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 Irene M. H. Herold invites you to volunteer to serve on a 2016–17 division or section committee.

When elected, I expressed my desire to lead with “Aloha Spirit.” This has a very specific and special meaning in Hawai’i, such as the “coordination of mind and heart within each person,” and Aloha is the “essence of relationships in which each person is important to every other person for collective existence.”1 Being important to each other for our collective existence is what volunteering for ACRL is all about. As a member engaged organization, we depend upon you for leadership and the collective wisdom of your mind and heart. I invite you to join with me in contributing to ACRL by volunteering your service. Mahalo.Irene M. H. Herold, 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 the editorial board section that follows). 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 2016 ALA Annual Conference should submit a new volunteer form if they wish to be considered for reappointment. The online volunteer form closes February 15, 2016, and most committee appointment offers will be sent in April and May 2016.

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 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, 2016. 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, Erin L. Ellis, assistant dean, Research and Learning Division, University of Kansas, 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 sections 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, 2016. For more information about section appointments, please contact section vice-chairs:

  1. Anthropology and Sociology Section. Helen Clements, Oklahoma State University, email: E-mail:
  2. Arts Section. Kai A. Smith, University of Notre Dame, email: E-mail: .
  3. College Libraries Section. Patricia Kreitz, Saint Mary’s College of California, email: E-mail: .
  4. Community and Junior College Libraries Section. Michael Miller, Bronx Community College-CUNY, email: E-mail: .
  5. Distance Learning Section. Stefanie Buck, Oregon State University, email: E-mail: .
  6. Education and Behavioral Sciences Section. Kaya Van Beynen, University of South Florida-St. Petersburg, email: E-mail: .
  7. Instruction Section. Jennifer Knievel, University of Colorado, email: E-mail: .
  8. Law and Political Science Section. David Schwieder, University of Florida, email: E-mail: .
  9. Literatures in English Section. Laura Braunstein, Dartmouth College, email: E-mail: .
  10. Rare Books and Manuscripts Section. John Overholt, Harvard University, email: E-mail: .
  11. Science and Technology Section. Andrew Stuart, Ohio University, email: E-mail: .
  12. Slavic and East European Section. Thomas Keenan, Princeton University, email: E-mail: .
  13. University Libraries Section. Rebecca Blakiston, University of Arizona, email: E-mail: .
  14. Western European Studies Section. Katie Gibson, Miami University, email: E-mail: .
  15. Women and Gender Studies Section. Nina Clements, Claremont Colleges, 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, email: E-mail:

CHOICE editor: Mark Cummings, Choice, email: E-mail: .

College & Research Libraries editor: Scott Walter, University Librarian, DePaul University, email: E-mail: .

College & Research Libraries News editor: David Free, ACRL, email: E-mail: .

New Publications Advisory Board staff liaison: Kathryn Deiss, ACRL, email: E-mail: .

Publications in Librarianship staff liaison: Kathryn Deiss, ACRL, email: E-mail: .

RBM: A Journal of Rare Books, Manuscripts, and Cultural Heritage editor: Jennifer Karr Sheehan, The Grolier Club, email: E-mail: .

Resources for College Libraries chair: Neal Baker Earlham College Lilly Library, email: E-mail: .

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