Special Interest Groups
MLA Sections have been designed to recognize most special interests within MLA. However there are groups which find it difficult to meet the minimum requirements for Section status and/or to sustain the leadership effort required for full representation via official Section status. MLA Special Interest Groups provide a forum for members with relatively unique interests to identify and meet with others with similar interests without having to fulfill the governance requirements of Sections.
1. Any group of MLA members may petition Section Council to become a MLA Special Interest Group (SIG) by composing a Statement of Purpose and selecting a convener who must be an MLA member. Before being granted SIG status, the group must obtain fifteen signatures of MLA members agreeing to the Statement. The Statement of Purpose and the name of the SIG must be approved by Section Council.
2. A list of approved MLA Special Interest Groups and their conveners is maintained by Section Council’s Section/Special Interest Group Review Committee and is published on MLANET.
3. The Program Committee sends appropriate information regarding the annual meeting to each identified convener. The Program Committee will schedule time for the SIGs to hold meetings during the annual meeting. These meeting times should be scheduled so as not to conflict with Section meetings. Special Interest Groups may join with Sections in co-sponsoring joint programs during meeting time normally set aside for the Sections.
4. Special Interest Groups may bring concerns and questions to the Chair of the Section/SIG Review Committee for consideration and action by Section Council. Concerns and questions needing attention by the MLA Board of Directors will be referred to the Board by the Chair of Section Council. SIGs will be notified of actions taken by the Section Council and/or Board of Directors by the Chair of the Section/Special Interest Group Review Committee.
5. Special Interest Groups are encouraged to collaborate with Sections for fundraising to support co-sponsored programs at annual meetings. Due to the informal structure of SIGs, they do not collect dues, receive funding from MLA or engage in fundraising by themselves.
6. Annually, the Section/Special Interest Group Review Committee Chair sends each convener an annual report form to complete, requesting the name of the current convener, number of members, and meeting history/attendance for the previous year.
7. Special Interest Groups that do not return an annual report form for two consecutive years will be reported to the Section Council with a recommendation that they be dropped.
8. If a Special Interest Group decides to disband, the convener will notify the Section/Special Interest Group Review Committee Chair in writing. The Committee Chair will notify the appropriate officials.
SECTION COUNCIL SPECIAL INTEREST GROUP APPROVAL PROCESS
1) The group submits the Statement with the name of the convener to the Chair of the Section/Special Interest Group Review Committee by January 1st.
2) The Section Council Chair includes the Special Interest Group’s Statement in a Council mailing. Council representatives are to confer with their Section’s leadership for comments regarding possible overlap between the proposed SIG and any existing SIG or Section. Comments are forwarded to the Chair of the Section/Special Interest Group Review Committee.
3) Based on comments from the Sections, the committee works with the potential interest group to resolve any concerns. Once an acceptable Statement of Purpose is developed, the group is asked to submit to the Chair of the Section/SIG Review Committee the revised Statement of Purpose along with the signatures of at least 15 current MLA members indicating their agreement with the Statement. The Statement will then be presented to Section Council for a vote. Following the vote, the Chair of the Section/SIG Review Committee will notify the convener of the results.