The WLA Board of Directors may be reducing the number of WLA committees. Some of the reasons for a restructuring include the following:
- To strengthen the divisions, sections, and round tables. The number of members available or interested in leadership roles within units has declined in the past several years. In 1998, 60.9% of leadership positions had competitive elections while in 2003, only 38.3% of these elections were competitive. In recent years, it has also become somewhat more difficult to fill WLA committee positions.
- To streamline operations for increased efficiency and responsiveness to member needs and ideas. For instance, instead of maintaining an Intellectual Freedom Committee, the WLA Board could seek certain policy recommendations from the Intellectual Freedom Round Table. Having a WLA committee whose duties overlap that of a unit can cause confusion about roles and responsibilities.
- Using task forces imposes discipline and accountability. When assigning a task force, the board will need to allocate the resources necessary to accomplish strategic priorities within a defined period of time. Standing committees, by contrast, are usually assigned broad, ongoing responsibilities. Changes in the association's priorities may not always relate well to previously established committee roles.
The Board is expected to act upon the specific recommendations of the Committee on Organization at its meeting Friday, August 20. The changes to WLA Committee structure will require amendments to the WLA Constitution and Bylaws. A mailed ballot to the membership is required to amend the Constitution. Bylaws may be changed at the annual business meeting, held November 4, 2005, at the WLA Conference in Lake Geneva.