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Dale Poulter's picture

Need for a Secretary on the Board

The Bylaws committee feels that a secretary position is not needed on the Board since the LITA Office currently takes the minutes.   The additional duty discussed was keeping track of the discussion threads on connect which the committee feels should be addressed by the owner of the thread – they have the most invested.  However,  we would like to get as much feedback as possible.


Dale Poulter's picture

Here is a summary of the other divisions in relation to a treasurer and/or secretary on the Board











Cindi Blyberg's picture

I think that we could continue to have LITA staff take and post minutes if the process was re-examined and consensus reached.  I envision:

  • Detailed notes (but not a transcript) regarding discussions.
  • Decisions documented in detail, with the meeting halted to agree on the language used in the minutes.
  • A separate section for action items, noting names and deadlines.

I'm only a member of LITA at the moment.  Is anyone else familiar with the *contents* of minutes from other boards?  The perspective I'm working from here is that the above is how MPOW's leadership team functions.  We also publish minutes to all library staff on the same day as the meeting, but I'm sure that's too much to ask. :)  Having LITA staff continue to function this way would mean that all board members can fully participate in disussion--and that all board members are invested in the contents of minutes.  If we agree what the minutes should contain before we leave the room, we will have a better record of meetings and decisions. 

My two cents.  If we do agree that we should devote a board position to this, I would want the minutes to contain the above as well.

Dale Poulter's picture

It is a fine line between a transcript and detailed notes. The documenting of decisions in detail and a section for action items seem reasonable and I believe a nice bulleted list would be  great (we all get fuzzy after traveling back home).  In many cases the minutes are taken by a person delegated by the President,  in our case this has historically been the LITA office.  If we elect a secretary additional requirements will need to be present (especially if we continue streaming).  I am not saying I am completely opposed to a secretary but it will force some increased structure (not necessarily bad) but we need to be aware of possible complications. 

See Sturgis chapter 23 for a discussion minutes.


Aaron Dobbs's picture

The LITA Staff do a great job tracking (and accomplishing!) action items created by the Board, and that is reflected in the minutes.
This is  not  the percieved problem (according to what I remember of the discussions).

The problem is that LITA members do not know what is/was/has been discussed at Board meetings and between conferences (and even the Board Members had trouble remembering if something has been discussed before or what the status of a discussion is/was). LITA members have expertise that the Board can leverage, but the members don't know that their expertise might be needed due to lack of communication.

I posted rough notes (mainly cribbed from Andromeda, a LITA member-observer) a couple times which got some good traction/traffic between meetings - most of which did not show up in the minutes (and that's fine, since "Minutes" got semi-formally defined as tracking the action items back around 2009-10, iirc).

Here's where I harp on communication:

  • With no communication *out* members don't know what is being discussed
  • When members don't know what's under discussion, they have questions (I know, I receved a fair number while on the Board)
  • When members have questions which aren't easily addressed/answered on their own, not all will ask (crazy, but true)


  • *Somebody* needs to Own "outbound" (Board to Members) communication (I'd suggest Prez/VP/PastPrez or an openly, clearly designated At-Large member)
  • *Somebody* needs to Own "inbound" (Members to Board) communication (really, everyone on the Board Owns this - but when *everyone* Owns something, *nobody* does it)
  • The *Somebodies* need to get enshrined in LITA policy, practice, and orientation
  • The *Somebodies* need to be accountable (and willing to Own their appointed task(s))

How many LITA communictaion channels are there?

  • lita-l
  • litablog
  • LITA Connect Group
  • LITA sub-unit Connect Groups (and sometimes associated LITA Connect Communities)
  • LITA Facebook page?
  • LITA LinkedIn group (of which I'm still an admin, btw)
  • LITA IG email lists
  • LITA Committee email lists (not too many left?)
  • Where Else?

A position officially labeled "Secretary"? May be (or maybe not) needed.

Someone (or SomeoneS) to cover the bare minimum of the bullets above? Definitely needed.


"Always remember everyone is working to make the organization better in their own way."
-Eli Mina, ALA Parliamentarian