Appointments are the Vice President’s most important responsibility, and there’s enough information here that it’s separate from the main VP page.
Notes to self – to improve the process for next year you should:
- Set opening and closing dates rather than accepting forms year-round; this will enable you to communicate clearly and act promptly without sacrificing diversity
- Don’t task your committee with gathering requirements; use a google form for that
- On the form, ask about VCs, people who did a great job (whether or not eligible for reappointment – these are people to prioritize for future appointments and send recognition to), people they think should not be reappointed
- Do task your committee much more with outreach – brainstorm their networks, have a list of people to cold email, etc.
- Make sure Appointments is a diverse committee, considering, so that you can do outreach better
Documentation you should read
- The Appointment Committee’s charge
- Relevant sections of the manual
- The relevant section of the bylaws
- General LITA committee information — most questions that prospective appointees might ask can be answered here.
Committee chairs are also asked to fill out a Commitments Survey yearly, where they indicate how often they meet, what skills they need, et cetera. This should be automatically emailed to you as VP (talk to Jenny Levine if you haven’t received any by late September). They are not automatically sent to the appointments committee listserv as they may contain confidential information; however, you should forward them to the listserv (redacted if needed) as the committee will find the information useful.
If you put an open call in the usual one-to-many channels, you will probably get the usual suspects. If you want to appoint a wide range of people, and you want to make sure underrepresented-in-LITA populations get represented among your appointments, you will need to do some targeted outreach.
Here is a great blog post on getting underrepresented people represented in your group. Several tech conferences (e.g. JSConf EU, PyCon) have followed similar strategies to great effect.
Expect this to take a while. It takes a while to brainstorm names; contacting people is a high-touch process; and many people will say no or will not reply. If you leave it until the last minute you will end up with appointments that look very similar to past years’. Plan your timeline accordingly.
The ALA staff can pull reports from the database listing everyone who’s in both LITA and some other group (like GLBTRT, BCALA, etc.). This is a great place to start. Spending a few hours comparing this list against ALA Connect will yield a really exciting list of highly skilled people.
In addition to diversity outreach, you probably also want to reach out to individuals in the following categories and ask them to fill out the volunteer form:
- Past Board members
- Past Emerging Leaders
- Recent strong Emerging Leader applicants
Running the Appointments Committee
(This is the process I’m using; you are of course free to make up your own, but also to copy-paste it to save yourself time. -AY)
The list of committees you’re responsible for can be found at lita.org under Committees. (Bear in mind that the committee for the upcoming Forum will disband in December and has probably been fully appointed – but make sure of that – and the committee for the Forum of your past-presidential year has not yet been constituted and is therefore not in that list, but will need to be appointed; ideally they are ready to go before Annual.)
- Get loose ends from previous VP
- Make list of vacancies in need of immediate appointments, and assign them to committee members
- Start appointing your nominating committee. It is your responsibility to appoint the committee which will nominate your successor. As they do their work in the fall of your vice-presidential year and report at Midwinter, you must appoint this committee right away.
- Make list of people you want the committee to consider specifically
- Schedule first committee meeting (and continue holding them monthly until appointments are done)
- Split up committees & representatives among the Appointments Committee members – every committee should have someone responsible for its appointments
- Finish filling vacancies — make sure to send out appointment letters and get confirmation from appointees!
- Make sure Appointments members have read the charges & compositions for their committees, including any limits on eligibility
- Reach out to LITAblog/WCC/CAM about publicizing appointments — you should write a blog post and there should be social media
- Email litachairs that they should expect contact from their Appointments liaison
- Have Appointments members contact their committee chairs to do needs assessment for next year’s appointments — how many, special skills needed, etc. (Ask them to contact you or the President directly if there are inactive committee members who need to be removed.)
- Consult with Diversity & Inclusion on diversifying your appointments pool
- Do environmental scan for people who should be on committees but may not have self-identified
- Reach out to them
- Submit committee report (via services.lita.org)
- Continue environmental scan & targeted outreach
- Appoint vice chairs for next year
- (Space left here for Midwinter-related panic)
- Have Appointments start making final recommendations on committee memberships
- Start sending appointments letters
- Finalize remaining appointments (don’t leave this too late, as there are limits on how many committees ALA members can be on, and your top candidates may be fully committed to other committees early!)
April & May
- Hopefully you are done, but you can meet if there is business that needs to be taken care of.
- Be sure to thank your committee members and offer to write letters for their personnel file/tenure dossier/etc.
- Submit committee report (via services.lita.org)
- Add ALA timeline & info about ALA appointments
- Add process/timeline for committee
- Add procedure for diverse outreach
- Add representatives list
LITA has reps to various other ALA and non-ALA bodies; the chance to influence these conversations is a unique benefit of LITA membership, and representatives should be vocal and well-networked people who publicize information of interest to the LITA community.
We don’t have a good system right now for tracking our representatives, charging them, or getting reporting. There is a google doc list of representatives with current status, and we are working on clarifying charge and reporting.
Ex officio reps
Some committee chairs serve ex officio as representatives to the following ALA committees. Therefore you do not have to appoint these reps, but you should notify the chairs that they have these roles. They may delegate that responsibility to other committee members.
- PPC: Conference Program Coordinating Team
- Education: Library Education Assembly
- Membership: Membership, Recruitment Assembly
- FAC: Planning & Budget Assembly
- WCC: Web Advisory
- New Members IG: NMRT
Reps we appoint
You should appoint representatives to the following, as needed (they are 2-year terms so they may not all be vacant in your year):
- Advocacy Coordinating
- ASCLA Accessibility Assembly
- Chapter Relations
- Freedom to Read Foundation
- Legislation Assembly
- OITP Advisory
- Professional Ethics
- Digital Content Working Group
Reps we might appoint
I am currently unsure of the status of the following:
- Committee on Legislation
- Committee on Literacy
- Intellectual Freedom Committee
- MARC Advisory Committee
- ODLOS Advisory
- OIF Advisory
You should be subscribed to the ALA appointments list, and will receive information via it about the ALA committees that you help to appoint (Nominating and Conference committees, plus other input as needed by the ALA VP).
The Appointments Database
Its UI is appalling, and past VPs feel your pain.
- You can add anyone who has a valid LITA volunteer form to any committee, though you will have to search for them if they didn’t volunteer for the committee you’re looking at.
- You cannot appoint people who don’t have a volunteer form filled out, even if they’re LITA members; contact them personally and ask them to fill out the form.
- You cannot create or change roles (such as ‘member’ or ‘chair’), but the ED can.
- The default term is 2 years. However, chairs should be appointed to 1 year as vice-chair followed by 1 year as chair (except for awards committees, where they should be appointed for a year as chair followed by a year as past-chair).
- Some roles do not have term limits (e.g. acquisitions editor); you can simply extend the term rather than reappointing for people who continue in these positions.
- You cannot edit the letter that goes out to appointees, but the ED can. It’s the same letter for all positions — not customizable. You’ll want to make sure the signature of the previous VP gets replaced with yours but there’s no need to edit the text of the letter unless you hate it. (You’ll be cc:ed on all appointment emails.)
The Appointments App
I wrote an app to let me export volunteer info from the ALA appointments database and share it with the committee, and let us all collaborate on and keep track of appointments. I can set you and your committee up on that if you like (contact Andromeda Yelton).