Make a difference: Connect, contribute, collaborate: Volunteer for division and section committees and editorial boards

Are you looking for ways to expand your professional network and contribute to ACRL? Committee volunteers help shape ACRL by advancing its strategic plan and influencing the direction of academic and research librarianship. Serving on a committee or editorial board is a great way to become involved and make an impact on the profession.

If you’d like to become more engaged, ACRL Vice-President/President-Elect Ann Campion Riley invites you to volunteer to serve on a 2015–16 division or section committee.

People say it’s the personal touch that makes potential volunteers step forward. I know a note in a magazine is not as personal as this should be, but please take this as encouragement to you, a member or potential member of ACRL reading this, to step forward and turn in a volunteer form. Choose what interests you, what you want to learn more about, or a cause to which you’re already dedicated, and offer some of your time to ACRL. You can give a lot of time or a little, and get back professional satisfaction, new friends, and a sense of contribution. Don’t hesitate; we have many opportunities.—Ann Campion Riley, ACRL vice-president/president-elect

The rewards of volunteering

Volunteering offers many benefits and opportunities. You can:

  • connect with others in the profession who are passionate and committed to academic librarianship,
  • learn from those who share similar professional concerns and interests,
  • network with information professionals in higher education,
  • become part of a community of academic and research librarians,
  • gain insights into the profession,
  • enhance your leadership skills through group facilitation and project management,
  • discover new ways to work,
  • expand your awareness and understanding of the value of academic libraries in higher education,
  • influence and advance the work of the association and the profession, and
  • promote excellence within the profession.

The appointment process

Appointments are made at the division and section level, and through the editorial board process (see editorial board section below). Section vice-chairs are responsible for committee appointments for the year they will serve as chair. The ACRL vice-president is responsible for committee appointments at the division level for the year he or she serves as president. The ACRL Appointments Committee assists the vice-president in an advisory capacity. Division-level committees are created to conduct the work of the Board, and each committee crafts an annual work plan in consultation with their Board and staff liaisons to accomplish the charged activities and responsibilities.

Current committee members whose terms conclude at the 2015 ALA Annual Conference should submit a new volunteer form if they wish to be considered for re-appointment. The online volunteer form closes February 15, 2015, and most committee appointment offers will be sent in April and May 2015.

Onsite attendance at the ALA Midwinter Meeting and the ALA Annual Conference is not a requirement of committee service. However, members of all ACRL committees, task forces, and similar bodies are expected to fully participate in the work of the group, whether it be working virtually or face-to-face.

Factors influencing appointment

Although the appointment process may reflect the priorities of the vice-president/president-elect and section vice-chairs, several factors are always considered:

  • Evidence of interest and expertise. Have prospective volunteers attended the meetings, visited and/or posted to the committee’s ALA Connect community, and introduced themselves to the chair? Do they have knowledge and/or previous experience that relates to the work of the committee? Have they indicated their interest on the volunteer form?
  • Demographics and composition of committee. A balance is sought with respect to type of library (community college, college, or university), geographic representation, ethnic diversity, and gender. Those who have not had the opportunity to serve on an ACRL committee are encouraged to volunteer.
  • Recommendation of the current committee chair. Current committee chairs are asked to suggest prospective members.
  • Willingness to participate in the work of the committee. While attendance at the ALA Midwinter Meeting and Annual Conference is not required to serve on a committee, volunteers should be prepared to engage in the committee work year-round.

The final appointments are the prerogative of the ACRL president-elect and the section vice-chairs.

How to apply

  1. Identify the committees that interest you. ACRL committees and their charges are listed on the ACRL website (, select “Directory of Leadership” from the menu bar). Check out the committee’s space in ALA Connect, where documents, discourses, and the work of the committees are posted. Attend face-to-face (or virtual) committee meetings at the ALA Midwinter Meeting and ALA Annual Conference to decide if their activities interest you. Talk with committee members. Express your interest to the committee chair. Ask about current projects and explain how you might contribute to the work of the committee.
  2. Submit a volunteer form. Volunteer forms should be submitted by February 15, 2015. You will be asked to login using your ALA member ID and the password you created. Be sure that you are a current ALA/ACRL member before attempting to login.To volunteer for a division-level committee, visit for more detailed instructions.To volunteer for a section committee, complete the online volunteer form at
  3. Volunteer again and check out other opportunities. If you are not appointed, volunteer again next year. In addition, continue to explore ACRL’s many opportunities to network and connect at Review the many discussion and interest groups. Each group selects a new leader in the spring outside of the volunteer process described above. If you’d like to start a new discussion or interest group, contact Chase Ollis at E-mail: .

ACRL division-level committee appointments

ACRL committees (and their charges) can be found on the ACRL website (, select “Directory of Leadership” from the menu bar).

Appointments to ACRL standing committees are made in the spring for terms beginning immediately after the ALA Annual Conference. The Appointments Committee sends appointment recommendations to the ACRL president-elect. The president-elect makes the final appointments for the committees.

Questions about division-level appointments may be directed to the chair of the Appointments Committee, John Budd, professor, University of Missouri, E-mail: .

If you have any questions about using the volunteer form, please contact ACRL Program Officer Allison Payne for division committees at E-mail: or (312) 280-2519 or ACRL Program Officer Megan Griffin for section committees at E-mail: or (312) 280-2514.

ACRL section appointments

ACRL has 17 specialized sections which help members customize their ACRL experience through newsletters, electronic discussion lists, specialized programming, preconferences, recognition, and various initiatives. To learn more, visit

Section vice-chairs appoint members to section committees. Most appointments are made in the spring for terms beginning immediately after the ALA Annual Conference.

If you wish to be considered for a section committee appointment, complete the ACRL volunteer form at by February 15, 2015. For more information about section appointments, please contact section vice-chairs:

African American Studies Librarians Section. Derek Mosley, Atlanta University Center; phone: (404) 978-2019; email: E-mail: .

Anthropology and Sociology Section. Miriam Rigby, University of Oregon; phone: (541) 346-7202; email: E-mail: .

Arts Section. Gregory J. Hatch, University of Utah; phone: (801) 585-5599; email: E-mail: .

Asian, African and Middle Eastern Section. Yue Li, Florida State University; phone: (850) 980-3098; email: E-mail: .

College Libraries Section. Sally Bryant, Pepperdine University; phone: (310) 506-4262; email: E-mail: .

Community and Junior College Libraries Section. Elizabeth Bowman, Santa Barbara City College; phone: (805) 730-4433; email: E-mail: .

Distance Learning Section. Megan Alexa Davis, University of Maryland University College; phone: (240) 684-2027; email: E-mail: .

Education and Behavioral Sciences Section. Bernadette A. Lear, Pennsylvania State University-Harrisburg; phone: (717) 948-6360; email: E-mail: .

Instruction Section. Ellysa Stern Cahoy, Pennsylvania State University; phone: (814) 865-9696; email: E-mail: .

Law and Political Science Section. Rosalind Tedford, Wake Forest University; phone: (336) 758-5910; email: E-mail: .

Literatures in English Section. Amanda Rust, Northeastern University; phone: (617) 373-8548; email: E-mail: .

Rare Books and Manuscripts Section. Cherry Williams, Indiana University; phone: (812) 855-3187; email: E-mail: .

Science and Technology Section. Mary Linn Bergstrom, University of California-San Diego; phone: (858) 534-1214; email: E-mail: .

Slavic and East European Section. Brenda L. Carter, University of Pittsburgh; phone: (412) 648-8150; email: E-mail: .

University Libraries Section. Jason Martin, Stetson University; phone: (386) 822-7178; email: E-mail: .

Western European Studies Section. Jeffrey Staiger, University of Oregon; phone: (541) 346-1897; email: E-mail: .

Women and Gender Studies Section. Stacy Russo, Santa Ana College; phone: (714) 564-6712; email: E-mail: .

Editorial boards

ACRL has eight editorial/advisory boards for its publications: Academic Library Trends and Statistics Survey Editorial Board; Choice Editorial Board; College & Research Libraries Editorial Board; College & Research Libraries News Editorial Board; New Publications Advisory Board; Publications in Librarianship Editorial Board; RBM: A Journal of Rare Books, Manuscripts, and Cultural Heritage Editorial Board; and Resources for College Libraries Editorial Board.

Appointments to editorial boards are made after the ALA Midwinter Meeting for terms that begin immediately after the ALA Annual Conference. The editors recommend the names of individuals to fill vacancies. The Publications Coordinating Committee approves the recommendation, and the ACRL vice-president/president-elect makes the appointment.

If you would like to be considered for appointment to an editorial board, contact the editor of the editorial board early in the fall or indicate your interest on the ACRL online volunteer form.

Academic Library Trends and Statistics Survey Editorial Board chair: Robert E. Dugan, University of West Florida; phone: (850) 474-2492; email: E-mail: .

CHOICE editor: Mark Cummings, Choice; phone: (800) 347-6933 x119; email: E-mail: .

College & Research Libraries editor: Scott Walter, University Librarian, DePaul University, phone: (773) 325.8023; email: E-mail: .

College & Research Libraries News editor: David Free, ACRL; phone: (312) 280-2517; email: E-mail: .

New Publications Advisory Board staff liaison: Kathryn Deiss, ACRL; phone: (312) 280-2529; email: E-mail: .

Publications in Librarianship staff liaison: Kathryn Deiss, ACRL; phone: (312) 280-2529; email: E-mail: .

RBM: A Journal of Rare Books, Manuscripts, and Cultural Heritage editor: Jennifer Karr Sheehan, The Grolier Club; phone: (212) 838-6690; email: E-mail: .

Resources for College Libraries chair: E. Chisato Uyeki, Mt. San Antonio College; phone: (909) 274-4257; email: E-mail: .

Copyright 2014© American Library Association

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