Public Services

Steering Committee

  • Karen Madigan, Chair
  • Kealey McMahan, Vice-Chair
  • Jeffrey Sabol, Webmaster
  • Tom Phillips, Members at Large
  • Beth Perry, Members at Large
  • Tim Senapatiratne, Members at Large

The Nature and Aims of the Public Services Interest Group (PSIG) of the American Theological Library Association (ATLA): An Official Statement

The ATLA PSIG understands itself to be concerned primarily with: (a) the professional services offered to readers, in person or through electronic means, by theological and religious studies librarians in the areas of reference and research assistance, bibliographic instruction, reference collection development, and related activities; (b) the professional services involved in circulation and interlibrary loan; and (c) research into and analysis of theological and religious studies public services, developments affecting those services, and adjustments that should or may take place.

  1. The first aim of the ATLA PSIG is to coordinate or itself undertake projects that are more appropriate at the continental than at the local or consortial levels.
  2. The second aim is to prepare its members for the future by means of continuing education, workshops, lectures, dialog, itemization and discussion of developments, etc.
  3. The third aim is to foster a support and communication network for its members.
  4. The fourth aim is to be a channel and clearinghouse of creativity for its members.
  5. The fifth aim is to exert influence in its special areas of concern.
  6. The sixth aim is to reflect continually on its own role and priorities as an interest group and on the role of theological and religious studies public services generally. It does this as a means of enhancing professionalism and the leadership role of the PSIG, as a means of self-critique, as a means of interacting with developments that may affect roles, as a means of preparing the PSIG for the future, as a means of laying the groundwork for appropriate activities, and as a means of setting priorities.
    All of these aims are limited to the central concerns of theological and religious studies public services as delineated above, in most cases with the readers being a primary beneficiary.

The ATLA PSIG belongs to and should interact with several worlds: the ATLA itself, the worlds of librarianship and information science, and the many worlds of theological and religious studies education and scholarship. Normally the PSIG should interact solely according to its distinctive concerns; but its participation in these worlds will at times quite properly go beyond those concerns, particularly when the PSIG is well positioned to make a special contribution, when several groups need to band together to bridge chasms in the system, or when the PSIG must act responsibly as a citizen of any given world.

(Approved June 23, 2000; revision of original statement dated January 11, 1989)

Plan of Organization

Membership in the Public Services Interest Group is open to any interested American Theological Library Association member and to representatives of institutional members. The above statement, "The Nature and Aims of the Public Services Interest Group," guides the definition and work of the group.

  1. The Public Services Interest Group (PSIG) will be governed by a Steering Committee. The Steering Committee will be made up of six elected members. These members must be individual members of the American Theological Library Association (ATLA).
  2. Each elected Steering Committee member will serve a four year term of office. A nominating subcommittee from the Steering Committee will solicit nominees from the larger PSIG membership. The election will occur during the PSIG meeting at the ATLA annual conference.
  3. The Steering Committee will elect four officers from its own members: a chairperson, a vice-chairperson, a secretary, and an electronic information coordinator. Steering Committee officers will serve a two year term of office. No individual may serve more than two consecutive terms in the same office.


  • Chairs meetings of the PSIG Steering Committee and the PSIG.
  • Prepares agenda for the meetings of the committee and PSIG.
  • Encourages the development of program ideas for the ATLA annual conferences.
  • Communicates with the appropriate Annual Conference and Education Committee members on matters related to the interest group's program(s) at ATLA annual conferences.
  • Appoints nominating subcommittee.
  • Submits an annual report of PSIG activities to the Editor of Member Publications for inclusion in the ATLA Proceedings.
  • Submits a budget to the Director of Member Programs.
  • Approves expenditures for the work of the PSIG.


  • Chairs meetings in the absence of the chairperson.
  • Assumes all duties of the chairperson in the event the chairperson cannot complete his/her term of office.


  • Submits report on the annual conference meeting of the PSIG to the Editor of Member Publications for inclusion in the ATLA Proceedings.
  • Maintains the names and addresses, including e-mail addresses, of Steering Committee members and their terms of office.
  • Prepares, circulates, retrieves and retains sign-up sheets at the annual PSIG meeting.

Electronic Information Coordinator

  • Works with the ATLA Web Manager to update the information related to the Public Services Interest Group on the ATLA web site.
  • Encourages electronic projects related to public services that may be located on the ATLA web site.

(Approved June 23, 2000)


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