Chapter 9: Governance

Back to Guide to Policies & Procedures

RUSA Bylaws

RUSA board ensures that the association mission and bylaws are reviewed annually.  Amendments to the bylaws may be proposed by the Board of Directors, or by means of a written petition signed by not less than 200 RUSA members. Amendments to the bylaws require a vote by the RUSA membership and are passed by a majority vote. The complete text of any proposed amendment shall accompany the ballot.  The ALA Policy Manual stipulates that amendments to the Bylaws, when placed on the ballot, will be accompanied by pro and con statements of not more than 250 words each, such statements to be prepared by two Board members (who voted on opposite sides of the issues as indicated by their voting record) appointed by the President.  

RUSA Board   

RUSA Board is the deliberative and decision-making body of RUSA.  It sets the policies of the division and the program for the division in relationship to the goals and objectives identified by its membership and by ALA, and in context of the RUSA Strategic Plan. It is also the body to which division level committees, sections, and interest groups ultimately report. Board members are responsible for the affairs of RUSA.   RUSA Board consists of voting and non-voting members.  Voting members are:

  • Division officers: President, Vice-President, Secretary
  • Immediate Past-President
  • Division Councilor
  • Directors-at-Large
  • Section representatives

The Executive Director is a non-voting member of the Board. Duties of the Board

  • The board sets policy and the staff implements it and carries it out.
  • The board establishes goals that are related to RUSA’s priorities and shapes a strategy for the future. The board also establishes objectives that are related to the goals. Objectives should be specific, measurable, active, relevant and timed.
  • The board approves the budget to support the goals/objectives of RUSA.
  • The board monitors policy implementation and achievement of the goals/objectives.

Ground Rules (extended from Article XIV. Robert’s Rules of Order) Agendas:

  • A meeting notice is sent to the Board and made public to the membership by the president 10 days in advance of a Board meeting. The president will also call for agenda items.
  • Action items needing Board approval must be submitted to the president on the RUSA Board of Directors Action Item Form up to 24 hours prior to the meeting.
  • Reports, action item forms, and documents for the Board will be posted publicly in Connect prior to the meeting.
  • The President in consultation with the executive director will set the agenda.
  • The agenda is a “consent agenda” for consensus and non-controversial items and will consist of the following sections:
    • approval of minutes if not approved between meetings
    • reports from the president, vice-president and executive director
    • a "new business/action item" section for board actions and votes, and for discussion of new business. This section assumes that the most important organizational business comes first. Individuals bringing items to the board must make sure that all appropriate RUSA groups have had an opportunity to review the proposal prior to the board discussion
    • A “discussion/announcements" section to bring to the board specific issues, questions or announcements, and to provide discussion time on the agenda for exploring important matters of substance or process.
  • All agendas will be rolling agendas.

Meeting Procedures:

  • We will begin and finish on time.
  • We will address questions to the chair of the meeting who may direct questions to another board or staff member.
  • We direct the chair to conclude each item with a consensus statement and intended action for confirmation.

Rights and Responsibilities:

  • Clarification of board documents should be requested prior to the meeting.  
  • Agenda items may be pulled from the consent agenda for any reason and at any time.
  • Board members will arrive informed and prepared or so inform the chair before the meeting. Members are expected to be engaged, asking questions and posing solutions.  
  • Board members are expected to be courteous and respectful to one another’s ideas and opinions.
  • Board members acknowledge that silence is consent.

Online Voting

  • Online votes of the Board of Directors may be taken provided they are authorized by the officers of the Association.
  • All voting Board members are canvassed simultaneously.
  • For votes by the Board of Directors, three-fourths of the voting membership of the Board of Directors shall constitute a quorum, and a three-fourths majority of those voting shall be required to carry.
  • On each online vote, each voting Board member shall have the option of:
    • Vote for the motion
    • Vote against the motion
    • To abstain
    • To hold for discussion at the next regularly scheduled meeting.
  • The voting window shall be 7 days.
  • Actions shall be confirmed at the next regular meeting of the Board.
  • Voting will take place on an electronic system such as Survey Monkey or Doodle or ALA Connect.

RUSA Leadership Council

RUSA Leadership Council (RLC) advises, in a non-voting capacity, the RUSA Board on RUSA goals, objectives, priorities and budget. The purpose of the Leadership Council is to unify the RUSA leadership, improve communication throughout the division, reduce duplication of effort, and align goals of units within RUSA with the overall strategic plan. Duties and Responsibilities of the RLC

  • Advise and provide feedback to the RUSA Board on the activities, priorities, policies and budget of the association through meetings, ALA Connect and the RUSA Leadership listserv
  • Suggest the creation of task forces as needed to address division or professional needs
  • Communicate needs, concerns, solutions and ideas promptly and collegially

Members of the RLC are:

  • RUSA Board
    • Division Level Committee Chairs
    • Division Coordinators
    • Section Chairs
    • Interest Group Chairs
    • RUSQ, RUSA Update, and editors
  • RUSA Liaisons
  • Active Task Force chairs
  • All RUSA office staff

A meeting notice is sent to RLC and made public to the membership by the president 10 days in advance of a RLC meeting. The president will also call for agenda items. The ground rules for meetings and the rights and responsibilities of the RUSA Leadership Council are the same as the RUSA Board.  Agendas are set by the RUSA President and RUSA Executive Director. The RUSA Past President leads the meeting. To request agenda items, please contact the RUSA President at least 24 hours prior to the meeting.

RUSA Elected Leaders (additional information can be found in the Orientation Manual).


  • serves as an officer of RUSA
  • presides over the RUSA Board of Directors
  • sets the agenda of the RUSA Leadership Council
  • organizes a yearly Board evaluation and reviews results with board members
  • organizes a yearly evaluation of the Leadership Council and reviews results with RLC members
  • provides training and information to section chairs
  • writes reports and articles (such as President’s Column for RUSQ, RUSA Board, ALA Council, and other publications as requested or assigned)
  • ensures that the Bylaws are observed by the officers and members of the Board of Directors and that the decisions of the Board of Directors are carried out
  • assumes other responsibilities as designated in the Bylaws.


  • serves as an officer of RUSA
  • serves as a member of the RUSA Board of Directors
  • assists in planning the programs and projects RUSA will pursue during year as president
  • makes appointments to divisional committees and task forces for terms beginning during year as president and remind chairs of any automatic appointments to liaison committees
  • plans the RUSA conference program for year as president
  • provides training and information to RUSA leaders
  • performs the duties of the president in the absence of the president
  • assumes other responsibilities as designated in the Bylaws.
  • serves as chair of RUSA Board’s Budget and Finance SubCommittee
  • represents RUSA on the following ALA committees
    • ALA Appointments Committee
    • ALA Planning and Budget Assembly and all other ALA budget related meetings/groups

Immediate Past-President

  • serves as an officer of RUSA
  • serves as a member of the RUSA Board of Directors
  • serves as an advisor to the president and the Board of Directors
  • leads the RUSA Leadership Council meetings

Past-Past President

  • serves as chair of RUSA Nominating Committee
  • serves as the RUSA representative to ALA Conference Program Coordinating Team and is appointed to RUSA Conference Program Coordinating Committee

Division Councilor

  • serves as a member of the RUSA Board of Directors
  • presents to the Board those ALA issues and council documents upon which the Board may wish to take action
  • represents RUSA's interests on ALA Council through statements concerning RUSA's position and/or by sponsoring resolutions as requested by the Board
  • reports the results of Council action upon appropriate issues at the subsequent Board meetings or in writing to the president.
  • serves as Board liaison to RUSA’s Access to Information Committee


  • serves as a member of the RUSA Board of Directors
  • takes notes at all relevant meetings


  • The Directors-at-Large elected in 2017 will serve out their terms as will the other remaining Directors-at-Large.  No new directors-at-large will be elected.
  • serves as a member of the RUSA Board of Directors
  • represents RUSA members on the Board of Directors
  • serves as the Board liaison to one of the RUSA standing committees
  • assumes other responsibilities as assigned by the president

(RUSA Past President in charge of updating this page) Rev. 08/2018