ACRL Bylaws make it clear that chapters are separate organizations interested in academic and research libraries that request affiliation with ACRL. In other words, ACRL recognizes as a chapter of the association an organization that meets certain criteria. ACRL affiliates with the chapter; it does not, however, establish the chapter as an organization, it does not control it, and it is not responsible for its actions.
Under the revised ACRL Bylaws, a chapter will be a local, state or regional group that has requested affiliation with ACRL and has been recognized as a chapter of ACRL by the ACRL Board. An organization thus becomes a chapter by affiliating with ACRL, rather than by being established by the national association. A chapter’s affiliation may be dissolved at its request by the Board and its affiliation will be dissolved if the chapter becomes inactive or fails to comply with bylaws provisions regarding chapters. (Source: ACRL Board, June 1998)
The first chapter was established in Philadelphia in 1951. "The chapter is a handy framework within which librarians can meet for social purposes and consider professional problems of local importance. In some cases, chapters undertake studies or perform cooperative services" (Source: 1956 ACRL Organizational Manual).
For additional information about the history of Chapters, please see the ACRL History page.
The petition for chapter status should read as follows: "The following persons hereby petition for chapter status in the Association of College and Research Libraries, under the name (name of proposed chapter) and covering the geographic area (location and/or geographic coverage). The purpose and objectives of the chapter will be as follows: (state briefly)." List the name, address, and telephone number of the individual acting as chairperson. Include the signatures of at least twenty-five ACRL members, and a typed alphabetical list, with complete addresses, of those signing the petition (See Petition Form).
The petition will be considered at the next meeting of the ACRL Board of Directors, if received one month prior to that meeting. The chapter will be notified of the Board's decision.
ACRL chapters are completely autonomous. They may (1) adopt bylaws governing officers, membership meetings, committees, and other matters; (2) develop and implement their own programs, requesting assistance from the ACRL Executive Director; (3) establish criteria for dues and membership; or (4) develop a newsletter or engage in other activity in order to improve communication within the membership.
Chapters shall either incorporate or belong to a state association that is incorporated within one year of their recognition by ACRL.
ACRL does not provide Chapters with funding.
ACRL will provide each chapter with one mailing list, upon request, per year of the national ACRL members residing in its geographic area. The list will include those ALA/ACRL members who have opted to be included in their ALA communication preferences. Chapter chairs must request the mailing list by emailing Aleah Price, the staff liaison to ACRL chapters, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To provide more local opportunities for professional development, ACRL will provide each chapter with two free webcasts per year, which they can broadcast at up to six sites to facilitate access.
Each affiliate chapter is expected to submit an annual report of its activities to the ACRL office by July of each year, using the Plan for Excellence Implementation Form (sent directly to member leaders) and including in the report a statement of how the chapter's activities supported the ACRL Plan for Excellence in regard to the goals of professional development and legislative issues, and what activities the chapter may have undertaken to promote membership recruitment.
All chapter annual reports will be made available to both the ACRL Board and the ACRL Chapters Council.
A regular forum for informal communication between the officers of Chapters Council and representatives of the ACRL Board will be held to ensure that the ACRL Board remains aware of concerns at the chapter level and that chapters are aware of ACRL's general direction and any concerns that the Board may have regarding chapter activities. Such a forum should also help to ensure that ACRL and chapters are working collaboratively on such issues as legislative advocacy, membership recruitment, and professional development. The Chapters Council should invite members of the Board and the Chapters Council to meet at the Sunday morning Chapters Council meetings at both the ALA Midwinter Meeting and Annual Conference.
Chapters that are divisions of a state association may be limited in what services or provisions they can offer to ACRL members in their region who do not belong to the chapter. It is, however, desirable for chapters to offer discounts on chapter program registrations and other similar provisions to ACRL members whenever possible. Such incentives may encourage participation by ACRL members in chapter activities and lead to increased ACRL membership in the chapter. Incentives are also appropriate, since the ACRL member's dues indirectly support the chapter's activities.
The autonomous nature of chapters as implied in the ACRL Bylaws and as legally embodied through the process of incorporation, provides sufficient protection to ACRL against liability. However it is advisable for ACRL to include language in the ACRL website that makes clear that chapters are separate organizations that are affiliated with ACRL; the website should also make it evident to the user that chapter websites are maintained separately from the ACRL site.
5.7.1 Roles and Responsibilities of Chapters
Affiliated chapters are important partners for ACRL. Although they are largely independent, they provide a local presence for ACRL and assist in attaining the goals of the ACRL Plan for Excellence. They foster professional development, particularly for those who cannot participate at the national level; they participate in legislative advocacy; and they promote ACRL membership.
Programming. Chapters offer a variety of programs that advance the professional development goals of ACRL.
Legislative Network. Chapters participate in the ACRL legislative network in order to advance legislative issues of importance to academic and research libraries as identified in ACRL’s annual legislative agenda. The network consists of Legislative Coordinators from each chapter, who are appointed by chapter officers. This Legislative Coordinator could be the chair of the government relations, legislative or advocacy committee or, in the absence of such a position, the Chair/President of the chapter.
Working with the Chapters Council Legislative Network Representative (who seeks input from ACRL staff as appropriate), each chapter's Legislative Coordinator communicates information and action alerts for rapid response on specific issues as legislation arises to their chapter's membership. If the chapter is in a key state or district, ACRL may follow up with a call to the Legislative Coordinator asking him/her to enlist support and mobilize advocates in the chapter area. The main form of communication for the legislative network is the Chapter Council ALA Connect Space, to which the leaders of each chapter are subscribed.
Membership Recruitment. Each chapter has a financial incentive to recruit new members to the chapter and to ACRL. Chapters are encouraged to plan membership drives in collaboration with the ACRL Membership Committee, ACRL staff, and the Chapters Council.
Chapters Council. Each chapter participates in Chapters Council through two representatives who have one vote on behalf of the chapter. Representatives are the president (chair) and vice-president (vice-chair) or a delegate who is a member of the executive board of the chapter and also a member of ACRL.
Officers. The president (chair) and vice-president (vice-chair) of each chapter must be members of ACRL or the chapter may have a delegate who is a member of the executive board of the chapter and also a member of ACRL.
Incorporation. Each ACRL chapter is responsible either for incorporating itself or belonging to a state association that is incorporated. New chapters must incorporate or belong to a state association within one year of their recognition by ACRL. Existing ACRL chapters were required to incorporate or belong to a state association that is incorporated by the end of the year 2000.
Bylaws. Each chapter adopts its own bylaws, provided they are not in conflict with ACRL's Bylaws and provides a copy to the ACRL office.
Meetings. Each chapter holds one meeting each year, unless it is a member of a state association that has biennial meetings.
Officer lists. Each ACRL chapter submits a list of its officers to the ACRL office within one month of the election.
Annual reports. Each affiliate chapter is expected to submit an annual report of its activities to the ACRL office by July of each year, using the Plan for Excellence Implementation Form (sent directly to member leaders) and including in the report a statement of how the chapter's activities supported the ACRL Plan for Excellence in regard to the goals of professional development and legislative issues, and what activities the chapter may have undertaken to promote membership recruitment.
Outreach to ACRL national members. Each chapter is encouraged to offer opportunities such as reduced chapter program registration to ACRL members living in their region who are not members of the chapter.
Disaffiliation. In the event that a chapter becomes inactive, or for other reasons chooses to disaffiliate, the chapter notifies ACRL of its intention to dissolve its affiliation with the association.
Chapters Council serves as ACRL's primary forum for dealing with the interests and concerns of ACRL chapters. It serves as the central means of communication among chapters and between chapters and ACRL. The mission of ACRL Chapters Council is to serve as a conduit for information and communication between National ACRL and its Chapters, and to promote membership of ACRL National.
The goals of Chapters Council are:
To support the goals and initiatives of ACRL National
To facilitate communication between ACRL members and ACRL leadership
To encourage and support ACRL Chapters goals and initiatives
To build membership of ACRL at the National and Chapter levels.
Its specific responsibilities are as follows:
Information sharing. Chapters Council facilitates the exchange of information among chapters.
Chapter Topics. Chapters Council coordinates the publication of Chapter Topics, which serves as a primary means of communicating chapter activities and concerns among chapters and to the ACRL Board.
Communication with the Board. Chapters Council regularly apprises the ACRL Board of chapter activities and concerns. Chapters Council officers meet annually with representatives of the ACRL Board to discuss issues of mutual concern.
ACRL information. Chapters Council promotes the dissemination of information about ACRL to local chapters.
Chapter development. Chapters Council promotes the organization and development of ACRL Chapters.
Membership recruitment. The Chapters Council cooperates with ACRL, particularly with the ACRL Membership Committee, in promoting ACRL membership.
Legislative network. The Chapters Council Legislative Network Representative works with the ACRL Board, the ACRL Senior Strategist for Special Initiatives, and the ACRL Government Relations Committee to coordinate the ACRL legislative network and advance the ACRL legislative agenda.
Representative attends Annual and Midwinter and reports results to the Chapters Council at the Chapters Council Meeting.
Chapters participate in the ACRL legislative network in order to advance legislative issues of importance to academic and research libraries as identified in ACRL's annual legislative agenda. The network consists of the ACRL Senior Strategist for Special Initiatives and the Legislative Network Representative to Chapters Council, who communicate information to the Chapters through the general Chapters Council ALA Connect Space.
Elections. Chapters Council holds elections for Chapters Council officers.
Directors at Large. ACRL's recognition of the importance of its Chapters is shown by the presence of two directors-at-large on the ACRL National Board, nominated biannually from within the Chapters Council. Each serves a four-year term.
Leadership Council. The Chair and Vice-chair of Chapters Council attend ACRL Leadership Council meetings.
Presidential Candidates Forum. The Chapters Council organizes the ACRL Presidential Candidates Forum.
Annual Report. Each year, the Chapters Council submits an annual report and work plan to ACRL, and makes it available to all chapters.
ACRL recognizes the importance of its affiliate chapters by supporting their work in a variety of ways.
Chapters Topics. ACRL supports and distributes Chapter Topics on its website.
Virtual speakers. ACRL officers (ACRL president, president-elect, executive director, and past-president) can speak at virtual ACRL chapter meetings. The purpose of the visit is to speak about the activities and initiatives of ACRL and to learn of members’ interests at the chapter level. Speakers are requested by the individual chapter. Funding cannot be provided for virtual speaker vistis.
Membership Lists. Each year, at no cost to the chapter, ACRL provides one list of ACRL members living in the chapter's geographic region.
Officer Lists. ACRL maintains and makes available a list of officers from each chapter.
Chapter Reports. The ACRL office receives and helps track chapter annual reports each year and makes them available to the ACRL Board and ACRL Chapters Council. Chapter reports facilitate communication and information sharing between ACRL, the Board and the Chapters.
ACRL Plan for Excellence. The ACRL Office provides an annual Summary and update of the ACRL Plan for Excellence to each ACRL affiliate chapter and the Chapters Council officers.
Meeting with Chapters Council Officers. Representatives of the ACRL Board meet annually with Chapters Council officers to discuss issues of mutual concern.
Websites. ACRL maintains the wording on the ACRL website, making sure chapters are separate organizations, affiliated with ACRL; the website also makes it evident to the user that chapter websites are separate from the ACRL site, listing chapters and providing links to their homepages.
The Chapters Council shall consist of the president (chair) and vice-president (vice-chair) of each ACRL chapter or a delegate who is a member of the executive board of the chapter. Each member of the Chapters Council shall be a member of the national association. Each chapter shall have one vote.
The elected officers of the Chapters Council are the chair, vice-chair/chair-elect, past-chair, and secretary. These officers serve as the Chapters Council Executive Committee. The Executive Committee plans the agenda of the Midwinter and Annual Meetings of the Council and submits Council recommendations to the ACRL Board of Directors.
The vice-chair/chair-elect and secretary are elected by the Chapters Council at its meetings during the Annual Conference, the choice being made from Chapters Council delegates. The Council vice-chair/chair-elect serves as chair during his/her second year on the Council, and then serves as past-chair for a third year.
The chair presides at Council meetings and can appoint ad hoc task forces for special purposes as necessary. The vice-chair/chair-elect serves as chair in the absence of the chair. The secretary serves a one-year term and is responsible for the recording and distribution of the Council's minutes.
(Source: ACRL Board of Directors, January 1975; revised, January 1979, June 1981, June 1984, and June 1998)
Chapter Topics is a newsletter published by Chapters Council and distributed two times a year via the Web to chapter officers by the ACRL office to facilitate communication between chapters. In Spring 2018, the ACRL Chapter Topics Newsletter shifted to become a LibGuide, part of the ACRL Chapters LibGuides. Also available on the ACRL Web site is Chapter Roster, a directory compiled by ACRL of current chapter officers and their addresses.
ACRL has 42 chapters. Chapters affiliated with ACRL are autonomous bodies. When clicking on the chapter Web sites available on the roster page, note that the information on these Web sites is wholly the responsibility of the chapter affiliate and implies no endorsement by ACRL National.
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