Authority File: Interviews with ALA Committee Chairs

This month, the NMRT Communications Committee is thrilled to introduce a new series for your reading pleasure—Authority File: Interviews with ALA Committee Chairs. We will be interviewing the Chairs of different ALA committees throughout the year and sharing their experiences as committee volunteers, their advice to new ALA members, and background about their committees. You may just discover your “next” ALA committee!

“Get involved!”

– Christina Rodriques, Chair of the ALA Membership Committee

To help us launch our new series, Christina Rodriques, Chair of the ALA Membership Committee, graciously agreed to be our first interview. Christina knows ALA extremely well; in addition to her role as a committee chairperson, she is also serving as Outreach Director on NMRT’s Board! The following interview with Christina was conducted through email.

How long have you been an ALA member?

I have been a member of ALA for just over 4 years now. I have served on committees for the International Relations Round Table (IRRT), and I currently serve as Outreach Director on the New Members Round Table (NMRT) board.

How long have you been Chair of the Membership Committee?

I have been Chair of the ALA Membership Committee since July of 2018 and my term will end in June 2019. I also served one year as a member of the committee before being appointed Chair.

Why did you decide to serve on this particular committee?

I chose to serve on the ALA Membership Committee because I believe it is the members of ALA, our fellow librarians, support staff, and LIS professionals that make the organization successful. Without membership we wouldn’t have the power to bring about change, to accomplish goals and to further the future of the profession. I chose to serve on this committee because I want to do my part to ensure that the barriers to entry for ALA remain low and that members see the value in this organization and what it can do.

Tell us about the Membership Committee—what is its reason for being, what are its goals or objectives, what are some of its current initiatives/projects?

The official charge of the ALA Membership Committee is “to establish general policies, programs, and procedures to secure new members; to be responsible for the implementation of these programs; to coordinate membership promotion activities of all units and chapters of the association; to make recommendations concerning membership dues; and to serve the association as a sounding board on membership”. Most recently the committee worked to approve a dues increase for membership that will ensure ALA can continue to fully serve its members while still keeping the cost incurred by them in mind.

How is this committee structured?

The Membership Committee consists of nine (9) members with staggered terms. There is a Chairperson who is appointed annually and one of the members is an ALA Executive Board Representative. There are no subcommittees.

What do you enjoy most about serving on this committee?

I enjoy serving on the Membership committee because I can voice my opinions and the opinions of others like me to ALA and its leaders. I also enjoy hearing the viewpoints and perspectives of others who are not like me. It makes for diverse and engaging discussions and we end up making better decisions because of it.

What would you say is the typical time commitment for serving on this committee?

It is relatively light. Most of our work is done virtually with very few meetings. We do meet in person at both the ALA mid-winter and annual conferences.

What advice would you give to someone considering serving on this committee in the future? Be sure to review the committee charge and activities before you fill out the volunteer form. That way you will know if the committee is something you would like to be a part of.

Do you have any advice for new members of ALA in general?

Get involved! Find a special interest group, round table or division and volunteer. New Members Round Table (NMRT) is a great starting point. I attended one of their meetings at an annual conference and right after that I had joined a committee and was working with my peers. NMRT really helps demystify the larger ALA organization and helps new members learn about all the opportunities and benefits that exist for them.

Submitted by: Alexandra Loewen

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