Submitted by Diana Reese, ASCLA President
ASCLA: Future-Friendly, Future-Ready
ASCLA members will have the opportunity to affect substantial and meaningful change in their association by voting to approve ASCLA’s revised bylaws in the current ALA/ASCLA election. The changes provide a new structure that allows for more member participation and collaboration. Groups of individuals with mutual issues and interests can generate spontaneously, evolving or devolving as the future changes. The new structure streamlines ASCLA’s governance, reducing formally elected positions by 50%.
Impetus for the restructuring came from members’ input over the last two years. Members indicated they want to spend more time on products and results and less time on the process of governance. They want a high return for the investment of their personal time and want their involvement to be project-based, not position-based. By approving the new structure as set forth in the revised bylaws, the ASCLA board of directors heard these voices and are positioning ASCLA to be a 21st century association — one that can adapt and thrive in today’s challenging environment.
Other associations and ALA divisions which restructured have found that reduced layers of governance foster creativity and innovation. No longer burdened with filling numerous elective positions and the tasks of lower-level governance, members feel renewed. They propose more conference programs and pre-conferences; they form groups around mutual interests and timely issues that evolve as the environment changes; individual members drop in and out of multiple groups as their information, networking, and support needs change. Pools of shared meaning are created as those participating in interest groups contribute their personal opinions, feelings, theories and experiences. New activities are proposed and accomplished in a short timeframe, and experimentation – with the freedom to be messy – occurs more frequently. Equally as important, once the barriers between static, formally organized groups are removed, members’ common goals across the association become more evident.
An association’s success depends on member involvement. My sincere hope is that ASCLA’s new structure will expand current members’ opportunities for engagement and attract new members with timely, issue-focused interest groups. The next important step in ASCLA’s transformation begins when voting in the ALA election opened on March 16 and remains open until April 22. I encourage you to vote for ASCLA’s future by approving the bylaws changes.
If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact me, your president (303-866-6341 or firstname.lastname@example.org).