Annual Letter– New & Re-Elected Councilors

April 2019                                                                                      

Dear New and Re-Elected Councilors,

On behalf of the members of the ALA Council Orientation Committee, welcome to the ALA and ALA/Allied Professional Association (APA) Council! We wish you a productive and professionally satisfying experience. We hope the following information will be helpful to you for the upcoming Annual Conference in Washington, DC. Please let us know if you have any questions: Dora Ho, Council Orientation Committee Chair,, or Marsha P. Burgess, Council Secretariat,

The ALA Council is the governing body of ALA. It delegates authority to the divisions of the Association to plan and carry out programs and activities in accordance with policy establish by Council. Council determines all policies of the Association and its decisions are biding unless set aside by the membership (ALA Bylaws Article VI, Section 4 (c).

There are 186 Council members: 100 Councilors-at-Large; 53 Chapter Councilors; 11 Division Councilors; 12 Executive Board members, and 10 Round Table Councilors. Any personal member of the Association can be elected to the ALA Council. The officers of Council are the ALA president, the ALA president-elect and the ALA executive director.


  1. To annually elect a Council Committee on Committees (COC) upon nomination by the President-Elect and the Committee on Committees (floor nominations are also accepted).  The COC works with the president-elect to appoint members to Council and ALA committees and develop slates of Council nominees for Executive Board, COO, PBA, etc. (For detailed information on Committees, please see Bylaws, Article VIII.)
  2. To review the actions of the Executive Board; receive the minutes of all Executive Board meetings; receive reports from the President for the Executive Board, from the Executive Director for the Headquarters staff and from the Treasurer, the division presidents, and BARC on the projected budget for the ensuing year.  By directive also receive at each Midwinter and Annual meeting a report from the Freedom to Read Foundation, the Endowment Trustees, and the Policy Monitoring Committee.
  3. To receive the views of the Resolutions Committee about all resolutions presented to Council from Councilors, ALA units, and the Membership.
  4. To originate and act on all proposed amendments to the Constitution and Bylaws before these are submitted to the membership for vote.
  5. To establish dues for chapter, organization and corporate ALA members upon recommendation of the Executive Board.
  6. To receive the report of the ALA Nominating Committee and Committee on Committees.
  7. To act on petitions from national organizations requesting affiliation with the Association.
  8. To act on resolutions referred by the Membership.
  9. To review at each meeting the information on implementation of actions from previous meetings.
  10. To establish state, provincial, regional and territorial library associations as ALA chapters as provided in the Bylaws.
  11. To establish a division or discontinue divisions or round tables.
  12. To establish or discontinue committees and to determine their composition, function and size as the Association’s needs require.
  13. To determine all Association policies; may delegate responsibility to speak for the Association within assigned fields of responsibility in accordance with general Council policies.
  14. To authorize changes, additions, and deletions in the ALA Policy Manual upon recommendation of the Policy Monitoring Committee following.

Upon your election to the ALA Council, you also serve as a member of the ALA-Allied Professional Association [ALA-APA] Council.  The ALA-APA Council is the governing body of the ALA-APA and determines all policies of the ALA-APA.  To learn more about the ALA/APA, please visit the ALA/APA Web site at If you have more questions about the ALA-APA, please contact Lorelle Swader, ALA-APA director, at

The following duties/responsibilities are specifically delegated to the Executive Board by the ALA Constitution and Bylaws: (1) The Executive Board shall report on its activities no later than the next meeting of the Council; (2) The Executive Board shall act for the Council in the administration of established policies and programs; and (3) The Executive Board shall make recommendations to Council with respect to matters of policy, programs, and operations.

The ALA Council meets during BOTH the Midwinter Meeting and the Annual Conference.  The ALA-APA Council only meets during the Midwinter Meeting.  All councilors are expected to attend each of the scheduled ALA and ALA/APA COUNCIL meetings.  When making your travel plans for ALA meetings, please note that the last ALA Council meeting at the Midwinter Meeting adjourns on Tuesday at 11:30 am and the last Council meeting at the Annual Conference adjourns at 9:45 am.  (This allows Councilors at opportunity to attend the ALA Closing General Session, which begins at 10:00 am.) All Councilors are expected to attend the full Council meeting on these Tuesdays.

If you are unable to attend Council or must leave early, please notify Marsha P. Burgess,, in writing of your absence/departure. Failure to do so will result in an unexcused absence in your official voting record, which is posted on the ALA website.

A schedule of upcoming ALA conferences is available at:

For newly elected Councilors, though your term doesn't begin until the close of Annual Conference, please familiarize yourself with ALA’s Mission, Strategic Plan, Core Values, the ALA Policy Manual, Constitution and Bylaws and past Council documents and actions, all of which are available on the ALA Council web page at

You have been subscribed to the ALA and ALA and APA Council electronic discussion lists and you should be receiving messages from the lists.  If you change your email address, please alert Marsha P. Burgess so she can re-subscribe you to the lists under your new email address. The addresses for the ALA and APA e-list are: and

Please note that the ALA and ALA/APA Council electronic discussion lists are informal communication tools that may be used for the exchange of information as well as for posting of ALA and ALA/APA Council documents.  The lists also have been made available to ALA members and members of the press on a read-only basis.   Communications on the lists are not confidential.  ALA does not review communications prior to posting and is not responsible for the content of communications, other than those that are specifically authorized and posted by ALA and ALA/APA staff.

Chapter Councilors are subscribed to the ALA Chapter Councilors e-list, and the Chapter Leaders e-list, If you change your email address, please contact Michael Dowling in the ALA Chapter Relations Office, so they can re-subscribe you to the lists under your new email address.  For responsibilities specific to Chapter Councilors, please visit For a selection of Chapter-related events at the Midwinter Meeting and Annual Conference, please visit

You will also be a member of the ALA Council group on ALA Connect, which is a centralized space where official ALA groups can work together online.  Every active ALA working group has a space in Connect automatically.  Both ALA groups and ALA communities may use the same types of tools, including discussions, online documents, and a file repository.

Please email recent photograph of yourself to Marsha P. Burgess so she can place it next to your name on the official Council roster on the ALA website.  The photos are intended to increase the visibility and recognition among the Council members and the ALA membership.  The Council roster is available at  

Because attendance at both Midwinter and Annual Conferences is REQUIRED for all Councilors, you may want to use the bundled conference registration option.  If you have any questions about conference housing or registration, please contact Alicia Babcock at 1-800-545-2433, Ext. 3229 or  Please tell her that you are an ALA Councilor in order to take advantage of the priority hotel room blocks set aside for Councilors.

Council Orientation programs are normally scheduled for Saturday mornings at the Midwinter and Annual Conferences.  Further information about the upcoming program at the Annual Conference will be emailed to you by Dora Ho, Chair of the Council Orientation Committee.

Based on Council’s action at the 2014 Annual Conference, all Council documents will be posted to the Council page on the ALA Connect site throughout each Midwinter and Annual Conference.  Council Secretariat Marsha P. Burgess will send an email to the Council’s e-list ( alerting Councilors when documents have been posted.  Be sure to check your emails prior to coming to each Council meeting.

Rather than relying solely on accessing Council documents through ALA Connect during the Council meetings, it is recommended you download Council documents to your device or tablet prior to coming to each Council meeting.  For the convenience of non-Councilors, a small number of printed Council documents will be available at the Council Document pick-up table in the Council Chambers.

At each Midwinter Meeting and Annual Conference, Council is asked to "take action" on a variety of issues. Council documents will be available on ALA Connect before/during/after the conference. Marsha Burgess will be updating documents on the Council e-list and on ALA Connect in real time throughout the Conferences. Limited number of print documents will also be on the pick-up table in the Council room prior to the beginning of each Council meeting.

Action and documents from the Midwinter and the Annual Conference are always posted on the ALA and ALA-APA Council Web pages following each Midwinter and Annual Conference.

In addition to voice and hand votes, you are required to record your votes on an official paper voting card.  This voting card will be distributed to each Councilor at the beginning of each Council meeting.  There will be a different color card for each Council meeting.  These voting cards will be collected just before the adjournment of each of meeting.  Please make sure you have signed your voting card before it is collected.  Voting cards without names will be voided.  If you must leave before adjournment, please take your voting card to Marsha,  who will be stationed at the projectionist table in the Council room. After each Midwinter and Annual Conference, all votes will be tallied and the results will be posted at

The Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised 11th Edition is ALA’s official parliamentary authority.

The parlor of a hospitality suite will be reserved for use by Councilors in one of the headquarters hotels during the Midwinter Meeting and Annual Conference. The Council Suite is available solely for the use of the members of the ALA Council for any purpose directly related to your duties as an ALA Councilor.  Councilors may use the Suite’s parlor to meet with other ALA Councilors, ALA members, ALA staff or with representatives from ALA chapters, committees or units. To reserve the suite for a meeting, please contact Dora Ho, Council Orientation Committee Chair, at . An email reminder will go out on the Council list before each conference providing the location of the Council Suite and the hours during which it is available for your use.

Informal Council meetings called Council Forums are regularly scheduled at each Midwinter Meeting and Annual Conference.  Council Forums provide opportunities to discuss issues under consideration by Council, to hear various points of view and to share your own views, and to have your questions answered in a more informal setting than that of Council meetings.  The forums are also an excellent way to get to know your colleagues better and to network with them.


  • A pen to mark and sign your official paper voting card
  • Business cards to share with your Council colleagues
  • Snacks and/or beverages
  • Tablet, laptop or handheld device and power cord(s)

You must officially register for each Midwinter Meeting and Annual Conference and wear your conference registration badge and Council ribbon at all Council meetings. You may pick up your Council ribbon at the ALA badge pick-up area or get one from Marsha at one of the Council meetings.  Special badges denoting Chapter Councilors are also available at the badge pick-up area.

The Rules outlined below govern the conduct of all Council meetings.  Rules for Council meetings are adopted at the beginning of the first meeting of Council at the Midwinter Meeting and Annual Conference and amendments to the Rules may be proposed and voted upon at that time.  Any Rule may be suspended by general consent if there is no objection, or by a two-thirds vote of the Council. A copy of the Rules will be provided at Council meetings.

Councilors wishing to address the presiding officer  must go to a numbered microphone, wait to be recognized, and then give proper identification , e.g., name and type of Councilor (division councilor, chapter councilor, or councilor-at-large). An explanation of the lights system used for timing speakers when addressing the floor will be explained more fully at Council Orientation Sessions.

Non-Councilors may be recognized to speak at the discretion of the presiding officer or by general consent at any Council meeting.

Any ALA member may speak at the Council/Executive Board/Membership Information Meeting without having to seek Council’s approval.

Motion forms will be available at all meetings. Motion forms must be completed for all motions. For your convenience, they are available in two ways. Paper format at the end of your table and electronically.

Motion forms submitted by paper must be printed legibly, signed by the move and the seconder. After your motion form has been completed, the mover must deliver it to the projectionist. The mover will then go to a microphone to introduce the motion when called upon by the presiding officer.

Motion forms submitted electronically must be completed as outlined at:

After e-motion form has been completed, the mover must notify the projectionist Holly Robison at ( After processing the e-motion form, the projectionist will let the mover know when the motion is ready for presentation. The mover will then go to a microphone to introduce the motion when called upon by the presiding offer.

Any ALA Committee Chair reporting recommendations to the Council may move any action item in the report.

All resolutions must be submitted 24 hours prior to presentation at Council meetings to allow time for reproduction and distribution.  (If there are fewer than 24 hours between the adjournment of Council II and Council III’s convening hour, resolutions may be submitted within 90 minutes following adjournment of Council II.  No resolutions, except those from ALA and Council committees, may be accepted for inclusion on the agenda until reviewed by the Council Resolutions Committee.

A voting member of Council must submit all resolutions, except memorial resolutions, tributes and testimonials.

Nothing shall be read to Council that Councilors have already received in writing.  Only the “resolved” clauses of a resolution shall be read.

The same rule applies when information reports are received by Council (i.e., the reports are not read aloud by the presenter). Exceptions to this rule occur upon the objection of two or more Councilors.

A copy of the Guidelines for the Preparation of Council Resolutions is available at Also, in accordance with ALA Policy A.4.2.3, Council resolutions may be electronically submitted to the Resolutions Committee chair.

The Resolutions Committee has created a series of online training videos for all types of resolution writing and have posted those videos for your review at:

If you have any questions or comments about the resolution process, please send them to:

The Council Chamber is arranged in a classroom fashion.  Councilors are required to sit in the front portion of the room at tables and chairs reserved for the exclusive use of Councilors.  There is no pre-assigned seating. The room is very large and is sometimes too hot or too cold--so be prepared by wearing layers and bringing a jacket, sweater, shawl, etc.  Electrical outlets are generally available on the tables reserved for use by Councilors.

The Council Chamber is equipped with two overhead screens; eight floor microphones; a captionist for people who are deaf or hard of hearing; a projectionist; and recycling bins.  The ALA president, president-elect, parliamentarian, executive director, and one staff person will be seated on a raised platform at the front of the room.

ALA members who are not members of Council may attend Council meetings by showing either a valid ALA membership card or a conference registration badge. ALA members who are not Councilors are seated in an observers’ section in the Council chamber.

There are regular rest breaks for all Council meetings that are scheduled for two hours or more.  Councilors may stand up to stretch or walk around during an ongoing debate.


If there is anything else you need or if you have any questions, please feel free to contact Dora Ho, Council Orientation Committee chair, ( or Marsha P. Burgess ( or 1/800-545-2433, Ext. 4230.

See you in Washington!

ALA Council Orientation Committee

Dora Ho, chair

Nicholas Buron

Roberto Delgadillo

Aaron Dobbs

Jamie Mason

Antoinette Negro

Tamika Barnes, ALA Executive Board Liaison

Marsha P. Burgess, ALA Staff Liaison



Councilors, be sure your schedule includes the following events. (A = imperative; B=good to attend; C=nice if you can)

Friday, 6/21

  • ALA Opening General Session, 4:00-5:15 pm, TBA (C)
  • Exhibits “Virtual Ribbon Cutting, 5:15 pm, TBA (C)

Saturday, 6/22

  • ALA Council Orientation Session for New and Reelected Councilors, 8:00-11:00 am, Washington Convention Center, Ballroom A  (A)
  • ALA Council/Executive Board/Membership Information Session, 3:00-4:30 pm, Washington Convention Center, Ballroom A (A)
  • ALA Council Forum I, 5:30-6:30 pm, Washington Convention Center, Ballroom A (B)

Sunday, 6/23

  • ALA Council I, 8:00-11:00 am, Washington Convention Center, Ballroom A (A)
  • ALA Awards Ceremony and President's Program  3:00-5:30 pm, Washington Convention Center, Ballroom B-C (C)
  • ALA Council Forum II, 5:30-6:30 pm, Washington Convention Center, Ballroom A (B)

Monday, 6/24

  • ALA Council II, 8:30 -11:30 am, Washington Convention Center, Ballroom A (A)
  • ALA Council Forum III, 5:30-6:30 pm, Washington Convention Center, Ballroom A (B)

Tuesday, 6/25

  • ALA Council III, 7:45-9:45 am, Washington Convention Center, Ballroom A (A)
  • ALA Closing General Session (featuring Mo Rocca) 10:00-11:30 am, Washington Convention Center, Ballroom B-C (C)