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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 a Google Form.
  • Completed proposals should be forwarded to the entire committee for evaluation using the proposal evaluation rubric (under construction).

Organize and execute programs

  • The chair handles scheduling of programs, and develops drafts for PR materials with the presenters.

  • 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 and concludes the program.

  • A second committee member serves as the question moderator. The question moderator also assists with each presentation and serves as back-up in case the primary contact has an emergency or conflict. The question moderator collates questions in the presentation, acknowledging receipt of the question via chat, and then reads them out to presenters at the appropriate time.

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 schedules preparatory session and online presentation with ACRL and shares general information about how the online presentation will work with presenters. Provides presenters with document outlining best practices for online presentations. Drafts PR materials with presenters. Chair identifies the committee contact and question moderator for the presentation; committee contact and question moderator read the details on organizing and executing programs.
  2. 6 weeks in advance: Chair finalizes PR materials with presenters. Chair introduces the committee contact and question moderator to presenters, who take over correspondence with presenters at that point. Chair notifies Elois Sharpe at ACRL which committee members are participate so that they may receive Zoom panelist links for the presentation.
  3. 4 weeks in advance: Committee contact coordinates with the entire committee to  begin advertising the presentation through professional listservs and the ACRL ULS Communications Committee. 
  4. 1 - 2 weeks in advance: Preparatory session. Committee contact convenes a Zoom meeting to discuss the logistics of the presentation, answer questions from presenters, etc. Remind presenters of best practices for online presentations.  Committee contact and question moderator create a Google Doc with established scripts for introduction and closing, and space to collate questions received from the audience. Chair creates evaluation link and provides it to the committee contact. Presenters and committee members will enter the prep session via the panelist link sent to each individual from ACRL. The same link is used to enter the presentation itself.
  5. Day of the event: Committee contact emails Elois Sharpe  (or other designated ACRL contact) PRIOR to the online presentation and ask that she does not send out the video recording to registrants until she receives the evaluation link, slides, and/or list of links extracted from the chat box from the committee. Presentation occurs. Presenters and committee members will enter the presentation via the panelist link sent to each individual from ACRL.
  6. 1 day after the event: Primary contact sends thank you note to the presenters.
  7. 3 days (max) after the event: Question moderator collates salient links from chat window (if needed). Links, slides (with permission of the presenter), and the evaluation link are sent to Elois Sharp at ACRL to be distributed to registrants.
  8.  2 weeks after the event: Chair sends results of the evaluation to presenters, with final thanks. 

Initial Contact with Presenters, Scheduling, and Drafting PR (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.

The chair or vice-chair will schedule the program AND a preparatory 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 committee 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 preparatory session (this does NOT require the ACRL Zoom Room; just a committee member's Zoom option), and another can be used for the actual presentation.
  • You'll receive booking confirmation, including information on how to register for the sessions. Presenters and committee members DO NOT NEED to register for the session; they will received individualized links as panelists.
  • The primary contact can create a Zoom meeting using their own institution's license for the preparatory session. If the primary contact does not have access to Zoom through their institution, committee chairs can create a Zoom meeting for the preparatory session.
  • It is recommended that the chair send a calendar invitation to the presenters for both the preparatory session and the presentation. For the preparatory session, include the Zoom information the primary contact created using their institution's Zoom subscription. For the actual presentation, we will use ACRL's Zoom webinar license.  In the notes section of the calendar invitation for the presentation, include the following: "Please enter the presentation  with the panelist link you received from ACRL. The subject line of the email should be: "Panelist for [Insert first few words of presentation title]...."

The chair or vice-chair will develop marketing/public relations materials to advertise the session:

  • After dates have been selected for both the prep session and presentation, develop PR for the session by making a copy of the following template and based on the presenters' original proposal.
  • After completing the PR document, share it with Elois Sharple at ACRL ( to more fully populate the registration page for the program.
  • Speakers must sign an agreement with ACRL to allow the program to be recorded. Elois Sharpe will provide the details and forms.

The chair or vice-chair will appoint the committee contact and question moderator for the presentation.

  • Both the committee contact and the question moderator must be available to attend both the preparatory session and the presentation.
  • The committee contact must have served as a question moderator in the past.
  • The question moderator need not have any prior experience.
  • Add the committee contact and the question moderator to the calendar invitations for these sessions.
  • Email Elois Sharpe at ACRL ( to notify her of who the ACRL ULD PDC committee members are who will be acting as committee contact and question moderator, asking that they be sent panelist links to be used for entering both the preparatory session and the presentation itself.

Committee Contact Connecting with Presenters (Committee Contact)

Timeline: 6 weeks in advance (minimum)

  • The chair/vice-chair should reach out to introduce the presenters to their committee contact and question moderator. 
  • The primary contact should then remind the presenters of the presentation length, the best practices for online presentations, and remind them of the dates and times for their preparatory session and presentation. Alert them that you will soon share more information about the preparatory session (see below).
  • Offer to answer any questions they have.
  • NOTE: From this point forward, the committee contact and question moderator should always courtesy copy the chair or vice-chair on communications with presenters.

Publicizing the presentation (Committee Contact)

Timeline: 4 weeks in advance

  • Engage in one final review of the PR materials for typographical errors.
  • Work with the ACRL ULS 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 committee contact will provide the completed template to other committee members to be used as the body of emails. It is helpful to establish a plan for who will send email to which listservs, and when. Typically, the committee uses a Google spreadsheet to manage this process.

The Preparatory Session (Committee Contact and Question Moderator)

Timeline: 1-2 weeks in advance

  • The committee contact, question moderator, and the presenters will all enter the preparatory session using the information provided by committee contact based on their institution's Zoom subscription.
  • The committee contact will explain how the presentation will work on the day of of the presentation, including the fact that an ACRL staff member will be present.
  • 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 and/or manage the session, etc. This can be done via email, during the preparatory session, or during a separately scheduled call/meeting, depending on the presenters' preferences.
  • By the preparatory session, the committee contact and the question moderator 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.
  • During the preparatory session, make sure you learn the correct pronunciation for the presenters' names.

The Online Presentation (Committee Contact and Question Moderator)

Timeline: 1 week in advance, and day of the presentation

  • 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 committee contact should ask the chair or vice-chair to create the evaluation link for the presentation, and provide the link to the committee contact. 
  • The committee contact, question moderator, and the presenters will all enter the preparatory session via the panelist link they received from ACRL. The room is typically opened 15 minutes in advance. The ACRL contact should designate the Committee Contact for the presentation as a co-host.
  • The committee contact performs introductions, preferably through this script. We recommend creating a Google Doc to be shared with the primary contact, the question moderator, and the chair that includes the opening and closing scripts, the evaluation 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 question moderator for the presentation. 
  • Provide any URLs mentioned in the slides (as necessary, especially for polling). This is usually handled by the question moderator for the presentation, or by the presenters themselves.
  • Encourage participants to complete the evaluation form, provided by the chair or vice-chair to the primary contact prior to the session.
  • The link to the evaluation should be provided in the chat box several times at the end of the program.

Presenter Acknowledgement and Distribution of Recording (Committee Contact)

Timeline: 1-3 days after the event

  • 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, ACRL will send out the recording and supplemental documentation to all registrants. They will also make sure the video is loaded on the ACRL YouTube Channel.

Evaluation Results (Committee Contact)

Timeline: 2 weeks after the event

  • Committee contact sends results of the evaluation to presenters, with final thanks. 

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, 
    • Discuss them during the prep 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.



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.