CONSTITUTION AND BYLAWS OF THE BLACK CAUCUS OF THE AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION
(As Amended on January 29th, 2023)
Whereas, there exists a critical lag in the development of librarianship for Blacks, and Whereas, there are inadequate outlets for studies and reports dealing with issues relating to Black American citizens, and Whereas, the library profession in general and the American Library Association (ALA) in particular have been slow in responding to the problems of Black people,
Therefore, we, the Black members of the American Library Association, have banded together to form this organization.
January 21, 1970
Article I. Name
This organization shall be known as the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA).
Article II. Purpose
The Black Caucus of the American Library Association is organized exclusively to promote the development of library and information services for African Americans and other people of African descent.
Specific purposes of the Black Caucus shall be:
1. To call to the attention of the American Library Association the need to respond positively on behalf of the Black members of the profession and the information needs of the Black community. The Caucus will review, analyze, evaluate, and recommend actions on the needs of Black librarians which will influence their status in the areas of recruitment, development, advancement, and general working conditions.
2. To review the records and evaluate the position of candidates for the various offices within ALA to determine their potential impact upon Black librarians and services to the Black community.
3. To actively participate in the activities of the Divisions, Roundtables, and Committees of the American Library Association by active participation within these groups to make sure that they are meeting the needs of Black librarians.
4. To serve as a clearinghouse for Black librarians in promoting wider participation by Black librarians at all levels of the profession and the Association.
5. To support and promote efforts to achieve meaningful communication and equitable representation in state library associations and on the governing and advisory boards of libraries at state and local levels.
6. To facilitate library service that meets the informational needs of Black people.
7. To encourage the development of authoritative information resources about Black people and the dissemination of this information to the larger community.
8. To open up channels of communication to and through Black librarians in every entity of the American Library Association.
Article III. Limitations
The Black Caucus shall engage exclusively in such educational, charitable, and scientific activities as will qualify it for exemption from federal income tax under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code (or corresponding sections of any future federal tax code).
Article IV. Membership
Section 1: Membership in the Black Caucus of the American Library Association shall be open to any person interested in library and information services who is willing to maintain good financial standing with the organization in accordance with Article IX, Section 1.
Section 2: It shall be the policy of the Black Caucus to encourage its members to become members of the American Library Association.
Section 3: Persons from any ethnic group may become members upon payment of the annual membership fee.
Article V. Officers and Their Election
Section 1: The officers of this organization shall be: President, Vice President/President-Elect, Secretary, Assistant Secretary, Treasurer, and Assistant Treasurer.
Section 2: The officers shall be elected by secret ballot of membership in accordance with provisions in Article V of the Bylaws.
Section 3: There shall be an Executive Board, elected by the membership, whose duties shall be to assist the President in policy-making decisions affecting the organization and to act on behalf of the organization in between regularly scheduled meetings.
Article VI. Meetings
Meetings of the Black Caucus shall coincide with the Annual and Midwinter meetings of the American Library Association.
Article VII. Disposition of Assets
No part of the net earnings of the Black Caucus shall inure to the benefit of, or be distributed to its members, directors, officers, or other persons, except that the Black Caucus shall be authorized and empowered to pay reasonable compensation to members, directors, officers, and other persons for services rendered and to make payments and distributions in furtherance of Section 501(c)(3) purposes.
Upon the dissolution of the organization, the Executive Board shall, after paying all of the liabilities of the Black Caucus, dispose of its assets by distributing them to one or more organizations as shall at that time qualify as exempt organizations under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code (or corresponding section of any future tax code) as the Executive Board shall determine.
Article VIII. Amendment
The Constitution of this organization may be amended by a two-thirds vote of the members responding in a ballot and shall become effective when ratified by two-thirds of those members present and voting at a membership meeting.
Article I. Name
This organization shall be known as the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA).
Article II. Purpose
The purposes shall be as stated in Article II of the Constitution.
Article III. Membership
Section 1: Membership in the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA) shall be open to any person interested in library and information services who is in good financial standing with the organization.
Section 2: Persons from any ethnic group may become members of the Black Caucus upon payment of the annual membership fee.
Section 3: A membership fee shall be determined by the Executive Board.
Section 4: It shall be the policy of the Black Caucus to encourage its members to become members of the American Library Association (ALA).
Article IV. Officers and Duties
Section 1: The President shall
a) Be responsible for general leadership of the Black Caucus, which includes presiding at Executive Board and General Membership meetings; preparing agenda; appointing committee chairpersons and members; serving as a spokesperson for the Black Caucus; delivering an Inaugural Address; and other addresses as appropriate, to the membership; delivering a Farewell Address and passing the gavel at the end of the term of office; and other duties as provided elsewhere in the Bylaws.
b) Initiate programs of action, which will call attention to the needs of the members of the Black Caucus in particular, and American Library Association members in general.
c) Implement the purposes and objectives of the Black Caucus as stated in this document.
d) Implement those decisions passed by the membership and/or the Executive Board.
e) Assume responsibility for keeping the membership informed of events through Black Caucus publications and/or other media.
f) Transfer past records to the designated repository and his/her records to the succeeding President within 60 days after leaving office.
g) Be elected to serve a two-year term.
Section 2: The Vice-President/President-Elect shall
a) Have previous Executive Board experience
b) Be responsible for performing all duties of the President in the absence or disability of that officer and performing such duties as provided elsewhere in the Bylaws.
c) Represent the President, when requested, in the affairs of the Black Caucus.
d) Assist the President in carrying out official duties.
e) Serve as chairperson of the Program committee.
f) Transfer past records to the designated repository and his/her records to the succeeding vice-chairperson within 60 days after leaving office.
g) Shall be responsible for hotel reservations for the Black Caucus Suite and Executive Board and general membership meeting room reservations in conjunction with the President.
h) Be elected to serve a two-year term as Vice-President, followed by a two-year term as President.
Section 3: The Secretary shall
a) Be responsible for recording and reporting the minutes of the meetings of the Executive Board and general membership; maintaining records of other Black Caucus business; performing such other duties as provided elsewhere in the Bylaws.
b) Keep an official copy of the Constitution and Bylaws and other official documents (non-financial) of the Black Caucus.
c) Send notices of meetings and copies of the minutes to the appropriate persons and, as required, to the total membership.
d) Assist the President and Vice-President, when requested, in their duties.
e) Maintain a roster of all Officers, Executive Board Members, and Committee Chairs with current contact information.
f) Transfer past records to the succeeding Secretary within 60 days after leaving office.
g) Be elected to serve a two-year term.
Section 3.5 The Assistant Secretary shall
a) Send notices of meetings and copies of the minutes to the appropriate persons and, as required, to the total membership.
b) Shall send all correspondence of the organization
c) Arranges organization’s programs announcements
d) Assist the Secretary, when requested in his/her duties.
e) Be elected to serve a two-year term.
Section 4: The Treasurer shall
a) Be responsible for all fiscal matters and handle all financial transactions of the Black Caucus, performing such other duties as provided elsewhere in the Bylaws. The appointment of a conference treasurer may serve as an exception to this clause.
b) Maintain financial records, which include: preparing and presenting an annual budget for the organization to the Executive Board for approval and audit to the chair of the Budget and Audit committee.
c) Solicit, in conjunction with the chair of the Budget and Audit Committee, requests from offices and committee chairs and presents a budget allocation request report to the Executive Board for review and approval at the Midwinter meeting.
d) Transfer past records to the designated repository and his/her records to the succeeding treasurer within 60 days after leaving office.
e) Be elected to serve a two-year term.
f) Be bonded along with any other person who functions as treasurer within the organization.
Section 4.5: The Assistant Treasurer shall
a) Assist the Treasurer in handling the designated financial transactions of the Black Caucus.
b) Assist the Treasurer in maintaining financial records
c) Assist the Treasurer in presenting a budget allocation request report to the Executive Board.
d) Assist the Treasurer, when requested, in any other of his/her duties.
e) Be elected to serve a two-year term.
Section 5: The Immediate Past-President shall
a) In the two years following his/her presidency, serve as a member of the Executive Board with all the responsibilities and rights accruing thereto.
b) Act as a consultant and resource person to the President and Vice-President in matters appropriate to their offices.
c) Serve as appointed by the President as an ex-officio member on committees.
d) Serve as chair of the Nominations and Elections committee and preside over annual elections.
Article V. Elections
Section 1: The offices of Vice-President/President-Elect, Secretary, Treasurer, and eight (8) of the fifteen (15) member Executive Board shall be elected by ballot of membership in even-numbered years. Seven (7) of the fifteen (15) member Executive Board shall be elected by ballot of membership in odd-numbered years.
a) Candidates receiving the highest number of votes in an election year shall serve a two-year term.
b) In case of ties in the number of votes received by candidates for any election, the candidate to serve shall be determined by lot.
c) In case of vacancies to be filled during a term, the candidate to serve shall be nominated by the President and approved by the Executive Board.
d) An officer shall not run for Executive Board while serving the first year of a new term.
Section 2: All candidates for office shall
a) Be members in good standing.
b) Submit a written verification to the Nominations and Elections committee, of a willingness to serve.
c) Submit a brief written statement as requested and directed by the Nominations and Elections committee.
Section 3: The Nominations and Elections committee shall submit a minimum of one candidate for each office, except the President, which is succeeded by the VicePresident/President-Elect.
Section 4: Candidates for any office may be entered by petition, provided they meet the requirements stated in Article V, Section 3, and have the signatures of ten members in good standing with the Black Caucus. Such petitions must be submitted to the Chairperson of the Nominations and Elections Committee no less than sixty (60) days prior to an Annual meeting. The Nominations and Elections Committee shall make no distinction between candidates nominated by the committee and petition candidates.
Section 5: Ballots shall be available to the membership forty-five (45) days prior to the Annual meeting. The Chairperson of the Nominations and Elections Committee shall close the election within fifteen (15) days. The Nominations and Elections committee shall be responsible for the tabulation of votes and submission of the report of election results to the membership at the Annual meeting.
Article VI. Meetings
Section 1: Meetings of the Black Caucus shall coincide with the Annual and Midwinter meetings of the American Library Association.
Section 2: The membership shall be notified in advance of all meetings. The notification shall include the meeting time and place and a tentative agenda.
Article VII. Executive Board
Section 1: Shall serve as the governing body of the Black Caucus and is responsible for acting on behalf of the membership by setting policies; hearing and acting on reports, recommendations, proposals, and resolutions; initiating actions; reviewing and approving goals and objectives; budget request and allocations; performing such other duties as provided elsewhere in the Bylaws.
Section 2: Shall consist of the elected officers, the immediate past President, and the fifteen (15) members elected by the membership to serve on the Executive Board. The President of the Black Caucus shall preside as Chair of the Executive Board, without a vote, except to break a tie.
Section 3: Members shall serve for a term of two years on a staggered basis.
Section 4: Proceedings shall be reported to the membership by the Secretary and acted upon as necessary.
Section 5: Members shall not serve more than two consecutive terms before taking a one-term break in service. After serving two consecutive terms, the individual may be elected as an officer or serve as a committee chair.
Section 6: A quorum shall be determined by a simple majority of Executive Board members present at a meeting.
Article VIII. Committees
Section 1: Standing Committees
a) Refers to those Committees which are necessary for the effective operation of the organization and appointed, as needed, by the President in consultation with the Executive Board. Committee appointments are for two-year terms with the possibility of re-appointment.
b) Standing Committees of the organization shall include but not be limited to the following:
Shall serve as the liaison between non-voting affiliate members in accordance with Article III, the Affiliates in accordance with Article XI, and the Black Caucus Executive Board; solicit state or local organizations of Black library and information service personnel to affiliate with the Black Caucus as Affiliates; maintain and transfer as appropriate records and files on non-voting affiliate members and Affiliates.
ALA Relations Committee
Shall keep abreast of ALA Council and Divisional activities and local state, national and international legislation as they relate to Black Caucus activities; advise the Executive Board and membership of such ALA activities and legislation that require direct input by the Black Caucus; recommend action to be taken by the Executive Board and membership on such ALA activities and legislation.
In accordance with the awards manual and procedures reviewed and approved by the Executive Board, shall administer the Black Caucus awards, solicit nominations and select the recipients, and present the awards. A subcommittee of the Awards committee shall present the John C. Tyson Award.
Budget and Finance Committee
Shall monitor fiscal affairs of the Black Caucus; audit the financial records submitted by the Treasurer, solicit in conjunction with the Treasurer budget request from officers and committee chairs, and present a budget allocation request report to the Executive Board for review and approval at the Midwinter meeting; make recommendations to the Executive Board in all areas of financial management; participate in any fundraising activities reviewed and approved by the Executive Board.
Constitution and Bylaws Committee
Shall maintain a constant review of, and issue to the membership the Constitution and Bylaws, recommend needed changes to the Executive Board and membership, and attend all Executive Board and membership meetings.
Dr. E.J. Josey Scholarship Committee
Shall administer the Dr. E. J. Josey Scholarship by awarding scholarships according to established criteria.
In accordance with Article IX, shall coordinate and engage in fundraising activities to support the programs and activities of the Black Caucus; coordinate fundraising activities with the Treasurer and in conjunction with the chair of the Budget/Audit Committee; solicit ideas and support for, and inform the membership of, fundraising activities, solicit donations from funding sources.
Shall encourage and promote research and publication on African American library history, including but not limited to the history of the Black Caucus of the American Library Association; African American librarians, information professionals, library trustees, and library workers; the creation and development of libraries and library/information services by and for African American communities; and the history of African American publishing and reference tools. Shall promote awareness and discussion of historical issues concerning African American librarianship.
International Relations Committee
Shall be responsible for developing programs, exchanging information, advocating, and promoting understanding and awareness of international concerns and services as it relates to the African Diaspora to groups within ALA and outside organizations.
Literary Awards Committee
Shall administer the Black Caucus literary awards to recognize and celebrate black authors and black literature according to established criteria.
Marketing and Public Relations Committee
Shall develop and implement a marketing plan to maximize the promotion of the Black Caucus’ mission, vision, values, news, events, and more; responsible for the Caucus’ online presence through social media outlets and assisting other committees with marketing and public relations techniques.
Shall develop and coordinate membership promotion activities; keep current records of membership status; recommend to the Executive Board policies relating to membership and dues; prepare a Membership database which shall be made available to members in good standing.
National Conference Committee
Shall coordinate the development, organization, funding, promotion, and administration of the Black Caucus’ National Conference; appoint and oversee appropriate committees and subcommittees to fulfill the vision and purpose of the conference; manage program selection, activities, and events for the conference that reflect continuing professional education; manage conference functions to produce a monetary gain; and report to and operate under the authority of the Executive Board.
Nominations and Elections Committee
In accordance with Article V. Elections and procedures for conducting elections reviewed and approved by the Executive Board shall solicit nominations for office; prepare, receive, and tally ballots for election; report results of elections to the Executive Board and the membership.
President’s Advisory Committee
Shall be composed of BCALA past presidents, advise the President on matters of importance where the collective wisdom of the group would be important, serve as a surrogate for the President at affiliate or other meetings and programs; and establish and fund the President’s award.
Shall plan and initiate programs and activities for the membership; recommend and coordinate programs that will enhance the growth, interest, and informational needs of the membership;
Shall coordinate and assist in the production of Black Caucus publications; solicit and prepare information for inclusion in Black Caucus publications; assist the President in preparing information for publication on the Black Caucus.
Recruitment and Professional Development Committee
Shall coordinate and develop strategies for recruiting Blacks into the field of library and information science; conduct an orientation session to acquaint new or interested members with the purpose, services, and programs of the Black Caucus and ALA in general; provide information and activities to facilitate Black librarians’ professional career development; coordinate Mentoring/Coaching program and Interest Circles.
Services to Children and Families of African Descent Committee
Shall promote nationwide awareness and use of children’s and young adult literature through programming, publications, and outreach activities among librarians, parents, scholars, students, educators, and all persons who work with children of African descent; Plan and initiate programs and activities which strengthen BCALA’s visibility as a vital resource for children, and their caregivers; Promote reading and emergent literacy to parents of African descent.
Technology Advisory Committee
Shall advocate for expanding the use of technology within the Black Caucus; provide forums for electronic communication among BCALA members; be a focal point for policy and input for information technology forums (networks, databases, etc.); advise BCALA members on current and emerging technologies that encourage development and evaluation among BCALA members; and provide a collective vision with advice on research directions using technology for Black Caucus.
Section 2: Ad Hoc Committees and Task Forces
Refers to those Committees and Task Forces which are necessary to carry out organizational functions, studies, or activities of a short duration, and appointed, as needed, by the President
a) Such Committees and Task Forces shall file records and reports with the President and Secretary upon completion of the specific assignment
b) Such Committees and Task Forces shall either cease to exist upon completion of the specific assignment, be retained depending on the need in that area, or be established as a standing committee in accordance with Article VII, Section 1.
Section 3: All committees and task forces shall submit reports to the Executive Board at Midwinter and Annual meetings; submit written reports in advance to the Secretary for distribution to the Executive Board; schedule oral reports in advance with the Secretary to be included on the Executive Board agenda; submit written articles to Black Caucus publications; submit scheduled budget requests to the Treasurer in conjunction with the Budget/Audit committee chair for the budget allocation report at the Midwinter meeting; maintain and transfer records to succeeding chairs.
Article IX. Finance
Section 1: Operational funds shall be from membership fees, publication-advertising fees, and fundraising activities as approved by the Executive Board.
Section 2: The Black Caucus shall accept voluntary contributions unencumbered by obligations.
Section 3: The Black Caucus shall actively solicit funds for the pursuit of projects that advance the objectives of the organization.
Section 4: The Treasurer under the authorization of the President shall make disbursement of funds—regardless of source. All obligations in the name of the Black Caucus shall be made only with the approval of the President.
Section 5: The President’s authorization for financial obligations shall be a set amount determined by the Executive Board. Approval for obligations above this amount shall be obtained from the Executive Board.
Section 6: The Black Caucus is a non-profit organization duly incorporated and may solicit funds or hold fundraisers for purposes stated in the incorporation document without legal penalty.
Article X. Endowments
Section 1: There are hereby created funds to be known as the Endowment Funds of the Black Caucus of the American Library Association.
Section 2: These funds are to be administered by the Executive Board.
Section 3: The funds are to be made from donations, gifts, subscriptions, and bequests, therefore, with the principal held in trust in perpetuity and invested in the manner prescribed by the Executive Board.
Section 4: Only the income of the endowments shall be expended in the manner prescribed by the Executive Board to support the activities of the Black Caucus of the American Library Association.
Article XI. Affiliates
Section 1: The Black Caucus may recognize affiliates on the recommendation of the Executive Board.
Section 2: An Affiliate is any state or local organization of Black library and information service personnel who are duly organized as a body with officers and a set of Bylaws to govern their operation.
Section 3: State or local organizations of Black library and information service personnel desiring to affiliate with the Black Caucus must submit to the Affiliates committee chair, as liaison to the Executive Board, a written request to affiliate with the following information:
a) A current copy of the organization’s Bylaws
b) A rationale for wanting to affiliate with the Black Caucus
c) A statement of willingness to pay affiliate dues as set by the Executive Board
d) A commitment to keep the Black Caucus apprised of the organization’s activities
e) A commitment to encouraging its members to attend Black Caucus and American Library Association meetings and to participate in professional services which promote the interest and concerns of other Blacks in the profession
f) Serve as host to the Black Caucus when it meets in the organization’s city, and provide information and resources that will assist the membership while in the city.
Section 4: Action shall be taken on the request to affiliate at the first meeting after receipt of the request. The affiliate group shall be notified of the Executive Board’s action within thirty days of the action.
Article XII. Endorsements
Endorsement is defined as the Black Caucus, as a body, taking a position in support of or in opposition of a candidate for election to an American Library Association or Divisional office.
Section 1: The Black Caucus may engage in endorsement of any candidate for the American Library Association elected office, using any of the following options:
a) When petitioned by a member of the Black Caucus with 25 current members’ signatures.
b) When presented by a member in a motion and seconded and approved at a membership meeting.
c) When advocated by the membership based on procedures approved and implemented by the Executive Board.
Section 2: A vote of the membership shall be necessary to endorse any candidate meeting the conditions of Article XII, Section 1.
Section 3: Past practices shall not be the precedence. Such occasions will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Article XIII. Parliamentary Authority
Meetings will be conducted in accordance with ROBERTS RULES OF ORDER, the latest Revised Edition.
Article XIV. Amendments
Section 1: Bylaws
a) Proposed amendments to the Bylaws, upon approval of the Executive Board, shall be presented at a membership meeting for a vote of the membership.
b) The Bylaws of this organization may be approved by a two-thirds vote of the members in attendance at any membership meeting.
Section 2: Constitution
a) Amendments to the Constitution shall be submitted to the membership by ballot prior to the next meeting, where results will be reported and published.
Section 3: Ratification
a) The Constitution and Bylaws take effect when ratified by two-thirds of those members present and voting at a membership meeting.
Amended January 29th , 2023
Jos N. Holman, Chair, Constitution and By-laws Committee
Nichelle Hayes, President
Michele Fenton, Secretary
Shauntee Burns-Simpson, Immediate Past President