STS Manual: Committee and Discussion Group Procedures


Scheduling Meetings - For All Chairs

Checklist for Committee Chairs

Conference Program Planning Committees

Nominating Committee

Publications Committee

Discussion Group Checklist

Much of the work of STS is carried on by committees. Except for the Executive Committee, which has been described previously and whose members are elected by the section membership, all committee members and chairs are appointed by the vice-chair/chair-elect of the section and serve for either one, two, or three year terms. All committee chairs serve on the STS Council, a forum for reporting committee activities, sharing ideas and developing policies for the section.

To serve on any committee within the Association of College and Research Libraries, you must be a member of the Association. It is American Library Association policy that no member of ALA may serve simultaneously on more than three committees, including division and section committees, unless membership is ex-officio. It is also ALA policy that committee members are to attend the meetings of the committee at both the Midwinter and Annual conferences of the Association. Neither ALA nor ACRL provides funds for committee members to attend these meetings.

All committee meetings, except meetings of the Nominating Committee, Research Committee, and some meetings of the Oberly Award, are open to all members of ALA.

Several committees are discussed in-depth in this manual due to the nature of their responsibilities and need to meet many ACRL deadlines in order to accomplish their work. The STS Organizational Chart provides the charge, composition and membership requirements and/or terms.

To express an interest in an appointment on a Science and Technology Section Committee

  • Complete the Volunteer Web form.
  • When you receive you official appointment offer via email (sent by ACRL, signed by the Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect), you must respond to confirm your acceptance..

If you have accepted a nomination for a Science and Technology Section office

  • You will be asked to comlete the ACRL Biographical Information Web Form by the chair of the Nominating Committee.
  • Complete the form by the due date.

Virtual Meetings

Checklist for Committee Chairs


1. Assume responsibility for the work of the committee immediately after the ALA Annual conference (all committee appointments begin at that time). The first required meeting for all members is the Midwinter meeting following the appointment. If a member is absent for two meetings, he/she may be removed from the committee roster.

2. Make arrangements with the outgoing chair to discuss the work and direction of the committee and any specific responsibilities that have been assumed by members (this should be done at Annual Conference, if possible. It is recommended that Program Planning Committee Chairs do this by Midwinter (18 mos. before program).

3. Make arrangements to have archival material transferred from the outgoing chair.

4. Be ready to make suggestions to the vice-chair/chair-elect for committee appointments.

Specific Responsibilities:

1. Maintain a roster of all current committee members, with office and home addresses, email addresses, and telephone numbers (including fax where possible) and send corrections to ACRL.

2. Chair committee meetings at Annual and Midwinter conferences.

3. Approximately one month before a meeting, send the meeting time, location, agenda, and a copy of the past minutes of the meeting, to all current and incoming members of your committee. Meeting agendas should also be sent to ACRL two weeks before the meeting.

4. Make sure each new committee member and each current committee member who wants to continue a second term fills out the Volunteer Web Form.

5. Report on committee activities at meetings of the STS Council.

6. Submit meeting time and space needs to the STS chair.

7. Prepare a summary (minutes) of the committee meetings(s) upon completion of the last committee meeting at both the Midwinter and Annual conferences of ALA. You may use an ACRL Meeting Highlights form for this purpose. Send a copy of your meeting summary to the STS secretary and the ACRL Program Officer within one month after the conference.

8. After each conference, submit report to STS Signal on committee actions.

9. Be ready to make suggestions to the vice-chair/chair-elect for committee appointments.

10. Turn in budget reimbursement forms for committee expenses.

11. At end of term as chair, sends thank-you letters to committee members.

Logistics of a Committee Meeting:

1. Start on time.

2. If there is no secretary, ask one member to take minutes.

3. Start a sign-up sheet. Ask all attendees to sign name and institutional address as well as indicate whether they are members or visitors. Have members correct any erroneous information on the Committee Roster.

4. Ask for self-introductions of all in attendance.

5. Call for approval of minutes of the last meeting.

6. Make announcements.

7. Review the committee's charge.

8. Discuss agenda items. Call for reports from members. Try to have enough copies of all documents for all those present. Keep the discussion focused. Establish time constraints, if necessary, for each agenda item.

9. Summarize discussion. Set action items and make individual assignments. Establish deadlines for correspondence or other reports. Develop preliminary agenda for next meeting.

10. Set date and time of next meeting.

11. Close meeting.

Conference Program Planning Committees


Up until 1990 the section vice-chair/chair-elect served as chair of the Conference Program Planning Committee for the year they would serve as section chair. Additional activities and committee projects undertaken by the section since then provided new work for the section chair. The vice-chair/chair-elect now serves on the committee in an ex-officio capacity and appoints the Program Planning Committee and chair as soon as possible after being elected.


The Conference Program Planning Committees plan and organize the Section's Annual Conference programs. Committee members review past program topics and formats, choose a timely topic of interest to Section members and also to a broad spectrum of ALA members, recruit the best available speakers on the chosen topics, present the program in the most appropriate format, and evaluate the program based on responses from those who attend. The Conference Program Planning Committee is also responsible for the section reception. The vice-chair/chair-elect works closely with the committee to solicit and obtain funding for the reception. Local library and museum tours are also coordinated by this committee.

Meeting the deadlines established by the ALA Conference Arrangements Office and ACRL is an essential task of the Committee's chair. As these deadlines come from different sources, they will be received separately. A typical two-year scenario is outlined below.


The Conference Program Planning Committee has traditionally consisted of seven or more members, who serve for two years. It is highly desirable to have a committee member located close to the conference site for assistance with local arrangements. The timetable would be as follows: the committee appointed at the close of the 1989 Annual Conference by newly-elected vice-chair/chair-elect is responsible for the program at the 1991 Annual Conference.


(This includes specific deadlines for this committee chair. See the Checklist for Committee Chairs section for general duties.)

Conference Progran Planning Timeline
Timeframe Activity
Four to six weeks before the first meeting:

Receive list of committee members from the Vice-chair.

Send letter to committee to introduce yourself, stating purpose of committee, listing some of the past program topics and reception sponsors, announcing first meeting, asking members to begin thinking about program topics.


19 months prior to proposed program:

Submit requests for special AV funding to ACRL Budget and Finance Committee. Normal AV equipment such as overhead projectors, slide projectors, microphones, etc. are not included in this request. This is for very special equipment such as a room full of microcomputers, video projection system, etc. The normal AV request is part of the meeting request form submitted by STS chair.

Midwinter Meeting—

18 months prior to proposed program:

Committee meets to discuss possible program topics, formats, and speakers. Selects local arrangements person to locate a site for any STS tour. Committee members are given various assignments to complete over the next six months.

Between Midwinter and Annual Conference:

Send summary of meeting and job assignments to all committee members.

Correspond with committee members, executive committee, and ALA/ACRL offices as necessary.

February 15—

17 months to proposed program:

Deadline for submitting summary of meeting to STS Signal.

May 1—

14 months to proposed program:

ACRL Program Proposal form and ALA Program Proposal form (from ACRL Associate Director) due to ACRL Associate Director.

Annual Conference—

12 months prior to the proposed program:

Committee selects speakers, gives name to program if not yet decided, assigns publicity team, chooses STS reception site if separate from program.

Committee chair reports recommendations to STS Council. Room size, date, time for program are settled at this meeting.

The ACRL Board approves the program proposal.

Between Annual and Midwinter:

Send letters to speakers formally asking them to speak at your program pending outcome of funding request to ALA.

Send letters to committee members summarizing meeting and reviewing assignments.


9 months prior to the proposed program

Submit request for special allocation funding to ACRL Office.

Submit program copy to Conference Arrangements.

October 1—

9 months prior to the proposed program:

ACRL staff notifies units regarding assigned tracks and times of programs.


7 months prior to the proposed program:

Send agenda for Midwinter committee meetings to committee members.

Will receive response regarding program funding from ALA via ACRL office.

Midwinter Meeting—

6 months prior to the program:

Committee does final planning for program.

Final publicity flyer and evaluation form are approved.

List of substitutes for speakers, committee assignments for copying and distributing forms and flyers are made.

Committee assignments for various tasks for the day of the program are assigned including: Timekeeper, AV assistant, light monitor, evaluation form collector(s) and tabulator(s), room location assistant(s) (if breakaway sessions are planned), program moderator, etc.


5 months prior to the program:

Submit final program copy to Conference Arrangements Office.


2 months prior to the program:

Program chairs submit final changes or additional requests to ACRL Associate Director.


Audiotaping permission requests due from speakers.

April 30:

Deadline for submitting AV requests to ALA Conference Services.

Deadline for requesting VIP Housing for conference speakers.

Annual Conference:

Before the program, hold a short meeting with committee to tie up any loose ends and plan the day. You may want to go scope out the room to assist with logistics on the day of your program.

Units pick up badges for non-librarian speakers from ACRL table in the ALA office area.

Hold reception and program.

Collect evaluation forms at program.

After the program:

Send thank you letters to speakers and sponsors of reception and program. Sponsor letters may be handled by section chair.

Send thank you letters to committee members.

Compile data from evaluation forms and pass data onto new STS Program Chair.

June 30:

Conference program evaluations due to ACRL.

STS program titles are listed in the STS History Section.

Nominating Committee


Create a slate of candidates for the Executive Committee, composed of two candidates for each vacant office. Recruit the best possible nominees for section officers, representing the diversity of STS members.

ACRL states that this committee is "an important key to not only selecting qualified candidates, but also for informing potential candidates of responsibilities of the office".

It is essential that the committee's chair meet all deadlines established by ACRL. Those deadlines are as follows:

Vice-chair appoints Nominating Committee. Current section past-chair serves as chair. September
Informational materials on nominations and elections sent by ACRL office to nominating committees. March
Names of the Nominating committee and call for nominations posted on the ACRL section of the ALA webpage. March
Names of members of nominating committees and call for nominations published in C&RL News April
Nominating Committee invites nominees to become candidates for office. April
Nominating committee meets to finalize a slate of candidates for office. Annual Conference
Section vice-chairs inform the ACRL office of the name of the nominating committee chairs. September
Nominating Committee chairs submit slates of candidates for spring ballot along with letter of consent to the ACRL office by September 15. September 15
Biographical information and statements of concern for ballots due at ACRL office by October 15. October 15
Ballot text sent to candidates for proofing. December
Names of candidates listed in C&RL News December
Names of petition candidates with completed biographical form and statement of concern are due in the ACRL office by January 15. January 15
Ballots posted to a website for online voting March
Candidates notified of election results. June


The Nominating Committee has traditionally consisted of three members. The Nominating Committee is chaired by the Past chair of the section with official term commencing when term as past-chair ends.

Checklist for Nominating Committee Chair

1. Obtain an STS membership roster from section vice-chair/chair-elect or ACRL Office in order to ascertain eligibility (all nominees must be members of STS). Plan to consult with fellow committee members or make copies of the roster for them.

2. Ascertain offices to be filled by consulting STS Bylaws and Section manual. Consult files of previous nominating committees to help determine likely candidates and review the names of members nominated in recent years.

3. Work with other committee members to prepare possible slate of nominees, with back-up names in priority order should a nominee decline or withdraw. Nominees should, when feasible, represent the diversity of STS members related to type of institution, area of expertise, geographic location and human diversity criteria including race and ethnicity.

4. Contact potential nominees and describe the position for which they are being asked to run and the term of office (with beginning and ending dates). If the person is undecided about accepting or rejecting the nomination at that moment, negotiate a date by which he or she will give an answer and arrange to call back at that time.

5. Provide each nominee with copies of relevant pages from the STS Manual (functions and responsibilities of officers and calendar of activities, etc.), or refer to the online version of the Manual.

6. When candidate has agreed to run, send him or her a letter of thanks and instructions to fill out the ACRL Biographical Web Form.

7. When written confirmation has been received from all nominees, notify ACRL Executive Director, Section Executive Committee, and other members of the Nominating Committee. Notification should include name, position title, full address information (postal and e-mail), phone and fax numbers for each candidate on the slate.

8. When election results are announced, remind new officers to review STS Manual for assigned duties.

Publications Committee


To coordinate the section's publishing activities. This includes writing, editing and publishing the section newsletter and other documents produced by the Section as a whole, regardless of their format. To serve as a resource for the publishing needs of STS committees.


The Publications Committee consists of nine members; with staggered appointments so that three members are replaced earch year and two members remain to provide continuity.

STS Signal Guidelines


The newsletter was first published in 1985. The Section held a contest to develop a logo for the section newsletter, the STS Signal.

1. The section newsletter will be issued twice yearly, in the spring and fall

2. Deadline for the fall issue is the last week of September. Contents for this issue include:

  • Highlights of STS Council meetings at previous Annual conference
  • Chair and vice-chair statements to membership
  • STS meeting schedule for Midwinter conference
  • Committee reports, plans, & projects
  • Report on the previous STS Annual conference program
  • Update on the upcoming STS Annual conference program
  • List of officers and phone numbers
  • Vice Chair's call for volunteers for STS committee, activities

3. Deadline for the spring issue is the first week of March. Contents for this issue include:

  • Chair's and Vice-Chair's greetings and highlights notes
  • STS meeting schedule for Annual conference
  • Highlights of STS Council meetings from Midwinter meeting
  • Committee reports (short)
  • Publicity for the STS program and discussion groups at Annual conference (should also be announced in C&RL News, if possible)

4. Camera-ready copy is sent to :

  • Director of Publications, ACRL, 50 E. Huron St., Chicago, IL 60611

Turn around to membership is normally 4-6 weeks after submission.

Date of submission to ACRL can be set with ACRL, every year.

ACRL Newsletter Policy is located in STS Manual: ACRL Guidelines and Policies/ACRL Newsletter Policy

Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship (ISTL)

1. Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship (ISTL) is an open-access, electronic-only journal available at ISTL publishes substantive material of interest to science and technology librarians. It serves as a vehicle for sci-tech librarians to:

  • share successful initiatives and innovative ideas;
  • publish peer-reviewed or board-accepted papers, including case studies, practical applications, theoretical essays, web/bibliographies, and research papers relevant to the functions and operations of science and technology libraries in all settings.

2. ISTL is published quarterly.

3. Contents for each issue include a combination of:

  • board-accepted and refereed articles
  • journal reviews and reports
  • database reviews and reports
  • book reviews
  • webliographies
  • viewpoints
  • tips from the experts

4. The ISTL editorial board includes the editor, the refereed articles editor, journal and database editor, book review editor, webliography editor, viewpoint editor, and "Tips from the Experts" editor.

When a vacancy occurs on the ISTL editorial board, the vacant position is advertised on the STS-L list and applications are solicited from interested STS members.

The Publications Committee makes the final selection/appointment of new editorial board members.

5. Information for authors, including deadlines, and style information, is on the web at

Discussion Group Procedures


Informal discussion groups are established by the Section Chair in consultation with the STS Council. Generally, Discussion Groups have presentations at each ALA Annual and/or Midwinter Conference.

As of July 2008, STS sponsors three discussion groups:

  • College Science Librarians Discussion Group
  • Hot Topics Discussion Group
  • Publisher/Vendor Relations Discussion Group

Discussion Groups may have a single chairperson or co-chairs, who are appointed by the Section Chair, ideally for two-year staggered terms. Discussion Groups do not have formal committee members.

Responsibilities of the Discussion Group Chair(s):


  1. If there is no co-chair continuing to provide background information, contact the outgoing chair prior to the ALA Annual Conference. Make arrangements with the outgoing chairperson(s) to discuss past topics, publicity, logistics, and other details related to the successful running of the Discussion Group, as well as coordination with other groups. This should be done at the Annual Conference before officially becoming chair, if possible.
  2. Make arrangements to have archival material transferred from the outgoing chair(s).
  3. Assume responsibility for the Discussion Group immediately after the ALA Annual conference.

Specific Responsibilities:

  1. The Chairperson(s) must complete the Volunteer Web Form.
  2. As soon as possible, but at least several months prior to each conference at which the Discussion Group will meet, the Chairperson(s) selects a topic for the Group's discussion.
  3. Select a format for the discussion. Identify and recruit experts to lead the discussion, if needed. There is no funding for speakers.
  4. Submit to STS Section Chair any requests related to the meeting room, seating, audiovisual requirements, etc. This must be done well in advance of the meeting; early in September for Midwinter and early in October for Annual.
  5. Submit information to STS Publicity Chair for posting in ACRL News and other sources.
  6. Several weeks prior to the conference, send announcement of the discussion topic to STS-L, including: date, time, location, title and description of topic, and speakers' names and affiliations. The announcement should be coordinated with all other discussion groups and the Publicity Chair, if possible.
  7. If desired, prepare publicity flyers to distribute at the conference. The opening STS Council is a good place to distribute flyers.
  8. Attend opening STS Council meeting to report on plans for the Discussion Group's session.
  9. Attend closing STS Council to recap discussion group session.
  10. Attend meeting of STS Committee Chairs, if scheduled.

The Discussion Group presentation:

  1. Discussion Group chairs start the session, introduce speakers, moderate the discussion, and close the session. Make announcements of other STS activities as appropriate.
  2. A sign-up sheet is distributed for all attendees to fill out. Minimum information required: name, institution, STS member (yes or no), a space for suggestions for future topics or speakers. Sometimes included: e-mail addresses, institution or home address.
  3. Supporting materials may be made available, such as bibliographies, handouts supplied by the speaker, STS membership and program announcement flyers. Reimbursement can be made by the Section.

After the meeting:

  1. Attend closing STS Council meeting; report on the Discussion Group's session.
  2. Give list of attendees to Membership Committee chair.
  3. Prepare minutes or Meeting Highlights form and send to ACRL Program Officer and to the STS Secretary.
  4. Submit report to STS Signal on the Group's session.
  5. Submit detailed report to STS-L.
  6. Send thank-you letters to speakers.
  7. Any Discussion Group Chair who is ending his/her assignment makes arrangements to meet with the incoming Chair to pass along appropriate information about the Discussion Group.

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