Communicating

Effective communication of the work of ALCTS is important to ensuring that members and the library community has the information they need. ALCTS' work has a direct impact on libraries at all levels and of all types.

ALCTS leaders have an obligation to communicate in an open and responsive manner. Communicating the business, activities, and work of ALCTS is done through a variety of vehicles: the planning database, minutes, annual reports, meeting reports, and more.

This communication creates a historical record for ALCTS, which is maintained by the Office.

Reports

ALCTS Annual and Conference Reports
Annual reports are the official record of the organization including important actions, projects, and programs.

Conference reports are the record of activity of ALCTS groups at Midwinter and Annual Conference.

The President of ALCTS writes an annual report of the division's activities. This report is sent to the Executive Director and the ALA Office of Governance in May of each year. The President's annual report is a statement of significant developments and achievements in ALCTS over the past year. The President gives a brief report during the Member Meeting prior to the Awards Ceremony at Annual Conference. The President's annual report is published in the October issue of Library Resources & Technical Services.

The Executive Director reports the work of the office at both the Midwinter Meeting and Annual Conference.

The Section and CRG chairs submit annual reports on the activities of the sections and CRG. These reports are sent to the President and the Executive Director. These annual reports are posted to the appropriate Web page.

Reporting Midwinter and Annual Conference
All ALCTS groups (committees, task forces, discussion groups, and interest groups) submit reports of their meetings at Midwinter and Annual Conference. Submission forms are available on the ALCTS Web site. They are to be submitted to the office and to the editor of the ALCTS Newsletter Online for publication in the February (for Midwinter) and August (for Annual Conference) issues. These reports (not minutes) describe the highlights of the meetings, outstanding happenings, actions taken, decisions made, plans for future projects, and in the case of Interest Groups and Discussion Groups, a summary of the discussion and presentations, if applicable.

Representative and Liaison Reports
Representatives and liaisons appointed to represent ALCTS to other organizations submit an annual report of the activities of the organization to which they are appointed. This report is submitted to the ALCTS office and the a summary of the report is submitted to the editor of the ALCTS Newsletter Online for publication in the August issue. Submission forms are available on the ALCTS Web site.

IFLA representatives submit a report on the activities at IFLA for the group to which they have been appointed to the office, the ALA International Relations Office and to the editor of the ALCTS Newsletter Online for publication in the October issue.

Minutes

Minutes constitute the official record of the proceedings of a meeting. Minutes are a concise, accurate, and an extended summary of the meeting. Minutes are not a verbatim account of a meeting. Minutes include important discussion points and actions taken. Minutes record the attendance at the meeting. Minutes reflect carefully and accurately each motion made and its result.

Association
The ALCTS office takes minutes at the six Board of Directors meetings during the year. The draft minutes of the Board meetings are sent to the Executive Committee for review prior to its meetings in the spring and fall. The final minutes are approved by the Board at the next Board meeting as part of the consent agenda for that meeting.

The office also takes minutes at the two Executive Committee meetings each year. These minutes are approved as part of the consent agenda at the next Board meeting.

Section
The secretaries of each section and CRG take minutes of the corresponding Executive Committee meetings. The draft minutes are sent to the members of the Executive Committee for review and approval as soon after the meetings as possible. The secretary submits the approved minutes to the Executive Director.

The chair of the section and CRG is responsible for making sure the minutes are accurate as recorded.

Committees (at all levels)
Committee minutes are prepared by the chair, by the secretary (if applicable), or by someone designated by the chair. Committee minutes are submitted to the committee for review and approval. Approved minutes are posted to the committee web page.

Discussion and Interest Groups
Discussion and Interest groups are not required to take minutes.

Posting to Web site
The approved minutes of the ALCTS Board, the Executive Committee and the Executive Committees of the sections and CRG are posted to the ALCTS Web site on the appropriate page. The secretaries of the sections and CRG are responsible for posting the minutes. The office posts the Board and Executive Committee minutes. Committee minutes are posted by the secretary of the section or CRG or by the ALCTS office for division committees.

Correspondence

Correspondence can be broadly construed to mean any communication, either print or electronic, that involves the operation of ALCTS and its sections and CRG. Official correspondence means those items, which are necessary for the conduct and operation of the association and its units. Hence, the report that the chair of the Nominating Committee makes to the President is official correspondence and a record of that must be kept.

Most correspondence is informational in nature. However, some correspondence may require an action by the appropriate body from whom or to whom the correspondence is directed. Such correspondence, such as the need to act on a recommendation from a group, may then become a motion upon which that body needs to vote to accept or not. This is particularly true if an ALCTS group is called upon to act on a recommendation from an outside organization. Such an action may even require the vote of the ALCTS Board. Guidance and advice on such matters is available from the ALCTS President or the ALCTS Executive Director.

Correspondence should be copied to the appropriate individual whether section or CRG chair, committee chair, President-elect, or the ALCTS Office. It is advisable that correspondence affecting the conduct and operation of the association be copied to the ALCTS Office, most frequently the Executive Director. In general, the distribution of correspondence depends on some common sense, involving those people or groups who might be a stakeholder or an interested party.

Documents

Documents come in many different shapes, sizes, purposes, and distribution patterns. In general, the documents talked about in this section are those, which advance the operations and work of the Association, no matter what level. Documents also include reports of committees, task forces, and subcommittees for internal or external distribution. Documents here do not include correspondence, conference reports, or publications, unless specifically tied to an action item on an agenda for instance. Documents may be print or electronic. Such working documents are not considered publications but do have a set of guidelines, if published electronically and are destined for distribution on the ALCTS Web site (note link below).

General Guidelines
Reports intended for distribution must be approved by the appropriate governing body: ALCTS Board or Section or CRG Executive Committees.
Reports intended for distribution outside ALCTS must be approved by the ALCTS Board.
Sensitive matters, such as personnel issues, should not be transmitted in any form publicly nor discussed publicly.
The written work of ALCTS groups is intellectual property of ALA and must not be distributed without authorization from ALA. In this case, the ALCTS Executive Director can grant permission. ALA retains the copyright of all work produced by its units.
Care must be taken when posting or distributing "draft" documents. The word "draft" should be prominently displayed on the front page and in the subject or title.

Examples:

  • Board documents
    Agenda, budget reports, administrative reports, reports of committees and task forces, informational documents, such as ALA Executive Board agenda, etc..
  • Section/CRG documents
    Agenda, reports of committees, task forces and subcommittees, findings of the same, etc.
  • Committee documents
    Reports of findings or surveys or other work, agenda

Documents intended for non-ALCTS organizations
Documents for distribution outside of ALCTS must first be approved for such by the appropriate primary governing body of the group distributing the report, either the ALCTS Board for division level groups or the Section or CRG Executive Committees for Section or CRG level reports. The ALCTS Board has to approve the report emanating from a Section or CRG.

Guidelines for Posting Informal Documents to the Web Site (link to document)

Archives

The archives of the Association are maintained at the ALCTS office or offsite at the University of Illinois under the custody of the Executive Director.

Officers of the Association and its sections and CRG, committee chairs, and chairs of discussion and interest groups are responsible for all records which they receive or produce in carrying out the business and activities of their particular office or committee.

Records are defined as any material prepared or received in the course of the business and activities of the Association, its sections and CRG, or its committees. Records shipped to the Office are to be arranged in two categories, those for limited retention and those for permanent retention and addressed to the Executive Director.

Materials to be forwarded to your successor

  • All unfinished business
  • Correspondence related to any pending business
  • Documents necessary for the business of the group

Material to be discarded

  • All blank forms and printed or duplicated materials no longer current
  • Letters of transmittal, except those of recent date where it may be necessary to trace the materials
  • Requests for publications or information that lose their value after the request has been filled
  • Memoranda, notices, correspondence relating to plans for meetings, programs, etc., and lists of persons attending
  • Papers, reports, etc., which have been published
  • Unpublished papers, such as those written for presentation at meetings
  • Originals or copies of letters that have gone to the Executive Director, ALCTS, either as an original or as a copy.

Ship to the Executive Director, the following

  • Official records-one copy each of official publications, transcripts of meetings, and minutes, if not otherwise sent electronically or posted to the Web site
  • Material relating to the history of the Association, sections, or groups that has not been published (programs, reports, proceedings, proposed projects, decisions made, questionnaires, correspondence, etc.)
  • Correspondence defining policies, outlining committee duties, explaining procedures, not otherwise distributed.

Discussion Lists

ALCTS through ALA hosts many discussion lists. The purpose and function of these lists are dependent on the group, which establishes the list and the information to be exchanged. Some lists are open for subscription, others are closed. The office will assist any ALCTS groups seeking to establish a discussion list.

E-Communities

E-Communities are a new environment for ALA. These are forums, chat rooms, discussion venues, which are available for any ALA group to use. A primary application of the e-community is to have real-time discussions and the ability to post documents in that discussion. The ALCTS office will assist any ALCTS groups seeking to establish an e-community.