Chapter 13: Professional and Volunteer Development

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Professional Development:

RUSA recognizes the need for professional development for the library workforce. RUSA seeks to develop learning opportunities to serve the needs first of its members, but it also recognizes the responsibility to contribute to the body of program offerings for the wider audience of ALA member and non-members. Moreover, RUSA values its volunteer leaders and is committed to developing their leadership skills.

Goals for Professional Development:

RUSA strives to offer multiple online professional development opportunities, year-round.

  • RUSA supports a Professional Development Committee to provide coordination of professional development programming for the association.
  • RUSA sponsors programming for its members and for all ALA members at the ALA Annual Conference. RUSA follows the ALA procedures for proposal submission which may change from time to time. Proposals for programs are submitted through the central ALA Conference Services website <> (Login required.) Proposals may be made between June 1 and August 31. Program submissions appropriate for RUSA are forwarded to the division. RUSA’s Conference Program Coordinating Committee is RUSA’s jury for reviewing program proposals. Proposals must meet the ALA criteria established by the Conference Committee. Proposals should be aligned with the RUSA mission and address the interests of RUSA’s membership as reflected through RUSA’s sections and interest groups. Under ALA’s modifications to the Annual Conference (as of 2018), no section or interest group is granted a guaranteed program.
  • RUSA may sponsor pre-conferences and institutes. Members wishing to organize either should work through the division Conference Program Coordinating Committee.

Professional Development Committee:

The committee members represent all RUSA sections (BRASS, CODES, ETS, HS, RSS, STARS). Section representatives should maintain strong lines of communication between their own section chairs and the professional development committee. The professional development committee works with the executive director to develop programming content judged to be of high interest to members and to the profession at large. Interest Groups are not represented on the Professional Development Committee, however they are welcome to plan programming and training by contacting the executive director.

Developing Programming and Training Content:

Any section, committee, interest group, or individual is welcome to suggest programming or training ideas that meet the mission of RUSA and interests of its members and that would be beneficial for certain target audiences. Some content may be highly specialized serving the needs of a segment of members while other content may have broader appeal and relevance for the membership. RUSA also seeks to use the talent of its members or recommended experts to provide professional development to the larger library profession. The Professional Development Committee will evaluate submissions in consultation with the executive director.

Responsibilities of the Executive Director:

  • The executive director also has responsibility for developing and contributing training and programming ideas.
  • The executive director will determine the best time to offer learning opportunities in consultation with the sponsoring group and trainer.
  • The executive director will manage the contracts for trainers and presenters, ensuring that contracted rates of pay are in line with other ALA units.
  • The executive director will consult with ALA Publishing to discover unique areas of interest that RUSA might pursue.

RUSA seeks submissions that address innovative services and trends, emerging technologies, management and leadership or, staff-training in following topic area such as:

  • Reference services
  • User instruction
  • Assessment of services
  • Collection development
  • Resource discovery and usability
  • Resource sharing/ILL
  • Hot or trending topics

Formats for providing training may include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Online courses (4-6 weeks in duration)
  • Webinars for beginners and advanced topics (60-90 minutes, one time)
    • Presenters will receive compensation at a set rate.
  • Online discussions
  • Multi-day asynchronous discussions (chats)

Submitting proposals for online learning or a webinar:

To submit a proposal use the web form link:

Volunteer Development:

RUSA also maintains a Volunteer Development Committee whose charge is to coordinate training and develop resources to help shape the practices of its volunteer leaders. The volunteers of RUSA are essential to the operations and ability of the association to achieve its mission. In order to ensure that volunteer leaders have the resources and support needed for the yearly turnover of leadership, the Volunteer Development Committee provides leadership training and documentation in the areas of volunteer onboarding, leadership orientation, and ongoing development opportunities. Volunteer development focuses on skills and topics such as team development, succession planning, strategic planning, meeting management, and committee engagement. These skills, while not only a benefit to RUSA operations, are also transferable to a workplace setting.

The Chairs of the Professional Development Committee and the Volunteer Development Committee will update. Last revised: April 7, 2021