ALA Chapter Councilors: First Things First

Welcome Letter from Council Secretariat and What to Expect as a Newly Elected Councilor

Information and resources are included that a Chapter Councilor may need to know immediately after being newly elected to the American Library Association (ALA) Council. See also Welcome Letter, New and Re-elected Councilors for the latest information. See also:

Chapter Councilor Answers
Select resources, including your state's annual conference, and answers to frequently asked questions what to do after being elected Chapter Councilor; substitutions, resignations, and other vacancies; and proxy voting.

| Business E-mail | Step One: First Things First | Step Two: More Duties and Responsibilities | Step Three: ALA Midwinter Meetings and Annual Conferences: What to Do | Return to ALA Chapter Councilors |

Business E-mail

You are subscribed to the Chapter Leaders business e-list,, the primary source of communication between CRO and the Chapters. All Chapter leaders, including Chapter Presidents, Presidents-Elect, Executive Directors, and chair and members of the ALA Chapter Relations Committee are subscribed to this e-list. In addition to correspondence from our office, expect weekly notices of ALA press releases from the ALA Communications and Marketing Office and occasional questions from other Chapters about Chapters-related issues. In addition, you are subscribed to the business e-list, This is a seldom used e-list, primarily active closer to ALA conferences. Its purpose, along with the ALA Connect community, ALA Chapter Councilors, is to encourage communication among Chapter Councilors. See also the reference to the Chapter Councilors Forum under ALA Midwinter Meeting and Annual Conference Events below.

Step One: First Things First

  • See ALA Chapter Councilors to help you navigate the website and obtain resources.
  • Each current or outgoing Chapter Councilor will provide the ALA Chapter Relations Office with current contact and election information. Please complete the Chapter Checklist to Provide Information to the ALA Chapter Relations Office (DOC) and send electronically to Don Wood, ALA, Chapter Relations Office, 50 East Huron Street, Chicago, IL 60611.
  • Make sure your election is reported to Lois Ann Gregory-Wood, ALA Council Secretariat ( and to the Chapter Relations Office [Michael Dowling, director ( and Don Wood, program officer (]. Contact these staff members if you have any questions or comments.
  • Refer to your Council Duties and Responsibilities for New and Returning ALA/APA Councilors sent to you by the ALA Council Secretariat. This letter includes an explanation of your duties and responsibilities and is sent by the ALA Council Secretariat on behalf of the ALA Council Orientation Committee. See also Welcome Letter, New and Re-elected Councilors for the latest information. See also Duties of ALA Councilors (PDF).
  • Consult the Select ALA Midwinter Meeting and Annual Conference Schedule for meetings related to Chapter issues and programs designed for Chapter continuing education. Many Chapter Councilors often attend the Chapter Relations Committee meetings.
  • Visit Chapter Councilors on ALA Connect Need help in how to use ALA Connect?  See ALA Connect help for all the latest instructions. If you're new to ALAConnect, here's how to join: (a) If you want to log into ALAConnect, you'll need to log in to the ALA website with your ALA credentials, update your profile, and select the option to include yourself in Connect. (b) Once you've saved this new preference, you should be able to log in to Connect using your ALA member information.
  • Chapter Councilors often are asked to be the liaisons between their Chapters and the ALA Chapter Relations Office.
  • See also The ALA and Chapters Partnership, which describes how the ALA and ALA Chapters partnership works.
  • Create your own ALA Chapter Councilor Blogs.
  • Like Chapters on Facebook, follow CRO on Twitter, find out more about more social networking resources for Chapters.
  • Complete the Chapter Checklist to Provide Information to the ALA Chapter Relations Office (DOC)
  • If you are a member of your Chapter’s Executive Board, attend all meetings faithfully. Report on ALA and Chapter relations issues at each meeting. Likewise, report Chapter concerns to ALA and the Chapter Relations Office as needed.
  • Write articles and Councilor’s reports as needed and requested for Chapter publications. Your Chapter may also require a report for your Council, Membership Meeting, etc.
  • Prepare, in a timely manner, your budget for Council-related expenses and submit it at the proper time during your Chapter’s budgeting process. Be fair about the reimbursement that you request. In turn, require that your Chapter be fair with you. Being a good Chapter Councilor requires considerable sacrifice of time, money, and patience.
  • Distribute business e-list messages appropriately. For example, distribute information about special initiatives or surveys. That is, either forward them to the proper person in your Chapter for speedy response or to appropriate individuals and or/lists in your Chapter.
  • Welcome any ALA staff members or officers when they visit your Chapter. If possible, contact them in advance of their visit and offer to assist them in any way you can.
  • Be positive in your Chapter about ALA and in ALA about your Chapter. Ensure that you, or your Chapter staff, report to ALA any pertinent dates, information and changes involving your Chapter. See Chapter Checklist for Councilors (Word).
  • Visit the ALA Chapters website, particularly the page ALA Chapter Councilors, as well as the ALA Council page.
  • Review ALA’s Constitution and Bylaws and the ALA Policy Manual, which are found on the ALA website. These are the principles by which Council operates.

Step Two: More Duties and Responsibilities

Step Three: ALA Midwinter Meetings and Annual Conferences

Prior to the ALA Midwinter Meeting and Annual Conference

At the Midwinter Meeting and Annual Conference

  • At Midwinter: Attend the scheduled Orientation for Councilors. If you have not served on Council previously, this will be very valuable for you. Try to attend even if you are a returning Councilor. You will probably learn something and your participation will greatly contribute to the value of the Orientation for the new Councilors. It is also important to meet new Chapter Councilors and welcome them. For some of your meetings to attend, see Upcoming events sponsored by the Chapter Relations Committee. For others, refer to your Welcome Letter from the Council Secretariat. See Welcome Letter, New and Re-elected Councilors for the latest information.
  • At both meetings: Attend as many Chapter Relations Committee meetings and programs as you can. The committee meetings are typically scheduled on Saturday and Monday afternoons. These will provide an opportunity for you to interact with other Councilors, to hear reports from the ALA officers and Executive Director, and to participate in issue discussions with colleagues from other Chapters. There is always much helpful information that you can take back to your Chapter Board that is presented at the CRC meetings.
  • At both meetings: Attend as many Council forums as you can. The pertinent general meetings are the Chapter Councilors’ forum and the Council forums. However, there may be other Council forums of interest. The schedule is sent via ALACOUN prior to Midwinter and Annual. Some meetings are held in the Council suite (a suite in the headquarters hotel) and the general Council forums are usually held in a meeting room in the headquarters hotel. Council forums will allow you to discuss the issues that will come before Council and give you an opportunity to ask questions about issues that you might not fully understand.
  • At both meetings: Attend Chapter Councilors Forum, held on Sunday. Talk with fellow Councilors about Council issues; use the opportunity to report ALA initiatives and information from CRC meetings.
  • At both meetings: Attend all Council and Information Sessions and the scheduled ALA Membership Meetings. Listen to all sides of every issue, participate when you have something to contribute, and vote your mind, while taking into consideration the opinions of the majority of your Chapter members on an issue.