Appointments Process and Volunteering

Online Volunteer Form

Already know which committees you'd like to volunteer to serve? Please let us know by filling out the online volunteer form (member login required).

If you'd like to learn more about the appointments process, timeline, tips and advice–please keep reading.

Committee Appointments

ALSC's member leaders carry out the work of the Association, developing valuable programs, publications, and resources for youth librarians. It is our members who drive our Association forward with their passion and collective wisdom. With nearly 70 committees, task forces, and discussion groups the ALSC Board of Directors has organized our committees into seven priority group areas. Each priority group is headed by a priority group consultant, who acts as a liaison between the ALSC Board of Directors/Executive Committee and the committees/discussion groups within his or her priority group.

The benefits of volunteering are many. Volunteers:

  • make valuable contacts;
  • build new friendships;
  • have the satisfaction of knowing they have made a difference;
  • develop and refine leadership skills that can be used in the workplace;
  • obtain professional recognition; and
  • gain knowledge of issues affecting our profession.

ALSC has many volunteer opportunities including:

  • 26 process committees
  • 15 book and professional award committees
  • 3 discussion groups
  • task forces that are continually being formed to explore issues
  • In addition to committee work, there are many other opportunities for involvement

Many of ALSC’s process committees now function virtually, allowing members unable to travel to conference opportunities to participate and be involved with their professional association and contribute their ideas and energy. Even committees that meet face-to-face, include some virtual positions (members exempt from attending conferences), and several more that are required to meet face-to-face at Midwinter and Annual Conference. Keep in mind that even face-to-face committees now do much of their work between conferences by e-mail, conference calls, and on chatting and document-sharing platforms.

The ALSC appointing officer is committed to working with volunteers to find an appropriate spot for as many as possible. The Vice-President/President-Elect begins making his/her process committee appointments in February/March. In July/August, after being seated as President, the appointing officer fills his/her fall appointments. These are typically the award and evaluation committees, along with a few other process committees such as the Children and Libraries editorial advisory board and nominating. Volunteer forms are collected and reviewed from the time the incoming president assumes office and throughout the entire term for new positions that will need to be filled as well as replacement positions.

Appointments Timeline

  • Process committees (or non-award committees) are appointed in the early spring (Jan-May)
  • Award and evaluation committees are appointed in early fall (July-Oct)
  • Replacement positions that develop throughout the year (ongoing)
  • Please note that task forces are formed differently than committees. Task force work is conducted for a specific purpose over a limited amount of time. Once the work is complete, it is disbanded. There are special calls for volunteering to work on task forces throughout the year (they do not appear on the list of committees in the online volunteer form)

Committee Term Lengths and Frequency of Service

The following parameters are outlined within the ALSC Bylaws.

Process Committees:

  • A committee with a single chair serves a one-year term, except the Budget Committee chair, which is two years. Committees with co-chairs, serve two-year terms. The first year is a learning year, the second year is the leader year, helping along the newly appointed co-chair. 
  • Member terms for process (i.e. Spring) appointments are for two years; most will run from July 1 - June 30 over two years. There are a few that start February 1 - January 30.
  • Chairs and members can be reappointed one time, for a maximum of four years-total on any one committee, including a maximum of two years as chair.

Award and Notable Books Committees:

  • Members serve two year terms, for a single year's award. Term begins at the adjournment of Annual Conference preceding the publication year the committee will be reading (i.e. the 2020 committees will read books published in 2019. Terms will commence on July 1, 2018) through the adjournment of Annual Conference of the award year, with the first Midwinter Meeting and the second Annual Conference attendance optional

  • Frequency of service on award and Notable Books committees:

    “No individual may serve on the  Batchelder Award , Caldecott Award,  Geisel Award,  Newbery Award, Sibert Award, Wilder Award, or Notable Children’s Books Committees more often than once every four years. The four-year period shall begin from the last year of the term of service regardless of length of term. This guideline will not apply to the appointment for Chair. This guideline will not apply to other ALSC committees.”

  • The exception to this frequency of service limitation is a co-administered award such as Pura Belpré or the Odyssey. Additionally, Notable Children’s Recordings, Notable Children’s Digital Media, and Excellence in Early Learning Digital Media committees are exempted.
  • The intent of the four year “rule” is to ensure that these privileged opportunities are afforded to as many members as possible and that the same members aren’t continually serving from award committee to award committee.
    • The four year period is interpreted like the Olympics.
    • Those serving on the 2019 award and Notable Books committees would not be eligible to serve on an award or Notable Books committee until 2023.  If someone has served on any 2016 award or Notable committee (reading books published in 2015) or earlier, they are eligible to serve on a 2020 committee (appointments for 2020 will be made this year). Members serving on a 2017, 2018, or 2019 committee are not eligible for 2020 committees (with the exception of Belpre, Excellence in Early Learning Digital Media, Notable Recordings, Notable Children's Digital Media, or Odyssey which are not bound by time limits).
  • A member may move up to chair position within the four year period, because his/her recent experience ensures familiarity with eligibility rules and process will enhance and support a leadership position. But once that person has served as chair, then s/he must wait four years for a new award or Notable book appointment- be it a chair or member position. Additionally, if a member has only served as chair on one of the referenced committees, that person must wait four years before serving on another referenced committee. In other words, a chair is unable to move into another chair position.

Interested in Volunteering?

Tips and advice

  • The first step is to fill out a committee volunteer form (requires member login). This holds true if you are seeking reappointment to a committee. Our committee volunteer form communicates your wish to serve and your interests to every appointing officer. Currently, it is available as a Word document. There is a plan to transition the form to online during early 2015. When that happens, we'll send an email to the membership so that those interested can submit a new online form.
    • Fill out the form any time of year. The appointing officer strives to match as many members to available positions. The bulk of the appointments happen between March-May and August-September. Additionally, with resignations and committee conflicts, there are opportunities for appointments throughout the year. An appointment invitation will come in an email from the ALSC office. If it's been six months, you have new information to add,  or your interests have changed, feel free to submit another form.
    • Fill out the form completely. ALSC receives many, many forms with just the member’s name, contact information and one committee preference. There is space for you to tell us about yourself.  Please remember that the appointing officer may not know you. 
    • Let us know your circumstances especially if you are seeking a virtual, face-to-face, or either position. Note your background, skills, and areas of expertise. Note which committees you prefer, but if at all possible, check "I will serve wherever needed!"
  • As you decide on the appointment that might be right for you, read both the Organization & Bylaw's survey results of What Does That ALSC Committee Do and “ALSC Committees: A Guide to Participation.
  • Additionally, if you are seeking a virtual appointment, you will want to review the “Best Practices for Virtual Committee Work Wiki” to learn about the requirements and expectations of virtual committee work. All members appointed to virtual positions are expected to have a base knowledge of electronic platforms and be able to fulfill his/her committee responsibilities in an online environment. The FAQ is a good place to start.
  • The appointing officer tries very hard to get everyone who wants to volunteer involved.  S/he is looking for diversity when forming the makeup of a committee. This includes broad range of professional experience among members, type of library or service work, geographic location, and variety of service within ALSC.
  • Additionally, fill out your profile in ALAConnect. Add more detail here that helps tell the appointing officer who you are and what experience and skills you may have that wasn’t collected in the volunteer form.
  • If you are attending Annual Conference, attend the ALSC 101 session. This is a great chance to meet and greet ALSC members and leaders and hear information firsthand.
  • Send an email to the appointing officer expressing your interest and inquire what openings are available.
  • Be flexible. Try very hard not to be disappointed if you do not get your preferred committee the first time around. Consider accepting an appointment for a committee you did not initially list. There are committees for which there are few volunteers. The appointing officer may be asking you to accept one of those positions. It's an opportunity for a new learning experience.
  • Attend a committee meeting as a guest and introduce yourself to the chair (be sure to confirm meeting date/time with chair in advance).  Additionally, connect with the committee online. Read the committee's reports in their ALA Connect space or the committee's page on the ALSC website (be sure to login for full access to the roster).  Communicate via email with the chair to find out about the work the committee is doing. Mention your interest and actions on your volunteer form.
  • Keep an open mind. Don't discount the process committees. Here are just a few of the great committees and their important work:
    • Organization & Bylaws Committee (O&B). Helping members navigate through the organization and keep track of changes to committee history, functions and bylaws is the central purpose of this important process committee.
    • Budget Committee. If you know how to read a financial report and spreadsheet this committee offers experience that you can take back to your job.  Additionally, you will be interacting with ALSC leadership as the President-elect, fiscal officer, and immediate past-president serve on this committee.
    • Advocacy and Legislation. Members drive the call to action and develop resources to assist with getting the word out about issues important to ALSC.
  • If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact the appointing officer or the ALSC office with any questions or concerns.

A frequently asked question is, "How do I get appointed to an award committee?

Dozens more applicants ask for award committees than there are spaces. A track record of excellent service on process (non-award) committees demonstrates that you will be a diligent and trustworthy award committee member. The first step in getting appointment is to serve on a process committee which is essential to ALSC's mission. The work is fun and a great learning experience, though not high profile. This willingness to help our association and contributing skills and expertise to process committees illustrates the ability to serve ably and responsibly on the intense and visible award committees.

Articles about serving on ALSC award committees: