Chapter 2: Sections

ASCLA currently has four sections: Independent Librarians' Exchange (ILEX), Interlibrary Cooperation and Networking (ICAN), Libraries Serving Special Populations, (LSSPS), and State Library Agencies (SLAS). LSSPS also has the following forums: Library Service to People with Visual or Physical Disabilities, Library Service to People Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing, Library Service to the Impaired Elderly, and Library Service to Prisoners.

Duties of the section vice-chair

  • serves as an officer of the section and assists in advancing the goals and objectives of the section and ASCLA
  • as a member of the Executive Committee, attends meetings of the committee at Annual and Midwinter Conferences
  • appoints a Nominating Committee that is responsible for producing a slate of candidates for section office. The section vice-chair may not be a member of the nominating committee (see ALA Bylaws, Article III, Section 1a)
  • makes appointments to all other section committees for terms beginning when chair's term begins
  • appoints section representatives to designated ASCLA level committees
  • appoints a conference program planning committee (if appropriate to practices of section) to plan program at Annual Conference
  • submits section's budget request (if needed) for year as chair
  • performs other duties as the executive committee of the section may assign
  • performs duties of the chair in his/her absence

Duties of the section chair

  • serves as an officer of the section and assists in advancing the goals and objectives of the section and ASCLA
  • chairs all meetings of the section executive committee at Annual and Midwinter conferences
  • attends meetings of the section committees where possible
  • oversees section program at Annual Conference; chairs annual meeting of the section which may follow, precede, or be separate from the program
  • serves as a member of the ASCLA Board of Directors
  • submits reports to the ASCLA Board of Directors on section activities
  • responds to inquiries from members and non-members regarding section activities
  • fills committee vacancies occurring during term in office
  • represents the section at the division level. According to ALA policy, only divisions can speak for the Association in their areas of responsibility. The ASCLA Board should adopt positions adopted at the section level, and they then represent positions of the Association.

Making committee appointments

Appointments may be made by letter, e-mail, or, initially, by telephone or in person, but must later be confirmed in writing. Section chairs-elect appoint members of section level committees and handle the appointment correspondence for their respective sections.

Terms for members of standing committees are two years with one two-year reappointment permitted. The terms should be staggered so that approximately half expire in any year. Terms become effective on adjournment of an Annual Conference and expire on adjournment of the conference two years later.

Nominating and Conference Program committees should both be appointed early in the term of the section vice-chair. The Conference Program Committee begins its work at the Midwinter meeting. The Nominating Committee meets at Annual Conference to select candidates for the following year's election. Terms on these committees end when the appointing officer's term expires.

Terms of members of ad hoc committees extend for the life of the committee. An incoming section chair need not be concerned with appointments to an ad hoc committee already established unless vacancies occur due to resignations, etc.

Committee chairs may be appointed for one or two-year terms. Unless the section has determined otherwise, committee chairs may serve their entire four years on their committees as the chair.

There are some limits on committee service. The following is an ALA policy: No person shall concurrently serve in more than three separate positions. Governing board, committee, liaison, subcommittee, and other responsibilities which require service in another position are not in conflict with this policy. Source: ALA Policy Manual 4.4

Before making appointments to committees, the section vice-chair/chair-elect should ask incumbent committee chairs to supply the following information:

  • names of persons who, in their opinion, would be good candidates for appointment to their committees
  • names of persons who should be reappointed for second two-year terms. (The ALA Bylaws state, "in no case shall a person serve on a committee for more than four years.")
  • names of persons who should not be reappointed
  • whether the incumbents would like to continue as chairs for another term or would like to recommend someone else for appointment. (Except for the four-year limit on committee service itself, there is no ALA or ASCLA limit on the number of years that a committee member may serve as a chair.)

Appointment letters or e-mail messages should include the following information:

  • length of term and effective dates for beginning and end
  • complete name of committee
  • purpose of the committee
  • a copy of the ALA Policies Relating to Committee and Board Service
  • instructions to complete the online appointment acceptance form

The completed online appointment acceptance form is automatically sent to the section vice-chair and the ASCLA office.

Appointments should be completed in time for new appointees to be able to observe meetings of the committees at the Annual Conference.

Appointments to ASCLA-level committees

To provide better communication between ASCLA-level functional committees and the sections, sections are represented on the following ASCLA committees: Legislation, Membership Promotion, Nominating, Planning and Budget, and Publications.

Section vice-chairs name these representatives and send them an appointment message. Section representatives serve the same term of office as any other appointed member of the committee, usually two years. Section representatives are in no way to be considered ex officio.

When possible, ASCLA committee members who serve as section representatives will also serve on the related section committee. In addition to having the customary responsibilities of a committee member, section representatives are expected to represent the concerns of a section and report back to the section's executive committee about the activity of the ASCLA functional committee on which they serve.

Appointments calendar

  • September

  • ASCLA office sends vice-chair appointment instructions.

    November 1

  • Vice-chair appoints section's Conference Program Planning Committee (if appropriate).


  • The Conference Program Planning Committee meets.

    March 1

  • Vice-chair sends name of Nominating Committee chair to ASCLA office.


  • Vice-chair appoints all other committee members.

    April 1

  • Deadline for all other section appointees and section representatives to ASCLA level committees to return their appointment forms.

Section committees and discussion groups

Each section may establish standing and ad hoc committees and discussion groups necessary to conduct the work of the section. Section may amend the committee descriptive statements when appropriate to changing circumstances, and may discontinue any committees or discussion groups when they are no longer needed. These actions should be reported to the ASCLA office.

The ASCLA office maintains a file of the official descriptive statements for each committee of the division and of each section.

A discussion group is an informal group that allows discussion of topics of common interest during the Annual Conference and Midwinter Meeting. Results of discussions may be prepared by the group for distribution to the relevant parent body. A leader may be chosen by the group to coordinate discussion. Source: ALA Policy Manual 6.10

It is ASCLA policy that discussion groups not sponsor programs. Groups that plan special presentations, e.g. speeches or panel presentations as part of their discussion may wish to use Interface to announce them.

Membership lists

The ASCLA Office e-mails a list of the section's membership to the newly elected section chair-elect. The office will also send a copy of this list to the section's nominating committee chair on receipt of notice of the appointment.


The ASCLA Board of Directors has 13 elected, voting members and two ex-officio, non-voting members. The voting members are the officers (president, vice-president/president-elect and the past-president), one division councilor, four directors-at-large, and the chairperson of each section and a representative-at-large from LSSPS. The ex-officio, non-voting members are the executive director and the Interface editor.

Schedule permitting, it will be helpful for the vice-chair/chair-elect to attend at least part of the ASCLA Board meetings as an observer. When it is impossible for the chair to attend, the vice-chair may attend and participate in the Board's deliberations, but without vote.

Since one of the section chair's major responsibilities as a member of the ASCLA Board is to represent the section's interests, it is important for the chair to attend all meetings of the Board. There is no provision in the ASCLA Bylaws for Board members to vote by proxy. The ASCLA office routinely sends Board documents to section chairs-elect to keep them posted on matters before the Board.