Organizational Effectiveness (SCOE) Project: Discussion Forum

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This space is for all those interested in updates and discussion regarding Transforming ALA Governance. This space was originally created to share the work of the Steering Committee on Organizational Effectiveness (SCOE) who was charged in June 2018 to carry out a comprehensive review and study of ALA’s governance, member participation and legal structures and systems, with the goal of proposing changes that will vitalize its success, strength and agility as a 21st century association. The results of this committee are the Forward Together recommendations.

Future of Forward Together

  • 1.  Future of Forward Together

    Posted Apr 27, 2020 02:07 PM

    The following message is sent on behalf of American Library Association President Wanda Brown.

    Dear ALA Members,


    I am pleased to announce the future of Forward Together and a call for volunteers to continue the work of the Steering Committee on Organizational Effectiveness. As I noted in my January 2020 American Libraries column, "as a member of the Steering Committee on Organizational Effectiveness (SCOE), I've been on the front lines of a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create a more vibrant and effective Association that supports libraries and library workers in a society and culture that was almost unimaginable when our current structure was developed. To help realign our Association with the world we live in today, we have collected recommendations called Forward Together". As we move forward during this time of uncertainty and change for our association, the urgency for change and the hope that comes with change creates the foundation for the next 150 years of our association. Now is the time for change. Now is the time to ensure our association represents all of its members in strengthening libraries, in uplifting library workers, and in centering our core values in all of the work that we do.


    To move our association forward, the Executive Board will present a process to ALA Council at its June meeting to continue the two years of work SCOE and ALA members have been engaged in around organizational excellence and ALA governance. The process for consideration by ALA Council and implementation by ALA members and staff falls into a multi-step process which ends in an all-member vote (outlined below). This process will be led by the Forward Together Working Group, an appointed working group who will also focus on testing and assessing components of Forward Together. The Forward Together Fiscal Analysis Working Group will also be a part of this process. 


    All ALA members are invited to apply to be appointed to these two new working groups. The volunteer application is available online through May 8, 2020, and appointments will be made in May. Volunteer at:


    Finally, as one of their final contributions as a group, SCOE will be blogging about Forward Together, their experiences in the association, and more, and invite ALA members who wish to contribute a blog to visit to designate their interest.


    It has been a pleasure working with SCOE and ALA members as we improve and strengthen our association for future generations. I look forward to continuing that work with all of you.



    Wanda K. Brown

    ALA President

    Moving ALA Forward Together: The reimagining ALA process

    Timeline of Next Steps

    June/July 2020

    • The final report of the Steering Committee on Organizational Effectiveness will be presented to ALA Council and the Forward Together Working Group will take over facilitation of the session with ALA Council.
    • ALA Council will vote on the proposed course of action as outlined here


    June 2020 to December 2020

    • In preparation for a large-scale "Constitutional Convention", virtually, ALA Council will discuss and vote on the various components of Forward Together as well as proposed amendments as identified by the Forward Together Working Group and ALA Council.


    January 2021 Midwinter - Indianapolis

    • The amended Forward Together governance model will be presented for a final debate during a Constitutional Convention style event. Further amendments may be added during this event. This event will include ALA Councilors and additional stakeholders within the association. The details and process for the Constitutional Convention are still being discussed and will be led by the Forward Together Working Group in collaboration with ALA Parliamentarian Eli Mina.
    • A final vote on the model at the conceptual level will be taken by ALA Council.
    • The report from the Forward Together Fiscal Analysis Working Group will be presented to Council.


    March 2021

    • Preliminary new bylaws will be drafted in the fall/winter based on Council conversations and published in March reflecting the new governance structure. 
    • The proposed new governance structure and the proposed new Bylaws to match it will be made available via ALA's website for ALA Council and ALA Members to review. These will be posted in March 2021 to ready Council for voting.


    April 2021

    • First Council Vote on the New ALA Bylaws: The proposed new ALA Bylaws, reflecting the original Forward Together proposal and amendments made to it to accommodate Council's input, will be presented for debate, final amendments, and the first official vote, as required by the current ALA Constitution.


    Annual Session 2021

    • Second Council Vote on the New ALA Bylaws


    Special ballot to members July 2021

    • An Online Vote by ALA Membership on the New Bylaws: The new ALA Bylaws, having been approved by two consecutive votes of the ALA Council, will be presented to the ALA Membership for an online vote as part of a special July 2021 ballot.

    Sept 2021

    • Implementation Begins

    Lessa Kanani'opua Pelayo-Lozada
    ALA Executive Board Member
    Chair, ALA Steering Committee on Organizational Effectiveness
    Adult Services Assistant Manager, Palos Verdes Library District