Chapters Council Meeting

ALA Mid-Winter Boston
Sunday, January 16, 8:30 to 11 a.m.
Westin Copley Place, Essex Northeast

Call to Order

The meeting was called to order at 8:40 a.m. by Vibiana Bowman, Chapters Council Chair. Chair Bowman noted that SIRSI had dropped its sponsorship of Chapter Council’s continental breakfast and that there would be an effort to get a new sponsor for the meeting in June.

Introductions of Chapters Council Officers and Members

Chair Bowman introduced Mark Emmons, (Vice-Chair--Chair-Elect), Locke Morrisey, (Immediate Past Chair) and Wendy Starkweather (Secretary). Councilors in attendance then introduced themselves.

Reading and Approval of Minutes from Annual 2004

Starkweather noted that there had been three minor corrections of an editorial nature after which the minutes were approved as amended. (Motion: Kaufmann; Second: Malone)

Presidential Forum

Dawn Thistle, President Forum Chair, encouraged members to attend the forum to hear ACRL Presidential candidates Pam Snelson and Randy Burke Hensley present their positions. She also urged members to thank EBSCO for sponsoring the post-forum lunch. Members thanked Thistle and also acknowledged the help provided by Megan Bielefeld, ACRL Program Coordinator.

ACRL Candidate Remarks

Candidates for Vice President/President Elect offered brief remarks. Pam Snelson noted the importance of a symbiotic relationship between ACRL national and the chapters and emphasized that there were lots of areas for working together. Randy Burke Hensley highlighted fact that the ACRL chapters are essential for the enactment of ACRL’s overall plans. He described his four expectations: 1. do no harm 2. serve as an inspiration 3. emphasize student learning, and 4) support the ACRL strategic plan.

Chapter reports

While awaiting the arrival of ACRL officers and candidates, Chair Bowman opened the floor to Chapter Reports. Rita Bullard (Michigan) reported on Spring Council; Bill Nelson (Georgia) highlighted the multiple academic programs at their state conference including the opportunity for academic librarians to formally present papers at the conference; Ann Watson (Ohio) reported on their 30th Fall Conference and noted that a new state librarian had been hired who will emphasize advocacy; the Florida councilor reported on the October conference and its theme of "Change" – their members are working on ways to attract new members especially from the younger generation of librarians; Nebraska reported on their October conference; Illinois noted that they are encouraging consortia combinations; Western New York chapter Ilona Middleton (Western New York/Ontario) emphasized her chapter’s focus this year on Info commons, virtual reference 24/7 Ask Us services and outcomes assessment; Karen Hopkins (Texas) noted that their chapter meets annually with the full Texas association; Locke Morrisey (California) noted that the chapter did online elections in 2004 and Carl Bengston reported on the Effective Practices Clearinghouse; New Jersey councilors noted that they were working on increasing membership of academic librarians in their chapter and trying to counter the belief that the state association is only for public libraries – emphasis is on the need to work together to advocate for libraries- the chapter also provided a workshop on poster sessions for librarians; the Maryland councilor reported that the instruction section was coming back into the org; Oregon is partnering with Washington on library school student scholarships and also encouraging chapter membership; Colleen Anderson (New England) reported on their very active chapter that has eight interest groups that also hold their own meetings. Eastern New York, Colorado, Wisconsin, Indiana and Iowa councilors also gave brief highlights from their chapters. Full reports can be found in the Winter 2004 issue of the ACRL Chapter Topics newsletter.

Introduction and Remarks from ACRL President and Administrators

Megan Bielefeld provided councilors with several administrative updates, including the most recent chapter officer listing. She also asked councilors to let her know about their respective 2005 conference programs so that she’ll be able to send ACRL info out for the conference. She also requested copies of each chapter’s most recent bylaws and she noted that the annual report form will be revised to incorporate elements of strategic plan. The Annual Chapter reports are due by August 15 of each year.

Mary Ellen Davis, Executive Director of ACRL, emphasized the importance of chapter support to ACRL and noted that during the national conference in the spring there would be a virtual component that will allow for real opportunities for interaction with librarians on tight budgets who cannot travel to the conference. She also mentioned the number of online learning opportunities that ACRL is promoting and encouraged feed-back from members.

Frances Maloy, ACRL President, provided councilors with some background on the dues increase proposal, noting in particular that several sources of revenue that ACRL has counted on in the past have dried up. She also noted that ALA does not give ACRL an allocation and that ACRL is more like a business working on a commission. She credited the Executive Director and the ACRL office with doing remarkably well given the fact that income was no longer keeping up with expenses. She noted that member dues are ACRL’s primary source of income. ACRL’s C&RL News is the cash cow that is losing revenue and the operating reserves are being depleted on an annual basis. She indicated that the last dues increase was voted in 1989 and took effect in 1991 and strongly urged chapter councilors to advocate for the increase among our members.

Camila Alire, ACRL President-Elect and National Conference Chair, reported on conference preparations including the strong competition in the area of contributed papers with many more contributed than could be accepted. She noted that the same phenomenon was occurring with poster session submissions. She sees this competition as a good sign of overall interest in the conference and the active involvement of ACRL members. She also noted that there were well over 500 registrants to date and that exhibits sales were going very well. She spoke about the quality of the programs and highlighted the all-conference events and tours and indicated that there would be a daily newspaper similar to ALA Cognotes that would be provided during the Conference.

Bob Rose, Chair of National Conference Volunteers, stated that volunteers were still needed for the ACRL conference (ACRL Leads listserve will request volunteers) and indicated that members could forward their names to our chapter members if they wished. He described the types of jobs available for the volunteers – provide handouts at programs, serve as ushers or ticket takers; offer assistance at the internet café or the resume reviewing service. Members interested in helping with the resume reviewing service need to contact Bob directly and give him their qualifications.

Overview of the Relationship between National and Chapters

Chair Bowman led a discussion of the topic focusing on services offered by national, the financial structure of the association, national membership issues and the role of chapter officers. Bowman introduced the topic by stating how important the chapters are to the organization of ACRL, describing them as its "nuts and bolts". She noted that librarians must "support what we believe in" and play a vanguard role for ALA and ACRL. She observed that these organizations advocate the values of the profession and spoke about the importance of local involvement.

The topic of the dues increase was also raised and its relevance to the conversation of the relationships of the chapters. It was noted that the ACRL Board will be voting on whether a dues increase will be on the ballot. If it is on the ballot and does not pass, Davis noted that there will have to be significant changes to the ACRL operations since they have already implemented all of the efficiencies possible under the current structure. Davis further noted that ACRL expects that there will be some attrition if a dues increase passes, perhaps 10%. Discussion among councilors focused on the importance of mentoring young librarians, many of whom are not interested in having a lifetime commitment to the organizations as some other generations have had. The group also discussed other issues such as the cost of conferences and the general dues structure. It was also mentioned that there can be confusion with regard to dues owed to state organization and state ACRL chapter. Chapter members will get a dues FAQ from Megan for distribution to members.

A discussion of chapters and affiliation also ensued and it was noted that chapters have to apply to ACRL for chapter affiliation and that several chapters are not in full compliance. The question was raised about what ACRL should do about groups that don’t comply. It was suggested that it might help to have time set aside that would be mandatory for chapter councilors to learn what their roles and obligations are with regard to ACRL. For example it is very important to know that it is a requirement that officers in state chapters must be ACRL National members. This National membership requirement is stated in ACRL Bylaws and in most Chapter Bylaws. However, there are 12 Chapters whose bylaws do not mention the National membership requirement. These 12 Chapters must amend their bylaws. This also raises the question of what ACRL should do about groups that don’t comply with this requirement.

Final Announcements

Mark Emmons described the positions of Chapter Chair-Elect and Secretary and asked councilors who were interested in serving as an officer to let him know. He also asked for volunteers to serve on a committee to nominate Director-at-Large Candidates for ACRL Executive Board or to stand for election to the Director-at-Large position on the Board. Emmons reminded the group of the Dine-around event; Linda Kopecky asked councilors to send any updates and corrections to her for the chapters council listserv and Debbie Malone reminded people to submit their chapter information for Chapter Topics by the May deadline. An Excellence in Academic Libraries Award has been established and there is a cash prize associated with it. More information can be found from a link on the ACRL page. Locke Morrisey noted that Chair Bowman had been identified as one of the professions’ "movers and shakers" by Library Journal.

Chapter Council Action Items Pending for Annual

  • Review of Chapters Council Mission Statement and Strategic Goals
  • Chapters Councils goals in relation to ACRL’s strategic plan
  • Mega-issues & Top 7 issues for strategic planning considerations
  • Review of By-laws that pertain to Chapters Council
  • Chapters Council role as advocate within ACRL National

The meeting adjourned at 11:15 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Wendy Starkweather
Chapters Council Secretary
Nevada Chapter Representative