Appointments Update

Editor’s Note: This entry is part of an occasional series of posts from the ACRL Board of Directors.  In this post, Vice-President/ President-Elect Steven J. Bell provides an update on the ACRL appointments process.

One of the primary responsibilities of the ACRL vice-president/president-elect is to oversee the appointments process for the next program year. The process begins early on in the term of the vice-president when he or she identifies a chair of the Appointments Committee that will do the bulk of the appointment work on behalf of the vice-president.

This year the Appointments Committee is being chaired by John Pollitz, Director of the McIntyre Library at  University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. John and his committee members have already been working for months to familiarize themselves with the appointments process and the ALA technology used to carry out the actual appointment work. To date the Appointments Committee has focused on identifying the incoming vice-chair for each of the division-level committees. That is a high profile committee position, so the process begins by completing this important appointment.

The Committee has also been working diligently the last few months to announce the appointment process, primarily to alert all ACRL members who wish to serve on a committee of the February 15, 2012 deadline for completing a volunteer form. Now that the deadline has passed and many of you have indicated which committees you are hoping to join, the Appointments Committee members are engaged in the important work of filling all of the available slots for each of the division-level committees.

Remember, those are the committees that the ACRL Board creates to do work on behalf of the Board. There are also many Section committees, and the leadership of each Section makes its own appointments. The ACRL vice-president also makes a limited number of direct appointments, primarily the ACRL members who will serve as representatives to different ALA committees and task forces.

At the ACRL 2011 conference in Philadelphia, ACRL conducted several focus groups about committee membership responsibilities. Members who had served or were serving on committees were generally highly favorable of the experience. Those who had never served on committees were less enthusiastic, and expressed concerns that the volunteer and appointment process was opaque. I agree that it can be frustrating when you submit your name to the volunteer database, but you have no real sense of what is happening, whether you are going to get an appointment or not, and when you’ll be finding out the final result of the journey through the process.

I will do my best, starting with this post, to keep the membership informed about the progress of the appointment process. Right now, we are only at the start of the work. I know the Appointments Committee has recently completed its training for managing the appointments process using the ALA volunteer database. Then they’ll be working during the month of March to make the actual appointments.  The deadline for members to receive appointment offers falls in early April. I’ll provide an occasional update to let you know how things are proceeding.

On behalf of the ACRL Board, I want to thank all the members who have volunteered to serve on a committee. It is a great reflection on our association that we have so many members who want to get engaged in the work of ACRL. As ACRL vice-president/president-elect, I can definitely appreciate their interest in giving back to the profession. If you have any questions about the appointments process, please do get in touch with me. John and I will be glad to answer these questions, and keep the membership informed about the work of the Appointments Committee.