Below are questions that have been asked by other MiALA members during the feedback process. Click on the question for the expanded answer. If you need further information and/or have suggestions for questions/information to be hosted here, please contact Heather Ladiski at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Following the MiALA annual leadership retreat in the fall of 2017, the MiALA board was approached with an idea to revamp the sections. There was significant feedback from section chairs, chair-elects, and interest group leaders that the current section model was not working for the membership. The board tasked the current section chairs with researching potential options and developing a proposal to bring to the board that would address the issues and alleviate the current feeling of sections as not needed.
There has been quite a bit of feedback for several years -- from members, chairs of sections, and even board members -- questioning the role sections play in the overall structure of MiALA. While they house interest groups, sections have little other defined roles as far as programming or involvement in MiALA initiatives. As the larger organization has matured, it has become clear that most of the programming for members has been driven by the interest groups rather than the sections. This change allows MiALA to respond effectively to the membership and create opportunities for meaningful leadership. It will also foster greater collaboration among interest groups since they will no longer be sorted into arbitrary silos.
The 2017-2018 MiALA board tasked the current section chairs to investigate potential options for revamping the sections and articulating how their sections related to the interest groups that were within them. Breezy Silver, Arlene Weismantel, and Emilia Marcyk worked over the course of the 2017-2018 year to gather feedback from MiALA members through surveys, town halls, and in-person discussions. From those discussions, they created the proposal and sent it to the board for review in March of 2018.
The proposal suggests that MiALA eliminate the sections and create a single elected Interest Group Coordination Council (IGCC) to oversee and coordinate the activities of the interest groups. The IGCC will be responsible for creating policies that affect interest groups, coordinating events, communicating news to interest group leadership, encouraging activity, developing interest group leadership, and acting as a liaison between the MiALA board and the interest groups.
The IGCC will be composed of five or more members: regular representatives serving two-year terms and members-at-large serving one-year terms. The number of members-at-large will be determined by the number of interest groups currently in operation, with a rough ratio of three interest groups for every one IGCC member.
Once the IGCC membership has been elected, they will select a chair, assistant chair, and secretary at the first meeting of the IGCC. Any council member may express interest in the chair, assistant chair, or secretary positions, and positions will be chosen by majority vote of the council members. The chair will attend MiALA board meetings in a non-voting role. Each council member will be assigned as a liaison to three or four interest groups. This person will act as the primary contact for those interest groups and advocate for them within the organization.
A survey was sent in the fall of 2017 asking members to give feedback on how the sections were (or weren't) working. It also suggested the idea of a single IG Coordination Council. Feedback from thirty-nine survey responses was incorporated into the proposal.
Four town hall meetings were held in the spring of 2018. Members received a copy of the proposal in advance and were able to ask questions of one of the task force members during the meeting. Feedback from the town hall meetings was incorporated into the final proposal given to the board.
Feedback was solicited from current and former board members as well as section and interest group leaders. This feedback also informed the final proposal.
No. In fact, this may create more leadership opportunities. Currently, sections have five elected positions--chair, chair-elect, secretary, and two at-large representatives. Across the sections, that is 15 leadership positions. We currently have 17 interest groups with the opportunity for more. With only a chair, a vice chair, and a secretary in each interest group, that is 51 leadership positions within MiALA. We hope that many of those who would have otherwise looked for section positions will instead run for interest group leadership roles, many of which are unfilled. Additionally, many section leaders have voiced opinions that the leadership roles they currently fill are not meaningful or do not have a defined role within the organization. The phasing out of those positions provides the opportunity for meaningful leadership and leadership development within MiALA.
One possible role for the new IGCC will be to facilitate leadership development for interest groups. This may mean organizing events or training or acting as a resource for new leaders. The goal will be to help interest groups become a leadership pipeline for the larger organization.
Yes. The transition task force will ensure that the creation of the IGCC has dedicated spots on the council for librarians representing a variety of backgrounds. Members of the IGCC will be tasked with representing all interest groups equally and fairly.
It will be a process and will require changes to the bylaws and a membership vote. Arlene Weismantel and Jessica Sender (as past-president and chair of the nominating committee) will co-chair the IG Transition Task Force. There will be a proposal sent to the membership for a vote in the fall of 2018. Should the membership vote to implement the new structure, the elections in the spring of 2019 will reflect the new interest group structure.
The 2018-2019 elections will be held in the current format, electing section leadership positions as they are now. Should the MiALA memberhip approve this change, elections for the 2019-2020 year will be held under the new structure. We anticipate that those who run for leadership positions in the current MiALA section structure will be excited about the possibilities for change and willing to play a substantial leadership role in the transformation.