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University Libraries Section (ULS): About Our Committees

Whether you are a chair, committee member, or prospective member, this is your go-to resource for information about ULS committees.


The Professional Development Committee supports the continued development of University Libraries Section members by providing professional development opportunities. The committee will organize and/or coordinate professional development programs and offerings outside of the ALA Midwinter, ALA Annual, and ACRL Conferences. These professional development opportunities ensure ULS members are able to obtain the relevant experience and continuing education needed to further the profession and address the challenges facing university libraries. The committee works closely with the ULS Executive, Membership, Communication, and Conference Program Planning committees.

Committee membership

The committee usually has seven members. See current roster.

ALA Connect

The Professional Development Committee on ALA Connect: Post and find agendas, minutes, and committee happenings.

Please note that you will need to sign in to ALA Connect using your regular ALA web site username and password to access ACRL ULS committee content.

Committee responsibilities

Develop program ideas and areas of focus

  • Review the literature, hot topics in the profession, etc.
  • Generate ideas within the Professional Development Committee.
  • Gather ideas from ULS discussion groups and committees.
  • Periodically survey ULS members for their interests in programs and formats.

Call for proposals

  • The committee should make periodic calls for proposals using the form located here.
  • Completed proposals should be forwarded to the entire committee for evaluation using the proposal evaluation rubric (under construction).

Organize and execute programs

  • Two committee members work on organizing each program, with the chair overseeing all work and answering any questions. The chair solicits volunteers for and appoints the members who will manage each program

  • One committee member serves as the primary point of contact with the presenters for each program, as well as ACRL staff, and introduces, moderates, and concludes the program.

  • A second committee member assists with each presentation and serves as back-up moderator in case the primary contact has an emergency or conflict. The second committee member also typically collates questions in the presentation, acknowledging receipt of the question via chat.


General timeline for executing events

Each step is described further in this section. Please review the entire timeline and descriptive information for each step prior to initial outreach to the presenters.

  1. 2-3 months in advance (minimum): Chair establishes general time frame in which presentation will happen and schedules practice session and online presentation with ACRL and shares general information about how the online presentation will work with presenters. 
  2. 6 weeks in advance: Primary contact asks presenters to review title and description of program to ensure accuracy prior to marketing.
  3. 4 weeks in advance: Primary contact coordinates with the entire committee to  begin advertising the presentation through professional listservs and the ACRL ULS Communications Committee. All presenters and committee contacts for the online presentation should register at this time.
  4. 2 weeks in advance: Practice session/technical introduction. Primary and secondary contact should have established scripts for introduction and closing, and a plan for collating questions (A Google Doc is recommended). Remind presenters of best practices for online presentations.Presenters should be prepared to do a “dress rehearsal” of the first 10-15 minutes of their presentation, so that committee members can offer constructive feedback on style, tone, and organization of content.
  5. 1 week in advance: Practice session 2 (optional). Chair creates assessment link.
  6. Day of the event: Primary contact emails Elois Sharpe PRIOR to the online presentation and ask that she does not send out the video recording to registrants until she receives the assessment link, slides, and/or list of links extracted from the chat box from the committee.
  7. 1 day after the event: Primary contact sends thank you note to the presenters.
  8. 3 days (max) after the event: Secondary contact collates salient links from chat window, and links, slides (with permission of the presenter), and the assessment link are sent to Elois Sharpe.
  9.  2 weeks after the event: Chair sends results of the assessment to presenters, with final thanks. 

Initial Contact with Presenters (Chair/Vice-Chair)

Timeline: 2-3 months in advance (minimum)
When notifying a presenter that the PDC will support their online program, the chair or vice-chair will share information about the presentations such as: 

  • Presentations are scheduled for 60 minutes. We recommend preserving 15-20 minutes for questions.
  • The program will be delivered via ACRL's Zoom subscription. Presenters should adhere to the committee's best practices for online presentations.
  • Speakers must sign an agreement with ACRL to allow the program to be recorded. Elois Sharpe will provide the details and forms.

Scheduling (Chair/Vice-Chair)

Timeline: 2-3 months in advance (minimum)
The chair or vice-chair will schedule the program AND a practice session.

  • Programs usually run an hour on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, or Thursdays between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Central (to account for all U.S. time zones).
  • Makes sure that ACRL's Zoom schedule is clear, then find times that work for the chair/vice-chair to potentially serve as the primary contact for the session (the intent, however, is that other committee members will volunteer once they are available).
  • It can be helpful to use the ACRL schedule availability for Zoom to create a Doodle poll for committee members and all presenters. One date that works for all parties can be used for a practice session, and another can be used for the actual presentation.
  • After dates have been selected for both the practice session and presentation, develop PR for the session by making a copy of the following template and based on the presenters' original proposal. Link to this Google Doc when submitting the ACRL LibCal for the dates and times selected. The chair/vice chair will submit LibCal requests for both the presentation and the practice session.
  • You'll receive booking confirmation, including information on how to register for the sessions. Registering provides an individualized link for each person to use for both the practice session and presentation.
  • Review the registration link carefully and email Elois with any changes you'd like to make.
  • ACRL employees will be present at both practice and presentation to familiarize attendees with the technology, provide technical support, and manage the presentation recording.
  • Email Elois Sharpe ( with any questions you might have.

Primary Contact Connecting with Presenters (Primary Contact)

Timeline: 6 weeks in advance (minimum)

  • The chair/vice-chair should reach out to introduce the presenters to their primary contact and secondary contact. 
  • The primary contact should then remind the presenters of the presentation length, the best practices for online instruction, and remind them of the dates and times for their practice session and presentation. Alert them that you will soon share more information about the practice session (see below), but that part of it will include the expectation of the presenters to do a 10-15 minute run of the first portion of their presentation so they committee can offer feedback, primarily on presentation style. 
  • Offer to answer any questions they have.

Publicizing (Primary Contact)

Timeline: 4 weeks in advance

  • Give the presenters a chance to review the PR draft again in case they wish any changes. If so, review the registration page again and ask Elois to make changes as needed.
  • Work with the Communications Committee to publicize the event using their online request form, which results in posts on ACRL ULS social media channels. Please note that the form should be submitted a minimum of 72 business hours before you would like to see publicity begin.
  • All ACRL, ULS, PDC Committee members should work together to publicize the event through other means such as professional listservs, using the following template. The primary contact will provide a turnkey email to other committee members for sending. It is helpful to establish a plan for who will send email to which listservs, and when, and for the primary contact for a program to send the first email to a listserv and then forward it for distribution to other committee members who will assist with publicity.

The Practice Session (Primary Contact and Secondary Contact)

Timeline: 1-2 weeks in advance

  • Work with presenters to determine the specifics of their presentation, such as length of time for presentation versus questions, the extent to which they would like a committee member to moderate, etc. This can be done via email, during a practice session, or during a separately scheduled call/meeting, depending on the presenters' preferences.
  • Coordinate at least one practice session/technical introduction. For the practice session, primary and secondary contact should have established scripts for introduction and closing, and a plan for collating questions (A Google Doc is recommended). Remind presenters of best practices for online presentations.Presenters should be prepared to do a “dress rehearsal” of the first 10-15 minutes of their presentation, so that committee members can offer constructive feedback on style, tone, and organization of content.
  • During the practice session, make sure you learn the correct pronunciation for the presenters' names.

The Online Presentation (Primary Contact and Secondary Contact)

Timeline: 1 week in advance

  • Prior to the session, email Elois and any other ACRL contact you have been working with and ask them *NOT* to send out the recording after the presentation until you have sent them supplemental documentation (slides, links from the chat transcript, link to the evaluation).
  • The primary contact person performs introductions, preferably through this script. We recommend creating a Google Doc to be shared with the primary contact, the secondary contact, and the chair that includes the opening and closing scripts, the assessment link (which the committee chair provides), and space to organize questions.
  • Early in the presentation, remind participants to change the chat settings, so messages go to the group.
  • Collate questions that come in through the chat box during the presentation and acknowledge that you've "got" someone's question when it is posed. This is usually handled by the secondary contact for the presentation. 
  • Provide any URLs mentioned in the slides (as necessary, especially for polling). This is usually handled by the secondary contact for the presentation.
  • Encourage participants to complete the evaluation form, provided by the chair or vice-chair to the primary contact prior to the session.

Advice for Presenters

  • See best practices for online presentations.
  • Presenters are encouraged to use their webcams.
  • Slide decks are encouraged. As compared to in-person presentations, online presentations should have more slides that transition frequently (still with limited text on each) in order to keep viewers' attention. It is important that presenters sound relaxed a natural, not like they are reading a script.
  • Share information about Zoom features and using it effectively.
  • If using polls, 
    • Try them during the practice session and understand audience limits. For example, the free version of Poll Everywhere only allows for 50 participants.
    • If using Zoom polls, remind host to send them to ULS committee member in charge of program and ACRL contact for webcast.

Evaluation Link

  • Prior to the program, the primary contact should ask the chair of the committee to create a brief evaluation for the program, and to provide the link.
  • The link to the evaluation should be provided in the chat box several times at the end of the program.
  • Also, the link should be provided to the ACRL staff who monitored the program *immediately after the session* to make sure it's included in follow up email to registrants and attendees.

After the program

  • After the program, work with the presenters to send ACRL staff any supplemental documents to be distributed with the video recording.
  • When the program is complete, the committee chair should send a formal thank you to all participants.
  • When the recording is available, the committee chair should contact the ACRL ULS Communications Committee so that they can add it to the ULS YouTube channel.

Request form for promoting activities

The committees use this online form to gather requests for promotion of committee and discussion group activities. 

Speaker e-mail example

In some cases, the PDC will elect to seek out speakers to address a particular topic deemed especially pertinent by the committee. A sample email of this variety is below.


The ACRL University Libraries Section Professional Development Committee is charged with creating continuing education opportunities for academic librarians. The committee would like to host an online session on space assessment. The session would be a mix of best practices for space assessment, formal and informal methods, large and small projects, and some practical examples. While this might sound like a an overly broad set of topics, the committee intentionally set large parameters so the speakers could decide what to talk about based on their expertise and interests. The intended audience will be librarians new to space assessment who may or may not be assessment librarians. The committee has identified you as a potential speaker, and I am writing to ask about your interest in being a part of the presentation.

Ideally, the committee would like to have three speakers. The session is tentatively scheduled for XXX, with the speakers’ availability determining the date. The session can take on a variety of formats with a mix of presentation and Q&A. Although the committee encourages an interactive approach, the format should be what the speakers think will work best. The session will be online using Zoom hosted by ACRL.

Please let me know if you are interested in presenting, and if you have any questions about the program, then please do not hesitate to ask.

Program introduction script

Welcome and logistics

Welcome to [TITLE], part of a series of online discussions brought to you by the ACRL University Libraries Section’s Professional Development Committee. I am [NAME], a member of the committee. I will be moderating this program along with my colleagues, [NAME] and [NAME]. This is one of an ongoing series of online programs sponsored by our committee, and at the end of the session I will give you more information about upcoming programs.

This session is being recorded, and when the recording is ready, we will send the link to the video to everyone who registered for the program. The program today will consist of approximately 45 minutes of presentation from our panelists, followed by a question and answer session. Please post your questions in the chat box, and we will collect all of them and answer as many as we can at the end. We will post a link to a program assessment in the chat box after the Q&A session. Please take a few moments to give us your feedback on today’s program.


With those announcements out of the way, I am very happy to start today’s program. We are joined today by [X NUMBER] [DESCRIPTION]. They are:




And, without further delay, I will hand it over to our panel.



Thanks so much, to [NAMES OF PRESENTERS] as well as my comoderators from the ACRL ULS Professional Development Committee. I would also like to thank Elois Sharpe and Sophie Skinner from ACRL. Remember that we will send the link to the recording for this session when it is available.

A reminder to please fill out the assessment instrument, a link to which has been posted in the chat window.

The upcoming webinars from the ULS Professional Development include:


The committee will provide more information about these programs over the next few weeks, and we hope you will join us for those. Thanks for coming!