Each member of the LITA executive board serves as liaison to one or more committees or other groups within LITA. When wearing the “Liaison Hat”, board members ensure that communication flows freely between the board and the committees: the committees are clear on what the board needs them to do; they can send action items, ask questions, and otherwise be empowered to work effectively; and that committee work can provide an engaging and meaningful experience for our members.
What to do
If you’ve been a liaison, feel free to describe best practices! Add brief comments inline, or create a new page (with this page as a parent) and link it.
- Reach out to chairs to establish a relationship. (best practices)
- Make sure the chairs have a plan, and that it’s consistent with the committee charge & strategic plan. (best practices)
- Make sure the chairs are aware of the Virtual Engagement Toolkit our 2017 ELs put together. Whether your chairs are experts at running a virtual committee or just starting out, there is useful content for them here.
- Attend committee meetings, if possible (but don’t let their scheduling bottleneck on you).
- Don’t overstep your bounds (the chairs run the committee; you’re there to support them).
- Monitor the committee’s progress toward its goals. (best practices)
- Identify and follow up on concerns with committee support or progress.
- Facilitate two-way communication between the Board and the committee.
- Identify & initiate collaboration opportunities between your committee and outside groups (especially other LITA committees, task forces, and interest groups).
- Refer issues to staff liaison for things that require staff intervention (generally logistics, like contract signing or ALA IT).
FYI, there are also committee & IG chair coordinators (this is an appointed member position). How do the coordinators differ from liaisons?
- Liaisons are there to help committees communicate with the board. While they may communicate primarily with the chairs, they are helping the committee as a whole to be effective.
- Coordinators are there to help the chairs be effective. They don’t have any responsibility for the work of the committee; instead, they ensure that chairs have key information (like deadlines); foster discussion among them; and support leadership development.
Some committees have their own important dates (especially PPC); you should consult your chairs and/or LITA staff about these.
Unless these tasks are listed under “what to do” above, they are the chairs’ responsibility, not yours. However, you need to know about them to ensure smooth functioning of the committee.
- August (or as soon as liaisons are finalized): reach out to chairs, ensure they have LITA background information (like the strategic plan), and initiate conversations about their committee plan
- September 15: First quarter committee report due
- September: meeting space requests and program proposals for Midwinter due (consult staff for specific date)
- October: program proposals for Annual due
- December 15: Second quarter/Midwinter committee report due
- March 15: Third quarter committee reports due
- June 15: Fourth quarter/Annual committee reports due
Where to go for more info?
Start with this web site! You can always add sub-pages to this document if you have best practices you’re like to document.
Your Board colleagues are also an excellent resource.
- Bylaws – Article VII: Committees and Representatives — Includes the official statement on the responsibilities of committees.
- LITA Committees — A description of all of the LITA committees and the committee members with contact information. If using this near Annual Conference, you may want to check with the LITA Office or the incoming President to verify the information is correct.
- LITA Manual Section 7 – Publishing and Publication — Depending upon the committee charge, you may want to direct your committee to work with Publications; Education, PPC, and Forum in particular generate content that might be reworked into LITA publications.
- LITA Manual Section 10 – Programs at ALA Annual Conferences — Depending upon the committee charge, it might be helpful to guide the committee through the program guidelines; ask LITA staff for this year’s deadlines.
- LITA Manual Section 11 – Institutes, Preconferences, and Special Events
- How to write for LITABlog — has your committee been doing work members might want to know about or be involved in? Have them publicize it.