LITA Manual Section 10 Programs


General Criteria for Programs
Cosponsorship Policy, Definitions and Guidelines
Vendor Participation in Programs
Registration Fees
Audio-Visual and Computer Equipment
The Mechanics of Program Planning
LITA Program Planners Calendar and Checklist
Frequently Asked Questions

Forms Cited :

LITA Manual Appendix A: Form Index
Conference Program Request for Approval
Preliminary Program Information (ALA)
Final Program Information (ALA)

Co-sponsorship Request for Approval
Speaker/Panelist Release

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The Library and Information Technology Association (LITA) is primarily concerned with the planning, development, design, application, and integration of technology within the library and information environment, with the impact of emerging technologies on library service, and with the effect of automated technologies on people. Its major focus is on interdisciplinary issues and emerging technologies.

As a primary means of addressing these concerns, LITA encourages units of the Division to develop high quality programs to increase the knowledge of its members and those of ALA as a whole. In order to assist units in planning these programs, LITA has developed a set of procedures, including timelines, forms, and review criteria which must be followed. In addition, LITA has established a Program Planning Committee to approve, schedule, and coordinate the programs of all units in LITA.

In general, the planning for an ALA Conference program should begin one and one-half years in advance. In the following sections information on general program criteria, specific program guidelines, funding, publicity deadlines, and forms can be found. Any additional questions should be directed to the LITA Executive Director or the Program Planning Committee, as appropriate.

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General Criteria for Programs

In planning a program for the annual ALA conference and in preparing a proposal for the Program Planning Committee, the following issues should be addressed:

  1. Appropriate topic. The topic should be germane to LITA's and ALA's areas of interest.
  2. Breadth and focus on appeal. The program should specify level of sophistication relevant to the chosen topic and appeal to an appropriate number of conference attendees.
  3. Currency. The topic should be of current interest and relevant to current needs in its field. When thinking of currency, planners should keep in mind how long it will be before the program is presented.
  4. Length and time slot of program. Consider how long the program should run. Should it be scheduled in one o f the most frequently requested time slots on Sunday, Monday, or Tuesday, or will another time be appropriate? LITA has established one "No conflict time," for the LITA President's Program (currently Sunday from 3:00-5:00 p.m.) No programs may be scheduled during no conflict times.
  5. Suitability of format. Choose the best presentation format for the program (i.e., lecture, panel, workshop, debate). Remember that LITA members value and expect the use of technology for presentations.
  6. Overlap. Determine if there is another group in LITA, or in ALA as a whole, that is interested in this topic. If so, consider cosponsorship of the program with that group, and review LITA's cosponsorship policy (in this section).
  7. Responsibility. State what unit in LITA is responsible for the program and identify the chair and "program planning chair".
  8. Repetitiveness. Determine if a similar topic has been covered at a recent ALA conference. The LITA web site lists programs from recent conferences.
  9. Cost. In general, funding is not available to support Conference programs
  10. Equipment. In general, plan for dial access for internet connections. Dedicated T-1 lines are extremely limited at Conferences.

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The basic types of conference program publicity available are:

  1. Conference programs, listings, and other descriptive material published by ALA Conference Services (CS). The program will appear in them if CS deadlines are met. The program chair has the final responsibility for checking each ALA Conference Preliminary Program listing to make sure it is correct. (Recent surveys indicate that over 75% of ALA Annual Conference attendees determine their schedules from the Preliminary Program.)
  2. News releases to non-LITA journals and newsletters. The LITA Office and ALA's Public Information office (PIO) handle these. Send copy to the LITA office in February and, if any information needs to be updated, again in March or April. All news releases should be approved by the LITA Executive Director prior to publication.
  3. Interest group mailings, flyers at conferences, listservs, newsletter of co-sponsoring groups, etc. Each group is responsible for producing and distributing these. (The literature distribution baskets at ALA conferences are limited so these should not be considered.)

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In general, funding is not available for programs. ALA currently funds equipment rental for conference programs, as long as deadlines are met. Funding requests should be submitted well in advance to LITA's Executive Director.

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  1. ALA does not pay expenses or honoraria to librarians or ALA members speaking at conference programs.
  2. ALA papers of talks given at any activity sponsored by a LITA unit are the property of the Division and, as such, candidates for publication. Speakers will be asked to sign a release form. (See Speaker/Panelist Release Form in the Appendix)
  3. For ALA Annual Conferences, sessions may be taped by ALA (See Speaker/Panelist Release Form in the Appendix)

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The policy of the Library and Information Technology Association is to encourage the development of programs, institutes, and preconferences within LITA and other ALA organizations, regional library associations, and public and private sector organizations. All organizations are equally welcome to approach LITA regarding cosponsored activities. This policy is provided to give guidance to LITA members who desire to develop a LITA sponsored event such as conference program or institute for annual or national conferences. It addresses those cases where two or more organizations have an interest in and a willingness to become participants in a program. It deals specifically with those cases where a LITA organization and an organization(s) outside of LITA wish to plan an event that would benefit from multiple sponsors because broader endorsement and participation would contribute to attracting a wider audience or because multiple sponsors might be required to fund an important program that no single organization could fund or manage alone. A copy of the Cosponsorship Agreement Form can be found in the Appendix. This form shall be completed in all cases of cosponsorship described below. Definitions for sponsorship and cosponsorship relating to programs, institutes and meetings follow. LITA cosponsored events shall be subject to the same guidelines and constraints applied to full sponsorship events (e.g., no LITA endorsed program can be offered in a time slot that conflicts with the LITA President's Program and Reception) or exhibits no-conflict time.

1. Full (Sole) Sponsorship

Programs for which LITA is the full sponsor shall be coordinated out of the LITA Office with the assistance of the Program Planning Committee. Proposals should be submitted to the LITA Program Planning Committee in accordance with the guidelines set forth in Sections 10 and 11 of this Manual.

The guidelines set forth in this section apply also to programs which are cosponsored between or among more than one LITA unit. The sponsoring unit shall take complete responsibility for initiating, obtaining necessary funds, and planning, advertising and executing a conference program.

1.1 Develop objectives and indicate scope of the program. Prepare the budget. Submit the program proposal to the Program Planning Committee.

1.2 Identify methods of presentation.

1.3 Obtain speakers and other resources. Determine whether papers stemming from the program should be published. Notify speakers well in advance of the meeting date if a paper is required for publication. Also notify speakers that the program may be taped and obtain signed release forms. (NOTE: LITA has first publishing rights to a paper given at its programs. Speakers shall be notified of this on first contact. Contracts with ALA or outside publishers shall be approved by the LITA Board of Directors.)

1.4 Request meeting rooms(s) and appropriate equipment as necessary.

1.5 Contribute to the development of publicity in accordance with usual ALA and LITA conference practices. All publicity shall be approved by the LITA Executive Director.

1.6 Submit preliminary program copy and Conference program listing. For institutes, as required, supply information to support publicity brochure(s)/mailings.

1.7 Approve final program copy and related publicity.

NOTE: The program planning time line described in the Program Planner's Kit shall be strictly adhered to by the sponsoring unit. A liaison from Program Planning Committee will work with the sponsoring unit to guarantee that deadlines are met.

2. Cosponsorship

Proposals for cosponsorship should be submitted to the Program Planning Committee preferably at the same time that the program proposal is presented. In considering such programs, the Committee will apply the following criteria:

a. The proposed affiliation should be relevant to the concerns of LITA, as defined in the Bylaws (Article II, Object);

b. All cosponsorship activities require LITA Program Planning Committee and Board approval, and all such activities are to be reviewed in keeping with ALA Policy #9 "Relationships to Other Organizations". (See ALA Policy Manual in the current ALA Handbook of Organization.)

In order to obtain LITA endorsement, such proposals will be evaluated to determine:

1. The value of the program/institute to LITA members. It must be possible to determine if the proposal meets the quality standards of LITA and that the program will enhance its good name.

2. The cost of the program and potential of the program to generate revenues either through sale of tapes and/or publications based on the program or fees in the case of LITA institutes. While it is true that all programs are not developed for the purpose of generating revenue, analysis of the reasonableness of anticipated expenses will routinely occur.

3. The degree to which a given proposal may be appropriate at any given conference. Since program planning occurs to achieve a certain balance in programs being offered at any given conference, a proposal may either be encouraged, refused, or postponed to allow for a coordinated offering of LITA programs.

4. The level of office and member support required to produce the program. This analysis will help planner gauge the workload and balance it against other efforts that are underway.

Cosponsorship arrangements with organizations outside ALA should be made under a LITA contract that specifies that responsibilities and privileges to be enjoyed by both parties. LITA cosponsorship should not, in any case, be construed to mean endorsement by LITA of any product, service, or other component that maybe demonstrated or described in the course of the cosponsored event. The LITA Office reserves the right to decide whether or not statements to this affect need to appear in publicity/handouts representing the cosponsored event.

If at any point in the program planning process, the planning for the event indicates that it will fall short of LITA standards, LITA retains the right to withdraw its endorsement. Withdrawals will be coordinated through the LITA Program Planning Committee and the LITA Board of Directors. Such a withdrawal will require written notice to the cosponsor(s) in sufficient time to effect changes to the publicity campaign.

2.1 Key Sponsorship/Full Cosponsorship

Programs for which LITA is the key sponsor shall be coordinated out of the LITA Office with the assistance of the Program Planning Committee. The acceptance of full cosponsorship requires a financial commitment on the part of the cosponsor, if any, equal to that of LITA. The LITA Board may determine to allow cosponsorship of programs on a case-by-case basis which require only a portion of LITA's financial commitment. However, in those cases, any profit shall be divided between the cosponsors in proportion to the initial investment.

Permission for the taping of programs must be secured from LITA. In cases where a publication based on the program results from a cosponsored event, the question of intent to publish should be negotiated in advance. If both sponsoring organizations propose to (jointly) publish the publication, profits from such publication will be split in proportion to the initial investment in the event. Full negotiation of publishing rights shall be undertaken by the LITA Board of Directors and the cosponsor's Board or, in the case of public and private sector organizations, the cosponsor's representative(s).

Acceptance of full cosponsorship also requires full participation in the planning of the conference and in the presentations. This participation does not have to be equal to that of LITA but should be significant by all sponsoring organizations. Each cosponsoring unit shall designate one member of the planning and/or implementation committee(s) as the official unit representative. The sponsoring unit shall take complete responsibility for initiating, obtaining necessary funds, and planning, advertising, and executing a conference program, as outlined in 1.1-1.8 above, or for delegating the responsibility to cosponsoring participants.

2.2 Full Cosponsorship/LITA is not the key sponsor

Programs for which LITA is not the key sponsor shall be coordinated out of the office of the key sponsor. LITA's financial commitment may be any portion up to 50% of the total, as decided by the LITA Board. Any profit or loss shall be apportioned between LITA and the key sponsor in direct proportion to the initial investment.

Because LITA sponsorship entails more than the commitment of dollar resources but also the asset of LITA endorsement, LITA requires full participation in the planning of conferences and programs of this type. Their participation does not have to be equal to that of the key sponsor but it should be significant. Joint responsibilities may include part or all of the items specified in Section 1.1-1.8. LITA shall designate one member of the Program Planning Committee or its designee as the official LITA representative. Regular reports on the progress of the program will be made through the LITA Program Planning Committee liaison. Publicity releases must receive approval from the LITA Office before publication.

Permission for taping of programs must be secured from LITA. When papers are requested, LITA shall relinquish publishing rights to the key sponsor but shall be advised of what the role of each cosponsoring unit will be. Publications may be published on a joint basis. Contracts with ALA or outside publishers shall be jointly approved by the LITA Board of Directors and the appropriate liaison of the cosponsor. Full negotiation of publishing rights shall be undertaken by the LITA Board and the key sponsor's representative(s).

2.3 Cosponsorship/Name Only

2.3.1 LITA allows its name to be used as sponsor to function mainly as an endorsement of the program.

LITA recognizes that sometimes programs of merit (but which do not require substantial resource commitment) need to attract a wider audience. The programs maybe initiated by one unit but, at an early point in the planning, may be evaluated as closely relating to the activities or concerns of other units. LITA will require approval by the LITA Office on publicity related to any event that proposes to use its name. LITA will accept cosponsorship in name only with other ALA divisions and outside organizations but reserves the right to request a higher level of participation as planning proceeds. In such cases LITA may elect to participate in program planning responsibilities as well as financial participation up to fifty percent of the total investment not to exceed the commitment cited above for full sponsorship.

2.3.2 LITA solicits name only endorsement from another organization or from another ALA unit.

LITA may also solicit cosponsorship in name only of its programs of merit which do not require a substantial financial commitment but shall not solicit financial participation or program planning responsibilities of cosponsorship organizations to exceed the commitment cited above for full cosponsorship where LITA is the key sponsor.

The following guidelines are offered in making decisions about in name only types of cosponsorship arrangements. The decision to broaden the base of responsibility for the program shall be made by the originating unit early enough in the planning process for additional units to be involved in the decision-making process, including setting of objectives, scope, and procedural methods. For LITA organizations participating in these types of cosponsorship arrangements, the sharing responsibility for planning and executing the program shall follow the pattern specified in Section 1.1-1.8. The obligation to avoid conflicts with other programs of these units is not operative in this type of cosponsorship

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Vendor Participation in Programs

LITA welcomes programs designed and developed by vendors associated with the library technology field. The policies and procedures discussed in this Manual apply to vendors as well as to LITA units. In addition, the following guidelines also apply to vendors;

  1. A proposed program outline with potential speakers must be submitted to the LITA Programming Planning Committee (PPC) as early as possible and no later than the ALA Conference one year earlier. After PPC and LITA Board approval, the speakers must be confirmed and final program copy forwarded to the PPC Chair within a specified time period. Failure to meet the PPC's deadlines will result in cancellation of the program.
  2. The vendor is not to use the program as an opportunity to promote its products or services. Attempts at promotion by using the forum of a technical program are not condoned by the library community.
  3. The program should be issued-oriented, not product-oriented; and should adequately balance all significant disparate viewpoints. For example, a program dealing with circulation systems should include speakers representing both vendors and customers of several systems.
  4. Specific discussions of solutions to issues should be balanced and present various approaches and product solutions.
  5. LITA has the final decision on program content. LITA will appoint a liaison from the PPC to work with the vendor.
  6. Recognition of the initiating vendor will be given and their contribution acknowledged at the beginning and end of the program.

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Registration Fees

ALA policy does not allow any unit to charge a fee for admittance or registration to a program, workshop or other activity held during the official conference week. Registration fees may be charged for preconference or post-conference institutes or workshops.

The only exception to this policy is when a program is planned as a breakfast, luncheon, dinner, special tour, etc. It is then permissible to charge for food, honoraria, special entertainment, tour costs, speaker expenses, etc. according to the ALA rules governing such activities.

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Audiovisual and Computer Equipment

  1. Program Planners should check with speakers well in advance of the conference to see if AV or other equipment is required, as this is frequently the major cost of the program. The LITA office will contact all Program Planners to get the AV requirements which must be submitted to ALA Conference Services by November 1 for Midwinter and by March 1 for Annual (dates subject to change).
  2. The costs of AV and other equipment (plus labor, including the operator, when required) for meetings are currently paid by ALA if Conference Services' deadline is met. However, equipment costs for programs are to be included in the budget. The divisions retain responsibility for cost-effective programming, and the division executive director must authorize each equipment request.
  3. Deadlines for requesting AV equipment are established by Conference Services. It is the responsibility of the program chair to be aware of and to follow those deadlines.
  4. In some large cities, union rules require that an AV equipment operator be present (whether needed or not) to operate the equipment.

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Evaluation surveys, using SurveyMonkey, have been designed to provide Interest Group chairs and the LITA Program Planning Committee with feedback on programs offered. The desired goal is to use the results of the evaluations to improve LITA programming and continuing education.  There will be overall evaluations made for events and those results are made available after each occurrence.  Results are specifically shared with the LITA Board, Assessment and Research Committee, the Program Planning Committee, and the Education Committee. If you want a specific evaluation survey for just your program, contact the LITA office. 

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The Mechanics of Program Planning

Shortly after each Annual Conference chairs of all interest groups receive a message from the LITA office with important information on dates and deadlines. Planners will be asked to identify AV needs, including computer equipment.

  1. Submit Preliminary Program copy. This is your best opportunity to advertise your program. Use the ALA Conference Services form to list program title, date, and time; to specify speakers' names, titles, institutional affiliations, and paper titles; and to describe your program in 75 words or less.
  2. Obtain and submit speaker/panelist release forms. Some programs may warrant a print publication, audio taping, etc. LITA must have the speakers' permission to publish their work, in whatever form. LITA Office staff will send release forms to speakers for programs that are being recorded.
  3. Submit Final Program copy. If there are no changes to your program description, speakers, etc., from the Preliminary Program copy submitted earlier, you needn't do anything about Final Program copy.
  4. Modify audiovisual/computer equipment requests. Changes to audiovisual and computer equipment requests must be made by the date specified by ALA Conference Services (usually March 1). This deadline is absolute!

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LITA Program Planners Calendar and Checklist for ALA Annual Conference programs

  • Complete and submit form
  • Present program proposal to Program Planning Committee (PPC) at Annual Conference
  • Establish a program committee and make assignments for program committee members

Conference Program Request for Approval;
CO-Sponsorship Agreement (if applicable)

Meeting Report for Committees and Interest Groups

PPC Chair or PPC meeting -- 20 copies

LITA Table in ALA Offices or mail to LITA within 2 weeks

  • Establish a program committee mailing list, paper and/or electronic
  • Contact speakers
  • Determine AV/computer equipment needs
  • Meeting room and AV equipment requests (include microphones)
  • Follow-up with all program committee members re: their assignments
Annual Conference Meeting Request; AV requirements LITA Program Coordinator
  • Contact PPC Liaison; update liaison on program development and schedule PPC appearance MW for update
  • Notify PPC of new, changed, or dropped proposals
  • Update PPC on program development during MW-speakers should be identified and confirmed by this time
  • Submit Preliminary Program copy form before January 31
  • Follow-up with all program committee members re: their assignments
  • Work with IG membership to identify topics for a program to be presented 18 months our including cosponsorship proposals)

CO-Sponsorship Agreement (if applicable)

"Preliminary Program" Copy

PPC Chair


  • Submit form detailing AV/Computer equipment requests; final AV requests due March 1
  LITA Program Coordinator
  • File form if any changes in text to appear in final program otherwise, text from Preliminary Program form will be used again
  • Contact LITA about audio recording your program
Final Program Copy Request PPC Chair
LITA Program Coordinator
  • Photocopy requests for handouts to LITA Office 6 weeks before Annual (only if approved by PPC on Program Request form)
  LITA Program Coordinator
  • Distribute meeting information, flyers, send copies to LITA Office
  • Notify PPC Liaison of new proposals to be presented at Annual Conference
  • Request badges for non-regist. Speakers from LITA Office
  • Publicize meeting via listservs
  • Follow up with all program committee members re: their assignments
  • Line up volunteer to turn speakers' overheads; monitor the lights in the meeting room; distribute handouts, including evaluation forms; tally evaluation forms; troubleshoot on day of program (chairs, equip)
  • Prepare/send single sheet program agenda to LITA for photocopying; should include title, speakers' names, addresses, phone, e-mail, topics; program committee members names
Speaker/Panelist Release Form LITA Program Coordinator
  • Get badges for non-registered speakers from LITA Table
  • Conduct meeting (!)
  • Distribute to attendees, collect, and tabulate forms

LITA Program Summary Form

LITA Program Evaluation Form

Tabulated results sent to PPC Chair, PPC Liaison, and LITA Exec. Director
  • Write thank you notes to program committee members for their help on just-concluded conference

Remember: Copy LITA Office and your PPC liaison on all forms and correspondence dealing with program planning. If speakers(s) reimbursement has been approved by PPC, letters must be generated from the LITA Office.

LITA forms may be obtained from the LITA Office at ALA, from the LITA Manual, or from the LITA Table in the ALA Offices at the Midwinter or Annual Conference.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What about audio or video recoding my program?

Based on information received from the Program Planning Committee and program planners, LITA and ALA staff will select programs to be recorded. ALA does not routinely video record programs because without professional production, very few video recorded programs will generate interest. If you feel your program should be video recorded, take your request to the LITA Publications Committee, who will determine the commercial viability of the program you are proposing.

Can I change the date or time of my program?

Only with the approval of the Program Planning Committee. Great care is taken to build a strong schedule of LITA programs at Annual Conference, so changes must be reviewed to assure they comply with the various no-conflict time periods and do not conflict with other LITA programs.

Can I select a particular location for my program?

You may attach a note to your meeting room request, and ALA Conference Services staff will make every effort accommodate your request. There is no guarantee they will be able to do so, however.

Where do I call for help?

Mark Beatty, LITA Programs and Marketing Specialist: 1-800-545-2433, ext 4268,

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