ALA Divisions provide a focal point for the important and unique issues facing different types of libraries and library work in addition to helping members find a natural home in the Association based on the uniqueness of their work place or work type and their expertise.

With this in mind, and considering the unique expertise that each division holds, Forward Together encourages the divisions to work together to increase their strengths and lean on each other for support in areas of need. Divisions will have a direct line of communication and influence with the Board of Directors through the Division Leadership Assembly, which will foster communication and collaboration between the divisions and other facets of the association. It is also important to note that because division members are also association members, individuals elected or appointed to: the Board of Directors, standing committees, advisory groups, working groups, or communities of interest, will provide not only their individual perspective, but also their important perspective from membership in a division. It is through this lens that the recommendations for ALA’s divisions are the following:

  • A regular review of each division in consultation with the ALA executive director. Potential mergers within the divisions may occur, including one merger already underway between LLAMA, ALCTS, and LITA to create one new proposed division, Core: Leadership, Infrastructure, Futures.
  • A review of the “Operating Agreement” in relationship to the Forward Together recommendations. This review may include but is not limited to a review of bylaws, dues, and dues structures. Within this larger umbrella of the Operating Agreement are several recommendations:
    • Replace individual division bylaws with a shared policies and procedures document. This will help define the relationship and fiscal responsibility of divisions, helping members understand the symbiotic relationship between divisions and the rest of ALA.
    • With assistance from the Membership Office and the Membership Committee, align dues and dues structures across the divisions. This makes the process easier for members to join divisions and helps members understand how dues are spent. It is recommended to explore the rate of $70 for each division from the preliminary fiscal analysis models. This would have the least fiscal impact overall and is only a recommendation for the Membership Office and Committee to further explore and test this model.
    • Schedule a regular review of the Operating Agreement.
    • A process and timeline for the above recommendations is to be determined in consultation with the divisions and the executive director.
  • Align member engagement structures in the divisions and throughout ALA. Divisions may have, but are not required to have: advisory groups, working groups, and communities of interest. Sections can continue to exist in their current form, but it is strongly recommended that each Section consider whether they should instead be reconstituted as an advisory group, working group, or community of interest. Section elections will be administered through an online platform following best practices developed by ALA staff.
  • Empower ALA staff to investigate and recommend best practices for efficient elections for divisions for positions such as division president.
  • Charge divisions to develop an action plan to implement Forward Together recommendations within two years of the approval by members.