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Association of Research Libraries (ARL®)

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Governance & Leadership

Establishment of ARL Committees & Subgroups

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In addition to the Executive Committee, Membership Committee, and Nominating Committee, such other standing and ad hoc committees as may be needed to carry out the business of the Association may be established by the Board of Directors and members appointed by the Executive Committee. Appointment as a member or chair of a standing committee is for a three-year term and is nonrenewable.

—ARL Bylaws Article VIII

Establishing Committees, Task Forces, and Other Subgroups

  1. ARL committees and other groups are established by the Board and members are appointed by the Executive Committee. Chairs of Board committees and task forces will normally be drawn from the Board. Chairs of Steering Committees for the strategic directions in the ARL Plan serve as ex-officio, non-voting members of the ARL Board. Each group formed by the Board needs a charge with, as appropriate, a particular outcome or product designated and, a timeframe for undertaking the assignment.

  2. ARL Steering Committees for strategic directions are empowered to recommend to the Board the formation of subgroups to pursue the steering committee agenda. Subgroups (e.g., task forces and working groups) should also have a charge that identifies the goal of the group’s work, a timeframe for completing the assignment, and some indication of the extent of staff and other ARL resource requirements of the groups (e.g., none, modest, high, unknown at this point). Subgroups that require use of ARL staff or financial resources require consultation with the Executive Director.

  3. Member representatives who are not on a steering committee may bring an idea for a subgroup forward to either a steering committee chair, to the Executive Committee, or to the Executive Director, with a request to determine if the idea fits within a strategic direction.

  4. In addition to the subgroups formed by the Steering Committees and to Board Committees, there are additional ways to engage member representatives such as affinity groups or discussion groups at ARL Membership Meetings, or self-funded groups. Suggestions for such groups may be directed to the Executive Committee or the Executive Director.

  5. Following adoption of a new Strategic Plan, the Board and Steering Committees will put in place a process to review all the charges for committees and other subgroups.

Committee Appointments

  1. In practice, the Executive Committee responsibility of identifying people to serve on standing or ad hoc committees and other groups is carried out with

    • advice from the Board on the criteria to use in making appointments,
    • in consultation with the chair of the group being formed,
    • with information submitted by member representatives who indicate their interest in serving on or chairing a particular committee, and
    • for the appointment of a Steering Committee chair who will serve as an ex-officio, non-voting member of the Board, the Executive Committee will make the Board aware of the recommendations coming forward to fill the position and invite input prior to extending an invitation.

  2. Term appointments are made for calendar years; usually appointments are made in December and become effective in January.
  3. The following guidelines govern appointments to ARL committees:
    A. The committee’s agenda and present composition should be carefully considered in making appointments. New appointees should strengthen the committee.

    B. Committee (and other groups) chairs should be consulted for suggestions of new members with special expertise or general experience needed by the committee.

    C. Opportunities to serve on an ARL committee should be provided to as many directors as possible.

    D. Appointment as a committee or other group member or chair is for a three-year term, non-renewable. Chairs should be consulted for suggestions of names for their successor in a timely fashion to share this information with the Board. The chair is appointed by the Executive Committee usually from among current committee members and will serve a three-year term beginning with the appointment.

    E. Chairs may consult with the Executive Committee about circumstances that they feel justify renewal appointments for a member of their committee.

    F. If circumstances dictate that a qualified chair cannot be identified, chairs may have their term extended for a year in order to provide ample time for recruitment and succession.

    G. When chairs cannot complete a term, the Executive Committee will fill the partial remaining term at the time of occurrence and may give such appointed chairs a full term subsequently.

    H. When members cannot complete a term, replacements will be appointed for a full term during the regular appointment cycle.
  4. Members of steering committee subgroups are recommended by the Steering Committee Chair on behalf of the Steering Committee and are appointed by the Executive Committee. The Board encourages use of periodic surveys of member interests as a way to identify people to serve on subgroups. Members of subgroups may be directors of ARL member institutions, their senior staff, and/or faculty or experts that make up the constituencies of research libraries and are relevant to the agenda of the group.

Financial & Staff Support for Committees

  1. As the strategic directions represent ARL’s core programs, they and the subgroups they launch are supported primarily by ARL dues although grant funding and cost recovery strategies may be used to supplement dues when and as appropriate to the activity.

  2. Although a specific financial allocation is not earmarked for the work of each committee, ARL programs and enabling capabilities have funds available to advance the work of the association. Committee chairs may recommend use of these funds to support committee activities. Committee chairs should direct a recommendation for activities that require the use of funds to the Executive Director either directly or via the ARL staff liaison to the committee.

  3. The allocation of staff or other ARL resources to committees and any subgroups is the responsibility of the Executive Director.

Representing ARL to External Groups

  1. Committees or subgroups members may not speak on behalf of ARL as a whole but may speak publicly for the ARL group of which they are a member e.g., in expressing views on issues at an ALA meeting. If the backing of the Association as a whole is necessary, for example when decisions involve ARL policy or commitment of resources, the Board or Executive Director should be consulted.

Adopted by the ARL Board of Directors, July 26, 2005; Revised October 15, 2009; Revised February 12, 2010; Revised April 27, 2010