Conference Program:
Since the annual conference program is really the IS Chair's program, he or she plays a major role in determining the theme. The first meetings of the program planning committee will be at ALA Midwinter 18 months before the conference. The IS Chair generally attends the meetings and works closely with the committee. By the end of these meetings, the committee should have developed a good idea of the topic, format, and possible speakers. The committee can review the evaluations from last year's program for suggestions. They can also review previous IS, LOEX, and LIRT conference program titles both for ideas and to avoid repetition.

The preconference proposal is prepared by the preconference program chair in consultation and with the approval of the IS chair. The planning committee should review previous IS preconferences both for ideas and to avoid repetition. The proposal and the budget must be submitted mid-December preceding the Midwinter meeting 18 months prior to the preconference. The IS chair will be notified of the exact deadline so be sure to check on this. At that Midwinter meeting, the ACRL Board must approve the proposal the IS chair and the preconference chair should plan on attending the Board meeting to make a succinct presentation and to answer any questions.

Proposal writers can contact appropriate ACRL headquarters staff for advice in writing the proposal as necessary. This is especially recommended for help in estimating the budget. The submission date may seem very far in advance of the actual event, but to develop a satisfactory proposal early on helps preconference planners to think through the preconference and begin outlining the preparation process.

Conference and Preconference:
The proposal should be concise and should not exceed more than two pages in length. It is suggested that the proposal be organized with section headings to make it easy to read. Some suggested headings are: Purpose and Theme, Attendance, Organization, Space, and Relation to ACRL Strategic Plan, Application to ACRL's current priorities. The proposal should include the name of the unit sponsoring the program, co-sponsor(s) if any, date and time, program chair, expected attendance, and room and AV requirements. See a sample conference program proposal in Attachment 2.

As noted in the ACRL Guide to Policies and Procedures, the ACRL Board of Directors considers the following in determining if a proposal is accepted:

  • Scope. Is the program in accord with ACRL's priorities and strategic plan? Is the scope of the program suited to all segments of the group's membership? Has sufficient consideration been given to subgroups whose interests may not have been reflected in recent meetings?

  • Purpose and structure. Is there a clear idea of what you hope to accomplish and is this program the best means of achieving this purpose?
    If a program is justified, is the structure of the program best suited to this purpose? (Speaker? Panel? Discussion groups?)

  • Importance. Is this the most important topic with which the group is (or should be) concerned? Is there a popular demand for a program on this topic?

  • State of the art. Is enough known about the subject to justify a program at this time? Has the state of the art advanced sufficiently since the last presentation on the subject to justify another program?

  • Timeliness. Is the subject sufficiently urgent to require its presentation at this time?

  • Location. Does the location of the conference allow the program planners to take advantage of local resources and facilities?

  • Theme. How does the subject relate to the ACRL President's theme? Are other groups planning preconferences or programs on the same or similar topic(s)?

  • Cosponsorship. Is this program unique? Has cosponsoring of this program been considered? How would it be an advantage?

  • Room requirements. What is the anticipated size of attendance? Is there any special room arrangement required other than theater style seating? Are breakout rooms required in addition to the main program room? What are the audiovisual requirements? If overheads or a computer display are used, can the screen be seen from the back of the largest room to be used?


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