Blogger Nina Lindsay

ALSC Works Because You Stand Up!

Learn more about how to volunteer for ALSC Committees

I am now a good portion of the way through appointing volunteers to ALSC process committees, for terms that begin following Annual conference.  Here’s what I’m learning, and what it may mean for you:

There are more volunteers than committee slots.

This is great for ALSC, as it means we have a lot of committed talent for our work.  It means that as I make appointments, I can do my best to round out each committee with a variety of levels of experience, library types, geography, as well as with beneficial skills for each committee.

For you, this means you may not get appointed to a committee you seem perfectly suited for.  Please don’t take it personally! It could simply be there were other qualified volunteers who could represent other regions, or type of library, or career experience, etc.   Also, even if you are able and eager to work on more than one committee, I may hold back on a second appointment in order to offer another member a first.

It takes a while.

In order to try to make those best fits, there’s a lot of “if/then” plotting on lots of spreadsheets.  I may be offering someone a committee they didn’t explicitly volunteer for, and need to make sure they are willing, before other pieces fall into place.

For you, this means you may still be hanging.  Know that while I’m trying to fill roughly 100 slots all at once, there are actually new ones arising year round, as members find they have to step off committees for various reasons.  Having your form filed means that as those vacancies arise I can go straight to a list.   You are welcome to submit a new form whenever your information changes, and you should refresh it annually.

The new online form is great, and not perfect.

It’s wonderful to have your responses to open-ended questions.  This form is “out of the box,” and we may be able to revise it in the future.  At my end, I can look at an entire list of volunteers; and, I can also look just by committee to see who explicitly checked that one off on their form.

For you, this means when you next file your form, you may wish to check off any committee you’d be willing to volunteer for, and indicate any strong preferences in one of the open-ended questions.  Also, if there’s something you wished you’d been asked on the form, I’m all ears (and already have a list).  You can comment below, or email me at

There is some confusion between the committee volunteer process, and the nominating process.

Nominations just closed for the 2018 election (which includes slots for the 2020 award committees).  The Nominating Committee will consider these nominations as they build a slate, which they will present to the Board for approval at Midwinter 2018. I communicate with the chair of the Nomination Committee, so that I do not make appointments that would conflict with their slate.  Meanwhile, our 2017 election has just closed (which includes slots for the 2019 award committees), and those results will be announced next week.   I will be making appointments to round out those 2019 award committees, and to make other award and media evaluation committee appointments, in the late summer/early fall.   The Children and Libraries Advisory Committee, Arbuthnot Committee and Distinguished Service Award Committee are also appointed on this schedule, as their terms start following Midwinter conference.

For you, this means… this is a lot to remember! Which is why we’ve spelled it out for your reference at

It’s hard to be in limbo.

A huge thank you to everyone who has volunteered, who is serving on a committee, who has nominated someone or themselves to stand for election, or who is currently standing and eagerly awaiting the election results.  ALSC doesn’t work unless you volunteer, and that much is powerful.

Remember that ALSC needs you in a variety of arenas outside of committee work, including blogging, mentoring, and advocacy.   Find out how you can help today at


  1. Kara Eichers

    Thank you so much for this post! I volunteered for the first time this year, and this answered a ton of my questions!

  2. Pingback: Leading with ALSC - ALSC Blog

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *