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.
Following your appointment as chair, attend the 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 and read the committee's annual report from the previous year. 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 consider what kind of meeting schedule and format will best facilitate the work of your committee. You can either follow what has been done in the past or adjust based on what works best for your committee that year.
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.
Communication is essential: communicate early and often with committee members, not just around the ALA conferences. If a particular committee member is not responsive, ask if they would like to step down to give someone else the opportunity to participate.
Try to have meaningful projects between meetings for members to work on. At meetings, members can share their progress and get feedback and guidance.
Consider reflecting on and assessing the work of the committee to improve processes, identify priorities, and do more impactful work.
Foster future leaders within your committee. Notice which committee members are most engaged and might do well as committee chairs, encouraging them to volunteer when the opportunity arises. The ULS vice-chair may ask you for recommendations as s/he is making appointments in the spring.
The committees use this online form to gather requests for promotion of committee and discussion group activities.
To update content on your committee's LibGuide, email the current ULS Procedures Committee chair with your email address, the page name and website address, and the desired changes, and those changes will be made for you.
You are required to have two meetings per year at or around the time of ALA Conferences. You can host additional meetings between conferences, as well, if you like.
If you meet virtually between conferences, do so in whatever way is most convenient: conference call, Google Hangouts, Adobe Connect, Zoom, etc. You can also request to schedule an Adobe Connect/WebEx space through ACRL for more formal online discussions. See ACRL policies.
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.
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.
As your term is ending, get in touch with your successor and make their life easier. Provide them with this info: