged against the WSS Basic Services Budget (ask for budget code at ACRL table and fill out Photocopy Request Form; report amount to WSS Chair); names and addresses of other ACRL divisional and sectional officers, etc. Mailing of WSS Newsletter is handled by ALA using ACRL official lists. Committee rosters are available online and accessible by ALA members only.
  • Be aware of all ACRL procedures and policies:
    As a section of ACRL, WSS must comply with and work to promote all division policies and goals. See ACRL Guide to Policies and Procedures (available on ACRL website), ACRL planning documents, and consult with WSS Executive Committee and/or ACRL Associate Director .
  • Submit written reports on committee plans and progress:
    Draft minutes of committee meetings must be sent to ACRL within two weeks following Midwinter and Annual; completed minutes within the month. A copy of the completed minutes should also be sent to WSS Executive Committee. Newsletter Editors report to ACRL Publications Committee .
  • Volunteer to serve at the ACRL Booth during conferences:
    Coordinated by the ACRL Membership Committee via the WSS Membership chair.
  • ACRL Board:
    "Type-of-activity" sections do not have individual seats on the Board. (The Section's Council nominates candidates for an at-large seat.) WSS attempts to have a representative monitor each session; observers do not participate unless invited by the Board to comment on a specific item. WSS would only come before the Board for approval of unusual projects, special budget requests, publications, etc.; the WSS chair would submit a request in advance to be on the agenda. Programs or publications that need Board approval must be approved first by the WSS Executive Committee, then possibly by another ACRL committee (e.g. Publishing); plan for such procedures and deadlines. Be prepared to make last-minute changes and present revised drafts during the course of the conference if necessary.

At the level of WSS:

  • What to expect from WSS:
    WSS Secretary sends Executive Committee minutes and maintains other Section publications described under WSS information and paperwork in the WSS Documentation and Archives section of this guide.
  • Committee appointments:
    The Vice-Chair makes appointments for the coming year and conducts all formal correspondence with appointees. You will be sent a revised roster when the process is complete. The WSS Chair will make any short-term or interim appointments to fill out a current vacancy.
  • Meeting scheduling and notification of WSS meetings is done by the WSS Chair .
  • Communication with new members:
    The Membership Committee is charged with this function and carries it out by arranging the social hours, writing letters of welcome to new members, placing copies of WSS materials at the ACRL booth, and related activities. The Publications Committee prepares a brochure which includes basic information about the section and a volunteer form. You, as chair, should contact and welcome new members appointed to your committee and share information about the work of your committee.
  • Newsletter:
    WSS appointed editors control the content and editing of the newsletter. All mailing is handled by ALA/ACRL. If you are having problems receiving your newsletter, contact ACRL to verify your address listing and membership status.

Responsibilities of Committee Chairs:

  • Attend WSS Executive Committee meeting at Midwinter and Annual:
    Make oral reports at Executive Committee meeting; submit draft minutes to ACRL within two weeks after the conference; completed minutes within the month. Written copies of committee agendas and documents should be sent to the entire Executive Committee and to ACRL in advance; newly produced work should be duplicated and distributed at the conference. Executive Committee usually meets once for general business. Committee Chairs, as ex-officio members, are expected to attend the meeting and are welcome to participate in all discussions . Use this meeting to bring questions about the committee’s work and discussion issues. Depending on the status of committee projects, you may need early approval to move ahead, or may wish to report at a later meeting when more work has been completed. If necessary, the committee chair may designate another committee member to make the report. See Section III for more on structure of committees and the Executive Committee.
  • Attend the WSS Leadership Orientation meeting which is held during Annual for Executive Committee members and new officers and committee chairs. If this is your first meeting, read and bring a copy of this Orientation Guide. (http://libr.org/wgss/committees/orientation.html) If you are completing your work as chair, bring all files to review with the incoming chair.
  • Attend WSS Membership meeting at Midwinter and Annual:
    Summarize committee projects both to inform section members and to interest them in joining your committee.
  • Send attendance forms to Vice-Chair immediately after Midwinter:
    For use in making committee appointments; also send letters or notes received from interested members. Committee appointments are generally completed by March.
  • Consult with WSS Chair on meeting schedule for conferences:
    The ACRL Associate Director works with section chairs who make all committee meeting requests in consultation with their committee chairs. Meetings may not conflict with the WSS or ACRL programs, the ALA membership meetings, and certain other slots. WSS attempts to avoid serious conflicts with other ALA women’s groups. Scheduling deadlines are in early fall (for Midwinter) and later the same fall (for Annual). Program meetings are handled directly by the Program Committee Chair.
  • Submit material for WSS Newsletter:
    The WSS Newsletter appears twice a year. Reports on committee activities and requests for input from members should be submitted to the Editor following every conference. Exact deadlines will be announced by the Editor at Midwinter and Annual General Membership meetings.
  • Submit budget requests:
    If you expect your committee to need more than a minor allocation (approximately $50.00), you should notify the WSS Chair early in the fall one year prior to the fiscal year in question. This clearly requires a lot of advance planning and would be for major projects. Conference programs are handled through a separate budget process.

At the level of your committee:

  • Make recommendations for committee appointments:
    Appointments are made by the Vice-Chair during January-March. You should suggest names for new appointments, note which current members should be reappointed, and confer as to the next chairperson. This will be easier if you use attendance forms allowing a space for persons to check off interest in being appointed; note which observers seem committed and able. Pass on copies of any letters ofi nquiry that you receive; be aware of ALA policies on committee service and of the availability of intern appointments. Avoid guaranteeing someone an appointment; the Vice-Chair makes all decisions. Vacancies occurring mid-term are filled upon appointment by the current WSS Chair.
  • Maintain up-to-date roster:
    You will get a roster from the WSS Vice-Chair after appointments have been completed. Notify the Chair and Vice-Chair of any errors or last minute changes and send copies of the roster to all committee members. Check your roster against the roster on the ACRL website and notify the ACRL Associate Director of discrepancies.
  • Monitor committee work between conferences:
    You should send a bulletin to committee members at least twice between each conference: once shortly after the conference, to remind people of tasks and decisions, and once before the next conference to follow up on assignments, announce meeting times, and outline the upcoming meeting agenda. Send copies of all agendas and formal correspondence to the WSS Executive Committee.
  • Run meetings at conferences:
    Prepare an agenda and send to members before the meeting. At the meeting, have everyone introduce herself and sign attendance sheet; take minutes or designate someone to do so. Encourage all committee members to participate; keep meeting on schedule. Bring extra copies of agendas and working documents for observers and forgetful committee members. Think ahead to new projects or directions. Remember to consult with the Publications Committee about all potential publications (print or electronic.)
  • Ensure transition from year to year:
    Pass on files (see archives guidelines)
    Brief incoming chair on status of projects
    Send agenda for Annual to new ly appointed members.
  • Send files of completed projects to ACRL for the archives. (see archives guidelines)

Responsibilities of Committee Members

  • Return the Appointment Acceptance Form promptly to the ACRL office or WSS Vice Chair.
  • Notify the committee chair immediately in case of change of address, e-mail, telephone, or fax.
  • Complete the work assigned by the chair within the time frame agreed upon.
  • Attend all committee meetings. Notify the committee chair if attendance at a meeting is not possible. Failure to attend two consecutive meetings without an explanation to the chair may result in your removal from the committee.
  • If problems arise that prevent you from completing your assignments, contact the committee chair or WSS Chair immediately.

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Last updated: July 18, 2013
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