Chapter 10: Conferences

10.1 ALA general policies

10.2 ACRL units at Conference
10.3 Conference organization

10.3.1 Procedures

10.4 Corporate sponsorship and participation
10.5 Exhibits
10.6 Fiscal policies
10.7 Registration
10.8 Site selection criteria and procedures
10.9 Speakers and programs

10.9.1 Speakers procedures—agreement, expenses, honoraria

10.10 Special services—procedures

10.11 Firearms Policy

   10.1 ALA general policies

  • No business meetings may be scheduled during the conference.
  • All ALA chapters in contiguous states must be notified in writing of the anticipated site of the conference four months before the proposal is submitted to the ALA Executive Board, and letters of support for the conference from the chapters must be solicited.
  • The division may contract with other ALA units for specific services including, but not limited to, the Public Information Office for public relations and publicity, and the Office for Human Resource Development & Recruitment for the placement center.
  • Overhead paid by the division will be assessed at 100% of the ALA composite rate in revenue from: registration fees, exhibit space rental, and meal functions, except for separately ticketed events.

   10.2 ACRL units at Conference

ACRL units are encouraged to participate in ACRL's Conference. Unlike the Annual Conference, ACRL units must compete for a slot to make a presentation at the conference following the procedures outlined in the "Call for Participation" issued prior to each conference.

Other events
ACRL units may wish to host social events as a means to network with colleagues of similar interests. These affiliate events must be coordinated with the ACRL office and offered at times when no other major conference events are scheduled.

Because the ACRL Conferences require major sponsorship from the vendors, ACRL units are not permitted to solicit funding or underwriting of any program or event at the conference. All fundraising for the conference is coordinated by the ACRL Colleagues Committee and the ACRL office for official functions planned by the ACRL Conference Coordinating Committee.

   10.3 Conference organization

"The Chair of the Conference Coordinating Committee should be a past ACRL president or Board member or someone with equivalent experience who is committed to the ACRL Conferences." Source: ACRL Board, June 1986; Executive Committee, Fall 1996

The Board directs the Conference Coordinating Committee to explore alternative formats that will better serve the needs of our members for practical-based professional development. Source: ACRL Executive Committee, October 1994

   10.3.1 Procedures

  1. A chair for the Conference Coordinating Committee is appointed by the ACRL president three years prior to the event, [e.g., in the fall of 2000 for the 2003 conference.] Source: ACRL Board, June 1986.
  2. The chair of the Conference Coordinating Committee receives complimentary registration. 
  3. Guidelines: Competencies for Special Collections Professionals. IFLA Rare Books and Special Collections Section will be reaching out to RBMS for comment on their draft. (MJP, 8/28/18)
  4. The chair of the Conference Coordinating Committee works with ACRL staff to articulate a vision for the conference that addresses the types of programming that should be provided. This vision influences the number and type of component committees that are needed.
  5. The chair of the Conference Coordinating Committee then recommends individuals to chair the component committees that will be needed to produce the conference. Chairs of the component committees in turn recommend for appointment the members of their component committees. Component committees may change as the focus and needs of the conference change.
  6. Chairs of each of these component committees comprise the Conference Coordinating Committee.
  7. The Conference Coordinating Committee may select a theme for the conference and, in consultation with ACRL staff, develops a basic schedule of programs and conference events.
  8. ACRL staff provide the Board with detailed information about the number of papers submitted, accepted, and rejected after the conference committees make their selections.

   10.4 Corporate sponsorship and participation

The ACRL  Conference must be budgeted to be self-supporting and revenue generating. In order to fund some of the activities of the conference, the Conference Coordinating Committee may seek sponsorships from corporate and/or library donors.
The ACRL Colleagues Committee is the unit with responsibility for Conference fundraising. When soliciting funds to support programs, these guidelines apply:

  1. The Colleagues Committee establishes a sponsorship revenue target in consultation with ACRL staff and the conference chair which becomes part of the conference budget approved by the Board as one of the projects within the ACRL Annual Budget.
  2. Once a donation is confirmed, the sponsor is sent a thank you letter from the executive director.

   10.5 Exhibits

  • Exhibits are a vital component of the ACRL Conference. Exhibits by companies offering products and services that facilitate the ability of academic librarians to serve their patrons' information needs are encouraged.
  • Professional library organizations, including ALA and its units, will be given a 50 percent discount on exhibit space.
  • Free "exhibit-only" passes will be available onsite.
  • All personnel working the exhibits area must register as exhibitors for the conference.
  • Admission to the exhibits is by conference badge or exhibits pass only.

   10.6 Fiscal policies

  • All conferences must be budgeted to be self-supporting; only 93% of the budgeted revenue may be recognized. Source: ACRL Board, January 2008.
  • All fiscal responsibility is held by the division under ALA accounting practices.
  • Revenues are not recognized until after the conference is held and the department budget is closed.
  • All contracts for products and services must be reviewed by the ACRL executive director and processed according to ALA fiscal policies.
  • The conference budget must be approved by the division Board.
  • Representatives of ACRL may not solicit donations of money and/or services without review by the division staff.
  • The conference budget will include expenses for all regular division staff salaries and benefits reflecting time spent on conference activities.

   10.7 Registration

Who should register?
All attendees must register for the conference. Volunteers, including committee members and speakers who are librarians, or hold professional positions in libraries, must pay the regular registration fee to attend meetings. Admission to program meetings, conference receptions, and events are by official conference badge.

Speakers who are not librarians may receive a complimentary registration.

Registration rates
A discounted fee for all categories of registrants (e.g., student, retired) may be offered to individuals who preregister.

A preferential registration fee for ALA members with an additional preferential fee for ACRL members will be established and approved by the ACRL Board. A preferential rate for other groups may be established.

Cancellation policy
Written cancellations and changes will be accepted until three weeks (15 working days) before the first day of the event and are subject to a handling fee. Cancellations will be processed after the conference or preconference. Cancellations submitted after the deadline date will not be entitled to a refund, unless with the approval of ACRL staff (e.g., family emergency). Source: ACRL Board, June 1994.

Some years ACRL is able to offer scholarships consisting of complimentary registration and a stipend. The ACRL Board decides whether or not to offer a scholarship program prior to each conference.

   10.8 Site selection criteria and procedures


The selection criteria for ACRL Conference cities are:

  • Physical fit of the city; adequate meeting space, hotel rooms, and special event venues
  • Affordability; for the attendees and the association
  • Accessibility/walk-ability; ease of access by flights and/or car and conference venues within close proximity to each other
  • General appeal of the city; places of interest/history/culture/restaurants/dining


  1. ACRL staff will identify potential cities for the conference that meet the criteria.
  2. ACRL staff will visit potential sites to check out suitability for a conference.
  3. ACRL staff will contact all ALA and ACRL chapters within the state and the contiguous states and regions to the site under consideration to solicit support for a conference in the proposed city.
  4. ACRL staff will prepare a document for the ACRL Board's review recommending one or more sites and dates for future conferences.
  5. The ACRL Board of Directors will review the staff recommendation; if more than one site is proposed, the Board will select one for approval.
  6. The ACRL Board will forward its recommendation to the ALA Board for final approval. Typically, the ACRL president and executive director attend the ALA Board meeting to present the request for site approval.
  7. Once a site has been identified, ACRL members in that region will be informed and encouraged to support the ACRL Conference.

   10.9 Speakers and programs

Speakers at the Conference are selected by the Conference Component committees. Some speakers, such as keynote/theme speakers and invited and featured speakers, are invited to present. Other speakers go through a blind, competitive selection process to ensure the highest quality of presentation. Presenters of contributed papers, panel sessions, preconferences, workshops, poster sessions, roundtable discussions, TechConnect presentations, and Virtual Conference webcasts compete for a limited number of slots. The component committees conduct a blind reviewing process to select the best presentations.

   10.9.1 Speaker procedures—agreement, expenses, honoraria

All speakers/presenters are required to sign a speaker agreement prepared by the ACRL staff that outlines the terms under which the presentation will be made.

Honoraria and expenses for nonlibrarian speakers will be negotiated by division staff in consultation with the conference committee. Reimbursable expenses include: a pre-established per diem, travel expenses (coach or lowest available airfare, or mileage reimbursement), and hotel costs (single room at a conference hotel).

In accordance with ALA practice, division members and/or librarians will not receive honoraria nor have expenses reimbursed for presenting regular conference programs. However, division members and/or practicing librarians may be paid and/or have expenses reimbursed if they present programs at pre- or post-conferences or seminars for which additional registration fees are charged.

Speakers who are librarians are expected to register for the conference. Speakers who are not librarians may receive complimentary conference registration.

At times, it may be necessary to offer an honorarium to obtain the best speaker for a preconference. Any honorarium paid will be incorporated into the budget and fees will be set to recover all costs.

   10.10 Special services—procedures

Press room
ACRL staff generally will contract with the ALA Public Information Office for the following services: develop a press kit to be sent to national and local media prior to the conference; provide a press room onsite; handle media inquiries and arrange interviews and publicity for the conference.

Placement service
ACRL staff will provide space and generally contract with ALA staff to offer a placement service at the conference.This center will be available free of charge to employers.Job seekers may submit resumes to the Placement Center by and are not required to attend the conference. Job seekers who use the placement service at the conference are not required to pay regular registration fees if they are only using the Placement Center and not attending other programs and events.

Conference Publications
Conference Coordinating Committees shall arrange for the publication of each conference's contributed papers so that a permanent record will be established and these papers will be picked up by appropriate indexing and abstracting services. This publication can be in print or electronic. (Source: ACRL Board, June 30, 1998)

   10.11 Firearms Policy

To the maximum extend allowed by law, ACRL prohibits the possession of all firearms at any ACRL event. (Source: Fall Executive Committee Meeting 2011)


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