LITA Manual Section 4 Organization of Division Committees & Responsibilities of Committee Members

Types of Committees
Establishment of New Division Committees
Size of Committees
Standing Committees
Special or Ad Hoc Committees and Task Forces
Subcommittees
Committee Appointments
ALA Restrictions and Requirements
Appointment Process
Committee Interns (see section on Intern Program)
Responsibilities of the Committee Chair
Duties of the Committee Chair
Committee Secretary
Responsibilities of Committee Members
Duties of Committee Members
Removal of Inactive Committee Members
Expenditures and Budget
Contracts
Services of the Division Office
Intern Program

LITA Manual Table of Contents

Types of Committees

There are two types of committees in LITA: standing committees and special or ad hoc committees. Task forces are sometimes established, but these are treated as ad hoc committees.

The committee year begins at the close of the Annual Conference and continues through the close of the next Annual Conference. If there is no Annual Conference, the committee year shall be determined by the anniversary of the last Annual Conference, unless a different date is authorized by the American Library Association (LITA Bylaws, Art. IX, Sect. 4).

Except in the case of newly authorized committees (see below), all committee members are appointed in the spring by the Vice-President of LITA. It is also the responsibility of the Vice-President to appoint committee chairs.

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Establishment of New Division Committees

When the LITA Board finds it necessary to establish a new committee, the matter should be turned over to the Bylaws and Organization Committee to study possible conflicts within the organization or with the bylaws. If no conflict exists, the Bylaws and Organization Committee, or an appointee of the Board, will write a charge or function statement and choose a name for the proposed new committee. Both proposed charge and name are to be submitted for approval to the LITA Board as requested. If approved by the Board of Directors, the LITA Vice-President will then appoint a committee chair and, in consultation with the chair, the committee members. A meeting of the new committee should be scheduled to take place at the next ALA Annual Conference or Midwinter Meeting.

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Size of Committees

The size and composition of a committee is stated along with the function statement in the LITA Roster. If changes in the size or composition are required, the committee chair should contact the Executive Director or LITA President. The work of committees differs markedly and so the number of committee members will also have to differ. Guidelines on committee sizes should be flexible, yet not completely open to question or interpretation. Committees can be characterized by the scope of their charge, the time frame of their charge, and their workload. Committees with a broad charge may need more members than committees with narrower charges. Committees that have very short time frames or deadlines may need fewer members than do long range committees because of the pressure to develop consensus. Very active committees with a heavy workload may require more members than less active committees.

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Standing Committees

Members of LITA standing committees (except as noted below) are usually appointed for two-year terms. Members may succeed themselves for one additional two-year term, but consecutive service may not exceed four years. Reappointment to a committee shall be based on the activity and contributions of the committee member. Terms of service on a committee should be staggered to insure continuity of membership. Appointment will be made for more or less than the usual two year terms if required to establish such continuity.

Special or Ad Hoc Committees and Task Forces

A special or ad hoc committee or a task force may be established by the Board of Directors for a special project or activity. The life of any such committee or task force is limited to a maximum of two years. Unless extended by the LITA Board or Executive Committee, the committee so established will cease to exist at the end of its second year. Members are appointed for a term of one or two years and are appointed by the LITA Vice-President, who also designates one member to serve as chair of the committee or task force.

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Subcommittees

When the majority of the members of a committee agrees that the subcommittee should be established, a charge should be written by the committee or by a designee of the committee. The chair of the parent committee will then appoint a committee member to serve as chair of the subcommittee, who reports to the parent committee chair on all matters. The subcommittee chair should also send copies of all subcommittee correspondence to the chair of the parent committee, as well as to subcommittee members. The chair of the parent committee may forward copies to other Division officers as appropriate.

Names of subcommittee members, as well as a subcommittee charge, must be forwarded to the LITA Executive Director before July 15th, in order to meet the publication deadline for the next edition of the official ALA Handbook of Organization and the LITA Roster.

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Committee Appointments

When a new edition of the LITA Roster is received, the LITA Vice-President should examine the list of members of each committee to determine when each member's term expires. If a term expires during the current year, the member must either be reappointed or replaced. Committee chairs should notify the Vice-President of expected vacancies and recommend new committee members.

Appointment of committee chairs: Committee chairs are appointed for one year, from the end of one Annual Conference to the end of the next. Committee chairs may be reappointed. The Vice-President consults with the present committee chair in appointing a successor. Since it is important the chair be knowledgeable about the responsibilities and concerns of the committee, it is suggested that the committee chair be selected from the existing committee membership.

Appointment of committee members: The Vice-President should consult with the committee chair on committee appointments. The wishes of the committee chair should be carried out unless there is some overriding reason not to do so.

Committee terms begin immediately following the Annual Conference. Anticipated vacancies should be filled before, at, or immediately after the preceding Midwinter Meeting, during which contact with prospective members will have been made.

Frequently individuals will volunteer to serve on LITA Committees. Interested individuals should complete a Committee Appointment Request Form and send it to the LITA Office as indicated on the form. All completed forms will be forwarded to the Vice-President from the LITA Office.

Appointments of representatives to other organizations: Generally, appointment of representatives, reciprocal or otherwise, to other Divisions within ALA, or to organizations outside ALA, shall follow the process for appointment of LITA committee members, as stated below. Initial appointment shall be for a term of one year. Reappointment is permitted, but consecutive service may not exceed four years.

Requirements for Nomination or Appointment to Division Office, Boards, and Committees: A nominee or appointee to the LITA Board, office, or committee must:

  1. be a personal member of ALA;
  2. be a member of LITA (for non-members, taking office is contingent upon LITA membership);
  3. be ready, willing and able to participate in the activities of the committee, support its mission or concern, and carry out assignments in a timely manner;
  4. anticipate attendance at ALA Annual Conference and Midwinter meetings and at all committee meetings during his or her term of office (see ALA Policy 4.5 below).

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ALA Policy 4.4. Member Service 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 (e.g., service on a committee which entails assembly representation) are not in conflict with this policy. Appointment procedures and forms used at all stages of the appointment process shall remind members of their responsibility to adhere to this policy.

ALA Policy 4.5. Requirements for Committee Service.

Members of all ALA and unit committees are expected to attend all meetings. Failure to attend two consecutive meetings or groups of meetings (defined as all meetings of a committee that take place at one Midwinter Meeting or Annual Conference) without an explanation acceptable to the committee chair, constitutes grounds for removal upon request by the chair to and approval of the appropriate appointing official or governing board.

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Appointment Process

The LITA Vice-President will make all committee appointments in writing, but the Vice-President or the committee chair should make initial contact to ascertain that the prospective appointee is willing to serve and is qualified (see Requirements for Nomination or Appointment, above). It is not necessary to contact members who are serving consecutive years of a single term. Their continued service is assumed unless they notify the committee chair or Vice-President to the contrary.

If a prospective appointee is willing to serve and is qualified, the Vice-President will send a letter confirming the nomination to the appointee. The full and correct name of the committee and the length of the term are included in the letter, along with the Appointment Acceptance Form. The name and correct address of the committee chair should also be included in the letter.

To accept appointment, the appointee will complete and sign the form, sending one copy to the committee chair, one to the LITA Executive Director, and one to the Vice-President. New committee members cannot be listed in the official ALA Handbook of Organization or LITA Roster until the completed form is received by the LITA Office.

After receiving acceptance forms, the committee chair will send an invitation to new appointees to attend the committee's next meeting in order to become familiar with activities, programs, and plans of the committee. A copy of all current minutes, reports, surveys, studies, etc., should be given or sent to all appointees upon acceptance of appointment.

All information regarding committee appointments, changes corrections or additions must be received by the LITA Executive Director by July 15th in order to be included in the next edition of the official ALA Handbook of Organization and LITA Roster. Committee chairs should keep the Division office informed of all changes in committee membership, addresses and telephone numbers. It is helpful if the committee chair compares the committee membership records with the listing in the LITA Roster and notifies the LITA Office of any errors and changes.

Committee Interns (see section on Intern Program)

An intern may be appointed to a committee for a period of one year. Interns are not official committee members and thus, may not vote on committee issues. At the end of one year, an intern must either be appointed as a regular member of the committee or discontinue service as an intern on that committee. Service as an intern is not counted in accumulating the four years of maximum consecutive service on a committee as mentioned above (see Standing Committees).

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Responsibilities of the Committee Chair

The committee chair must be familiar with the charge and activities of the committee, and should upon appointment begin planning the activities necessary to fulfill its charge. Committee members should agree that such activities, programs and projects meet stated objectives.

Since it may not be possible for a committee to complete its work within the term of one chair, the current chair should provide for continuity in the activities of the committee. Thus, assignments to committee member should be made and deadlines established promptly so that work can be done in advance of regular committee meetings. To whatever extent possible, meetings at the ALA Annual Conferences and Midwinter Meetings should be used to examine progress in planning committee activities, outline future activities and assignments, and evaluate past activities.

The chair of a committee will be considered knowledgeable in the area of interest of that committee. He or she may be called upon by the LITA Executive Director or by a LITA officer to give advice, answer questions, or help solve problems in that area of LITA activity. Questions from organizations outside ALA, as well as from outside the Division, may be referred to the appropriate committee chair for a response.

The chair of a committee is responsible for maintaining that committee's files, which should be secured by a new chair during or soon after the Annual Conference preceding his or her term as chair. All documents that will be useful should be made available at each committee meeting by the chair. Files should be weeded by the chair periodically, and always prior to passing them to a successor. Materials to be kept as Division records or for ALA archives should be sent to the LITA Executive Director for permanent storage.

The chair of a committee must prepare a written report for the LITA Board of Directors for each Midwinter Meeting and Annual Conference, using the Meeting Report for Committees and Interest Groups. If a Board action is expected, the committee chair should bring the action to the Board at that conference (notifying the Executive Director in advance if possible). If no action is expected, the written report may be submitted to the LITA Office at conference, or mailed to the LITA Office at ALA Headquarters. All committee meeting reports are distributed to the Board of Directors. Subcommittee chairs should submit reports to the chair of the parent committee.

Copies of committee minutes and other relevant documents should be sent to the LITA Executive Director, LITA President, committee members, and committee appointees. It is particularly important to keep the Executive Director informed of committee activities in order to insure that LITA activities are coordinated. A committee may also decide to forward certain information to the respective editors of the Division journal or newsletter for publication. The LITA Executive Director will distribute materials to the Board of Directors or other concerned parties as appropriate. The committee chair may send original documents to the LITA Office for duplication and distribution.

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Duties of the Committee Chair

  1. Arrange with the ALA Conference Services for the time, place, and date of all committee meetings.
  2. Notify committee members of the date, time, place, and agenda of all committee meetings.
  3. Preside at all committee meetings.
  4. Appoint subcommittee chairs.
  5. Report activities, plans, and programs to the Division Board of Directors.
  6. If funding is needed, prepare and submit budget requests to the LITA Board of Directors.
  7. If funding is needed for conference programs, prepare and submit requests with expense estimates to the LITA Board of Directors.
  8. Submit invoices for approved expenditures to the LITA Executive Director by July 30th of each year, so that expenses will be paid from the current year's budget (see Reimbursement Request Form).
  9. Assign duties to committee members and monitor the progress of those assignments.

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Committee Secretary

If appropriate, the committee may elect or the chair may appoint a secretary who shall have the following duties:

  1. Record attendance and take minutes at all committee meetings.
  2. Submit written minutes and meeting reports to the LITA Office, President, committee chair, committee members, and new appointees.
  3. Maintain committee records and forward them to a successor or committee chair at the end of a term of service.
  4. Tally committee votes.
  5. Perform such other duties as the committee chair may direct.

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Responsibilities of Committee Members

Members who accept nomination or appointment to positions in LITA should do so with the realization that not only are they making a contribution, but that they are incurring certain responsibilities. If there is any doubt about meeting these obligations, the appointment should not be accepted.

Committee service requires a certain amount of time. Acceptance means that the required time will be given. The individual committee member and his or her employer will decide whether the time is taken from their job, or is personal time.

Committee work also entails certain expenses which must be absorbed by the member or by the employing institution. Typing, photocopying, telephone costs, and postage for correspondence are examples of costs that may result from committee service. The LITA Executive Director should be consulted in advance about reimbursement for major committee expenses which cannot be otherwise met (see General Budget Request Form).

Travel to and personal expenses at Midwinter Meetings and Annual Conferences are the responsibility of each committee member.

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Duties of Committee Members

  • Return the Appointment Acceptance Form promptly to the Vice-President, committee chair, and the LITA Executive Director (see Appointment Process above).
  • Notify the LITA Office and committee chair immediately in case of address, telephone, FAX, e-mail, or other changes.
  • If possible, attend the committee meetings at the Annual Conference prior to the beginning of the term of membership, in order to gain knowledge of the committee's purposes and activities.
  • Participate actively in the work of the committee, making suggestions and sharing ideas.
  • Carry out the work assigned by the chair promptly, forwarding material as required.
  • Answer all communications promptly.
  • Attend all committee meetings. Notify the committee chair if attendance at a meeting is not possible. Failure to attend two consecutive meetings without an explanation acceptable to the chair may result in replacement of a committee member (see ALA Policy 4.5 above).
  • Be familiar with the work of the committee in relation to the total program of LITA and ALA.
  • If problems arise in performing your duties, contact the committee chair or the LITA Executive Director immediately.

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Removal of Inactive Committee Members

An inactive member of a committee may be removed before the normal expiration of his or her term by written notification. Usually the Vice-President will write a letter to the inactive committee member as notification of removal. This duty may be delegated to the committee chair.

In order to prevent the alienation of a committee member, such action should be handled diplomatically. The Executive Director and/or President should be consulted in such circumstances.

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Expenditures and Budget

ALA is the legal and financial entity with respect to financial and contractual obligations incurred by LITA as a division of ALA. The LITA Executive Director is accountable to ALA for the financial affairs of the Division. ALA regulations require that all expenditures fall within budgeted amounts. Therefore, no expenditures will be approved for non-budgeted items without the prior written approval of the Executive Director. Further, only ALA staff, in this case the LITA Executive Director, may contract for services for which payment is required. In most cases, approval of the LITA Board for major expenditures will be required as well.

LITA and ALA develop budgets far in advance. Budget requests must be submitted in writing to the Board for consideration at the ALA Midwinter Meeting preceding the next fiscal year, or preferably, be sent earlier to the Executive Director to be included in a draft budget. Final budget approval takes place at the Annual Conference preceding the next fiscal year which runs from Sept. 1 through August 31.

Any major expenses must be approved by the Executive Director, prior to the expense. Other receipts and invoices should be forwarded to the Executive Director for reimbursement or payment. All requests for reimbursement or payment will be processed through ALA's Financial Services. Requests for payment should be forwarded promptly to insure encumbrance of funds (See Reimbursement Request Form). Reimbursement requests must be received by July 30th, so that payment can be posted to that fiscal year.

In the interest of financial stability, LITA will normally maintain a fund balance equal to six months of operating expenses.

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Contracts

No contracts may be entered into that obligate the American Library Association, the Library Information and Technology Association, or any group within ALA or the Division without prior written approval of the LITA Executive Director. In most cases, approval of the LITA Board will also be required, and in some cases, the approval of ALA.

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Services of the Division Office

Mass mailings may be handled by the LITA Office. Stationary will be supplied upon request. During the Annual Conference and Midwinter Meeting, assistance with duplicating is available from the conference headquarters of the LITA Office. The LITA Executive Director, as well as other LITA staff, are always available to assist LITA members in any way possible.

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Intern Program

Purpose:The Library and Information Technology Association shall establish and maintain a program to place interns on LITA committees for the purpose of educating potential full members in committee responsibilities and preparing the members of LITA to assume the full duties of committee membership.

Eligibility: Participation in the intern program is open to all members of LITA. The establishment of the internship program provides a recruitment incentive for LITA by giving new members immediate access to committees and a subsequent training to prepare the members for work within the Association as a means to retain membership. The extension of the privilege to other LITA members is viewed as a membership retention method. No member may be appointed an intern to a committee where he or she has previously served. Previous and continuing members are encouraged to become interns on committees where they do not wish to assume the full responsibilities of a committee appointment.

Procedure for Appointment: The committee volunteer form, or any call for volunteers, shall permit the member to request internship appointment. A member can request a committee appointment as a full member only, an intern only, or as an intern if no full appointment can be made.

Committee chairs shall request in writing the appointment of one, or at most two, intern(s) to serve a term of one year. The request shall outline the need for the intern and the intended use. The request shall be forwarded to the Vice President of LITA who will appoint the intern members at the same time and in the same manner as all other committee appointments.

Rights and Responsibilities: Interns shall serve on committees for a one year term with all rights and privileges except voting rights. Duties shall be assigned to the intern on the same basis as to full members. The interns shall not be expected to perform exclusively undesirable tasks, nor shall the intern be treated solely as an observer of the committees' operations. Interns cannot be reappointed as interns to the same committee.

Intern Program Assessment: At the end of the internship, the intern will complete a brief evaluation of the activities done during the internship and appraise the program's success. The committee chair may request a successful intern be granted full membership on the committee at the end of the internship. Such a request should be made to the incoming Vice President for appointment to the next available vacancy.

Copies of the assessment and any comments the committee chair may wish to make shall be forwarded to the Executive Director of LITA who will send the material on to the committee chair, the intern and the Vice President as required.

Costs: There are no direct costs for the internship program requiring a formal budget request. Indirect cost will accrue because of the work and time required to process requests and assessments. It is hoped that these costs can be absorbed in the regular budget appropriations for the LITA office and be offset by the gains and retention in membership.

Usefulness: By careful planning of the intern program by a committee and by making the program voluntary, the internships can be very useful to LITA. The interns will be available to perform specific functions for the committees and will provide an experienced resource of future committee members. The year appointments will provide time for the Intern to study LITA and the committee structure to determine whether or not to continue membership in LITA and make appropriate choices for a professional commitment. The program will permit committees to carry out programs requiring more work than the set committee size permits, and for periods of time less than normal committee appointments while providing a training ground for future members.

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