FAQs & Resources

Make Committee Appointments & Some Tips



The appointments you are about to undertake are probably the most important activity of your year as an incoming officer in RUSA. The appointment process provides you an opportunity to both shape the future of RUSA and create service opportunities for RUSA members, especially new members or members who have not been active previously.

The appointments process starts after the ALA Midwinter meeting (with the exception of the Book and Media Awards), and runs through the end of May. Your goal is to have your appointments finished by June 1.  Most Book and Media Awards Chairs begin their term immediately following ALA Midwinter Meeting.

Elections might complicate your process, be sure to note who is standing for offices and what roles they currently have that will become vacant if they are elected.

Ask your current chair for suggestions, canvas around with colleagues for other suggestions, consult your volunteer forms, ask people you know or haven't served on a committee recently, and ask the office for help or suggestions as needed.

If you have questions about the process, please ask them on the RUSA Appointments group in ALA Connect here: http://connect.ala.org/node/153360. Others likely have a similar question. For more sensitive matters, you can email the division Executive Director directly.

Appointment Asks

  • Talk to chairs before reappointing members to see if they have been responsive and are contributing to the committee
  • Talk to current chairs who can no longer serve about potential chair candidates from the committee
  • Talk to current Section Chairs about committee chairs before reappointing to see if they have been responsive and are directing the work of the committee
  • Contact your potential appointment first by email or phone to let them know you’d like to appoint or reappoint them
  • Some people may ask for more information about the time commitment, be ready to answer. You might get more details from the current committee chair.


  • Members and potential members must be current RUSA members as of July 1 of the service year
  • Any section committee volunteer must be both a current RUSA and section member before they are able to accept appointment.
  • Members are appointed for a 2-year term, and may serve on a committee for 4 years total
    • If they take a one-year break, they may once again be appointed to the committee
  • Chairs serve for one year, and may be reappointed
    • They can only serve on a committee for 4 years, even if this is a combined total from being a committee member and a committee chair Example: Betty Smith is a member for 2 years. She is then appointed as a chair for one year. The next year, she is reappointed as chair. Her time on the committee is now at an end, and she can return only after a one-year break.
    • 2-year terms are allowed if it is necessary for the work of the committee
  • Vice-Chairs and Co-Chairs may be appointed if it is deemed necessary for the succession planning of the committee
    • Co-Chairs offer more flexibility, especially if you appoint them to staggered 2-year terms
  • ALA members can serve on 3 total committees throughout all of ALA, it is their responsibility to tell you if they are overcommitted
  • Composition of the committees is listed in the database and on the RUSA website. Sometimes these don’t match, we’re working to clarify. Essentially, only a chair and a member are required unless specified.
  • Ensure that there is a balance of staggered terms on your committees; they may come out of balance over time due to resignations and elections. This would be a time when you could appoint a member for a single year to balance out terms.
  • Liaisons are usually appointed by other agencies, and you do not need to appoint these roles

Award Juries

  • Choose a chair early
  • Leave membership open until the end of your appointing cycle, it’s a good position for new members or members who can’t commit to a full year or two of service
  • Work for Achievement Awards begins after ALA Annual Conference, selection review period is usually first two weeks of December
  • Work for Book and Media Awards begins immediately after ALA Midwinter Meeting, selection review period runs through November and December

Nominating Committees

  • Choose your chair early, should be your past-past Section chair
  • Composition is chair and two or more additional members
  • No current member of the RUSA Board of Directors or any section executive committee may serve on a nominating committee
  • Try not to choose someone for a nominating committee who you would consider an excellent candidate for office
  • Ask your Section past-past chair to serve as your Section nominating chairs, they have the most experience
  • Section nominating committee chairs must serve on Division Nominating Committee
  • Work begins immediately after ALA Annual Conference and wraps up in September for the Division and October for the Sections
  • Members of nominating committees are not eligible for immediate reappointment

Representatives to…

  • Section chairs recommend representatives to RUSA Division committees to the President-Elect, the President-Elect makes the appointment
  • The current RUSA committees with Section representatives are:
    • Access to Information
    • Awards Coordinating
    • Conference Program Coordinating
    • Professional Development
    • Professional Resources
    • Volunteer Development
  • There is a “Reps to” committee for each section that exists as a volunteer pool, but no appointments are conducted from this committee in the appointments system.
  • Representatives serve 2-year terms