Reviews of Association-Level Committees and Discussion Groups


The ALCTS Board of Directors, through the Organization and Bylaws Committee, is responsible for reviewing the activity and monitoring the effectiveness of ALCTS-level committees and discussion groups. Each section executive committee or its designee is responsible for reviewing section-level committees and discussion groups. The purpose of a review is to help a committee or discussion group achieve its goals and to ensure that all committees and discussion groups are fulfilling their functions. To assist in the review process, the ALCTS Organization and Bylaws Committee has formulated self-study and evaluation tools.


The ALCTS Organization and Bylaws Committee (O&B) assigns members to serve as coordinators for each committee or discussion group (hereafter "unit") under review. Coordinators serve as primary contacts between units and ALCTS O&B and guide the units through the review process by answering questions and clarifying procedures as needed.

At the beginning of the review process, the coordinator contacts the unit chair and others as appropriate, forwards the appropriate tool (the self-study review questions), and offers to meet with the unit to discuss the review process. The unit should discuss the self-study review and respond in writing. This written response should be submitted to the coordinator by the specified deadline.

At the request of the coordinator, the ALCTS Office will supply copies of the unit's reports for the past five years. These reports include information pertinent to the review process and should have been filed by each committee and discussion group chair after each annual conference and midwinter meeting.

Communication should be maintained that keeps the unit informed and enables the unit to provide its perspective at any point in the process. The chair of the unit under review may request a meeting with ALCTS O&B to discuss the review before a recommendation is made. Such a request may be made by either party in order to provide information to assist ALCTS O&B in evaluating the unit or to help the unit improve its effectiveness.

Upon conclusion of the review, ALCTS O&B will recommend action to the ALCTS Board of Directors about the continuation, alteration, or discontinuation of the unit. A copy of the recommendation will be provided to the current unit chair. The normal review process should take no more than a year for each unit.

Outline of steps in the process

  1. ALCTS Organization and Bylaws Committee (O&B) assigns a member to serve as Coordinator for the review.
  2. Coordinator contacts Chair and other as appropriate in the unit under review, answers questions, and explains procedures for the review.
  3. Coordinator forwards the appropriate self-study tool to the unit.
  4. Unit completes its written response to the questions in the self-study tool and sends it to the Coordinator.
  5. Coordinator requests the unit's past reports and attendance numbers for the period under review from the ALCTS Office.
  6. Coordinator prepares review document for O&B and forwards to the Co-Chair of O&B and the Chair of the unit under review.
  7. Communication takes place between the unit under review and the Coordinator during the review process to keep the unit informed and to enable the unit to provide its perspective.
  8. Review is scheduled for an O&B meeting and the unit is informed of the schedule.
  9. O&B completes its review and makes a recommendation.
  10. Recommendation is forwarded to the ALCTS Board of Directors and copied to the unit under review.

Self-Study Review for ALCTS-Level Committees

  1. Membership
    1. What is the size of the committee?
    2. Does it have mandated representatives from all sections and CRG?
    3. Are there counterpart section-level committees? If so, does the membership overlap?
    4. Are there any special appointment protocols (e.g., the Past President of ALCTS is always the co-chair of O&B)?
    5. Are there any consultants to the Committee? What role do they play?
    6. Are there any ex-officio members? Do they vote?
    7. Are there any liaisons from other units or organizations who regularly attend meetings of this committee?
    8. Does this committee have any members who regularly act as liaisons to other units or organizations?
  2. Organization
    1. How many meetings does the committee hold at the annual conference and midwinter meeting?
    2. Is there a committee discussion list? Is it hosted on an ALA server?
    3. What sub-committees or task forces exist?
    4. Are there any joint sub-committees or task forces with other units? If so, what are they?
    5. Are interns appointed to the committee? What role do they play?
  3. Charge
    1. When did the committee last review its charge?
    2. Does the charge adequately describe the focus of the committee? If not, what revisions would you suggest?
    3. Does the committee have a strategic plan? If so, when was it created or last revised?
    4. List any units within ALCTS that share aspects of this committee's charge.
    5. List ALA units outside ALCTS that share aspects of this committee's charge.
    6. How are the efforts of this committee coordinated with those units? If not coordinated, how might coordination be achieved?
  4. Activities
    1. What programs, preconferences, or institutes has this committee initiated, sponsored, or co-sponsored during the last five years?
    2. What publications or works in progress have emanated from this committee during the last five years?
    3. Please list any other activities or accomplishments of the committee during the last five years.
    4. What budgetary, staff, or other support did the committee require from ALCTS in the last five years?
    5. Have there been difficulties in accomplishing the committee's work? What changes would be needed to facilitate the committee's work?
    6. What other information would you like to convey about the committee?

Self-Study Review for ALCTS Discussion Groups

  1. Does the charge/function statement of the discussion group adequately describe the focus of the group? If not, what revisions would you suggest?
  2. Are you aware of any overlap in the focus of the discussion group with another discussion group within ALCTS? Within ALA?
  3. How many people attended the discussion group meetings at Midwinter? At Annual Conference? How did attendees participate?
  4. What role does the chair play? The vice-chair? Who leads the discussion?
  5. Describe how the group successfully served as a forum for discussion.
  6. Does the group have a discussion list? It is hosted on an ALA server?
  7. Describe any changes you would recommend for this discussion group.
  8. What other information would you like to convey about the discussion group?
  9. Please attach copies of any handouts or meeting announcements you have from this group.