Frequently Asked Questions About Getting Involved in WLA

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How can I learn more about potential positions available?

WLA position descriptions and committee descriptions are in the WLA Organization Manual. The current committee or unit chairs and WLA staff can fill you in about current activities and issues. The current chair or WLA staff can provide you with the minutes of previous meetings. Some minutes are also online; see the units web page for more information about divisions, sections, round tables, and committees in which you're interested.

Chairs and chairs-elect of all groups are invited to attend the WLA Leadership Conference in early December. Other members are welcome as space allows; please check with the WLA staff. The leadership manual is now available online, and it will give you some idea of the issues we discuss at the Leadership Conference, though the agenda varies every year.

How much time is involved?
Keep in mind that there are many ways to get involved in WLA. Several require only a one-time commitment and are of short duration or do not require service on a formal committee or task force. The amount of time required for committees and board work varies, depending on the position and the unit or committee. LD&L meets every other month, beginning in February. Conference Planning typically meets monthly, although some committee members are not required to attend all meetings. Awards & Honors meets once or twice per year. The WLA and WLA Foundation boards meet 6 times per year for 4-6 hours per meeting.

The length of terms, duration and types of assignments vary considerably. Here are the term lengths for WLA committee or other appointed positions:

  • Awards & Honors, Library Development & Legislation (LD&L), and Organization Committees - Up to two consecutive 2-year terms
  • Library Legislative Day (subcommittee of LD&L) - Up to four consecutive 1-year terms
  • Conference Planning, Nominations & Elections Committees - Up to four consecutive 1-year terms, though most conference committee members serve for only one year
  • State Legislative Advocate and Parliamentarian/Resolutions - One year term; board may authorize reappointment
  • Federal Legislative Advocate - 4 years - 1 year is spent in training with outgoing advocate
  • WLA Foundation Representative - 3 years (renewable)
  • WLA Representative to WEMTA Board (WLA Board of Directors) - as agreed upon by
  • WEMTA and WLA Board 

What else is expected of me?

For success as a committee or board member, it is important for you to

  • attend committee or board meetings;
  • read background materials in order to be informed and prepared for the decision-making required;
  • participate in discussions thoughtfully in order to aid effective decision-making;
  • operate with the best interests of the membership in mind. 

I don't think I have time for a formal committee or board position. How can I still be involved?

There are dozens of ways to be involved. Here are just a few:

  • Help at the conference registration desk for the WAAL, WAPL, or WLA Conferences.
  • Contact the WLA office or respond to requests from the current year's committees.
  • Write an article for your unit's newsletter or for the WLA Newsletter.
  • Offer to help at the WLA Foundation's Silent Auction or fundraising event, held annually at the WLA Conference.
  • Help coordinate conference programs. Every unit needs someone to think of topics and speakers, complete the request for programs, and follow through on the details to make the program happen. Even forwarding topic and speaker suggestions is helpful.
  • Respond to member surveys.
  • Participate in your unit's listserv and be a resource for others.
  • Attend the WLA business meeting and your units' business meetings and provide your input on the association's business.
  • Call your legislator about a key issue when requested to do so by WLA legislative leaders.
  • Tell a non-member about the benefits of joining WLA, and provide a membership application for them.
  • Call the WLA office to learn about current needs and find a task that interests you.
  • Contribute to the WLA Foundation.