Meeting Attendance and Access to Materials

ALSC POLICY FOR SERVICE ON AWARD COMMITTEES

ALSC affirms its confidence in the integrity of members who are invited to be nominated or appointed to serve on award committees, and in the integrity of the officers or nominating committees responsible for selecting candidates.  Because of the nature of the work of such committees, those who serve on them must be especially sensitive to conflict of interest situations and the appearance of impropriety. The purpose of this policy is to clarify the eligibility and responsibility of candidates asked to serve on such committees.

CONFLICT OF INTEREST

It is the policy of the Association for Library Service to Children, its Board of Directors and committees to insure that members in all of its activities avoid conflicts of interest and the appearance of conflicts of interest resulting from their activities as members of committees of the Association.   In particular, no person should obtain or appear to obtain special advantages for themselves, their relatives, their employer or their close associates as a result of their services on a committee. 

A conflict of interest occurs when an individual's personal or private interests may lead an independent observer reasonably to question whether the individual's professional actions or decisions are influenced by considerations of significant personal or private interest, financial or otherwise.

CONFIDENTIALITY

Committee members need to maintain a high degree of confidentiality regarding the committee’s discussions, both oral and written. All committee members need to feel free to speak frankly in a closed session, knowing that their comments will not be repeated outside that room, and that they reserve the right to speak on their own behalf outside of that closed session.

Committee members are urged to discuss books under consideration with others throughout the year to obtain a variety of critical opinions. However, it is important to remember that, in these discussions, committee members may express only their own opinions, and may not quote the opinions of other committee members or indicate in any way which books are under consideration. It is understood that all eligible books are being considered up until the selection of the winner is made.

GUIDELINES FOR AWARD COMMITTEES

The Association for Library Service to Children grants a number of awards and it is very important that conflicts of interest and the appearance of conflicts of interest be especially avoided and that confidentiality be maintained in the process of determining who should receive the awards. It is a privilege to serve on an award committee and with that privilege come specific

responsibilities to assist the Association for Library Service to Children in preventing conflicts of interest and the appearance of conflicts of interest in the award process. Each person who is nominated or appointed to serve on an award committee is expected to consider carefully whether any of his or her personal or professional interests, obligations, activities, or associations could reasonably lead to even the appearance of a conflict of interest, or breach of confidentiality, and to discuss any such potential conflicts with the ALSC Executive Director prior to accepting the nomination or appointment. Situations that arise after a committee member has begun to serve should be directed to the ALSC President, Committee Chair, Priority Group Consultant, and Executive Director. The final decision rests with the Executive Committee.  

Those who accept a nomination or appointment to the book award committees should adhere to the following guidelines:

1) Members who have written or illustrated a book that may be eligible for consideration during the period of service on the award committee should not accept an appointment or nomination to an award committee.

2) Members may not be employed by a children’s trade book publisher, author, or illustrator.   Members who have served as an advisor or consultant to an author or illustrator of a children’s book, or as an advisor to a children’s trade book publisher, beyond the scope of assigned library duties, such as providing reference service, should not accept appointment or nomination if that book may be eligible for consideration during the period of eligibility as defined by the terms of the award.  This includes writing teachers guides or readers’ group guides at the request of a children’s trade book publisher whether or not these materials may be eligible.

3) Members should not accept appointment or nomination to an award committee if they have a close family relationship (parent, spouse/partner, son/daughter) or a personal relationship with the author or illustrator of any book that may be eligible which could reasonably be seen by an independent observer to cause a conflict of interest. 

4) Members should not accept appointment or nomination to an award committee if they have a close family relationship (parent, spouse/partner, son/daughter) with a person employed by a U.S. trade publisher. 

5) Members should not accept appointment or nomination to an award committee if they, or a close family member, directly own(s) equity (stock ownership, stock options, convertible note(s), or other ownership interest) that represents more than a 5% stake in a U.S. trade publisher.

6) Members of award committees should not reveal or publicize any confidential information learned through service on the committee; nor should they make such confidential information available to non-committee-members.

7) Members of award committees who review in print or online, run or participate in social networking websites or software, including blogs, Facebook, electronic discussion lists, and the like, should not engage in any discussions about their ALSC award committee work, or about  the status of eligible books in relationship to these awards during their term of committee service.

8) Members may not serve concurrently on the ALSC Board and an ALSC award selection or media evaluation committee.

9) From time to time, the Association for Library Service to Children may take other action or establish such other guidelines as may be necessary in the Association’s sole discretion to protect the integrity of the award process. Questions from prospective committee members and candidates should be directed to the Executive Director; situations that arise after a committee member has begun to serve should be directed to the ALSC President, Committee Chair, Priority Group Consultant, and Executive Director. The final decision rests with the Executive Committee.

MEETING ATTENDANCE AND ACCESS TO MATERIALS

Persons elected or appointed to an award committee should:

1) Be able to attend all required discussion and decision meetings scheduled for the Annual and Midwinter meetings of ALA and follow procedures established by the committee.

2) Have ready access to the major part of the current output of children’s books under consideration in outlets such as your local library or bookstore and through interlibrary loan. It is recognized that there will be an occasional book under consideration which a committee member is unable to obtain. In such an instance, arrangements for review copies may be made as prescribed in the committee’s guidelines.

Although these requirements may limit membership on a committee, wise selection requires complete participation of all members of the committee.