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Orientation Guide for Committees & Officers: Documentation & Archives

ACRL WSS Documentation and Archives

This guide describes documentation which is available to committee members and officers from ALA, ACRL, and within the Women’s Studies Section. It also includes suggestions for how to maintain committee files and what kinds of papers to send to ACRL to be kept in the WSS archival files. WSS Officers need maintain current working materials only. As a Chair of a section committee within ACRL, your first line of assistance (after the WSS Chair) is the ACRL Associate Director , even if you need documents that are not from ACRL.

ALA documents and information services:

  • ALA Handbook of Organization : Available online in the members only portion of the ALA website. Includes dates and places of upcoming conferences, headquarters staff, all divisional committee members’ names and addresses, and the ALA Policy Manual.
  • Conference Services : Maintains website for Annual and Midwinter conferences which includes online registration, hotel and airline reservations, schedules of meetings, and an event planner. The ACRL Associate Director coordinates the meeting request process, working directly with the Section Chair.
  • Public Information Officer : Prepares press releases, coordinates distribution of National Library Week materials, etc. Committee chairs seeking such services in support of committee business should work through the ACRL Associate Director .

ACRL documents and information services:

  • ACRL Guide to Policies and Procedures : Includes information for ACRL members, committees, and sections related to conferences, programs, awards, publications, budgets, etc. Available on the ACRL website.
  • Tipsheets: Individual tipsheets provide guidance for section officers, program planning committees, and nominating committees. Included are duties and calendars. Available on the ACRL website.
  • ACRL Fiscal Year Calendar: Distributed at New Leaders Orientation, the calendar is also available on the Resources for Working with ACRL web page. Included on the calendar are the dates and deadlines for section exchanges with ACRL.
  • Standards and Accreditation Committee Policies and Procedures Manual : To be consulted if a committee wishes to design a document or a process that will be considered as some kind of official standard or guideline. Available on ACRL website.
  • ACRL Presidential / Vice-Presidential Priorities: Each year, the ACRL President indicates which areas will be of particular concern; this information is essential in planning new projects. The Vice-President’s theme and priorities are useful in planning programs for the coming year. These are available on the ACRL President’s and Vice-President’s web pages.
  • ACRL Government Relations Committee: Establishes the ACRL legislative priorities each year. The legislative agenda is available on the ACRL website.
  • ACRL Update: Bi-weekly subscription based mail list service. Provides notice of ACRL and ALA activities, including elections, calls for conference proposals, pre-conferences, new features on the websites, etc. This is a good place to publicize section activities. Send press release type items to the ACRL web developer.
  • Forms: ACRL provides special forms for a number of purposes. Among them are the Board of Directors action form, program proposal form, reimbursement request form, and strategic plan unit activities form. Deadlines are set by ACRL.
  • Correspondence: ACRL does not have formal requirements for correspondence that is internal to sections and committees. Committee Chairs should keep copies of all correspondence handled during their tenure, and forward appropriate items to archives as described below. You should copy ACRL on any correspondence that might involve ACRL policy or business (consult with WSS Chair).
  • Membership records: ACRL maintains WSS membership lists; copies of the membership print-out are available at no charge to the Chair, Vice-Chair, and Nominating Committee. Names of new , dropped, and reinstated members are sent each month to the chair of the Membership Committee . ACRL maintains committee rosters online. The WSS Vice-Chair and Chair should also maintain rosters against which to check the online rosters.
  • Archives: ACRL maintains official WSS files (ACRL archives webpage). WSS Officers and Committee Chairs do not need to maintain more than needed for current business and transitions. ACRL can check files and send copies of old documents if needed. See detailed guidelines below.

WSS information and paperwork:

  • The following Women’s Studies Section publications are available on the WSS website: Orientation Guide for Committees and Officers; Bylaws; and Publication Manual.
  • WSS Chair: Sends committee rosters. The Section Chair may ask for input from committee chairs regarding budget requests, strategic planning, meeting room requests, etc.
  • WSS Committee Chairs: Send copies of committee reports, correspondence, and agendas electronically to the WSS Executive Committee and to the ACRL.
  • WSS Secretary: Sends out to the Executive Committee and to ACRL copies of the Executive Committee minutes and reports submitted to the Section (e.g. from ACRL Board observers).
  • Attendance forms: Attendance forms are available from the Secretary, but Committee Chairs may use a plain sheet of paper as long as it is clear which attendees are new members of the section.
  • Meeting Minutes:

    Committee chairs send a draft of their meeting minutes to ACRL within two weeks of the close of conferences; completed minutes within the month. Committee minutes are also sent to the WSS Executive Committee.

    The Secretary sends draft minutes of the Executive Committee meeting and Membership meeting to ACRL within two weeks and completed minutes to ACRL and the Executive Committee within the month. If there are changes after minutes are reviewed, the revised minutes are also sent in.

Section and Committee files:

  • WSS Section files:

    The Chair keeps working files of agendas and business items, but the Secretary is responsible for sending copies to ACRL for official files. The Chair and Vice-Chair have the correspondence used for current committee appointments.

    The Secretary maintains current files consisting of committee rosters, agendas, Executive Committee minutes, any Section-wide correspondence related to immediate projects, and copies of completed projects.

  • Current Committee files: Should contain rosters, recent agendas and minutes of committee meetings (last two or three conferences), recent Executive Committee minutes; full correspondence related to any immediate projects, copies of final documents for completed past projects.

Archives Guidelines

[adapted from RASD-MARS archives guidelines, 1984]


  • Files that are to be archived should be sent to ACRL at the end of each summer with a cover letter (ACRL 50 E. Huron Street , Chicago, IL 60611 ATT: for ACRL Archives).
  • Include the Archives Form.
  • Working files go from one Committee Chair or officer to the next, no later than August 1; ephemera go the wastebasket; completed projects and ‘dead’ files go to the archives.
  • The Committee Chair is responsible for maintaining current files and sending to the archives; the WSS Secretary does this for the Executive Committee, and the Newsletter Editor for the newsletter files.
  • Keep material in the order it was as it was created. If in doubt about archiving an item , keep it and send to the archives.
  • Committee Chairs are responsible for keeping and sending documents/ reports/projects for archival purposes to ACRL.

Follow these general guidelines in determining whether materials should be sent to the ACRL Archives.

Official documents:

  • Committee agendas and minutes are already sent to ACRL, thus they do not need to be sent to archives. Pass on to the new Chair.
  • Routine memoranda and announcements : Chair only needs to keep for current business; do not send to archives. Personal notes, insignificant correspondence, etc. need not be kept.
  • Membership rosters: send to archives.
  • Appointment letters and forms: Do not keep or send to archives. Individual members may want for their personal professional files.
  • Formal committee reports, from Chair to Executive Committee: one copy to the archives .


  • Retain copies in the order in which you made them.
  • Keep one copy of each major draft of a project or report. For example, first draft of a bibliography is a collection of those done by each member – keep for archives. Second draft is 3-4 sheets, edited – keep for archives. Interim copies, fixing typos, rearranging – do not keep. Final copy – keep for archives.
  • The issuing Committee Chair is responsible for sending projects to archives. Committee members do not need to send personal files.
  • Don’t forget realia: buttons, posters, balloons, bags should be sent to archives.


  • One or two copies of every publication to archives, including hand-outs, brochures, etc. Don’t send master paste-ups, only final items.
  • Newsletter: Final issues are kept by ACRL as they are produced. Editors send two additional copies and related paperwork in the same manner as other Chairs.
  • Printouts of the section’s web pages should be made and sent to ACRL because the archives cannot guarantee continued access to electronic files as technology changes.


  • If connected with a project, keep with those files as above.
  • Attach replies to original correspondence; send both to archives.
  • If correspondence logs are used, send those to archives.

Electronic mail:

  • Keep a paper copy of any message!
  • Use the same rules as for other correspondence: don’t keep routine reminders or notes, do keep anything significant, approvals, etc.
  • The originator of the message keeps the message and any replies to it. For example, SP sends message to a group for comments: AA, BB, and XY respond. SP keeps copy of the original and of all replies, and sends to archives.

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Last updated: July 18, 2013
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