Nominating Process Q&A - Board Candidates

Nominating Process for ALSC Board of Directors – Questions and Answers

The Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, is seeking nominations for individuals with leadership and management experience to serve on the 2020-23 Board of Directors. Board service is a unique opportunity to make a difference in shaping the future of ALSC and advance the profession and one’s personal career.

Currently 5 positions are available, each with a three-year term.

  • Vice-President/President-Elect
  • Division Councilor
  • Three Board of Directors

How does the nominating process work?

Usually in early February, the Nominating and Leadership Development committee will issue a call for nominations for the next ballot. Nominations are submitted using an online form by an established deadline (usually late March). The committee will review and consider nominations over the course of the spring and will begin sending provisional invitations to potential candidates during the summer months. Candidates must review policies and ensure they do not have any conflict of interests. They then submit a formal consent for their name to appear on the ballot. The Nominating and Leadership Development committee submits a final slate by October 1 to the ALSC office.

Candidates are asked to keep their candidacy confidential until the slate has been accepted by the Executive committee during its October meeting. Once the slate has been accepted, it is published on the ALSC website. Candidates may then publicly announce their candidacy.

Please review the nomination and election timeline.

Are self-nominations accepted?

Nominations (including self-nominations) are welcomed and may be submitted via the online form to the Nominating committee during the open call for nominations. Additionally, per ALSC Bylaws Article X: Nominations and Elections, Sec. 4.: A candidate may be nominated by a petition signed by twenty-five personal members of ALSC. The nominee shall be a member in good standing of the Association. The petition and the written consent of the nominee shall be filed with the ALSC Executive Director for at least four months before the annual meeting (February), and the names of the candidates so nominated shall be listed on the official ballot. Information about petition candidates, including how to start an e-petition, is found on the ALA election web page.

What are the criteria considered in choosing a Board candidate?

Board candidates must be current ALSC members with sufficient ALSC involvement and knowledge, leadership experience, and dedication to the association’s mission.

Questions the Nominating committee might consider as they review nominations:

Leadership Strengths. Do you have previous board experience? What other comparable leadership experience do you have? How long and in what capacities have you been involved with the association or in the profession? Do you hold credentials? Are you able and willing to serve as a formal or informal mentor?

Diversity. ALSC values and is dedicated to increasing diversity in all aspects. What will a candidate bring to the board’s composition? How will broad representation of the communities libraries serve be reflected in the board—age, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, experience level, and type, size, location of professional environments?

Personal attributes and style. Members-at-large look to Board members as role models. Are you committed to diversity? Are you ethical? Are you easy to approach and known to be a good listener? Do you work to build consensus? Do you have good interpersonal skills? Do you emulate ALSC’s core values?

What qualities are desired in a board candidate?

ALSC seeks candidates who have an interest in ALSC and its future. Candidates should promote and exemplify ALSC’s core values and excellence in service to children, and have a commitment to leading the association in achieving its goals and objectives in service to ALSC’s core purpose.

Board candidates should work well with others individually and in a group. Candidates should be able to analyze and synthesize complex issues, clearly articulate ideas, and be careful listeners in order to contribute to the decision-making process.

Candidates should demonstrate strong leadership skills and be open to change, new ideas and diverse perspectives. Candidates should cultivate and inspire an association culture that supports creative, innovative, visionary and sometimes risk-taking action. Potential board members should demonstrate expertise in the profession through years of service and/or contributions to the profession through writing, publications, presentations, and other contributions. It is helpful for board members to possess a variety of areas of expertise such as organizational and/or financial management; marketing and/or fundraising; strategic and/or long-range planning; partnerships and collaborations; workplace diversity and inclusion; and/or continuing education.

What should a prospective Board member know before considering standing for election?

  • Read the association's by-laws, division leadership manual, board orientation manual, and board and committee minutes from at least the last year to learn about its purpose, activities, and concerns.
  • Talk to current and recent former board members to learn what the board does, or attend ALSC Board meetings during conference.
  • Understand the association's mission, learn about its current programs, read its online and print publications, follow its social media channels, and look at its website.
  • Review and understand the conflict of interest policy signed by new directors.
  • Make sure you understand the time commitment involved.

What are the responsibilities of the Board of Directors?

Detailed information about roles and responsibilities is available under the "Governance" section of the ALSC Handbook of Organization or in a handout that can be obtained by contacting Anne Michaud, ALSC Program Coordinator, or reviewing the Division Leadership Manual.

In brief, the board has general oversight and direction of the affairs of the association. It conducts all business pertaining to the association at a strategic and policy level, and has authority to make decisions for the association during the periods between meetings. Board members engage with members and those in the profession in order to become informed and help the association prepare for and lead change. Individual Board members bring diverse knowledge and perspectives and must work toward the good of the overall association. The Board must operate as a whole, not as individuals.

What is the time commitment involved?

Board candidates should understand the time commitment involved and be willing to devote the time necessary to be prepared for meetings, ask questions, and contribute to discussions. In addition, to two annual face-to-face conferences (January and June), board members will also participate in frequent online meetings. Board members may also serve as board liaisons to an assigned committee, task force, or working group. It’s important to be a visible leader, available to engage with members, when attending conferences, Institutes, online fora, and other events throughout the year.

The Vice-President/President-Elect and Division Councilor positions have significantly more responsibilities and interested members can obtain detailed information by reviewing the "Governance" section of the ALSC Handbook (linked above) or by contacting Anne Michaud, ALSC Program Coordinator.

What is the financial commitment?

Expenses to attend meetings of the Board during the Midwinter Meetings and Annual Conferences are the sole responsibility of the member. Meetings at Midwinter usually begin on Saturday morning and end Monday evening. Meetings at Annual Conference usually begin Friday afternoon and end Tuesday afternoon. Meetings of the Executive Committee (Vice-President/President-Elect and Division Councilor positions) begin one day earlier–Thursday–for both conferences. Members should keep in mind that the Board, on occasion, decides to come in a day early to meet before conference when additional work is needed on strategic planning or other projects.

In some years, a strategic planning session has been held in conjunction with the Executive Committee’s fall meeting in Chicago. Travel expenses for this extra meeting would be covered by the association.

The Executive Committee also holds a fall meeting in October and expenses are paid by ALSC.

What if I’m nominated but not elected?

The association is grateful for the willingness of members to volunteer their time. There are always more good candidates than number of positions to fill. Immediately after the election, the president-elect is looking to fill key leadership positions for the process committees. Consider filling out the online volunteer form and contacting the president-elect directly to discuss your interests. ALSC is committed to providing many avenues for involvement beyond committee service.


Some content adapted from Call for 2017-18 Board Nominations, FORUM, November/December 2016 by Frederick H. Grubbe, MBA, CAE.