Annual Conference Programs FAQ

At the ALA Annual Conference in Anaheim in June 2008, the ACRL Board approved a new process for managing the ACRL Annual Program conference programs.  The process is now managed by the ACRL Professional Development Committee (PDC).  This new process was put in place largely to: systematically coordinate the program offerings of ACRL; ensure a diversity of programming options; share ideas about programs that may be proposed, individually or jointly; and help ensure the quality of ACRL programs offered at the conference.

When do I submit a proposal for an ACRL program to be offered at the ALA Annual Conference?
Proposals must be submitted 10 months ahead of the intended conference date.  For example, proposals for the June 2015 conference should be submitted by September 1, 2014. Review the ACRL Annual Conference Program Planning Calendar for details.


Interested in submitting an ALA poster session proposal for the 2015 ALA Annual Conference?  Proposals are due in January, 2015, and complete details will be posted to the ALA Annual Conference Web site.

How do I submit a proposal for an ACRL conference program?
Proposals must be submitted electronically by September 1 (10 months ahead of the intended conference date). The call for proposals will provide a link to the ACRL online proposal form.  A proposal form must be submitted for each program. Specific directions for completing proposal forms will be included in the call for proposals.

The online proposal form must be completed at the time it is started.  To assist in planning your answers, please review the questions ahead of time.

Who is responsible for the selection and funding of ACRL conference programs?
The ACRL Professional Development Committee (PDC) is responsible for the review and selection of program proposals and funding requests. Program planners will be notified of the PDC's actions in October, 2014.

What is the ACRL Board of Director’s role in the conference program planning process?
The ACRL Board of Directors has delegated the responsibility of reviewing program proposals to PDC.  PDC will review and select programs to be offered at Annual Conference.  The Professional Development Committee does work with the Board and other groups, as needed, to determine the needs of the Association’s members to ensure that their professional development needs are met.

Do other ALA divisions require a member group to oversee their program planning process?
Yes, the Public Library Association (PLA), for example, has a Conference Program Coordinating Committee that evaluates and selects programs for each ALA Annual Conference. 

What criteria will PDC use to evaluate and select the programs?
PDC will evaluate whether program submissions:

PRIMARY CRITERIA

  • Content is relevant to academic libraries and librarianship
  • Content is unique and different from other programs
  • Content identifies clarity of purpose
  • Proposal has clearly stated intended learning outcomes for the audience
  • Content is engaging to audience members in thinking about or participating in discussions and/or active learning

SECONDARY CRITERIA

  • Content could be re-purposed (e.g. webcast, online course, article) to ensure it has a life after the program
  • Content provides evidence of collaborative co-sponsorship
  • Content supports the ACRL Plan for Excellence

Does PDC select topics for the Annual Conference?
No. PDC can suggest topics that advance the ACRL Plan for Excellence to sections, committees, or individuals that plan to submit a proposal.  

Can individuals submit a proposal for an ACRL Annual Conference program?
Yes, under the new review process, ACRL members may submit proposals for an Annual Conference program. The person(s) submitting the individual proposal must be an ACRL member, and should maintain ACRL membership throughout the planning cycle.

Will proposals from individuals and proposals from sections, interest groups, or division-level committees be evaluated the same way?
Yes.  All proposals will be evaluated using the selection criteria.  ALA sets limits on the number of programs each unit can approve.  ACRL is allowed to have 19 programs each year.

Program date/time will be assigned by ALA Conference Services.
Programs will be slotted by ALA Conference Services, working collaboratively with division staff and the ALA Conference Committee. Program planners will be asked to indicate a preferred time, but programs will ultimately be spread across the entire array of time slots. Program planners will need to indicate specific limitations - e.g. "should not conflict with...," "speaker only available on Sunday," etc.

Is a Section, Interest Group, or Committee required to submit a program each year?
A section, interest group, or committee is not required to have a program annually. Some groups may want to sponsor programs every other year; perhaps alternating with the ACRL National Conference.  Groups may also consider co-sponsoring programs with other sections, interest groups, or committees.

Can programs be co-sponsored?
Yes, PDC strongly encourages units and/or individuals to cosponsor programs with other ACRL or ALA units and outside organizations. ACRL recognizes two types of co-sponsorships:

  • Co-sponsorship in name only (a written request should be sent to the ACRL Program Officer as early as possible, but a least 9 months prior to the Annual Conference at which the program is being presented). There is a limit of 2 in name only co-sponsorships per program.
  • Co-sponsorship with shared planning and financial responsibilities (should be treated as a regular conference program with written proposal responding to criteria and guidelines and submitted 10 months prior to the Annual Conference).

What if I need funding for a program, including travel expenses, or honoraria for non-librarian speakers?
The ACRL Board of Directors allocates $20,000 from its budget to support ACRL programs at the ALA Annual Conference (excluding cost of audiovisual equipment). PDC will determine how these funds will be allocated among the accepted program proposals. How well your program proposal meets the criteria outlined above will be one of the determining factors in whether it is funded or not. Preference for increased funding is given to groups who jointly plan and sponsor a single program (not an additional program or one where one group lends their name as a co-sponsor).  See the Section 9 Funding Chapter of the ACRL Guide to Policies and Procedures.

Is the ACRL President’s Program selected by the PDC?
The President’s Program will be exempt from review by the PDC, although the President’s Program Planning Committee works closely with PDC.  PDC will approve the President’s Program funding request.

Program Speakers and Recordings
All approved programs will be audio recorded. Speakers must sign a release form and provide all presentations electronically. Speaker information will be requested from program planners after program acceptances have been issued in October.

Complete details about the ACRL program process are available in Section 9 of the ACRL Guide to Policies and Procedures.

April 24, 2014, Virtual Meeting for Interested Program Planners - Register here!
Interested in submitting an ACRL program proposal for the 2015 ALA Annual Conference?  Register here to join ACRL on Thursday, April 24 at 12:00 p.m. Central, for an informational virtual meeting to answer questions from potential program planners.  Can't attend the meeting?  A recording of the meeting will be posted to this page.

Questions?  Contact mconahan@ala.org or mgriffin@ala.org.