Taking Minutes

If you have been designated to take minutes at an IS meeting, the following suggestions should make your job as recording secretary easier.


  1. Have ready the minutes of previous meetings and any other material you may need at the meeting, such as any key documents to be discussed.
  2. Obtain a list of committee members and the meeting agenda. You can use the agenda as a template for taking minutes.
  3. Gather the following information from attendees during meetings: Name, institutional affiliation, and designation of “member” or “observer.”
  4. Please have a paper and pen available as a backup in the event of technological difficulties to ensure a full record of the meeting is obtained.
  5. You may chose to record the meeting to supplement your notes. Please obtain the consent of participants to record the meeting, and ensure that the recording is deleted upon completion of the minutes.

What to Include in Your Minutes:

  1. Name of the committee or group and its hierarchical place within ACRL IS, followed by meeting name or kind (a regular or special meeting called to discuss a specific topic), and then date, time, and place of the meeting. For example:

ACRL Instruction Section Executive Committee 
April Meeting
Thursday, April 4, 2019
1:30-2:30 pm CST/2:30-3:30 pm EST, Online

  1. Name of committee members present. Indicate the chair or co-chairs by using “(ch)” after name.
  2. Names of committee members excused or absent. You may need to verify excused absences with the chair.
  3. List of observers. Indicate name, and institutional affiliation.
  4. A statement that the minutes of the prior meeting were approved, revised, or not read.
  5. Announcements or issues for discussion from the IS Executive Committee or the IS Advisory Council.
  6. Items discussed in order listed on the agenda. Briefly describe main points discussed and state actions taken. A full transcript of the discussion is not necessary, but be sure to include actions, votes, resolutions, motions, etc.
  7. Give complete information but be succinct. A structured format to your minutes may help. For example, you may wish to use headings such as “Agenda Item” followed by subheadings “Discussion” and “Action Taken.”
  8. If a member of the committee is assigned a task or volunteers for an assignment, state clearly the person’s name and the responsibility accepted. Be sure to note any deadlines.
  9. Minutes should always be objective and impartial. They should be factual and devoid of editorial opinions and comments.
  10. The time the meeting was adjourned and the place, time, and date of the next meeting.
  11. A statement listing who was the recording secretary responsible for the minutes. Example: Minutes taken by Jane Anybody.

Action Items:

Include action items within your minutes (see points 8 and 9 above), or conclude the minutes with a section entitled “Action Items,” listing the item(s) on which action is needed and the responsible committee member, as follows:

Action Items
Item Member Responsible Due Date
1. Contact Communication Committee re: joint project & report back at next meeting 1. Jane Anybody 04/30/19
2. Conduct literature search & distribute results to committee by May 2. Tyler Everybody 05/01/19
3. Etc. 3. Etc.

Proofreading and Distribution of Minutes:

Write up the minutes within two weeks after the meeting and distribute them via email for proofreading, review, and approval to the committee chair, all committee members, and the Executive Committee liaison to the committee/task force. Please be sure to check for accuracy, misspellings, and formatting consistency. Once the minutes are approved, the committee secretary will upload them (in PDF format) to the IS Archive on ALA Connect. Consult the File Naming Conventions web page for the required file naming structure.

Originally prepared by the ACRL IS Communication Committee. Last revised by Kirsten Feist, 2019-20 ACRL IS Archivist; October 2019.