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University Libraries Section (ULS): Executive Committee

Procedures and goals for members of the ULS Executive Committee, including the chair, vice-chair, past-chair, secretary, committee chairs, discussion group conveners, and members-at-large.

Primary responsibilities of ULS chair

  • Serve as chief officer of ULS, assisting in advancing the goals and objectives of ULS and ACRL.

  • Chair the ULS Executive Committee and coordinate the activities and initiatives of ULS via the Executive Committee and other units of ULS.

  • Communication on behalf of ULS withthe ACRL Board of Directors.

  • Represent ULS on ACRL Leadership Council and Communities of Practice Assembly.

  • Oversees the development, implementation, and reporting of the section's contribution to, and support of, the ACRL Plan for Excellence. This report is due in July after the ALA Annual Conference and consists of reports on all committee and discussion group activity for the year.

  • Become familiar with the ACRL Guide to Policies and Procedures and the ULS Bylaws.

Your role in other committees

Organizing ULS Executive Committee meetings

Reach out to the Executive Committee early in your role as chair, to make sure everyone is receiving emails, and to explain what the Executive Committee is. Some of your leaders may be surprised that they are on the Executive Committee by virtue of being a convenor or chair of another ULS group. Point them towards information about what the Executive Committee does.

Meetings are held virtually. You will convene the Executive Committee at least twice per year, typically around the time of ALA Conferences. You may hold additional meetings as needed.

Section members/chairs are encouraged to use their own institutional Zoom accounts for meetings when possible. If needed, you can request to schedule meetings using ACRL's Zoom license. See ACRL policies.

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.

In advance of meetings, the chair writes a draft agenda and sends it to the Exec e-mail list for feedback and additions.

When you've finalized the date, time, and agenda

  • Post the date, time, and agenda publicly to ALA Connect (at least ten days before the meeting) and

  • Send an electronic copy (in Word or PDF file format) of the agenda to the appropriate ACRL contact.

After the meeting, the ULS secretary should send draft meeting minutes for you to review within one week. Once you have reviewed and within one week,invite review from the entire ULS Executive Committee. Once finalized, send the meeting notes to the appropriate ACRL contact and ask the secretary to post them to ALA Connect.

Scheduling ULS committee and discussion group meetings

You are responsible for communicating with ACRL about scheduling meetings of the committees, discussion groups, and other units of ULS at or around ALA Conferences. This includes making committees and discussion groups aware of their option to meet in-person at ALA Conferences (although most will likely choose to meet virtually).

About six months before ALA LibLearnX and Annual, you will get an e-mail from ACRL about scheduling in-person meetings/events. Once you get this e-mail, send out an e-mail to the ULS Exec Connect Community to determine which groups, if any, need in-person meetings/events. Work with these groups and ACRL staff to ensure rooms are secured..

While some ACRL sections host all-committee meetings, ULS does not. We just have the ULS Executive Committee meeting and individual committee meetings, all of which are open.

Managing the ULS budget

You're responsible for managing the ULS budget. The budget can be used for any items or activities that support the achievement of ACRL and ULS. Here are some examples:

  • Honoraria for conference presenters

  • Conference program materials

  • Emerging Leader sponsorships

  • Member engagement events at ALA Annual and ALA LibLearnX (note that these must take place at the conference center and expenses must be incurred through ALA’s approved vendors/caterers)

  • ACRL scholarships

  • Membership and recruitment materials

  • Lunches or recognition gifts for conference speakers and organizers

Your assigned ACRL staff liaison is your contact regarding the budget. The ACRL Board of Directors approves the annual division budget at ALA Annual, so it can vary by year, but it is usually around $3,500 (based on the formula of $1 per member in ULS). The fiscal year is September 1–August 31, though chairs typically receive notification of their specific budget amount in December. Funds must be expended by August 15. Funds do not roll over to the next year.

More information about unit budgets can be found in ACRL's Guide to Policies and Procedures, chapter 6.25.

Tips for success

  • Spend time ensuring all members of the ACRL ULS Executive Committee are comfortable with ALA Connect. This includes ensuring that they are all receiving emails in real time from the Executive Committee Connect Group, and from their own groups’ Connect spaces. Initially, you may need to go through the manual process of emailing all members of the Executive Committee to do testing to ensure they are all receiving the emails they should.

  • Communicate often with the ACRL ULS Executive Committee, and especially with the Vice-Chair and Past Chair.  You will be working frequently with these folks, and frequent collaboration makes everyone’s role easier as you all have important knowledge to share with each other about your experiences in your roles.

  • Communicate with chairs/discussion group conveners regularly, making sure they know you are there to support them. Attend committee/discussion group meetings as appropriate. 

  • Respond to inquiries from members and nonmembers regarding ULS interests and activities.