Our Bylaws

As PDF (coming soon)  |  Object   |   Membership   |   Officers and Duties   |   Board of Directors   |   Nominations   |   Meetings   |   Committees   |   Sections   |   Interest Groups   |   Finances/Years   |   Amendments   |   Rules of Order

Article I. Name

Section 1. The name of this organization shall be the Reference and User Services Association of the American Library Association.

Article II. Object

Section 1. 

The Reference and User Services Association is responsible for stimulating and supporting excellence in the delivery of general library services and materials, and the provision of reference and information services, readers' advisory, collections development, and resource sharing for all ages, in every type of library. This involves facilitating the development and conduct of direct service to library users, the development of programs and guidelines for service to meet the needs of these users, and assisting libraries in reaching potential users.

Section 2. The responsibilities of RUSA are:

a. Conduct of activities and projects within the division's areas of responsibility;

b. Encouragement of the development of librarians engaged in these activities, and stimulation of participation by members of appropriate type-of-library divisions;

c. Synthesis of the activities of all units within the American Library Association that have a bearing on the type of activities represented by the division;

d. Representation and interpretation of the division's activities in contacts outside the profession;

e. Planning and development of programs of study and research in these areas for the total profession; an

f. Continuous study and review of the division's activities.

Article III. Membership

Section 1. CLASSIFICATION OF MEMBERSHIP.

Membership of the Division shall consist of personal and organizational members.(1)

Section 2. DUES, RIGHTS, AND PRIVILEGES.

a. Only personal members shall have the right to vote and hold office.

b. The amount of membership dues shall be determined by the RUSA Board of Directors.

Article IV. Officers and Duties

Section 1. The officers of the Division shall be a president, a vice-president (who shall be president-elect), and a secretary.

Section 2. TERMS OF OFFICE.

All officers and elected members of the Board of Directors shall serve until the adjournment of the annual meeting at which their successors are announced:

a. PRESIDENT.

The president shall serve for one year. He or she shall not be eligible for election to the office of president or vice-president/president-elect for a period of at least two years following the expiration of the term. If requested by the Board to serve in the capacity of interim vice-president the immediate past-president may serve, but is not required to do so.

b. VICE-PRESIDENT.

The vice-president shall serve for the first year after election as president-elect, the second year as president, and the third year as immediate past-president.

c. SECRETARY.

The secretary shall serve for two years beginning at the adjournment of the annual meeting of the association following her or his election.
 

Section 3. DUTIES.

Except as otherwise provided in the bylaws, the duties of the officers are such as provided in the parliamentary authority adopted by the division.

a. PRESIDENT.

The President chairs meetings of the Board of Directors as well as the annual membership meeting. The President may appoint members of a committee formed during his or her term of office and make appointments to fill vacancies which may occur during the term of office. The President shall be an ex-officio member of all Division committees, with the exception of the Nominating Committee, without the right to vote except in case of a tie. The President shall see that the bylaws are observed by the officers and members of the Board of Directors and that the orders of the Board of Directors and of the Division are carried out. The President will recommend to the Board of Directors and Division such actions as are deemed to be in the interest of the Division. The President shall perform such other duties as the Board of Directors may assign to the office.  

b. VICE-PRESIDENT.

The Vice-President makes committee assignments as defined in Article VIII, sec. 3a of these bylaws. He or she prepares the annual budget for approval by the Board of Directors and performs such other duties as the Board of Directors may assign to that office. The Vice-President shall perform the duties of the president in the absence of the president.

c. SECRETARY.

The Secretary shall be responsible for the preparation of Board minutes and shall carry out such other duties as may be designated by the president and the Board of Directors. 

Section 4. VACANCIES OF OFFICE.  

Appointments to fill vacancies in elective positions of the Division as a whole (except president and vice-president) shall be made by the Board of Directors. In the event of a vacancy of:

a. The president, the office of president shall be filled for the remainder of the term by the vice-president/president-elect. This shall not prevent succession to the presidency for the following term.

b. The vice-president/president-elect, the Board shall appoint an interim vice-president, who shall serve until the Board can hold a special election for vice-president/president-elect. A special election shall be held as soon as is reasonably possible, but no later than ninety days after the office is vacated.  If the annual election is scheduled to be held within three months of the vacancy the Board may elect to waive the option of a special election and await the annual election.

c.  Both the president and the vice-president/president-elect, the Board may appoint only an interim vice-president to serve as acting president , who shall serve until the Board can hold a special election for vice-president/president-elect. A special election shall be held as soon as is reasonably possible, but no later than ninety days after the office is vacated.  If the annual election is scheduled to be held within three months of the vacancy the Board may elect to waive the option of a special election and await the annual election.

Article V. Board of Directors

Section l. The Board of Directors of the Division shall consist of voting and nonvoting members. Voting members shall be the Division officers, the immediate past president of the Division, a representative of each section and the ALA Councilor elected at large from the Division membership to a three-year term. The executive director shall be a nonvoting member. 

Section 2. DUTIES

a. The Board of Directors has authority over the affairs of the Division, provided, however, that none of its acts shall conflict with or modify any actions taken by the membership of the Division. The Board of Directors shall perform such other duties as are specified in these bylaws, shall take action necessary in the interest of the Division between meetings and shall report upon its work at the regular meetings of the Division, as provided in the Bylaws of the American Library Association. (3)

b. QUORUM. A majority of voting members constitutes a quorum of the Board of Directors.
 

Section 3. BOARD ACTIONS.  

Any actions of the Board may be set aside by a three-fourths vote at any meeting of the Division or by a majority vote by mail in which one-fourth of the members of the Division have voted. Such vote by mail shall be held upon petition of 100 members of the Division.

Article VI. Nominations

Section 1. NOMINATING COMMITTEE.

The vice-president (president-elect) shall appoint a Nominating Committee, to serve during his or her year as president and to arrange for nomination of candidates for officers of the Division and for other members of the Board of Directors. The committee will include a representative of each of the different sections of the Division. Neither the president nor any member of the Board shall be appointed to this committee.

Section 2. NOMINATIONS.

The Nominating Committee shall present two candidates for each office to be filled. The Nominating Committee shall, as far as possible, select candidates in such a way as to assure representation of the various groups and interests of the Division in its list of candidates for officers. The committee shall file nominations (and the written consent of the nominees) with the Division's executive director, who shall arrange for publication and distribution of the official ballot in cooperation with the American Library Association. No person shall be nominated who is not a personal member in good standing of the Division at the time of the nomination.

Section 3. ADDITIONAL NOMINATIONS.

Additional nominations may be made by petitions signed by not fewer than thirty members of the Division and filed with the executive director not less than four months before the Annual Conference of the American Library Association, provided that no person may be nominated who is not at the time of this nomination a member in good standing of the Division.

Section 4. TIME SCHEDULE.

The Nominating Committee shall be appointed and its report made in conformance with the time schedule established by the American Library Association.

Section 5. ELECTIONS.

Elections shall be held in accordance with procedures of the American Library Association. For each office, the candidate receiving the largest number of votes cast shall be elected. In case of a tie vote, the successful candidate shall be determined by lot.

Article VII. Meetings

Section 1. GENERAL MEETINGS.

The Division shall hold an annual business meeting in connection with the Annual Conference of the American Library Association. The quorum shall consist of one hundred members present.

Section 2. SPECIAL MEETINGS.

Other meetings may be called at the Annual or Midwinter American Library Association Conference, by the Board of Directors and shall be called by the president on the request of fifty members of the Division. At least one month's notice shall be given, and only business specified in the call shall be transacted.

Section 3. VOTING.

Votes, both of the Division and of the Board of Directors, may be authorized by the Board between meetings. 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. For votes by the Division, twenty-five percent of the voting membership shall constitute a quorum and a majority of those voting shall be required to carry.

The Board of Directors shall have authority to set the time limit during which votes will be recorded, but if no such time limit is set no vote shall be counted unless received within 30 days from the day the text of the ballot or question voted upon was sent, properly addressed to those entitled to vote on the matter involved. In the case of a Division-wide vote, the Board of Directors may designate publication of the ballot or question submitted in the official organ of the Division as the appropriate method of submitting the matter to the members for their determination.

Article VIII. Committees

Article VIII Section 1:  AUTHORIZATION AND DISCONTINUANCE.

The Board of Directors may create and abolish, under such rules as it may adopt for this purpose, standing, ad hoc and interdivisional committees of the division and the sections. Each committee shall continue in existence until it is discharged by the Board of Directors. Composition of committees may include nonvoting ex-officio members as deemed necessary by the Board.

Section 2. DUTIES.

The Board of Directors shall define the duties of all committees that may be created at the time of establishment, but the president may temporarily add any pertinent and relevant duties to any committee that may be needed to carry on the work of the Division.

Section 3. APPOINTMENTS.

a. The Vice-president (president-elect) shall appoint the chairpersons and members of division committees and ensure that section committee chairpersons and members are appointed to serve during her or his term of office as president. Each such appointee shall be a member in good standing in the Division. The president may appoint members of a committee formed during his or her term of office and make appointments to fill vacancies which may occur during the term of office.

b. The Vice-chair/chair-elect of each section shall appoint the chairpersons and members of section committees to serve during her or his term of office as chair.

c. Members of standing committees shall be appointed for terms of two years and may be reappointed for a second consecutive term, but in no case shall a person serve on a committee for more than four consecutive years. Appointments shall be made in such a manner as to provide continuity in membership.

Article IX. Sections

Section 1. ESTABLISHMENT.

a. Any group comprising 200 personal members of the Division may petition to organize a section.

b. The petition must provide the following information: Statement showing the title and purpose of the proposed section and showing the need for a change in the current structure of the Division to support the concerns of the proposed section; statistics, such as money raised and/or number of persons attending meetings or programs of the related committee or discussion group seeking section status; priorities for programs, publications, or other projects with anticipated dates of presentation or completion; and names of committees of the proposed section anticipated for creation within the next three years.

c. A copy of the petition must be filed with: the Division's Executive Director, President, and President-elect; and Chair, Organization and Planning Committee.

d. Petition signatures must be collected within a 12 month time period.

e. A section may be established by majority vote of the Board, once the requirements of Article IX, section 1, a-d, of these bylaws have been met.

Section 2. DISCONTINUANCE.

The Board of Directors may dissolve a section when in its opinion, the usefulness of the section has ceased.

Article X. Interest Groups

Section 1. ESTABLISHMENT
 
a. Any group of ten (10) or more members of RUSA, may petition the Board of Directors or their designee for the establishment of an interest group. The interest group petition shall include: 
  • the name of the interest group,
  • the name(s) and contact information of the interest group leader or co-leaders,
  • a description of the focus area of the interest group,
  • the names and emails of 10 of the founding members.
  • a brief statement describing how the Interest Group is relevant to the mission of RUSA. 
b. The interest group may be established by majority vote of the Board, once the requirements of Article XI, section 1, a, i-v of these bylaws have been met. 
 
Section 2. CONTINUANCE & DISSOLUTION
 
a. The Board of Directors or their designee may dissolve an Interest Group when in its opinion, the usefulness of the Interest Group has ceased.  
 
b. The Interest Group may dissolve at the request of the group leader(s) or if evidence indicates the group is no longer actively advancing the purpose of the Association.
 

Article XI. Finances

Section 1. All Division funds shall be in the custody of the Executive Board of the American Library Association, to be accounted for and disbursed by its designated officers, as provided in the Bylaws of the American Library Association.(4) 

Article XII. Years

Section 1. MEMBERSHIP YEAR.

The membership year of the Division shall be the calendar year.

Section 2. FISCAL YEAR.

The fiscal year of the Division shall be the fiscal year of the American Library Association.

Section 3. ELECTIVE AND APPOINTIVE YEAR.

The term of office for elective and appointive positions of the Division filled annually shall be the period beginning with the adjournment of the American Library Association Annual Conference. Terms of office for elective positions occupied longer than one year shall be calculated from the adjournment of the Annual Conference. In the event that no Annual Conference is held, the elective and appointive year shall be from July 1 to June 30.

Article XIII. Amendments

Section 1. PROPOSALS.

Amendments to these bylaws shall be proposed by the Board of Directors, or a written petition signed by not less than 200 members.

Section 2. NOTICE.

The complete text of any proposed amendment shall accompany the ballot.

Section 3. VOTING.

Amendments to the bylaws require a vote by members.  The ALA Executive Director shall be responsible for ensuring the integrity of the ballot and will determine the appropriate means of polling members. Bylaws amendments shall be passed by a majority of those voting.

Section 4. Unless otherwise specified, amendments to the bylaws shall become effective when approved by the membership.

Section 5. The bylaws of the Division shall be reviewed continuously and have a complete and detailed review every five years.

Article XIV. Rules of Order

Section 1. The rules in the latest available edition Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised shall govern the Division in all cases to which they are applicable, provided they are not inconsistent with the bylaws of the Division or those of the American Library Association.

(1). See ALA Bylaws, Article I and Article VI, Sections 5 and 6.
(2).See ALA Bylaws, Article IV, Section 6.
(3).ALA Bylaws, Article VI, Section 4(a).
(4).Ibid., Article VI, Section 6.

Adopted June 1972
Amended June 1973, July 1975, June 1977, June 1978, June 1979, June 1983, June 1985, June 1987, June 1989, June 1990, June 1991, June 1993, June 1996, April 2005, April 2012, April 2016, and June 2017.