Board members communicate with each other, headquarters, and members using a variety of methods, primarily by email, ALA Connect, virtual meetings, and phone.
Upon election, each Board member is asked for a photo to use on the Meet the ACRL Board of Directors page. This page includes the name, institution, title, Board position, and terms of current Board members. A second Board roster containing contact information pulled from the Board member’s ALA membership record is maintained under “members-only” login protocol, as part of the ACRL Directory of Leadership.
The Board has its own private ALA Connect electronic discussion list, ALA-ACRL-Board@ConnectedCommunity.org, which is used for information, communication, and the exchange of ideas. All members of the Board are also subscribed to the ACRLeads list email@example.com, committee chairs discussion list firstname.lastname@example.org, and Communities of Practice Assembly (CoPA) discussion list email@example.com.
In order to assure the flow of communication and orderly conduct of the business of the Board, these procedural guidelines for communications to and from ACRL staff are helpful. It is not the intention of these guidelines to delay or inhibit communication in either direction; rather, the guidelines have been implemented to ensure that misunderstandings and inconsistencies do not occur.
Official written communications addressed to the full Board from the ACRL staff, whether for action or for information, are transmitted to the Board through the executive director. The executive director and the appropriate staff manager should be informed of and copied on all routine informational mailings to Board members.
By virtue of their specific responsibilities, some members of the staff communicate on a regular basis with individual officers and Board members. In such cases, the executive director is kept informed about such communications on an ongoing basis, and is cc’d on email messages.
Formal communications between the Board and the staff as a whole are transmitted to the staff through the executive director. The executive director is responsible for directing the work of all ACRL staff. Therefore, although individual officers and Board members may have occasion to communicate directly with members of the staff to request information or assistance, in instances where it is not clear who might be the most appropriate staff member to respond or where a response may involve several staff members or require significant staff time or effort, requests should be directed to the executive director.
On behalf of the Board of Directors, the Executive Director communicates Board decisions to members who have submitted a Board of Directors Action Form or Board Discussion Form (both found on the ACRL Forms page), and notifies the appropriate member unit leader(s) of Board actions impacting the work of the member unit. The ACRL President and Board and staff liaisons are copied on all such notifications.
When issues of key importance to members broadly or specific member units arise, Board liaisons and Board members may be lobbied through letters, emails, or telephone calls. In all cases, it is important for the Board to provide a consistent response that reflects the Association’s viewpoint, contains the correct information, and includes the main reasons for the Board’s/Association’s position.
Board members are certainly free to express personal points of view, but because it is sometimes difficult for members to separate “personal” from “Board” responses, care must be taken to make this distinction clear. In cases where Board members have questions about a particular issue or are uncertain about how to respond, posting to the Board listserv, a call to the president, and/or a call to the Executive Director may be necessary.
Board members have been subscribed to ACRLeads (firstname.lastname@example.org), an email listserv that includes current and past ACRL division-level leaders. This notification service designed to keep members informed about upcoming committee deadlines, and issues related to policy, procedure and leadership of the division. To unsubscribe, please visit the listserv homepage or contact email@example.com.
At times, the Board may have to make decisions that are not popular with one or more segments of the association. It is critical to the ongoing health of the association that clear, consistent, factual, and, for the most part, written rationales be used to convey such decisions.
Board members may be asked questions by the press and should be aware that when Board members express their views, the audience may assume that the Board member is speaking for the Board and thus for the Association. Board members should be aware of this phenomenon and should clearly state when they are speaking for ACRL and when they are speaking as personal members. When responding to questions from the press, Board members are encouraged to quote from the official record, i.e., the minutes and other documentation.
ALA often provides officers media training so that they can respond to the press and media effectively and with poise.
From time to time, members of the Board may be asked to represent the Association in an official capacity. Examples include representing the Association at a conference or a state, regional, or international meeting, or as the official delegate to a special event, such as an ALA ceremony or the anniversary of an institution or the dedication of a building. When the president is unable to attend, he/she may designate another Board member to represent ACRL.
During the Midwinter Meeting and the Annual Conference, Board members may be asked to speak at programs or meetings of ACRL units. These engagements should be accepted only if they do not interfere with Board members’ responsibilities for attending Board meetings and other official Board functions.
The Board has a public ALA Connect community. This community is used primarily to post meeting announcements, share documents and conduct virtual votes. The ALA Executive Board Liaison and ACRL members may also use this community to communicate with the Board. The Board's public ALA Connect group is open to all ACRL members and is pre-populated by staff with current members listed on the official Board roster. When terms end, Board members are not removed from the community, but can opt-out by leaving the group or contacting the staff admin. To stay abreast of Board activities, current ACRL members can join the public community by clicking the "Join" button located in the group's header.
The Board also has an ALA Connect Community that is limited only to current ACRL Board members and ACRL governance staff (Allison Payne, Program Manager for Strategic Initiatives and Elois Sharpe, Program Coordinator). This ALA Connect group is tied directly to the official Board roster and updates automatically when terms begin and end. The Board uses this community for archival reference, as well as for information, communication, and the exchange of ideas. The private community can be used for closed meetings/discussions of matters affecting the privacy of individuals or institutions, such award meetings, per the ALA Open Meeting Policy. To post a discussion, Board members can add a new discussion to this community or can email ALA-ACRL-Board@ConnectedCommunity.org.
How to your privacy settings in the new ALA Connect:
Membership dues must be current to access their ALA Connect communities. The first day that membership lapses is the same day that access to ALA Connect is suspended. There is no grace period. Members can regain access immediately by paying their membership dues online at https://ec.ala.org/membership/join or by calling 1.800.545.2433, ex. 5.
ALA has turned on real-time notifications from all committees and Daily Digests from all communities, so you'll receive individual emails whenever there's a new post or reply to a committee you're on. You’ll also receive a daily digest from any communities you've joined. Here are the steps for updating your communication preferences in ALA Connect:
Here are the steps for updating your ALA Connect profile:
To download files in ALA Connect, navigate to the file and click the “Download” button.
Use the search bar located in the upper right-hand corner of any page on ALA Connect. After your search results are returned, you can refine your search results by category, forum (which is the ALA Connect group), formal tags, and time frame.
Approved Fall Board Meeting, November 16, 2018
This document addresses ACRL Board members’ use of their personal social media accounts in sharing information from Board work.
Social media offers an opportunity for the ACRL Board to increase two-way communication with members. As such, we recognize the importance of social media not only for sharing information and updates, but in contributing towards greater transparency and member engagement.
Board members who engage with social media agree to do so in a professional manner and to act in accordance with the Board’s Ground Rules, which are reviewed and updated each year at the Strategic Planning and Orientation Retreat. The following guidelines are intended to assist Board members in determining what type of social media posts are appropriate. Board members may:
Board members who choose to share Board information on social media are responsible for following member responses and closing the feedback loop, as follows:
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.
Periodically the association needs to communicate with external audiences on policies and issues relating to ACRL’s core purpose. In determining when to communicate and who shall represent ACRL the following factors should be considered:
If the association has established a position on an issue, the Executive Director and President are each authorized to communicate the association’s viewpoint to the outside world. Subsequently, the Executive Director and President will report such communications to the Board in a timely manner. When deciding who shall represent ACRL, the factors listed above shall be used to make the determination.
If the association has not established an official position on an issue and an external communication is needed without the delay caused by referral of the matter to the Board, the Executive Director and President are each authorized to send such communication, making the decision on who will represent ACRL on a case-by-case basis using the factors above. Subsequently, the Executive Director and President will report such communications to the Board in a timely manner.
When urgency is not an issue and the issue is significant, the full Board may be consulted. Alternatively, as per Article X, Section 2 of the ACRL bylaws, the Executive Committee may act in place and stead of the Board of Directors between Board meetings and may act for the Board and make decisions on matters which require action before the next Board meeting.
Source: ACRL Board, June 2005