Once your program has progressed through the approval process, start the search for speakers. The format and topic of the program will determine how many speakers will be needed.
Consider inviting a speaker who has name recognition to serve as keynote speaker. This person will help to draw attendees to the program. Consult trusted colleagues for names of potential speakers that they have actually heard. Supporting speakers or small-group presenters can be solicited via listservs or notices in professional newsletters/journals. Potential speakers could be asked to submit a brief paper on the topic of the program so that it can be read and evaluated before making a final selection. Another way of facilitating the final selection is to ask the potential speakers to submit a videotape so the committee can get a sense of their presentation style. This was done for the breakout session presenters at the 1994 preconference.
Speaker expenses and registration:
Speakers may be reimbursed for hotel and meal costs these costs must be part of the program budget. A speaker may be reimbursed for travel expenses if they would not otherwise be attending the conference. ALA does not offer honoraria to librarians except under unusual circumstances. If there are specific questions regarding speaker expenses, consult ACRL headquarters staff. Reimbursement procedures should be explained to the speakers. Requests for Annual Conference guest registration badges for nonmember speakers and special guests should be sent to the ACRL office by May 1 preceding the conference. Include the individual's name, organization, city and state.
Once speakers have agreed to participate in the conference, it is recommended that they receive a letter of agreement from the program chair to sign and return. See sample letter, Attachment 4. The text of the letter should include the day, date, time and location of the program. It should also outline the terms of participation in the program. Finally, the letter should indicate who will be the primary contact for the speaker regarding the program. It is helpful for the speaker to have one person to whom she/he can direct questions and concerns. The address, telephone number, fax number, and email address of this primary contact person should be included in the letter of agreement. The ACRL staff can assist in preparing these letters.
Program planners might also want to consider whether a compilation of program materials will be distributed or sold. If so, the speakers will need to sign release forms so that the text from their speeches and any handouts can be included in such a document See Attachment 5. A release form is also necessary if an audio, videotape, or webcast of the program is created and distributed. ACRL will supply a form for these purposes.
All official arrangements involving any funding and/or contract or agreement must be submitted to the ACRL Executive Director, who will coordinate the preparation of all letters of agreement, contracts, purchase orders, and other obligations and insure that proper signatures are secured.
For any expenditure over $100, ALA Financial Services requires that a purchase order be prepared in advance. For speaker expenses which will exceed this amount, information should be conveyed to the ACRL office so the purchase order can be prepared.
It is recommended that the program planner who serves as the primary contact person for the speakers keep in contact with them throughout the planning process. Email is a wonderful vehicle for regular contact. It is best if speakers are given deadlines well in advance of the program date for submission of necessary items (e.g. presentation outline, audiovisual equipment needs, handouts for photocopying). A deadline gives program planners an opportunity to review these materials as well as the assurance that they are ready for the program.
As the program date nears, it is helpful for the primary contact person to know in which hotel the speakers will be staying (and vice versa). Inquire whether the speakers will need help on the day of the program in finding the room and/or setting up materials.
At the program:
The program chair might want to designate a committee member to meet each speaker at a prearranged time and place to personally guide her/him to the program venue. This also helps insure that the speaker arrives in time. The committee members will also help with setting up materials or other last-minute arrangements.