STS Manual: ACRL Guidelines and Policies




All ACRL sections have bylaws that govern their activities and procedures. Sections may choose to review their bylaws periodically and determine if the bylaws should be amended. The ACRL Constitution and Bylaws Committee has prepared a "Sample Section Bylaws" (available from the ACRL office) to help sections in the revision process. Here are the steps in the revision process:

  1. Section appoints bylaws review committee. [For the Science and Technology Section, the Organization and Planning Committee is responsible for proposing and accepting proposals from STS members of bylaw changes.]
  2. Section Executive Committee approves bylaw revisions. The Secretary forwards materials to the ACRL Constitution and Bylaws Committee.
  3. ACRL Constitution and Bylaws Committee approves the revisions to ensure there is no conflict with the ACRL Constitution and Bylaws.
  4. ACRL Board of Directors approves the revisions.
  5. The section membership approves the revisions either by voting at the section membership meeting at ALA Annual Conference or by voting on the ALA annual April ballot.

The ACRL office maintains a file of all section bylaws.



Sections may establish standing and ad hoc committees in accordance with their bylaws. When establishing a committee, care should be taken not to usurp the jurisdiction held by another ALA division or another unit of ACRL.

The status of the committee (standing or ad hoc) is determined when the committee is established. The charge is written and adopted and the number of committee members decided at that time. In making the initial appointments to standing committees, it is helpful to stagger the terms so that continuity in committee membership is maintained.

The work of the ad hoc committees should be reviewed regularly. Ad hoc committees should be terminated as soon as their work is finished, or if the work appears to be of an ongoing nature, the status of the committee should be changed.

Appointments to section committees are made by the section chair and vice-chair/chair-elect. Appointees to section committees must be members of ACRL and the section at the time of appointment. It is an ALA rule that no one can serve simultaneously on more than three committees unless committee membership is ex officio. It is also ALA policy that committee members 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 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. Appointment acceptance forms should be used in making committee appointments. The section vice-chair/chair-elect issues the formal invitations to serve on section committees.

Appointments to committees generally are for two-year terms. Members may be reappointed for a maximum of two consecutive terms or four years. The maximum of four years also applies to any time spent in chairing a section committee. Reappointment of committee members and chairs is permissible but not mandatory. Committee chairs are normally appoointed for one-year terms. The terms of office begins immediately following the Annual Conference and concludes at the close of the Annual Conference one or two years later. Appointments to ad hoc committees generally are for the life of the committee.

Sections may appoint interns to their committees and may either follow the ACRL policy on interns or establish their own policy.



As a publisher, ALA and its member units establish goals and set policies for publication programs. The purpose and scope for each major publication will be clearly specified.

It is the responsibility of each member unit to communicate to its membership and its editor the purpose of the publication, its specific format, and to identify the audience for which it is intended.

Consistent with ALA's traditional dedication to the freedom of expression, free flow of ideas, and policies on intellectual freedom and ethics, all member units shall endorse and apply the principles of freedom of the press to their publication program.

It is the responsibility of each member unit to appoint editors with experience or training in editorial theory and practice. Such editors, whether headquarters staff, contractors, or volunteers, shall be responsible for determining the content and style of the publication consistent with the goals and policies of the sponsoring unit. The decision as to appropriate material for inclusion in the publication shall rest with the editor guided by the ALA Constitution, its Bylaws, and relevant policies as adopted by the ALA Council and the unit that sponsors the publication.

Section members with information of interest beyond their section membership should consider submitting this information to C&RL News for wider dissemination instead of printing it in the section newsletter.

Appointments of editors

The appointment of editors and terms of office shall be made in accordance with each section's bylaws and procedures.

Production and distribution

Section newsletter editors are responsible for preparing camera-ready copy of their newsletters. Printing, postage, and distribution of all membership copies of the newletter will be paid for by ACRL. Printing, production, and distribution may be handled by the editor (at rates not to exceed the amount budgeted and approved by the Budget and Finance Committee and the Board of Directors) or by staff at the ACRL office.

Each section shall be provided, for each issue of its newsletter, a number of copies not to exceed 10% of the number of members in the section, at no charge, for the section to distribute at its own cost and discretion.


Classified and product advertising shall not be accepted for section newsletters. Potential advertisers should be referred to College & Research Libraries, C&RL News, Choice, and Rare Books & Manuscripts Librarianship.


Receipt of section newsletters shall remain primarily a perquisite of membership. Sections may establish subscriptions if the editor or other designated member handles all aspects of the subscription processing (i.e., processing money, order fulfillment, and claims).

Source: ACRL Board, January 1985, revised January 1987, January 1993, April 1996

STS Signal: The Newsletter of the Science and Technology Section is this section's newsletter.



ACRL sections may appoint liaisons to other groups of related interest. It is understood that such appointment is for informational purposes and does not constitute official representation of ALA, ACRL, or the section, and that no financial support is implied in such an appointment. However, sections may apply for initiative funding in support of projects that target activities and programming with specific higher education discipline-based organizations.

Sections should contact ACRL office if they are interested in developing a relationship with an organization. The ACRL office maintains a list of "official representatives" (individuals representing ALA/ACRL to groups approved by ALA Council).

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