Bylaws of the Public Library Association

Article I. Name
The name of the organization will be the Public Library Association, a division of the American Library Association.

Article II. Mission
The Public Library Association enhances the development and effectiveness of public library staff and public library services.

This mission positions PLA to:

  • Focus its efforts on serving the needs of its members
  • Address issues which affect public libraries
  • Promote and protect the profession
  • Commit to quality public library services which benefit the general public

Article III. Membership

Sec. 1. 
The members of this Association will be those ALA members who designate this Association as specified in the ALA Bylaws upon payment of dues.

Sec. 2. Rights and Benefits of Membership
a. Members will receive the periodical publications of the Association.
b. Members will receive preferred rates on PLA continuing education events and PLA publications.
c. Only personal members of this Association have the right to vote, serve on committees, and hold office.

Sec. 3. Dues
a. A dues schedule will be established by the Board of Directors. Approval of the dues schedule or any change in this schedule must be approved by vote of the membership. Voting will be carried out as part of the annual election process. A simple majority of the votes cast will be sufficient to approve dues changes.
b. The dues schedule will be reviewed at least every three years at the discretion of the Board of Directors.

Article IV. Officers and Duties

Sec. 1. 
The officers of this Association will be the immediate past president, the president, the vice president, who will be president elect, and the executive director. The executive director will be chosen by the executive director of the American Library Association with the approval of the Board of Directors of the Public Library Association. 

Sec. 2. Duties of the Officers

a.  President. The president is the official representative of the Association and will preside at business meetings, board meetings, and at other required times. The president will serve as the ex-officio member of all committees except the nominating committee without the right to vote except in a tie. As needed, the president is responsible for appointing liaisons and representatives to other entities.

b.  President Elect. The president elect will perform the duties of the president in his or her absence and appoint the chairs and members of the standing committees which will assume office during his or her year as president and will serve as an ex-officio member of the Budget & Finance Committee.

c.  Past President. The past president will serve as a member of the Board of Directors and as an ex-officio member of the Budget & Finance Committee. In every third year, at the expiration of the prior officer’s term, the immediate past president will appoint a new fiscal officer to the board.

d.  Executive Director. The executive director will carry out the policies and programs of the Association under the direction of the Board of Directors and will be responsible for the operation of the Association office.

Article V. Directors

Sec. 1.
The Board of Directors of the Association will consist of the following that have one vote: the Association's elected officers, the ALA division councilor of PLA, the fiscal officer, and six (6) members at large. The PLA Executive Director will be a non-voting member of the Board.

Sec. 2.
The Board of Directors will set direction, review annually the appointments, and manage the affairs of the Association under the policies adopted by the Association.

Article VI. Terms of Office

Sec. 1. 
The president elect will be elected for a three-year term and serves one year of that term as president elect, one year as president, and one year as immediate past president.  The ALA division councilor of the PLA will be elected for a term of three years. Six (6) members at large will serve staggered terms of three years each; two members are elected each year. Every third spring, the immediate past president will appoint a fiscal officer to serve a three-year term beginning on July 1 of that same year.

Sec. 2. 
No member will hold more than one elected position on the Board of Directors at a time.  Election or appointment to a second position creates an immediate vacancy in the first.

Sec. 3. 
If a member of the Board of Directors is unable to or does not fulfill the responsibilities of his or her office as defined in the Association bylaws, or if a member of the Board of Directors is unable to serve his or her full term of office, that director's office may be declared vacant by majority vote of the Board of Directors.

Sec. 4. 
If a member of the Board of Directors fails to attend two consecutive conferences (e.g., an Annual Conference and the following Midwinter Meeting), that director's office may be declared vacant by majority vote of the Board of Directors.

Sec. 5. 
The PLA Board of Directors will elect a person from among the membership of the Association to fill and complete the terms of vacated offices of elected directors, except that the ALA division councilor of PLA must be replaced in accordance with ALA bylaws and the fiscal officer, who will be appointed by the immediate past president.

Article VII. Committees

Sec. 1. Authorization.
Standing, committees, advisory groups and task forces are authorized by resolution of the Board of Directors and may be dissolved in the same manner. Special committees also may be authorized by the president to meet emergency needs.  New committees can be recommended by the PLA Board of Directors or any PLA member.

Sec. 2. Standing Committees.
Standing committees are established to carry on the continuing work of the Association, and have specific outcomes.

Members of committees are appointed by the president or president elect for staggered terms not to exceed two years and may be reappointed.  In no instance will a person serve on the same committee for more than four consecutive years.

Chairs of standing committees are appointed by either the president or president elect to one-year terms, and may be reappointed.

Sec. 3. Task forces.
a.  Task forces. Chairs and members of task forces as authorized in Section 1 will be appointed by the president to perform limited specific functions. The life of a task force will be two years, unless the Board designates otherwise at the time the task force is established or in response to the task forces’ written petition for extension.  Task forces will be project driven and may also be known as work groups and will disband when the task is completed.  All task forces or work groups will have specific charges.

b.  Advisory Groups. Chairs and members of advisory groups as authorized in Section 1 will be appointed by the president upon the establishment of the advisory group by the Board of Directors. The president is responsible for making two-year staggered appointments to the advisory group.  The purpose of an advisory group is to advise the Board of Directors on areas of expertise or practice.  Advisory groups will be reviewed annually by the Board of Directors for their ongoing continuance.

Sec. 4. Responsibilities and Duties.
The responsibilities of each committee, task force, or work group shall be defined in written form (charge), approved by the PLA Board of Directors and recorded in the office of the PLA.

Sec. 5. Dissolution.
Standing committees, task forces and advisory groups may be dissolved with the approval of the Board of Directors.

Article VIII. Meetings

Sec. 1. General Meetings.
There will be an annual business meeting of the PLA membership in connection with the annual conference of the ALA. Other meetings may be called at the discretion of the Board of Directors. One hundred and fifty members will constitute a quorum.

Sec. 2. Board of Directors Meetings.
Board of Directors meetings will be held in [connection with the Midwinter Meeting and the Annual Conference of the ALA], the fall, at the ALA Midwinter Meeting, in the spring and at the ALA Annual Conference and at other times on call of the president. A majority of the total number of elected officers and voting members of the Board will constitute a quorum.

Article IX. Communities of Practice.

Sec. 1. Establishment.
Any member of the Association interested in establishing communication or discussing common problems that fall within the mission of the Association may form a formal community of practice upon submission of written request to create such group.

Sec. 2. Operation.
A  Community of practice may incur no expenses except as authorized by the PLA Board of Directors and it may make no declaration of policy.

Sec. 3. Dissolution.
A Community of practice will continue in existence until inactive (no communications or activities) or dissolved by action of the Board of Directors.

Article X. Nominations, Elections, and Appointments

Sec. 1. The Nominating Committee.
The vice president will appoint a Nominating Committee that will include a diverse representation from the PLA membership to nominate candidates for the annual vote.  This representation shall include both diversity of size of library and geographic distribution.

Sec. 2. Nominations.
The Nominating Committee will present the names of at least two candidates for each vacancy on the Board of Directors. The nominating committee will, as far as possible, represent the various interests of the Association in its slate of candidates as delineated by the PLA strategic plan. The Nominating Committee will file its report with the Association's executive director who will arrange for publication and distribution of the official ballot in cooperation with ALA.

Sec. 3. Petition Nominations.
Additional nominations may be made by petitions signed by not fewer than twenty five members of the Association. These petitions must be filed with the executive director not less than four months before the annual conference of ALA. No person may be nominated by the committee or by petition who is not a member of the Association and whose written consent has not been filed with the Nominating Committee.

Sec. 4. Election.
The election will be held by vote in accordance with ALA procedure. A plurality of all votes cast will be necessary to constitute an election. In case of a tie vote, the successful candidate will be determined by lot. All elections will be certified by the ALA Elections Committee.

Sec. 5. Appointments.
No person will hold more than three concurrent positions (appointed or elected) within PLA.  The PLA office will be instructed to ensure compliance with this section.

Article XI. Amendments and Implementation

Sec. 1. Notice
Amendments to these Bylaws may be proposed by the PLA Board of Directors or by petition signed by 100 members of the Association and approved by the Board of Directors.  Proposed amendments shall be presented in writing to the PLA executive director.

The text of any proposed amendment shall be published in any official PLA publication thirty (30) days or more prior to the date of distribution of the ballot or shall be distributed to each PLA member forty five (45) days prior to the closing of the balloting.

Sec. 2. Adoption and Amendment
The bylaws may be adopted or amended by two-thirds majority vote of the PLA members voting.  Amendments become effective immediately following a favorable ballot unless otherwise specified.

Sec. 3. Implementation.
The President, in consultation with the Board of Directors, is empowered to appoint such committees and promulgate such rules as are necessary to effect implementation of the bylaws.

Article XII. Rules of Order

The rules contained in the latest edition of The Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure by Alice Sturgis will govern this Association in all instances to which they are applicable in which they are not inconsistent with the Constitution and Bylaws of this Association or of the American Library Association.

Adopted June 1951. Amended June of 1962, 1972, 1978, 1979, 1980; July 1981; June of 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1996 special ballot, 2003, 2008; May 2011; April 2019.