Chapter 15: General Policy Statements

15.1 Timeline for Performance Evaluation of ACRL Executive Director
15.2 Archives
15.3 Conflict of interest
15.4 Conflict resolution
15.5 Discussion groups
15.6 Ethics
15.7 Job nominations
15.8 Legislation
15.9 ACRL Membership for Spectrum Scholars
15.10 Questionnaires/Survey Guidelines
15.11 Racial & ethnic diversity
15.12 ACRL Scholarship Policy
15.13 Social issues
15.14 Name of the Association
15.15 Guidelines for External Communication
15.16 Use of ACRL's Name
15.17 Political Discussion
15.18 Firearms Policy


   15.1 Timeline for Performance Evaluation of ACRL Executive Director

The Executive Director is charged with advancing ACRL’s strategic plan. This timeline identifies the Board’s role in the evaluation process.

October (Fall Exec): Executive Director prepares Strategic Plan Activities Report and submits to Board.

January (prior to MW): Executive Director prepares Strategic Plan Activities Report and submits to Board.

Midwinter Meeting: Officers (President, vice-president, and past president) review progress to date and confer with Executive Director regarding any needed necessary midyear adjustments (e.g., unexpected emergencies or opportunities, ALA-directed changes) and/or concerns.

April/May (Spring Exec): Executive Director prepares Strategic Plan Activities Report and submits to Board.

May 15: Competencies used by ALA in its performance appraisal system sent out by ACRL President to Board Members.

June: Executive Director prepares Strategic Plan Activities Report and submits to Board. President compiles competencies ratings and comments submitted by the ACRL Board.

Annual Conference: Board convenes Executive Session during the first ACRL Board meeting to review performance of Executive Director. President discusses annual evaluations with Executive Director, outlines priority areas for coming year, and highlights any areas requiring particular direction by the Executive Director.

July 15: President submits a letter conveying the Board’s performance assessment for Executive Director to ALA Associate Executive Director for Member Programs and Services.

Approved ACRL Executive Committee, October 2007

   15.2 Archives

ACRL maintains official files for all ACRL units. These files are retained at ALA Headquarters for five years and then are transferred to the ALA Archives at the University of Illinois at Urbana. If ACRL units have materials for the ALA Archives, they may send the materials to the ACRL office.



Items to be transferred include:
1. Official records: constitutions and by-laws, minutes and proceedings, transcripts, lists of officers and members.
2. Office files: correspondence and memoranda (incoming and outgoing) and subject files concerning projects, activities and functions.
3. Historical files documenting policies, decisions, committee and task force reports, questionnaires.
4. Publications: one record copy of all programs, journals, monographs, newsletters, brochures, posters and announcements issued by the association or its subdivisions;.
5. Audio-visuals: photographs and sound recordings.
6. Personal papers of members which relate directly to association work; for personal papers not directly related to ALA work, please consult the Archives prior to transfer.
7. Charts and maps.

Records which SHOULD NOT BE TRANSFERRED to the Archives include:
1. Records of specific financial and membership transactions.
2. Letters of transmittal where the date and routing information is on the document transmitted.
3. Requests for publications or information after the requests have been filled.
4. All blank forms and unused printed or duplicated materials.
5. All duplicate material: keep only the original copy and annotated copies.
6. Papers, reports, work papers and drafts; which have been published.
7. Replies to questionnaires if the results are recorded and preserved either in the archives or in a published report.

These criteria are intended as a general guide. If there are questions about records not listed here or questions about the retention or disposal of specific records or manuscripts, please contact the University of Illinois Archives at (217) 333-0798.

   15.3 Conflict of interest

Certain activities sponsored by the ACRL may pose a potential conflict of interest between a member's business or personal affiliations and his or her participation in the division. Such activities include, but are not limited to, selection of recipients of awards or of outstanding publications, and formal evaluation of specific nonprint databases and media or of specific vendor services. ACRL members who receive an appointment or are elected to a leadership position should be conscious of real or apparent conflicts of interest and the possible effect of such conflicts on the credibility of the division and should act with professional ethical judgment to avoid such situations.

No members should make, participate in making, or use their ACRL position to influence the making of any committee or division decision in which the member has a direct or indirect financial or business interest.

If a member determines that he or she should not participate in a divisional decision because of a personal conflict of interest, the determination not to act should be accompanied by a public disclosure of that interest. In the case of a voting body, this determination and disclosure should be made part of the official record of the body, and the member should abstain from action on the matter(s) in conflict. In the case of a committee appointment, the disclosure should be made in writing to the appropriate appointing officer. A candidate for elective office should include a disclosure of any potential conflict of interest in the biographic statement submitted for the ballot.

Any member who is unsure of his or her responsibilities in this area may request assistance from the ACRL executive committee of the section or division, as appropriate.

If a member fails to identify a conflict of interest which may reflect negatively on the actions of ACRL, this Executive Committee may, by a majority decision, remove conflicting duties from the member's charge.

Source: ACRL Board, June 1995, revised May 2006

   15.4 Conflict resolution

"When cases of conflict between ACRL units reach an impasse, the matter will be referred to the ACRL Executive Committee for resolution." Source: ACRL Board, July 1985

   15.5 Discussion groups

Member-initiated groups created to encourage discussion such as focused on a contemporary issue or supporting exchange between communities with shared characteristics such as position.  Discussion Groups emphasize broad engagement of members and exchange of ideas, models, and approaches.  Discussion Groups are generally less formal and more flexible in response to changing needs and interests in the profession.  Discussion Groups are free to members.

 (Source: ACRL Board, June 2011)

Discussion groups are not in a position to request directly or through their sections any kind of budget allocation. They may request space at conferences. ACRL only keeps records concerned with their chairpersons. This policy was established so that they do not grow to the proportion of a section with many committees and a board. Source: ACRL Board, June 1978; ACRL Executive Committee, April 1985; ACRL Executive Committee, March 2010.

ACRL staff will check each year to see if each discussion group has scheduled a meeting at ALA Midwinter or Annual. If not, staff will ask the chairperson to request dissolution of the discussion group. Source: ACRL Board, June 1987

   15.6 Ethics

"The ACRL Executive Committee endorsed the ALA Statement on Professional Ethics." Source: ACRL Executive Committee, April 1984, April 1995

   15.7 Job nominations

"ACRL does not provide nominations for academic library positions. If a staff member wishes to nominate an individual, personal stationery should be used." Source: ACRL Executive Committee, April 1986

   15.8 Legislation

"The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) will take appropriate action whenever necessary to recommend and/or promote federal legislation (including statutory and administrative laws, executive policies, standards, rulings, and legal decisions) and international agreements which enhance library services to the academic and research communities and which, in other ways, contribute to the welfare and development of academic and research libraries and support the mission and goals of ACRL. Appropriate action will also be taken to protest federal legislation and international agreements which adversely affect academic and research libraries and the mission and goals of ACRL." Source: ACRL Board, January 1982

   15.9 Membership for Spectrum Scholars

ACRL provides a free ACRL membership for one year to each member of each new ALA Spectrum Scholars class, beginning in FY 2002. Source: ACRL Board, June 2001

   15.10 Questionnaires/survey guidelines

"Questionnaires being sent beyond the membership of a specific ACRL group or committee must be submitted to the ACRL executive director for review. The review is to prevent duplication of effort among sections; ensure conformity to ACRL policies, procedures, and guidelines; and ensure that the surveys meet a basic level of quality of construction and are appropriate to the proposed investigation. The ACRL executive director may request assistance from ALA's Office of Research or other experts in research methodology to review questionnaires." Source: ACRL Board, June 1987

   15.11 Racial & ethnic diversity

Core Commitment to Equity, Diversity & Inclusion
ACRL is dedicated to creating diverse and inclusive communities in the Association and in academic and research libraries. This core commitment permeates the work of the Association, cutting across all ACRL sections, committees, interest and discussion groups, and communities of practice. The Association will acknowledge and address historical racial inequities; challenge oppressive systems within academic libraries; value different ways of knowing; and identify and work to eliminate barriers to equitable services, spaces, resources, and scholarship. (Source: ACRL Plan for Excellence, Revised to include Core Commitment November 2018.)

"The Association of College and Research Libraries is committed to fostering equality and promoting diversity within the library profession as a whole and specifically within academic libraries by: 1) supporting efforts to attract, retain, and advance professionally underrepresented minorities to the library profession in general and to academic libraries specifically; 2) supporting educational efforts to heighten racial sensitivity and assist library staff and institutions in recognizing and handling the issues related to equality and diversity; 3) reflecting this commitment in the association's organization, strategic plans, standards, programs, and activities." (Source: ACRL Executive Committee, April 1991)

   15.12 ACRL Scholarship Policy

Provide opportunities for librarians to update their skills and knowledge by participating in an ACRL professional development experience. Scholarship shall particularly focus on librarians from diverse backgrounds and those employed at institutions serving professionally underrepresented minorities.


  • Increase participation of entry-level and minority librarians in ACRL professional development activities.
  • Increase ACRL's efforts toward being an inclusive organization.
  • Enhance librarians' ability to provide excellent services to constituent groups.
  • Provide members with an active, positive interaction with ACRL that will strengthen membership retention


Recipients for scholarship awards must meet the criteria specified by the sponsoring unit and complete the ACRL Scholarship application.

Note: Preference will be given to individuals who have not previously been awarded an ACRL scholarship. Individuals may only receive one scholarship per professional development event.

Scholarship Budget
The ACRL Budget and Finance Committee will recommend annually to the ACRL Board of Directors a sum of money to be used for scholarships. The Board approves funds to be used for scholarships one year in advance of the budgeted year, i.e., scholarships fund to be used in 2001 would be approved at Midwinter 2000.

Staff establishes a separate account within the ACRL budget for ACRL's scholarship program to allow for tracking and accounting for use of funds. The availability of scholarship funds will be made widely known throughout the membership by announcing in C&RL News, section and chapter newsletters, and on unit discussion lists.

Scholarship Distribution
Requests for use of scholarship funds may come from any ACRL unit. Programs eligible for receiving scholarship funds are conferences, institutes, divisional preconferences, workshops, seminars and regional programs sponsored by ACRL.

Requests for scholarship funds are submitted to the ACRL office for review and approval by a Board subcommittee. Each request should include the following information: name, date, location, projected attendance, registration, fee for activity, amount of funds being requested, criteria for the scholarship (criteria must address the purpose and at least one of the four stated goals) and the plan for distributing the funds, e.g., 10 partial scholarships of $75 each and 5 full scholarships of $150.

The requesting unit has responsibility for ensuring that the scholarship criteria and ACRL policies are adhered to; for setting the application deadline; for selecting scholarship recipients; for preparing the final report to the Board; and providing scholarship applicant files to the ACRL office.

Each committee responsible for an activity receiving scholarship funds must submit a report to the Board within one month of completion of the event that provides the following information about each recipient: name, title or position, institution, number of years in profession, gender, and ethnic/racial identification. Source: ACRL Board, June 2000

   15.13 Social issues

The ACRL Board moved that in deliberating social, political, and economic issues, it should take action only when those issues meet the following criteria:

  • Issues are of a fundamental importance to the profession of academic librarianship;
  • Issues are directly and clearly identified as consistent with the mission and goals of ACRL and ACRL's Strategic Plan; and
  • Issues are ones for which ACRL is recognized as an authoritative and knowledgeable source by both its membership and the national community (such as intellectual freedom and access to information).

Source: ACRL Board, January 1993

   15.14 Name of the Association

"The ACRL Planning Committee discussed changing the name of the division from the Association of College and Research Libraries to the Association of College and Research Librarians. The ACRL Planning Committee did not recommend such a change. Since this issue comes up from time to time the Planning Committee set down some of the reasons for the recommendation to provide a record for the future.

  1. The term 'libraries' is used generically to include librarians and the mission and goals of librarianship. ACRL supports the needs of libraries and their goals through supporting legislation and promoting access to information as well as a wide variety of other ways. These activities relate to libraries more directly than to librarians.
  2. The term "libraries" rather than "librarians" includes users and their needs.
  3. The time involved in the bureaucracy of changing the name would take away from the business of the association. That time expenditure is not justified since the name change would not affect the direction of the association.
  4. There are costs involved in changing the name on printed materials such as stationery and brochures."

Source: ACRL Board, January 1986

   15.15 Guidelines for External Communication

See Also 6.2.17 External Funding

Periodically the Association needs to communicate with external audiences on policies and issues relating to ACRL’s core purpose. In determining when to communicate and who shall represent ACRL the following factors should be considered:

  • Urgency of need to communicate
  • Significance of issue
  • Scope and impact of issue on ACRL and its members
  • Need for consistent relationship
  • Established policy on the issue

If the association has established a position on an issue, the Executive Director and President are each authorized to communicate the association’s viewpoint to the outside world. Subsequently, the Executive Director and President will report such communications to the Board in a timely manner. When deciding who shall represent ACRL, the factors listed above shall be used to make the determination.

If the association has not established an official position on an issue and an external communication is needed without the delay caused by referral of the matter to the Board, the Executive Director and President are each authorized to send such communication, making the decision on who will represent ACRL on a case-by-case basis using the factors above. Subsequently, the Executive Director and President will report such communications to the Board in a timely manner.

When urgency is not an issue and the issue is significant, the full Board may be consulted. Alternatively, as per Article X, Section 2 of the ACRL Bylaws, the Executive Committee may act in place and stead of the Board of Directors between Board meetings and may act for the Board and make decisions on matters which require action before the next Board meeting.

Source: ACRL Board, Annual Conference 2005

   15.16 Use of ACRL's Name

NOTE: The Board of Directors is the voice for the association. Sections, committees, and other established units are not authorized to speak for the association except through the Board. This is to say that unit leaders should refrain from issuing statements, taking positions, or endorsing any statements or positions except with Board approval.

   15.17 Political Discussion

Due to ALA's tax exemption as a 501(c)(3), ALA resources cannot be used to support or oppose any candidate for public office. Nor can they be used to link to other sites that contain such support or opposition. Neither can ALA's resources be used to suggest or support boycotts or to make defamatory remarks.

   15.18 Firearms Policy

To the maximum extend allowed by law, ACRL prohibits the possession of all firearms at any ACRL event. (Source: Fall Executive Committee Meeting 2011)

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