Making the Meeting: Resources for effective meetings

C&RL News, June 2008
Vol. 69, No.6

by Lisa Romero

Have you ever wanted useful guidance in planning and managing a meeting? How do you get the most accomplished with the least amount of effort? How do you keep committee members involved without sacrificing spontaneity and creativity?

ALA President Loriene Roy has teamed with Lisa Romero, 2007 chair of the ACRL Education and Behavioral Sciences Section (EBSS) and communications librarian at the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign, to bring you answers to the above questions and more . . . much, much more. Together, they are enacting the 2006 EBSS Action Plan through the creation of a suite of new resources to help improve meeting effectiveness for librarians around the globe.

Assisting with the project is Eli Mina, an expert on meetings and effective decision making who has advised clients from government, business and industry, academia. and the nonprofit sector and is the author of several books on meetings and decision making.

Mina’s substantial experience allows him to cut through the fluff to deliver poignant directions and truly useful ideas placed firmly in the grasp of professional librarians.

What will “Making the Meeting” deliver to ALA members?
Specifically, the following areas are addressed:
• organizing, planning, and running productive meetings
• goal setting
• role and responsibilities of the committee chair
• discussion facilitation and work-load distribution
• meeting management and delegation
• how to avoid chaotic, adversarial, and aimless meetings
• rules of order and minute-taking

“Making the Meeting” resources help ALA members improve their skills as meeting facilitators with a variety of resources aimed at helping current and future ALA members improve their meeting management skills:
• podcasts that fit the time you have
• tip sheets that keep information organized
• handouts to assist before, during, and after the meeting
• to-do lists, check lists, and other lists to use in meeting planning
• a Web site that keeps all the information organized and a few clicks away
• a list of resources to help perfect meeting skills

Many of these resources will also be available in Spanish.

Why does ALA need meeting effectiveness resources?
One of the most common functions served by leaders in the association and by librarians nationwide is their capacity to conduct productive meetings and guide individual participation in group efforts. Yet, many professional librarians avoid leadership duties and positions because they feel overwhelmed with all they are expected to do. Their anxiety is further heightened because frequently their weak facilitation skills make them unable to organize others and produce results. By improving the facilitation skills employed by the leadership of ALA, these abilities will be passed on in meetings through example and expectation to future leaders, thereby enhancing the natural process of succession within ALA and increasing the pool of capable and willing members.

ALA wants to help the whole organization by focusing on individual needs.

“Making the Meeting” resources are available online at (You must be logged in as a member of ACRL to access these resources.)

Lisa Romero is communications librarian at the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign, e-mail:

© 2008 Lisa Romero