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Learn the Basics of MLA Committees


Committee Appointments

The association depends on members with a wide range of skills and expertise to serve on its committees. All MLA members are eligible for appointment to standing committees of the association. However, only Voting Members may be selected as committee chairs.

Members may apply for committees annually. An online committee application is available June through October 31. The deadline for applications is October 31.

In making appointments, the association considers the background and skills of the applicants, as well as the responsibilities and needs of the committees. A history of active participation in committee work on the local, regional, or national level is an important qualification. Recommendations are sought from current committee chairs, members of the board of directors, and program staff. Some MLA committees require combinations of skills and knowledge found among few health sciences librarians. Therefore, it is sometimes necessary to recruit certain members with unique experience and expertise to serve on specific committees. The president-elect makes final committee selections. During the president's term, he or she names members to committees as vacancies occur.

Committee Appointment Schedule Summary

  • June-October: members submit applications
  • November-mid-January: applications organized by preference; committee chairs, chair-elects, board liaisons and staff liaisons review applications and recommend appointments based on applicant preferences, experience, and skills.
  • Mid-January-February: MLA president-elect reviews all recommendations, reconciles duplications, and makes final appointment recommendations.
  • March: Headquarters issues "willing to serve" agreements to tentative committee members; agreements returned to MLA headquarters. Staff liaisons inform committee chairs of final appointments; chairs invite appointed committee members to annual meeting or virtual committee meetings as appropriate. 


Committee Charges

For rosters of current members, please select the committee or task force in "View MLA Leadership Rosters." Charges are linked below. You must log in to view charges or rosters.


Committees' Roles

Committees have varied roles in the association. The word committee includes committees required by the bylaws, committees of the Board of Directors, standing committees, subcommittees, ad hoc committees, juries, panels, and task forces.

  • Standing committees are continuing committees with ongoing responsibility for furthering the Medical Library Association's interests, programs, and projects.
  • The Executive and Nominating Committees are mandated by the bylaws.
  • Juries are constituted for the purpose of recommending recipients of awards, prizes, grants, and scholarships.
  • Panels are appointed to serve as peer-review and evaluation boards for MLA's publication and credentialing programs.
  • Ad hoc committees are appointed for a special purpose and are discharged when their tasks are completed.
  • From time to time, special task forces are appointed for a specific study.

Other committees have special tasks and advise the board of directors or the appointed officers. For descriptions of all unit activities for MLA, see the MLA Annual Report. 


Orientation and Support

Incoming chairs receive orientation to committee work at the association's annual meeting. Committee chairs also consult a manual of established policies and procedures. The charges to committees are intended to be specific enough to guide the chair and committee members in a definition of their goals while being broad enough to allow for the varied tasks each committee undertakes. A member of the board of directors serves as liaison to each committee, and headquarters staff provide additional support. 


Task Force Charges

For rosters of current members, please select the committee or task force in "MLA Leadership Rosters." Charges are linked below. You must log in to view charges or rosters.