Where to Be a Virtual Committee Member

There’s been a lot of discussion online lately about how to participate in ALA committees as a virtual member (you can find most of the links via the Improve ALA wiki, which was created by ALA members). As a result, we’ve started a new page on the Get Involved wiki for ALA committees with virtual members in order to make it easier to find those pieces of “the work of the Association” that allow for participation without necessarily requiring members to show up in person at two meetings a year. Some may still have physical attendance components, some will be completely virtual, some will be a workable mix of the two. Overall, we hope this helps you find a way to contribute that works for you.

Questions about any of the committees? Leave a comment here or use the discussion space on the wiki page. Know of a committee (or other workgroup) that’s not listed? Help us out and and add it to the wiki!

3 Responses to “Where to Be a Virtual Committee Member”

  1. Jeff Says:

    The wiki is a little sparse on how to participate virtually. The committees and groups are there, but that’s it. How else would I find out about how to participate virtually?


  2. Jenny Levine Says:

    Hi, Jeff — that’s part of the intent for the wiki, but we need some time to build it, as well as help from the divisions, units, and members themselves.

    There is a growing discussion about how to participate virtually within ALA, and this is at least a place to try to address what methods are available now. The Improve ALA wiki is probably a better place (for the moment) to discuss what *could* be available.

    I’m sorry I can’t be more definitive than that right now, but finding all of the various opportunities is a large task that goes beyond just one person. This will have to be a group effort, and it will take a little time.


  3. jessamyn Says:

    I feel that ALA’s “virtual member” option, while trying to be inclusive and broadening, is actually restrictive. It basically says “we’d love to have your opinions on the things we do, but unless you can show up at annual AND midwinter, you can’t have a voting position on a committee” I find that this is one of the biggest hurdles to ALA really being able to engage peopel online. Allowing people to participate virtually and fully [instead of as some non-voting pseudomember] is really one of the first steps to realistically engaging people online.

    I’m aware of al the reasons ALA doesn’t do this, but I really felt that my time as a virtual member of a committee — when I could actually show up at the conferences but the only slot available was “virtual” — was basically taking my good ideas and not allowing me to actually have an equal voice as the non-virtual members.


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