ALA and Council Committee Intern Guidelines


The internship program began its two-year trial period in 1988.  This program, initiated by the ALA Membership Committee*, was designed to provide an avenue for interested members to become more easily involved in ALA activities and to introduce new people and ideas to ALA committee discussions and decision-making. Since that time, the program has evolved and become a valued link for members with less ALA experience to become familiar with the governance of the Association.  The hope is that the experience gained by the interns will aid their official appointment on an association committee, and provide them with valuable association leadership experience.

These guidelines are designed to: (1) clarify the role of the intern on the committee and the process by which an intern is appointed; and (2) suggest responsibilities for intern appointments, such as duties on the committee, voting status, etc.

What is the ALA Intern Program? The ALA Intern Program provides an opportunity for newer library workers to become familiar with ALA structure, in particular its committees; to network with peers and library leaders from around the country; and to participate in a service learning activity. The ALA Intern Program offers the possibility to connect, to learn, to succeed, to advance, and to lead.

Who can be appointed as an intern? The Intern Program is open to any ALA member who has never been appointed to a position on a Committee of the Association or a Committee of Council, nor held an elected office within the American Library Association or any unit of the Association (including its Divisions, Round Tables, etc.).  Whenever possible, the President-Elect should appoint recent or previously less involved members as an intern to provide them with an opportunity to become more involved in the work and organization of ALA.

Who appoints interns? Interns are appointed by the ALA President-Elect. The President –Elect solicits suggestions from throughout the association as part of the overall committee volunteer and appointment process. Names of possible interns can also be submitted to the ALA President-Elect by individuals, committee chairs, and others. 

Which committees can have interns? ALA and Council committees are assigned up to two interns each with alternating terms.  The intern positions are considered additional membership slots in the committee.

Terms of appointment. Each intern serves for a period of two years. After a two-year period, the intern should not be appointed to another ALA committee as an intern.  Successful interns should be considered by the ALA President-Elect as candidates for appointment as members of an ALA committee. Service as an intern is not counted in accumulating the four years of maximum consecutive served on a committee.

Duties. The committee chair will determine the most appropriate duties for the intern on a specific committee, depending in large part on the nature of the work of a particular committee. The primary duty should be, however, to become as knowledgeable of ALA processes as possible, such as how to submit a resolution, how to make a report to ALA Council or other Board, as well as to learn about the inner workings of the Association, its Divisions, its Round Tables, and its Committees. Some suggestions for intern duties include:

  • Help with planning and presenting programs and events.
  • Perform administrative duties to facilitate committee/association processes.
  • Assist the ALA staff liaison and/or the committee chair in posting announcements to ALA Connect and general committee correspondence.
  • Write the committee report, with input from committee chair.

All interns are expected to participate in the work of the committee to which they are appointed.

Voting.   Interns are not considered to be regularly appointed members of the committee, but are eligible to vote. 

Travel. If the committee meets face to face outside of the Midwinter Meeting and the Annual Conference, the committee will determine if the intern should attend the meeting, and if funding for travel is available. 

Attendance at Meetings. Interns are expected to participate in all virtual and in-person committee meetings.

 * During the 2009 Midwinter Meeting, Council voted to transfer responsibility for the program from the Membership Committee to the Training, Orientation & Leadership Development (TOLD) Committee. 

 **As amended by the ALA Council, Monday, June 27, 2011