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Consult, as appropriate, the Model Bylaws and Robert's Rules of Order.shall take office at the close of the Chapter Annual Meeting or following their

    Medical Library Association



2010 2011

    Compiled by Madeline Taylor, 1986

    Revised by Ruth Marcolina, 1989

    Revised by Julia Sollenberger, 1991

    Revised by Ada Seltzer, 1993, 1994, 1995

    Revised by Cynthia H. Goldstein, 1996, 1997, 1998

    Revised by M.J. Tooey, 1999, 2000, 2001

    Revised by Linda Garr Markwell, 2002, 2003,2004

    Revised by Sarah Gable, 2005, 2006, 2007

    Revised by Paula Raimondo, 2008, 2009, 2010



1. MLA Structure

2. Chapter Council

3. Chapters

3.1 Functions

    3.2 Activities

    3.3 Chapter Chair

    3.4 Relationship to Headquarters Program Staff 3.5 Relationship to MLA Committees

    3.6 Dues

4. Communication

4.0 Mailing Lists

    4.1 Objectives

    4.2 Reports

    4.3 Motions

    4.4 Petition to Establish New Chapter

    4.5 MLA Board and Officer Travel to Chapter Meetings 4.6 Potential Nominees to MLA Nominating Committee 4.7 Chapter Directory Information

    4.8 Correspondences and Documentation

    4.9 News

    4.10 Chapter Membership Fact Sheet

    4.11 Official Statements

    4.12 Meeting Arrangements

    4.13 Timetable

5. Continuity

5.1 Procedure Manual

    5.2 Transfer from Outgoing to Incoming Chair

6. Appendices

6.0 Chapter Business Guidelines

    6.1 Role and Responsibilities of Chapter Council Representatives and Alternates

    6.2 Guidelines for Information Requests to the Chapters of MLA 6.2.1 Services to Chapters and Sections of MLA 6.3 Procedures for Submission of Bylaws Revision by Chapters and Sections

    6.3.1 Model Bylaws

    6.4 Guidelines for Approving Continuing Education Activities and Courses

    Application Directions

     MLA Continuing Education Activities Approval Application

     MLA Continuing Education Activities Renewal Application


6.5 Developing Objectives

    6.6 Guidelines for Chapters Out of Compliance 6.7 Chapter Formation Petition Guidelines 6.8 Guidelines for Board and Officer Travel to Chapter Meetings

    6.9 MLA Archives Guidelines and Form

7. Illustrations

7.1 Membership List Request Form

    7.2 Midwinter/Annual Report Guidelines 7.3 Motion Form

    7.4 Nominating Committee Candidate Form 7.5 Chapter Information Form for MLA Directory 7.6 MLA Generic Calendar

    7.7 Excerpts from Robert’s Rules

    8. Suggestions for Revision of Manual



    The Medical Library Association is a professional organization of individuals and institutions in the field of health sciences librarianship. The purposes of the Associations include: fostering the professional growth of its members; setting standards of professional practice; promoting quality service; and providing leadership in solving problems in health information delivery.

    The activities of the Association fall into broad program areas that derive from its mission and are continuously reviewed by the board in its planning role. All of the Association’s many components general membership, sections and chapters, committees standing and ad hoc

    Board liaisons, Board of Directors, Executive Director, and headquarters program staff

    contribute in some way to the total program activity.

A chart of MLA’s structure is available at:



    The group structure, implemented in 1981, established Chapter Council composed of one Representative and one Alternate from each chapter. (See MLA Bylaw Article XII, “Chapter and Section Councils.”) Each Representative and Alternate must be a regular member or fellow of the Association and be selected in accordance with chapter bylaws. The Representative and Alternate perform very important functions within the overall structure of the Medical Library Association. For this reason, all due consideration should be given to nominating and electing qualified individuals to fill these offices. In particular, chapters should consider electing members who have recently served as chapter chairs or have been on the executive board of the chapter. (See Appendix 6.1 Roles and Responsibilities of Chapter Council

    Representatives and Alternates.)

    The Chapter Council serves in an advisory capacity to the Board of Directors, promotes interchange between chapters, and considers recommendations from individual chapters and forwards approved recommendations to the Board for consideration. The Chapter Council has developed guidelines for information requests to the chapters of MLA (Appendix 6.2

    Guidelines for information Requests to the Chapters of MLA).

    The Chapter Council is also charged with the monitoring of chapter formation and compliance, (2000 was the last year compliance was required by MLA; compliance has been suspended until further notice from MLA; MLA will continue to monitor the MLA members in Chapters) and with selecting six nominees as candidates to the Association’s Nominating Committee from the names of persons submitted by each chapter.

    Members of the Council elect one member to serve as Chapter Council Chair for a three-year term. The election is held one year prior to taking office to allow for a one-year term as chair-elect. The Chapter Council Chair serves on the MLA Board of Directors and is Board liaison to chapters. In concert with Council Representatives and Alternates, the Council Chair communicates chapter concerns to the Board and, in turn, Board actions to chapter. The Chapter Chair should feel free to call or write the Chapter Council Chair at any time with questions or concerns related to any MLA or chapter policy, activity or program.



    3.1 Functions

    Thirteen geographic groups, defined as chapters, are currently affiliated with MLA (See MLA Bylaws Article XI, “Chapters and Sections of the Associations”):





     New York/New Jersey

     North Atlantic Health Sciences Libraries

     Northern California and Nevada Medical Library Group

     Pacific Northwest

     Philadelphia Regional

     South Central


     Medical Library Group of Southern California and Arizona

     Upstate New York and Ontario

    The legal relationship among chapters and MLA is defined by the Association’s bylaws, history and culture. While it is the practice of chapters and MLA to work together and be closely affiliated, from a legal perspective chapters are separate legal entities. In accordance with good business practice, all chapters are incorporated effective April 1995. Incorporation shields chapter members from personal liability for chapter obligations and MLA from liabilities, should the chapter become involved in legal action. The manual (Appendix 6.0 - CHAPTER BUSINESS GUIDELINES) explains the details about federal tax-exempt status, and recommended business/financial practices for chapters.

    Chapter membership is open to both members of MLA and to other interested health science librarians and information specialists.

    Chapters may file individually for tax-exempt status (Appendices 6.0). Many chapters have filed for federal or state tax exemption.

    3.2 Activities

    Chapters constitute a vital part of the activity in each program area of the Association, and set regional goals and objectives to accomplish a wide variety of functions. Chapters also receive benefits from being affiliated with MLA. (See Appendix 6.2.1 Services to Chapters and

    Sections of MLA.)

    Chapter activities encompass the broad range of Association purposes. A chapter’s bylaws define the broad outline of the chapter’s activities. The bylaws of existing chapters and

    revisions of these bylaws must be examined by the Association’s Bylaws Committee to determine whether they are in conformity with Association bylaws. Follow the “Procedures for Submission of Bylaws Revision by Chapters and Sections” (Appendix 6.3). The MLA Bylaws

    Committee has developed a set of model bylaws to serve as a guide for chapters when developing bylaws or submitting bylaws changes. The only portions that are mandated are those which are taken from the MLA bylaws proper, as indicated with article and section numbers (See Appendix 6.3.1 Model Bylaws).


3.3 Chapter Chair

    The chapter chair is the presiding officer of the chapter and is responsible for the following


    3.3.1 The general organization of chapter work including the formulation of objectives.

    3.3.2 Communication of chapter activities and actions to the Chapter Council Representative, Chapter

    Council Chair, and other chapters as appropriate.

3.3.3 Establishment of a timetable for the chapter.

3.3.4 Preparation of midwinter and annual reports.

3.4 Relationship to Headquarters Program Staff

     The professional development department provides materials for regionally sponsored MLA

    continuing education courses (Appendix 6.4 Continuing Education Course Presentations).

    This department, along with the MLA Continuing Education Committee and Subcommittees,

    also provides information and consultation in the design, development and provision of

    continuing education course opportunities, and grants MLA CE credit for approved educational

    programs. (Appendix 6.4 Criteria for Awarding MLA CE Contact Hours, Application for

    Approval of CE Activities and Programs. and Course Announcement for MLA News.)

     The business office can generate custom MLA membership lists for chapters on request

    The headquarters staff responds to information requests concerning Association policies,

    procedures, and planning. The chapter chair should feel free to contact the MLA Executive

    Director at any time with questions or concerns related to any MLA policy, activity or program.

3.5 Relationship to MLA Committees

     Chapter committees should maintain close liaison with Association committees and conform to

    Association standards and policies where national matters are concerned.

    3.5.1 The Governmental Relations Committee supports a network whose major nodes are chapter

    legislation committee chairs. The chairs of chapter governmental relations committees serve as

    non-voting members of this MLA committee.

    3.5.2 The MLA Membership Committee, including one member from each chapter, promotes

    membership in the Association. The MLA Membership Core Committee includes a member

    from Chapter Council as liaison between Chapter Council and the MLA Membership Committee.

    (Appendix 6.4.1)

    3.5.3 The MLA Continuing Education Committee includes a member from Chapter Council as liaison

    to chapters on all aspects of the development and provision of continuing education

    opportunities. A Chapter Council committee supports the liaison in the expanded

    communications with chapters through the chapter CE committee chairs. (Appendix 6.4.2.)


    3.5.4 The MLA Credentialing Committee includes a member from Chapter Council as liaison to

    Chapter Council and chapters on all aspects of the Academy of Health Information

    Professionals (AHIP) and credentialing. (Appendix 6.4.3)

3.6 Dues

     Chapters may establish dues to support their activities provided they do not exceed Association

    membership dues for a regular member.



4.0 Email Discussion Lists

    MLA provides email lists to current members as a forum for ideas, questions, announcements and concerns. For other topics or concerns, MLA provides a wide range of Internet resources available through MLA Web pages. Information on these Internet resources is at the bottom of this page.

As a Chapter Chair it is extremely important that you sign onto MLA-Chapterchair, the Chapter Chair’s

    Discussion List. Instructions for signing onto and using the list are available at the following URL:

To see a list of all MLA discussion lists go to:


    Subscribers who have questions or need help should contact the systems administrator at MLA headquarters:

Email: mlafa1@MLAHQ.ORG or mlamis@MLAHQ.ORG

    Fax: 312/419-8950

    Voice: 312/419-9094 x20

    Mail: Medical Library Association

    65 East Wacker Place, Suite 1900

    Chicago, IL 60601-7298

MLA’s Website, MLANET, is located at the URL:

    MEDLIB-L is a discussion list on topics that concern the profession and practice of health science librarianship. For information about medlib-l (including subscription information), please visit:

4.1 Objectives

    Chapter Chairs need to formulate objectives for the coming year’s activities. In formulating

    these objectives, the chair should consider chapter objectives that support the goals and

    objectives of MLA’s Strategic Plan, as well as the annual priorities of the Association.

    (Appendix 6.5)

    As of 2006 chapter chairs no longer need to submit objectives or planning documents to MLA.

    However it is strongly recommended that the standard planning grid used by MLA committees,

    etc. be used by the chapters in their planning process. Using the grid will greatly simplify the

    writing of the mid-year and annual reports that the chair is required to submit (see below.)

4.2 Reports


Chapters communicate with the Chapter Council and the MLA Board through midyear and

    annual progress reports. The reports should track to the chapter’s objectives. Usual report

    submission times are below. These may times are subject to change to meet MLA’s schedule.

*****The midyear report is due in or around December, for the Winter board

    meeting. The date varies upon the date of the board meeting.

    Notification of the exact will be posted on mla-chapterchair.

    *****The annual report is due in or around early March.

    Originals of both reports should be sent to the Executive Director’s office for distribution to the Board in the case of the midwinter report, and, in the case of the annual report, for publication on MLANET as part of the MLA Annual Report. Copies of the report should also be sent to the

    Chapter Council Chair and Representative, and submitted with the chapter’s Declaration of Compliance, if and when compliance is required again.

Guidelines for preparation of reports will be distributed by the Executive Director’s office at least

    30 days prior to the deadline. All reports should follow the prescribed format (Illustration 7.2).

    4.3 Motions

    Requests for action by the Board should be submitted by the Chapter Council Representative in the form of a motion to the Chapter Council (Illustration 7.3). Council receives recommendations from individual chapters; considers for approval or disapproval; and forwards approved recommendations to the board. Recommendations not approved are referred back to the originating chapter along with comments.

    4.4 Petition to Establish New Chapter

    Petitions to establish a new chapter and/or alter the geographic area of an existing chapter, or merging chapters must be submitted to the Chapter Council. The Chapter Council will consider each petition and forward to the board with recommendations for action. (See Appendix 6.7

    Chapter Formation Petition Guidelines.) (See MLA Bylaws Special Rules of Order, #4, “Approval of New Chapters and Sections.”)

    4.5 MLA Board and Officer Travel to Chapter Meetings

    In an effort to maintain communication between the chapters and MLA, the MLA Board of Directors allocates funds for travel reimbursement, up to a specified amount, to be available to each chapter that wishes to invite the President, President-Elect, Immediate Past President, members of the Board of Directors, or the Executive Director to its chapter meetings. Invitations (with a copy to the Chapter Council Chair) should be made directly with the individual Board member by the Chapter Chair or Chapter Council Representative as early as possible in each calendar year or several months prior to the chapter meeting involved, whichever is more appropriate. (For guidelines and specified amounts, see Appendix 6.8 MLA Guidelines for

    Board and Officer Travel to Chapter Meetings.)

    4.6 Potential Nominees to MLA Nominating Committee

    Each chapter may submit to the Chapter Council the name of one regular member or fellow of the Association, chosen in accordance with chapter bylaws, as a potential candidate for membership on the MLA Nominating Committee. From the potential nominees submitted by each chapter, the Chapter Council at its final assembly at the MLA Annual Meeting selects six candidates (MLA Bylaws Article V, Section 2B). These are included, along with six candidates


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