Interest Group Chair Responsibilities

About Interest Groups (IGs)

Core interest groups offer a way to meet colleagues who share your interests and concerns while problem-solving together and sharing best practices. Interest Groups answer the question, “How do I find other people who care about the same thing I do so we can talk and share?” and are as widely open to participants as possible.

As a result, with the exception of the required convener and any additional leadership, interest group members do not need to be members of Core, or even of ALA. Anyone with an ALA account can join a Core interest group in ALA Connect. Chairs must be Core members, but anyone can join or leave an interest group at any time.

If you’re interested in co/chairing an interest group, please reach out to the current chair(s). You can find their contact information by looking up the group on our website, logging in, and refreshing the web page.


Chair Responsibilities

IGs are intended to be informal, so we try not to bog down chairs in bureaucracy. We want to provide you with support and resources to achieve the goals you want to achieve and remove barriers to getting things done.

We also encourage chairs to concentrate on virtual participation and engagement, rather than focusing on a once-a-year gathering at an in-person conference. You can do both if you want, but you’ll reach and help more people with virtual opportunities.

This means there are only a handful of required tasks for chairs.

Required Tasks

  1. Read and Respond to Messages from the Core Interest Group Chairs group in ALA Connect
    Core staff communicate with Interest Group Chairs through the Interest Group Chairs group in ALA Connect. As a Core IG chair, you will be added to this group and receive a daily digest of announcements sent to it. We also encourage you to send questions to your fellow IG chairs through the group. To do this, send your question/discussion to ALA-CoreInterestGroupChairs@ConnectedCommunity.org.
  2. Engagement
    Chairs are expected to facilitate regular, ongoing, virtual discussion and/or networking activity at least a couple of times during the year. Examples include facilitating virtual discussions outside of conference windows, hosting an online forum on a topic relevant to the group, and/or arranging for an in-person discussion at an ALA or Core conference. This can also take the form of posting a question for discussion a few times a year. This is the primary deliverable/activity for an interest group chair.
  3. Report
    Chairs are required to fill out the Interest Group Report Form twice a year to report on any activities that have happened since the previous report. This is a relatively short form that won’t take much time to submit. Reports are due in December and May.
  4. Optional Deliverables
    As an incoming chair, we’ll ask you to review the list of optional deliverables for your year. Once you decide if you’ll try to implement any additional deliverables, let us know and we’ll update the list on your interest group’s page.
  5. Find Your Successor
    We also ask that you keep an eye out for participants who might make a good vice-chair and can take over as chair when your term is up. In May, we’ll ask you for the name of the new chair(s) if you haven’t already sent us one.
  6. Provide Feedback
    Every 3 years, the Interest Group Coordination Committee reviews the charge and activity of each interest group. During an IG’s review period, the IGCC will ask the current and recent past chairs for input and feedback about the group in order to evaluate the group’s continuing status. The IGCC will then recommend to the Core Board whether the interest group should continue as is, be updated, or be dissolved.

Optional Deliverables

These are options chairs can choose to implement during their year in addition to the basic requirements listed above.

  • Host your own virtual program, panel, lightning talks session, poster session, or other format any time during the year;
  • Participate in specific Interest Group programming activities like Interest Group Week, which is held the first full week of March each year;
  • Submit a program proposal for consideration for the ALA Annual Conference, Core Exchange, or Core Forum;
  • Hold an in-person discussion at the ALA Annual Conference (no need to submit a proposal, just pick a date/time when the survey is posted in December);
  • Offer an online course or webinar through the Core Continuing Education Coordination Committee;
  • Develop toolkits, whitepapers, or other products or services to fill a need in the library world.

Staff Liaison

The staff liaison for interest groups is Jenny Levine. Contact her at jlevine@ala.org.