Core interest groups offer a way to meet colleagues who share your interests and concerns while problem-solving together and sharing best practices. Interest Groups answer the question, "How do I find other people who care about the same thing I do so we can talk and share?" and are as widely open to participants as possible.
As a result, with the exception of the required convener and any additional leadership, interest group members do not need to be members of Core, or even of ALA. Anyone with an ALA account can join a Core interest group in ALA Connect. Conveners must be Core members, but anyone can join or leave an Interest Group at any time.
Before you ask to create a new interest group, please be sure to look through our list of current groups to make sure there's no duplication.
Procedures for establishing an Interest Group are simple and ensure that any group of 10 or more individuals with a common interest within the scope of Core who are willing to sign the charter may establish a forum in which to exchange ideas and experiences. The group shall conduct its discussions so that all those present in the meeting room (whether in person or virtually), can hear and contribute to the discussion, including working with the Core Office on accommodation requests.
Interest Groups are formed at the division level or at the section level. They require at least one member volunteer to act as convener, and can continue to exist for as long as the Interest Group consistently completes deliverables. Members can request to form a new Interest Group by filling out the Interest Group Petition form, identifying at least one convener, and collecting an electronic signature from at least 10 additional people.
Interest Groups are narrowly focused on a topic unique to the members it serves and provide members with networking, discussion, and resources around that topic.
Interest Groups determine their own convener(s) and are internally governed by whatever method members of the Interest Group find most useful. A group that chooses to run a formal vote for conveners can do so in their Connect group. Conveners are required to submit the IG Report Form quarterly to document progress toward the completion of deliverables and note any issues encountered.
Official Interest Group business meetings should be held virtually in January and virtually or in person in June. Interest Groups are not required to hold a meeting or discussion at the ALA Annual Conference and are encouraged to hold one virtually in June.
Each IG shall have a convener or co-conveners(with overlapping or successive terms), each of whom will serve in this capacity for one year. If the IG chooses to elect conveners, the election will be held virtually in ALA Connect no later than April of each year. No convener of an Interest Group shall serve for more than two consecutive years in the same office.
The IG leadership will:
- Coordinate activities of the Interest Group;
- Convene meetings;
- Ensure the annual selection of leadership and report the names of incoming convener(s) to the Core Office.
Interest Groups will convene some type of regular, ongoing discussion and/or networking. Examples include facilitating virtual discussions year-round, hosting a series of regular online forums on different topics, and/or arranging for in-person discussions at conferences or other events.
In addition to discussion, Interest Groups may provide other deliverables, but these are neither required nor the primary purpose of Interest Groups. Examples may include:
- Offering an online course or webinar through the Core Continuing Education Coordination Committee
- Submitting program proposals to the Core Programming Committee for consideration for the ALA Annual Conference, Core Exchange, or Core Forum;
- Holding an in-person discussion at the ALA Annual Conference;
- Participating in specific Interest Group programming activities like Interest Group Week;
- Holding their own online discussions, lightning talks, poster sessions, or other sessions at any time of the year;
- Developing resource products for members.
Core will provide each Interest Group with the following resources and services:
- An automated way to reserve a Core Zoom Meeting Room for meetings and discussions;
- A summary web page on the Core website;
- A group in ALA Connect for discussions, posting files, and taking any votes the group deems necessary. All Core groups will use ALA Connect, and IG members can use Connect group email addresses like a mailing list without ever having to visit the Connect website;
- There will be at least one virtual Interest Group Week scheduled per year, and each IG will be given a slot at each IG Week. An IG can choose how it wants to use that time slot: for virtual discussion, programming, for some other purpose, or not at all. IG Week events should be available for free to Core members and non-members, as well as non-members of ALA in general.
- Scheduling of in-person discussions or meetings (not programs) at the ALA Annual Conference. Interest Groups will not be automatically scheduled for space at Annual Conference. IGs may request space at Annual Conference for in-person discussion, but a default room layout will apply, and A/V support will not be provided. As a result, in-person discussion slots are not appropriate for formal programming.
- Options for programs and discussions at the Core Exchange (virtual) and Core Forum (in-person);
- Channels for offering online courses and webinars through the Core Continuing Education Coordination Committee
- Promotion channels through Core newsletters, blogs, and social media channels.
To continue as an Interest Group, an IG must remain active throughout the year and submit a form requesting renewal of their Charter to the Interest Group Coordination Committee for review every three years. The Interest Group Coordination Committee will send a continuation or dissolution recommendation to the Core Board.
Core Interest Groups will be reviewed by the Interest Group Coordination Committee every three years. Interest groups will automatically dissolve if no new Interest Group Charter has been submitted and approved for three years or if there is no activity in the group for three years.