ASCLA Considers Restructuring Proposal

The ASCLA Planning and Budget Committee, at the request of the ASCLA Board, has put together a proposal for restructuring ASCLA. This document includes valuable background information on trends within associations in general and a situational assessment of ASCLA’s particular circumstances which were the impetus for proposing structural changes. Please note that this document contains additional information that was not included in a draft document that was circulated a few weeks ago on the ASCLA listserv. A chart that compares the current structure with the proposed structure has been created that helps provide a quick high level snapshot of the changes.

The executive committees of each ASCLA section will have the opportunity to discuss the proposal during their meetings over the next several days. The proposal will then be discussed during the ASCLA Board II meeting on Monday, June 28, 1:30-5:30, Washington Convention Center 209C, with the intention of taking action on it. A list of ASCLA Board members who will be participating in the discussion is available at:

I encourage you to review this material, discuss it with your colleagues, and provide feedback and suggestions. The Board also will take into account the many comments that have already been made both on listservs and in private over the last few weeks. This is your opportunity to take an active role in shaping ASCLA to survive and thrive in the future.

The full proposal has been posted to ALA Connect. Login and see it here:

Download an overview of the proposed new organizations structure in chart form here:

or here is the text of the full proposal below:

ASCLA Planning & Budget Committee Report
ASCLA Restructuring Proposal
June 15, 2010
Submitted by Diana Reese & Carol Desch, co-chairs

Charge: The ASCLA Executive Committee charged the Planning & Budget
Committee to make recommendations on ways in which the current organizational structure could better meet members’ and the association’s needs.

Value Statement: Executive Committee members are committed to strengthening ASCLA and positioning it to adapt and thrive in a challenging environment. They believe ASCLA is a good home for all of its constituent groups. They also believe the furniture could be rearranged to make it more welcoming and livable for all its members.

Impetus for action:
Input from members at the 2009 ( and 2010 ( Midwinter Leadership Meetings indicated a desire for less association bureaucracy and more focus on products and results, not process. As a next step, the Executive Committee charged the Planning & Budget Committee to develop a restructuring proposal that incorporated this input.
Environmental trends: (from Tekker Consultants. 2009.
Characteristics of “21st Century Associations”:
• Members of “21st Century Associations” place high value on the “content” of the association – what they receive as a result of what the association is doing. They want a high return on their time investment.
• Members of “21st Century Associations” prefer project-based involvement over position-based involvement.
• Members of “21st Century Associations” are “member-centric” not “structure-centric.”
• “21st Century Association” members’ comfort level with virtual involvement is growing.

Characteristics of “intelligent associations”:
• “Intelligent” associations adapt their operating models and update their governance systems to maximize the talents and time of both the members and staff. They have a nimble infrastructure so that work and decision-making systems respond efficiently and effectively. They have a process in place to do this constantly and consistently over time.
• “Intelligent” associations accommodate a more virtual, flexible environment.
• “Intelligent” associations realize it is no longer enough to be relevant. To attract prospective members, they must demonstrate the capacity to remain relevant as their members’ world changes.
• “Intelligent” associations recognize small, incremental changes are not enough to maintain an association’s relevance to its members in today’s quickly changing world.

Situational analysis:
• ASCLA’s membership is decreasing – 13% fewer organizational memberships and 3% fewer personal memberships YTD as of April 2010. Overall, ALA’s organizational memberships have decreased by 9.75% and personal memberships have decreased by 0.34%.
• ASCLA has 660 personal members. 258 are LSSPS members; 231 are ICAN members; 202 are SLAS members; 95 are ILEX members.
• There is a demonstrated need for an elected Secretary to record the proceedings of the association. This is not the duty of either ASCLA’s Executive Director or the Marketing Specialist.
• ASCLA has only 1.0 FTE staff (.5 Executive Director, .25 Marketing Specialist. .25 web manager). As such, the association does not have the staff capacity to support ASCLA’s complex organizational structure.
• Section committees have anywhere from 1 to 6 members. Most sections do not have sufficient committee members to meet their by-laws’ requirements.
• ASCLA has 27 formally elected positions. Most candidates for elected positions run unopposed.
• The association’s by-laws have not been updated since 1999.
• LSSPS’ Library Service to People with Visual or Physical Disabilities Forum (LSPVPDF) formally opposed a discontinuance of the Sections at Midwinter 2010 ASCLA Board II.
• ASCLA’s strategic plan expires through June 30, 2010. Revising the strategic plan would go hand in hand with reshaping the association.
• ASCLA members overwhelmingly express a need for online continuing education opportunities.
• Other ALA divisions have responded to the changing environment affecting professional associations by reshaping or have plans to do so.
• ASCLA has a summer library student intern who will research the characteristics of existing successful communities of practice.
• ASCLA’s Executive Director has experience in creating successful communities of practice.

• Add the elected office of Secretary to the officers of the association.
• Eliminate 1 (one) director-at-large Board position and 1 (one) LSSPS representative to the Board.
• Create a Conference Program Planning standing committee; eliminate any sectional Conference Program Planning committees.
• Create an Online Continuing Education standing committee.
• Further reshape ASCLA’s structure per the “Outline of Proposed Restructuring,” below.

Motions of the Committee:

• I move that ASCLA governance be restructured per the Planning & Budget Committee’s report, “ASCLA Restructuring Proposal.”

Outline of Proposed Restructuring
27 formally elected positions would be reduced to 12.

1. ASCLA Board – A twelve-member elected governing board, plus two ex-officio members (Interface editor and ASCLA Executive Director). All ASCLA Officers and Board members must be ASCLA members. Candidates for Board positions are nominated by the ASCLA Nominating Committee.
Composition of the elected ASCLA Board:
• Five member Executive Committee
? President, President-Elect, Past-President – one-year terms
? Secretary – two-year term
? ALA Councilor – three-year term
• Four “constituent” members from current membership groups – two-year terms – in the bylaws, each slot will be designated for an ASCLA leader representing:
o State library agencies
o Cooperative library services agencies
o Libraries with services for one or more special populations
o Independent librarians/consultants
? Three at-large members – three-year terms

The ASCLA Board oversees and approves the plans, policies, programs and activities of the Division. The Board meets at Midwinter and Annual Conferences. ASCLA Executive Committee acts on behalf of the Board between Board meetings in order to move the work of the Division forward.

The ASCLA Office will support the work of the Board. This includes, but is not limited to: implementing plans, programs, policies and procedures; arranging meeting space, maintaining official rosters, maintaining information on ALA Connect, supporting conference calls and online meetings, maintaining listservs, and providing staff support for Board meetings.

2. ASCLA Standing Committees
? ASCLA Board establishes Standing Committees and approves Committee charges, purposes and annual work plans.
? ASCLA Standing Committees report to the ASCLA Board.
? ASCLA President-Elect appoints Standing Committee members. Appointments will reflect the diversity of the division. All Committee members must be ASCLA members.
? ASCLA President is an ex-officio member of all Division standing committees.
? Committees may do their work virtually and/or may meet at Conferences.
? Committee Chairs may present to the ASCLA Board options for products, projects, programs, policies and procedures.
? Committees are expected to have annual work plans that are tied to ASCLA strategic and business plans.
? Committee chairs are expected to report in writing to the ASCLA Board on their activities and accomplishments prior to and following the Midwinter and Annual meetings.
? The ASCLA Office will support the work of committees. This includes, but is not limited to arranging meeting space, maintaining information on ALA Connect, maintaining official committee rosters, maintaining listservs if needed, supporting the cost of conference calls if needed, photocopying, priority space in Interface. The Executive Director will assign an ASCLA staff member to serve as the official liaison to each chairperson of a standing committee.

ASCLA Standing Committees will include:
? Awards Committee – oversees all ASCLA awards, including former section awards. Promotes ASCLA awards, solicits nominations, identifies and selects award recipients, informs ASCLA Board of recipients, prepares information about the award recipients for awards ceremonies, for Interface and for ASCLA website by established deadlines. Recommends to the ASCLA Board options for award policies, guidelines and procedures. May appoint subcommittees to handle specific awards.
? ASCLA Scholarships Committee – oversees selection of ASCLA scholarship recipients. Promotes existing scholarship (ASCLA Century Scholarship), seeks to create new scholarships, and solicits donations. Works with ALA to solicit scholarship applicants. Reviews applications and selects scholarship recipients, informs ASCLA Board of recipients, prepares information about scholarship recipients for Interface, and for ASCLA website by established deadlines. Monitors ASCLA Scholarship recipients and provides periodic updates on their careers which are posted to website and to Interface. Provides options to the ASCLA Board for scholarship policies, guidelines and procedures as needed.
? Finance and Planning Committee – Co-Chaired by Secretary and President-Elect. Past President is a member. Prepares ASCLA’s annual budget, monitors ASCLA finances, develops ASCLA strategic and business plans for approval by ASCLA Board. Presents options to ASCLA Board for improvements in ASCLA’s organizational structure and for changes in ASCLA bylaws as needed.
? Interest Group Coordination Committee – coordinates all ASCLA Interest Groups. Chaired by ASCLA President-Elect. Members will include the four “constituent” members of the ASCLA Board as listed above. This committee will recommend options to the ASCLA Board for policies and procedures related to the creation, ongoing support and dissolution of Interest Groups. The Committee will report to the ASCLA Board on the activities of the Interest Groups and will suggest options for products, programs, policies, procedures and guidelines related to ASCLA Interest Groups. (See more under “4. Interest Groups”)
? Legislative Advocacy Committee – Develops ASCLA’s annual legislative platform and advocacy plan for approval by the Board. Also develops and advocates for ASCLA positions on relevant legislative issues in partnership with the ALA Legislation Committee, the ALA Washington Office, the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies and other stakeholder groups.
? Membership Committee – Develops and implements an ASCLA membership promotion plan. Works in partnership with ALA Membership Committee, ALA Membership staff and ASCLA Office.
? Nominating Committee – Chaired by Past-President. Develops the annual slate of candidates for ASCLA officers and Board positions. Nominations reflect the diversity of the Division.
? Online Continuing Education Committee – Develops and implements an online continuing education plan. Identifies issues and topics, solicits and selects expert presenters and advises ASCLA Board on options for policies and procedures. Works in partnership with the ASCLA Conference Programming Committee and the Interest Group Coordination Committee.
? Conference Programming Committee – Develops ASCLA’s annual slate of conference programs and preconferences for approval by the Board. Chair serves as ASCLA liaison to ALA conference programming committee. Committee solicits program proposals from ASCLA and ALA membership that are of interest to ASCLA members. Any ALA member may submit a program proposal for consideration. Works in partnership with the ASCLA Online Continuing Education Committee and the Interest Group Coordination Committee.
? Publications Committee – Develops and implements a multi-year Division publications plan. Identifies issues and topics, solicits authors and assists members and others in producing high-quality publications both electronic and hard copy that are of interest to ASCLA members. Publications Committee members also serve as the editorial advisory board for Interface.
? Web Presence Committee – provides direction and guidance to ASCLA Board on the effective use of technology tools for communicating within ASCLA and for supporting the ASCLA Strategic Plan. Works with ASCLA staff and ASCLA Committees and Interest Groups to ensure that the content on the ASCLA website is kept current and addresses ASCLA priorities.

3. ASCLA Adhoc Committees and Task Forces – Created by the ASCLA Board (or ASCLA Executive Committee acting on behalf of the Board) at the request of the ASCLA President-elect and/or President (depending on timing of appointment) to carry out specific time-limited tasks and special projects. ASCLA or ALA membership may or may not be a requirement for appointment, depending on the specific requirements of the specific task or project. Some illustrative examples of Adhoc Committees and Task Forces:
• ASCLA President’s Program Committee
• ASCLA President’s Preconference Committee
• IMLS 21st Century Librarian Grant Application Taskforce – to develop and submit an ASCLA grant application to IMLS by deadline.
• Interface Editor Recruitment Team – to recruit a new editor for Interface.
• NLS Standards Revision Project – workgroups and taskforces as defined in the project contract needed for ASCLA to complete the project within established timeline.
• Taskforce on Regional Library Cooperatives and Broadband

4. ASCLA Interest Groups (NEW!!) – ASCLA Interest Groups are loosely organized groups that provide ASCLA members and nonmembers with a framework for discussing specific topics or issues relevant to the overall purposes and goals of the Division. There will be no cap on the number of Interest Groups that ASCLA members might choose to create.
The intent is to incorporate the findings of the Public Library Association’s task force to evaluate member engagement though the Communities of Practice structure. The three major findings of the task force:
• The leaders of the communities and committees need training on effective facilitation of online groups.
• Each community needs a specific purpose and expected outputs. Deadlines for these outputs are desirable.
• It is helpful if there is a structure, e.g. staff and Board members, to nurture the groups, spend time gathering info on issues and feeding the issues to the groups if needed.
• Being a community leader is usually too much work for one person. Other associations use a team structure or a co-leader structure.
The ASCLA Board will encourage the formation of ASCLA Interest Groups to achieve specific outputs (products, programs or services) that will meet the needs of ASCLA members, advance the profession and also advance the ASCLA strategic and business plans. Interest Groups may meet whenever and wherever they want, using whatever means necessary to promote accessibility and full participation by group members. This might include virtual convergences, webinars, chats, networking. This might also include face-to-face meetings or discussions at ALA Conferences; or member-initiated communication by phone or via email or other online social networking tools. Each Interest Group will also be expected to have a presence on ALA Connect (or its electronic equivalent). Some illustrative examples of potential Interest groups might be:
• Broadband and E-rate Program Coordination Interest Group
• Collaborative Digitization Interest Group
• Continuing Education Services Interest Group
• Independent Consultants Interest Group
• Library Cooperatives Interest Group
• LSTA Program Coordination Interest Group
• Physical Delivery Services Interest Group
• Prisoner Services Interest Group
• Services for Older Adults with Special Needs Interest Group
• Services for Persons who are Blind and Physically Challenged Interest Group
• Services for Persons who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing Interest Group
• State Library Consultants Interest Group
• Statewide Youth Services Programs Interest Group
• Virtual Library Services Interest Group

Interest Group Formation, Leadership and Communications:

The ASCLA Board will create a NEW Standing Committee, the Interest Group Coordination Committee, to coordinate and support the formation and the work of the ASCLA Interest Groups (see page 2). This new Standing Committee will develop and recommend to the ASCLA Board options for Interest Group related policies, procedures and guidelines in accordance with the bylaws. This will include, but not be limited to, the formation, continuance and dissolution of ASCLA Interest Groups; selection of Interest Group Leaders; communications protocols and expectations.

The Interest Group Coordination Committee will be responsible for approving the formation, continuance and the dissolution of ASCLA Interest Groups according to guidelines and criteria approved by the ASCLA Board. The Committee will also develop communication protocols. The Committee will gather and provide contact information for the roster of ASCLA Interest Groups to the ASCLA Office annually. The Committee will report all formations and dissolutions to the ASCLA Board and the ASCLA Office. Other key information about the activities and concerns of ASCLA Interest Groups will be reported to the ASCLA Board and the ASCLA Office by established deadlines.

The Interest Group Coordination Committee will also serve as the official conduit for communications between the ASCLA Interest Groups and the ASCLA Board. The Committee will bring options for policies, procedures, programs, and activities as recommended by one or more Interest Groups to the ASCLA Board for consideration.

Some illustrative examples of how this might work include:
Formation, Continuance and Dissolution:
• Formation – Information about the process for forming an Interest Group will be made widely available to ASCLA members. ASCLA members that wish to form an Interest Group may submit an application form to the Interest Group Coordination Committee at any time. The Interest Group Coordination Committee will approve the formation of new ASCLA Interest Groups. The application form might include –
? Name(s) of the Interest Group Leader or Co-Leaders with contact information and agreed upon terms of office, as well as a description of the overall purpose and goals of the group and how the group will move the profession forward.
? a description of at least one specific output that the group will offer during its first year of existence that will serve the needs of ASCLA members (could be a publication, a topical discussion group at conference or virtually, professional development activities, a topical webinar, a column in Interface, etc.). The group may identify different outputs for future years.
? a petition form signed by 10 ASCLA members supporting formation of the Interest Group
• Continuance – Each year, prior to Annual conference, the Leader will present a written request for continuance to the Interest Group Coordination Committee. The Interest Group Coordination Committee may approve or disapprove the continuance request. Disapproval constitutes the first step towards possible dissolution of the Interest Group. The request for continuance form might include –
? Names and contact information and terms of office for the new (or continuing) Leader or Co-leaders that were elected via ALA Connect for the following year. Evidence of the Interest Group’s progress on achieving its designated output(s).
? Information about any other activities or accomplishments during the past year that illustrate that the group is active and is moving the profession forward.
? A description of at least one specific output for the coming year.
• Dissolution – Prior to dissolving an Interest Group, the Interest Group Coordinating Committee will investigate the situation. Decisions will be based on evidence. Criteria for making a decision to dissolve might include:
? The Leader(s) request dissolution
? No evidence of leadership within the Interest Group
? No evidence of activities that serve the needs and interests of ASCLA members
? No evidence of output(s) achieved
? No evidence of group participation
? Ineffective/inefficient use of ASCLA resources (for example, repeatedly scheduling meeting space that goes unused)
• Each Interest Group will have a Leader (or Co-Leaders).
• Leader(s) must be ASCLA members. Leader(s) will be identified on the application and petition at initial formation of the Interest Group. This process serves as an “informal” election.
• Leaders will serve for at least one year and for no more than three consecutive years.
• After initial formation of the Interest Group, Leaders will be selected through the ALA Connect (or equivalent) electronic polling process. The Leader will conduct the poll in accordance with procedures developed by the Interest Group Coordinating Committee. Paper will be provided if a group member cannot participate in the electronic process.
• If an Interest Group is formed at some other time during the year than at Annual Conference, the Leader’s first year of service will begin upon formation of the Group, and will end after the subsequent year’s Annual Conference.
• If a Leader resigns and there is a Co-Leader, that individual will be the Leader.
• If a Leader resigns, and there is no Co-Leader, then the Interest Group Coordination Committee will conduct an electronic poll of the Interest Group members to select a new Leader as soon as possible.

• Leaders will keep the Interest Group Coordination Committee apprised of progress on achieving the Interest Group’s output(s) – and other key activities, accomplishments, meeting participation, etc. throughout the year.
• Leaders will post Interest Group updates at least twice a year on ALA Connect (or its equivalent) according to protocols and procedures developed by the Interest Group Coordination Committee and the ASCLA Office. These updates should be public and available to all ALA Connect users.
• Leaders will bring any options for ASCLA policies, procedures, programs or activities to the Interest Group Coordination Committee. That body will bring the options to the ASCLA Board for consideration.

ASCLA Office Support for Interest Groups – Upon request, ASCLA staff will arrange meeting space for one meeting for an Interest Group at the ALA Midwinter meeting and one meeting at the ALA Annual Conference. Information about ASCLA Interest Group Meetings/Discussions will be listed in the ALA Conference programs and promoted by ASCLA. An official roster of ASCLA Interest Groups will be maintained on the ASCLA website based upon the information provided to ASCLA staff by the Interest Group Coordinating Committee. Interest Groups may use ASCLA space on ALA Connect (or its equivalent) and may request specified support services from ASCLA staff (e.g. listserv support, meeting scheduling assistance, priority space in Interface, listings in conference program materials and on ASCLA website).
5. Liaisons to Other Groups – The ASCLA President-Elect will continue to appoint ASCLA members as division liaisons from ASCLA to other ALA Committees, Assemblies and Groups. Liaisons are expected to report to the Board on issues of importance to ASCLA and to report to the membership via Interface and ALA Connect.
6. ALA Assemblies – ASCLA will continue to host and actively support the ALA Accessibility Assembly which is composed of appointed representatives from all of the ALA Divisions that are interested in this topic.

“The wrong way forward …during hard times is to try more of the same.”
Strategy in a structural break. McKinsey Quarterly 06.29.09

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