By Ellen Brassil, Chair, and Chris Shaffer, Board Liaison, MLA Bylaws Committee
The changes to the MLA bylaws have been officially approved by a full vote by MLA’s members.
Thank you for making this possible through your strong support and participation throughout the process. Your enthusiasm, questions, thoughtful edits and suggestions, and participation in the online forum discussions, at the open forum and business meeting in Toronto, and in the post-annual meeting voting process have resulted in a smooth, transparent process. Your efforts will allow your elected officers to offer more timely and relevant programs and services that serve MLA’s membership. Here’s what to expect next.
- MLA’s Membership Committee and staff will make a recommendation to the Board of Directors for a revised institutional membership structure for 2017. The goal is to create more value for both institutional members, and for the staff that work in institutional member institutions. The board will also review MLA’s membership structure to see if MLA can provide better value to individual members with other membership categories.
- The Board and Chapter and Section Councils will create or update manuals to define procedures that were removed from the bylaws and special rules of order. Manuals will address details such as subclasses of voting and nonvoting membership, procedures for forming, merging, or disbanding sections, and details for the announcement of meetings.
- The revised bylaws will give the Councils and chapter and section units more flexibility, greater decision-making power, and promote an inclusive environment where more members are able to participate. For example, the revised bylaws no longer require sections to hold their business meetings during the MLA Annual Meeting, giving more members the opportunity to participate in the business of their sections. To build flexibility, the timing of the election of chapter and section council chairs has been changed, the council chair-elect positions have been eliminated, and provisions that address how to handle council chair vacancies have been added to the bylaws.
Ballots of the proposed bylaws amendment were sent electronically or by postal service to all 2,691 eligible voting members of the Medical Library Association. 958 valid ballots were returned, a participation rate of 35.6%. 925 voters approved the bylaws amendments surpassing the two-thirds votes (638) needed to amend the Bylaws. The amended bylaws become effective January 1, 2017.