As a committee chair, you play a crucial leadership role in ULS. It takes more time and effort to be a committee chair than a committee member, but it's also a great opportunity to take initiative, make a difference, and connect with other leaders in ACRL.
Appointments happen in the spring, and terms begin July 1 and end June 30. We suggest you only volunteer to be a committee chair if you have served on the committee before, so that you have some knowledge and experience. And be aware that you can serve no more than four consecutive years on a committee, whether as a chair or a member.
Committee chairs do important work, so thank you for serving (or thinking about serving!) ACRL and the profession in this capacity.
To best kick things off, try to attend the ALA Annual Conference right before your term as chair begins. Attend the in-person ULS Executive Committee meeting as well as your committee's meeting (whether in person or virtually). Find out what projects the ACRL Board or ULS chair are prioritizing for the coming year and start thinking about how your committee might contribute.
Talk with the outgoing chair early on. Confirm that the committee information found in this LibGuide is still accurate or if it needs updating. Find out about the following:
Soon after your term begins on July 1, get in touch with your committee members:
If subgroups exist, find out the following information:
Early on, think about your goals for the year and decide whether you plan to meet in person or virtually for ALA Midwinter and ALA Annual. You can either follow what has been done in the past or adjust based on what works best for your committee that year. The ULS chair will ask for your plans at the beginning of the year (around August).
As a committee chair, you are also a member of the ULS Executive Committee. In this role, you will participate in these activities:
To be most effective, take advantage of mentoring from previous committee chairs and ULS Executive Committee members. Be engaged by taking initiative, asking questions, and suggesting ideas.
You are required to have two meetings per year: one at ALA Annual and one at ALA Midwinter. They can be in person or virtual.
About six months before ALA Midwinter and Annual, the ULS chair will send out an e-mail asking whether you want to schedule an in-person meeting. Be responsive to the chair and the instructions in the e-mail.
If you meet virtually, schedule meetings within one month following Annual and Midwinter. You can meet in whatever way is most convenient to the committee: conference call, Google Hangouts, Adobe Connect, Skype, etc. You can also request to schedule an Adobe Connect/WebEx space through ACRL. See ACRL Virtual Meeting Guidelines.
While you are only required to have two meetings per year, try to have at least four to keep up committee activity and member engagement. Scheduling tools such as Doodle are an easy way to find a time that works for all committee members. Be sure to enable time zone support.
You are responsible for creating meeting agendas, but engage with your committee by asking members if they have any items they want to add. Assign time to each agenda item to keep you on track and list as any expected outcomes (such as decisions). As appropriate, feel free to get creative with agenda items, including interactive activities such as brainstorming or process mapping. These can help keep people engaged.
At least two weeks before the meeting, send the meeting agenda to members and post it to ALA Connect.
We are all really busy, and time is valuable! So respect the time of your committee members by following these guidelines:
Synchronous discussions, whether in person or virtual, are a great opportunity for meaningful discussion:
Meetings get a bad reputation when they lead to no progress or outcomes. Improve meeting reputation by remembering these ground rules:
Take detailed notes at the meeting (or ask a volunteer to do so) and transcribe official minutes that capture the conversation at a high level. Record who attended the meeting and who was absent. Don’t attribute specific comments to any one person. For tips, review Eli Mina’s Making the Meeting resources on the ACRL website.
Generally, the ULS chair will ask for a report at the end of the year (soon after ALA Annual). In the report, include your progress toward goals along with challenges you had in reaching your goals.
Before your term ends, review your committee's page within this LibGuide and make sure everything is still accurate. See Using LibGuides.