Andromeda Yelton

Across Divided Networks

Wanna get involved in LITA? Here’s how, part VI.

January 10th, 2013 · 2 Comments · Uncategorized

Having spent the last few years immersing myself in LITA, I’m trying to articulate things I’ve learned in case you want to get involved, too, but are looking for places to start. The whole series can be read at the how to get involved in LITA tag. Stay tuned for one more tomorrow!

Formal documents: or, are you a crazy wonk like me?

So hey, this part is fun.

We have bylaws! They’re kinda broken — too many edge cases unspecified, not enough clarity — and need to be rewritten by the sorts of people who min-max their D&D characters (which is to say, not me, maybe you), but they are a pretty fascinating orientation to the moving parts that LITA has. They’re best read in the context of the ALA bylaws and the Sturgis code of parliamentary procedure, which governs the meetings of ALA and its divisions. I’ve found I often can’t get a complete answer to a governance question without consulting all three.

We also have a manual, which sets out to explain the procedures and knowledge surrounding the bylaws; i.e., what do all these moving parts do, and how? I confess, I’ve only read it piecemeal, and I’m told it’s out of date and needs to be rewritten, so that’s something I’m going to have to be learning about over the next few months. But, again, it describes a lot of the options that LITA has, in case you were wondering what they were. It may not perfectly reflect how they operate, but at least it tells you where to start.

We have a budget. I’m not aware of anywhere it’s publicly available (unlike, say, the financial report which ACRL sends to all its members yearly via C&RL News, which is also available online thanks to the magic of open access publishing). So, that’s a bug. Will you accept in lieu of it the Midwinter 2012 report of the Financial Stability Task Force? tl;dr the budget is not in awesome shape. This is also something I need to learn more about.

Tags: ·

2 Comments so far ↓

  • Andrea

    I am a crazy wonk like you! So I can’t resist chiming in to say that when it comes to governance it is often the case that you need all three of those documents. But, I would also add that they should be read in the following order:

    LITA Constitution/Bylaws
    ALA Constitution/Bylaws
    Sturgis

    And generally speaking, if you get an answer before going through all three then you can stop wherever you are because they operate in that order. This is one of those unintuitive (to many) things about governance and law-making: that mostly laws of smaller units trump the laws of larger units. So you can often take your exploration from the smallest circle outward to larger ones. Which is helpful, because usually the smallest unit is the most relevant to your question, and often the one you care about most.

    • Andromeda

      Thanks for your governance-wonk comments! That’s the order I’ve read them in, but just because it seemed logical (is the answer in the LITA bylaws? no, better look at ALA. Is the answer there? no, better look in Sturgis…) Good to know it is Actual Approved Governance Wonk Procedure :)