BSA Committees & Service

Enthusiastic about the work we do?

The committees and working groups of the Bibliographical Society of America have been established to carry out the work that Council and the Executive Committee establish.  Their activities touch upon both the substantial scholarly concerns of the Society as well as any necessary governance and administrative requirements.

Current standing committees of the Society are:

  • Audit Committee

  • BibSite Editorial Board

  • Events Committee

    • Events Planning Sub-Committee

  • Executive Committee

  • Fellowship Committee

  • Investments Committee

  • Liaisons Committee

  • Membership Committee

  • New Scholars Program Committee

  • Nominating Committee

  • Publications Committee

Current Working Groups include:

  • Working Group for Fellows and Fellowships

Other service opportunities:

  • BSA Council

  • PBSA Editorial Board

The President, in conjunction with the Executive Committee and the Council, may establish additional standing or ad hoc committees as the activities of the Society require.

Committee Service FAQ

Learn more about committee and working group service by reviewing our FAQ below. Still have questions? Contact the BSA Executive Director.

How can I get involved? ↑

A call for volunteers will be posted on the BSA News section of the website and shared in the BSA newsletter every year in August. In order to maintain productive committees and working groups, the call for volunteers will differ each year depending on the number of openings in each group.

Individuals can nominate themselves by filling out a form linked in the newsletter and on the BSA website. The form asks self-nominees to provide a statement of why they are interested in a given committee, and what their relevant experience and/or skills would bring to the committee.  Nomination does not, however, guarantee an appointment.

Does every committee and working group accept volunteers? ↑

The vast majority of the BSA’s committees and working groups fill open seats with self-nominated volunteers who respond to the Society’s annual call.

Here are the exceptions to that rule:

  • Read more below about how to nominate yourself to serve on the Council.

  • The PBSA Advisory Board is independently overseen by the PBSA Editors; appointments are made by invitation only. If you wish to be considered for service on the Advisory board, contact the Editorial team at

  • The Executive Committee is comprised of the Society’s Officers, the Chair of the Audit Committee, and the BSA Executive Director. No other appointments can be made to that committee.

  • Most members of the Investments and Audit Committees are regular members of the Society, however, some members of both committees must also be members of the Council.

How can I volunteer to serve on the Council? ↑

Members of the Council, the Society’s Officers, and the Chair of the Audit Committee must be elected by the BSA membership. The Society’s By Laws govern that process.

Each year (usually in the summer), the Nominating Committee publishes a call for nominations to the Council on the BSA website and in the BSA newsletter. If you wish to serve on the Council, subscribe to our newsletter (link in the footer) or keep an eye on our website for information on openings on the Council and the procedure for nominating yourself, or someone else, to serve on the Council.

How long is the commitment? ↑

Terms of service are three years, renewable once. Individuals appointed to a Committee or Working Group begin their first term following the Annual Meeting in January 2024, serving through the 2026 Annual Meeting. Volunteers must be members of BSA in good standing throughout their term of service.

In order to maintain efficient and effective Committees and Working Groups, not all such groups are able to accept new members in a given year.

How many hours will I spend volunteering? ↑

It depends. Some Committees (Membership, Events, and Liaisons, for example) meet regularly throughout the year and maintain a somewhat consistent workload of 1-3 hours of time per month. Other Committees (New Scholars, Fellowships, Audit) condense their work into a shorter period of the year, and rarely meet or devote time to BSA service during the rest of the year.

BSA volunteers center compassionate accountability as an organizational labor ethic. BSA recognizes that volunteers on the Council, committees, and working groups must balance many competing priorities when fulfilling service commitments for the Society. Similarly, the Society’s Executive Director must balance many competing priorities as the organization’s sole employee. By naming compassionate accountability as our labor ethic, BSA strives to be an effective and adaptable organization that sets achievable goals and ethically stewards our resources (labor, knowledge, and funding) as we respond to the needs of our members and the broader bibliographical community.

If you are considering volunteering for a particular committee and want to know more about the commitment, contact the Chair by email.

How are the appointments made? ↑

The BSA By Laws empower the President to make appointments to committees and working groups. Each year, the President and committee/working group chairs review responses to the call for proposals and collaboratively formalize the appointments.

We strive to maintain a diversity of backgrounds, professions, interests/specializations, and perspectives on each committee to ensure that these bodies represent the BSA’s heterogeneous membership. Openings are also filled to meet existing needs within the committee/working group by recruiting and appointing individuals with specific skills and knowledge. For example, the Fellowship Committee needs members with a range of expertise in bibliographical topics across disciplines and time periods, and each year the President and Chair will work to ensure that the committee can effectively evaluate the wide range of proposals received.

If I nominate myself, will I be appointed to a Committee or Working Group? ↑

Not necessarily. We aim to strike a balance across professional, subject expertise, ethnic, and other relevant backgrounds on all Committees and Working Groups. Sometimes there are not enough positions for all who volunteer. Therefore, self-nomination does not guarantee an appointment.

Who can serve on a BSA Committee or Working Group? ↑

Any member of the Society may be appointed to a committee by the President in consultation with the Chair of the committee (except that at least two members of the Audit Committee must be elected members of the Council).

The BSA welcomes early-career nominees and members of underrepresented groups to participate in service. Current members of committees are also encouraged to identify and recruit potential new committee members. 

Do I need to be a BSA Member? ↑

Yes, you do need to maintain an active BSA membership to serve on a committee. If this is financially out of reach for you and you wish to serve on a Committee or Working Group, please reach out in confidence to Executive Director Erin McGuirl. There is always a way!

When will I find out if I’ve been appointed to a committee? ↑

The President will work with Committee and Working Group Chairs to make appointments the fall of each year, with self-nominees typically notified in early December. Nominees are asked to accept their appointments by January 1 each year.

When does committee service start? ↑

Terms of volunteer service start in January following the Society’s Annual Meeting. The BSA Executive Director hosts an orientation for new volunteers each year in early February.

What is the difference between a Committee and a Working Group? ↑

The President creates the Committees and Working Groups in which members serve as volunteers in the Bibliographical Society of America. Depending upon the group’s charge, a Committee or Working Group may be appropriate. Committees are established to work toward cyclical or ongoing concerns of the Society – things that need to be addressed and worked on year after year. Working Groups are formed to achieve a short-term, finite goal. Learn more about every Committee or Working Group’s goals by consulting the published charges.