The original internship program began its two-year trial period in 1988. This program, initiated by the ALA Membership Committee*, was designed to provide an avenue for interested members to become more easily involved in ALA activities and to introduce new people and ideas to ALA committee discussions and decision-making. Since that time, the program has evolved and become a valued link for members with less ALA experience to become familiar with the governance of the Association. Recently, the program was renamed the Associates program. The hope is that the experience gained by the Associates will aid their official appointment on an association committee and provide them with valuable association leadership experience.
These guidelines are designed to: (1) clarify the role of the Associate on the committee and the process by which an Associate is appointed; and (2) suggest responsibilities for Associate appointments, such as duties on the committee, voting status, etc.
What is the ALA Associate Program? The ALA Associate Program provides an opportunity for newer library workers to become familiar with ALA structure, in particular its committees; to network with peers and library leaders from around the country. The ALA Associate Program offers the possibility to connect, to learn, to succeed, to advance, and to lead.
Who can be appointed as an Associate? The Associate Program is open to any ALA member who has never been appointed to a position on a Committee of the Association or a Committee of Council, nor held an elected office within the American Library Association or any unit of the Association (including its Divisions, Round Tables, etc.). Whenever possible, the President-Elect should appoint recent or previously less involved members as an Associate to provide them with an opportunity to become more involved in the work and organization of ALA.
Who appoints Associates? Associates are appointed by the ALA President-Elect. The President –Elect solicits suggestions from throughout the association as part of the overall committee volunteer and appointment process. Names of possible Associates can also be submitted to the ALA President-Elect by individuals, committee chairs, and others.
Which committees can have Associates? ALA and Council committees are assigned up to two Associates each with alternating terms. The Associate positions are considered additional membership slots in the committee.
Terms of appointment. Each Associate serves for a period of two years. After a two-year period, the Associate should not be appointed to another ALA committee as an Associate. Successful Associates should be considered by the ALA President-Elect as candidates for appointment as members of an ALA committee. Service as an Associate is not counted in accumulating the four years of maximum consecutive served on a committee.
Duties. The committee chair will determine the most appropriate duties for the Associate on a specific committee, depending in large part on the nature of the work of a particular committee. The primary duty should be, however, to become as knowledgeable of ALA processes as possible, such as how to submit a resolution, how to make a report to ALA Council or other Board, as well as to learn about the inner workings of the Association, its Divisions, its Round Tables, and its Committees. Some suggestions for Associate duties include:
- Help with planning and presenting programs and events.
- Perform administrative duties to facilitate committee/association processes.
- Assist the ALA staff liaison and/or the committee chair in posting announcements to ALA Connect and general committee correspondence.
- Write the committee report, with input from committee chair.
All Associates are expected to participate in the work of the committee to which they are appointed.
Voting. Associates are considered a level of committee membership are eligible to vote.
Travel. If the committee meets face to face outside of the Midwinter Meeting and the Annual Conference, the committee will determine if the Associate should attend the meeting, and if funding for travel is available.
Attendance at Meetings. Associates are expected to participate in all virtual and in-person committee meetings.
* During the 2009 Midwinter Meeting, Council voted to transfer responsibility for the program from the Membership Committee to the Training, Orientation & Leadership Development (TOLD) Committee.
**The program guidelines were amended by the ALA Council, Monday, June 27, 2011.
**During the 2018 Annual Conference, Council voted to rename the program from Interns to Associates and also further amended elements of the program.