Governance Procedures of the Arts Section

  1. Introduction

    1. Name

      The name of the organization shall be the Arts section of the Association of College and Research Libraries, a division of the American Library Association, hereinafter referred to as the section.

    2. Mission
      The Arts section provides a forum in which art library professionals promote and exchange information related to current issues and trends, best practices, networking, and career development.
    3. Core Values
      The Arts section is committed to:

      1. Developing an open, inclusive, and collaborative environment for librarians and library workers with an interest in the arts, art history, dance, and theater.
      2. Cultivating excellence and innovation of art library services to all types of users.
      3. Employing ethical practices, professionalism, and integrity related to library services and resources.
      4. Collaborating with other organizations to share information and provide offerings on topics of mutual interest.

  2. Organizational Structure

    1. Executive Committee
      The section executive committee is responsible for the stewardship of the section and the coordination of its activities, provided that it operates within the section mandate and budget as determined by membership level (ACRL Guide to Policy and Procedure, Basic Services, 4.3.2). The section’s executive committee may establish and appoint standing or ad-hoc committees to assist it in fulfilling the section’s mandate.

      1. Membership
        The officers of the section shall be a chair, a vice-chair/chair-elect, the immediate past chair, and a Secretary. The vice-chair shall serve one year in that office, followed by one year as chair, followed by one year as immediate past chair. The secretary shall serve a term of two years. All terms shall begin and end at the adjournment of the ALA Annual Conference.

        1. Chair: The chair shall be the chief executive of the, the chair of the executive committee, and one of the representatives to the ACRL Leadership Council and the Communities of Practice Assembly (CoPA). The chair is responsible for section projects pursued during their term, administration of requests for budget allocations and reimbursement of expenses, and submission of reports on all activities to the ACRL Board. The chair is also responsible for scheduling programs, meetings, and events at the Annual Conference.
        2. Vice-chair: The vice-chair/chair-elect shall plan and coordinate all programs and projects to be pursued during their term as chair, and shall make appointments of all standing committee members and chairs whose terms will begin during their term as chair. The vice-chair/chair-elect shall be responsible for submitting budget requests for their term as chair, participating in ACRL budget orientation, and responding to inquiries relating to ACRL Arts. The vice-chair/chair-elect serves on the executive committee and the ACRL Conference Program Planning Committee. The vice-chair/chair-elect serves as a substitute on the ACRL Leadership Council and the Communities of Practice Assembly (CoPA) when either the chair or the immediate past chair is unable to attend.
        3. Immediate past chair: The immediate past chair serves on the executive committee. The immediate past chair also serves on the ACRL Leadership Council and the Communities of Practice Assembly (CoPA).
        4. Secretary: The secretary shall be responsible for the maintenance of all section records and for recording the minutes of all section and executive committee business meetings, including at the Annual Conference. All records shall be submitted according to ACRL and Arts guidelines. The secretary shall be responsible for collecting and distributing all archival documents to the ALA Archives as appropriate.

      2. Responsibilities:
        The executive committee shall conduct the business of the section between Annual Meetings, and supervise the administration of established policies, programs, and operations. At each Annual Meeting, the chair shall report on the work of the executive committee, at which time the work shall be subject to review by the membership of the section. Regular meetings of the executive committee may be called at the discretion of the chair.

      3. Voting:
        A simple majority of the elected executive committee members present shall constitute a quorum at any meeting of the committee.

    2. Committees & Discussion Groups
      1. Standing Committees
        The executive committee may establish and dissolve standing committees to consider matters of concern to the section that require continuity of attention. When such a committee is established, its function, name, and size shall be determined. Unless otherwise approved by the executive committee, members of standing committees shall be appointed for terms of two years and may be reappointed for a second, but not a third consecutive term. In no case shall a person serve on a committee for more than five consecutive years. Appointments shall be made in such a manner as to provide continuity in membership. All terms shall begin and end at the adjournment of ALA Annual Conferences, with the exception of the Nominations Committee.
      2. Nominating Committee
        Charge: To identify and recommend a slate of candidates for annual section officer elections, providing the executive committee with the completed forms and statements required of candidates and officers. (See section 3c Governance Procedures/Nominations and Elections for appointment and responsibilities).
      3. Publications & Research Committee
        Charge: To coordinate all publications associated with the section and to serve as an advisory unit to the executive committee. The committee shall identify publication needs; stimulate research, writing, and discussion by overseeing the development and production of the ArtsGuides, Discussion Forums, and selected projects. The committee shall seek opportunities to work collaboratively within ACRL and ALA as well as related organizations providing content both virtually and at conferences.
      4. Membership & Outreach Committee
        Charge: To recruit, orient, survey, and welcome new members.  To provide reports to the executive committee identifying membership trends and needs.  To enhance communication and networking among members of similar interests, especially for those not attending the annual conference. To attempt to persuade withdrawing and former section members to rejoin.
      5. Conference Program Planning Committee
        Charge: To plan the section’s program for each year’s annual conference: soliciting ideas, identifying a program topic, contacting potential speakers, determining the budget, requesting funding, and publicizing the program.

    3. Discussion Groups
      Any group of five or more members of the section interested in discussing common concerns that fall within the objectives of the section may form a discussion group upon written petition from the group and upon approval of the executive committee. Membership in a discussion group shall be open to members of the section who are interested in the purpose of the group. Each group shall annually appoint a leader and other positions as appropriate. In addition to the regular duties of the office, the leader shall ensure that the group’s activities are limited to discussion of common concerns within the purpose of the group and that the section’s bylaws are observed by the group. A discussion group may be dissolved at its request by the executive committee of the section and shall be so dissolved if it becomes inactive (as evident by failure to meet at three consecutive ALA conferences) or fails to comply with the provisions of this article.

      1. Dance Discussion Group
        To provide a forum for the discussion of dance librarianship issues and networking of dance library professionals.

    4. External Group Liaisons
      1. IFLA ACRL Arts Representative
        The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) is an organization that ALA partners with to have candidates represent ALA on IFLA section standing committees. The ACRL Arts Section is one of the many units from ALA that is asked to bring forward nominations for ALA representatives. The IFLA representative reports back to the Arts section on appropriate developments and information from meetings attended. Most of the IFLA work is initiated through the ALA International Relations Office. (See ALA Policy  7.2.3 Selection and appointment of IFLA representatives)
      2. ALA/ACRL Arts ARLIS/NA Liaison
        The Art Libraries Society of North America (ARLIS/NA) is an organization devoted to fostering excellence in art and design librarianship and image management. The liaison between ALA/ACRL Arts and ARLIS/NA facilitates information sharing and collaboration between the two organizations to further the goals of art information professionals. (

  3. Governance Procedures

    1. Membership
      Any member of the Association of College and Research Libraries may elect membership in the Arts section. Each member of the section has the right to vote and is eligible to hold office and to serve on the committees of the section.

    2. Relationship to ACRL Board
      The Board shall be authorized to establish Communities of Practice (including sections), monitor their activities, and determine their continuance in consultation with the respective groups. The Board shall also be entitled to establish policies to govern the activities of Communities of Practice. (ACRL Bylaws, Article XV)

      The Board liaison role provides a critical connection between membership structures and the ACRL Board of Directors. This liaison role can be particularly helpful in providing perspective, guidance, and insight regarding ACRL policies, procedures, and initiatives; soliciting feedback from Communities of Practice regarding proposed Board actions; and providing helpful advice regarding Action Plan Proposals and Board Action Forms which Community of Practice leaders will need to submit for official ACRL Board and ACRL executive committee action/decisions. The liaison relationship is meant to enhance communication; it is not an advocacy role and for that reason, Board members are asked to liaison with communities in which they have not been active.

      The Board of Directors is the voice of the association. Sections, committees, and other established units are not authorized to speak for the association except through the Board. This is to say that unit leaders should refrain from issuing statements, taking positions, or endorsing any statements or positions except with Board approval. (ACRL Guide to Policies and Procedures, Chapter 5.12.8, Use of ACRL’s Name)

    3. Nominations & Elections
      To be nominated, elected, and continue to serve on a section’s executive committee, a person must be a current member of the section (with ALA, ACRL, and section dues—if applicable—paid).

      1. Nominating Committee: The vice-chair/chair-elect shall appoint a Nominating Committee of at least three members, designating one of the appointees as committee chair. The immediate past chair of the section may be the designated committee chair.
      2. Statement of Objectives: To assist the membership of the section in making informed choices, each candidate shall be asked to provide a brief statement of objectives for the section in time for the statement to be published prior to balloting.
      3. Additional Nominees: Nominations other than those of the Nominating Committee signed by no fewer than 20 members of the section shall be accepted and placed on the ballot if they are filed with the Executive Director of ACRL at least three months before the date on which the ballots are to be distributed. Written consent of the nominees must accompany such nominations.
      4. Elections: Elections shall be conducted by online ballot in accordance with the procedures and deadlines established by ACRL/ALA.
    4. Meetings
      ACRL units are encouraged to work outside of the Annual Conference to increase group participation, efficiency, and productivity. Meetings, whether in-person or virtual are to be conducted within the environment of ALA/ACRL bylaws and policies.

      1. General meetings: The section shall hold a membership meeting at the time of the Annual Meeting of the American Library Association (ALA). All section meetings, except those dealing with nominations and awards, are open to registered attendees of the Annual Meetings.
      2. Committee meetings: Committees shall meet at least once during the year.
    5. Vacancies
      Appointments to fill vacancies in the offices of the section, with the exception of the chair and vice-chair, shall be made by the executive committee until it is possible to fill the vacancy at the next annual election. In case of a vacancy in the office of chair, the vice-chair/chair-elect shall serve as chair for the remainder of the uncompleted term and shall continue in that office for the term for which they were originally elected to serve as chair. In case of a vacancy in the office of vice-chair/chair-elect, the executive committee will appoint an acting vice-chair. When the next regular election is held, a chair and a vice-chair/chair-elect shall be elected.If vacancies occur in the offices of the chair and vice-chair within the same term, the executive committee shall elect as chair one of its members for the remainder of the term. When the next regular election is held, a chair and a vice-chair shall be elected. The successful candidate for chair shall then serve a one-year term as chair and a one-year term as immediate past chair.

      In case of a vacancy in the office of secretary, the chair shall appoint a replacement.

      The vice-chair shall appoint committee members to fill the vacancies due to occur during their term as chair; they may name the chair of each committee or request the committee to elect its own chair. Special appointments to fill vacancies on committees may be made by the chair.

    6. Amendments to Governance Procedures
      These Governance Procedures may be amended by the executive committee, by any standing committee of the section, or by a petition signed by five or more members of the section as long as they are not in conflict with ALA/ACRL bylaws, policies, and procedures. Changes to these governance procedures do not require, and should not include, a ballot vote by the membership. sections may determine their approval process (e.g., the responsibility of the executive committee, vote at face-to-face section membership meeting, etc.) A current copy shall be provided to the Executive Director per ACRL Bylaws, Article XV, Section 3.

  4. Orientation Resources

    1. Resources for Working with ACRL (
      ACRL tools outline the workings of the Association. Includes Forms ( and Guide to Policies and Procedures (

    2. Media & Communications

      1. ACRL/Arts Blog (
        The platform for current section news and updates.
      2. ALA Connect (
        An online platform for discussion and collaboration between ALA members. It includes a Library for long-term storage of section documentation such as meeting minutes and historical information.

    3. ACRL Arts Shared Google Folder
      Space for saving the current documents needed for the section’s collaborative work. Access is limited to current committee members.

    4. Funding
      Sections can spend basic services funds on any items or activities that support the achievement of ACRL strategic goals with the following two exceptions:

      1. Basic services funds may not be used for payment of honoraria or travel to support librarians’ presentations at ALA, ACRL, or other conferences.
      2. Basic services funds may not be used to purchase goods or services prohibited by ALA and ACRL policy. More information about unit budgets can be found in the online Guide to Policies and Procedures ( In order to receive reimbursement, please submit the section Reimbursement Request form (, along with original receipts. The section chair must sign the form or approve the expenses via email. Unused basic services funds do not roll into the next fiscal year.

Updated on May 30, 2023. These Governance Procedures replace the previous Governance Procedures, Strategic directions, and Bylaws.