Events: Identify attractions or libraries which would be suitable for reception, dinner or tours. Select and plan off-site events, which includes negotiating costs, making arrangements with contacts at the attraction or library, hiring caterers and selecting menus, and arranging for transportation and parking. Plan any special meeting activities.
Event Selection and Budgeting
Off-site events are generally planned to highlight local attractions and provide a pleasant social environment, and therefore will vary widely by locale.
Typically, MAALL has a reception on Thursday night and a sit-down dinner on Friday night. These have sometimes been reversed, or other variations made. Separate library tours may also be scheduled as part of the program, if there are law libraries or other libraries which are likely to be of interest to the membership. (See section on Tours below in this chapter.)
Likely venues for off-site events include museums, libraries, law firms, courthouses and publishing companies, but the possibilities are limited only by the locality, the budget, and the imagination of the committee! (See list at the end of this chapter for a sampling of the venues used in recent years.)
Off-site events are a significant part of the budget so should be planned early. Costs may include transportation, caterer, rental, clean up, insurance, and entertainment. Be sure to ask representative of the venue about any specific requirements.
If a Transportation Committee is handling off-site event transportation and/or parking, communicate with the Transportation Chair regarding event plans (timing, locations, logistics) so he/she may arrange appropriate transportation and parking. (See Transportation chapter.)
If a Food Committee is handling food arrangements, work with the Food Chair on food needs. (See Food chapter.)
Some venues may require use of a particular caterer; be sure to ask. If none is required, ask about caterers who have worked at the location previously, as they will have familiarity with the venue and its particular requirements.
If off-site events are planned for both Thursday and Friday nights, avoid having stand-up Agrazing@ type of meals both nights. Coordinate menus both between the two nights and the lunches so there is not duplication.
Allow some time between the end of the scheduled daytime programs and the evening events so people can rest and change clothes.
If event is held at a museum, art gallery, etc., be sure to allow people enough time to look around.
On the other hand, try not to have too much dead time, so that people get anxious to leave.
Don=t have the event last too late, as MAALL days are very full and people get tired! Try to have everyone back at the hotel no later than 10:00 p.m.
The focus of MAALL evening events is usually social, without a formal speaker.
Including remarks by the AALL representative at the Friday evening dinner was tried for a few years, but was not too successful.
Presenting a local entertainer is a nice touch if not too expensive. Note that having live groups present Abackground music@ at receptions is probably wasted effort and money, as there is generally too much noise to hear the performers.
If the host city has a lot of good restaurants, organized dining groups can be popular. The groups typically go out to dinner following the Thursday (or Friday ) night reception, with each participant being responsible for the cost of his/her meal.
Each group should have a local host or hostess and advance sign up so a reservation can be made. Ask ahead if the restaurant will allow separate checks. If not, advise group members and agree on how payment will be handled.
Have copies of menus available at the registration desk for people to examine.
Be sure to include some restaurants that offer a variety of vegetarian selections.
Choose restaurants that are not too high-priced.
Select restaurants that are in walking distance or easily accessible by public transportation, or have MAALL local members who are willing to drive and can transport several people.
If arranging for commercial transportation (see Transportation chapter), do NOT have large buses drop people off in an area with several restaurants so groups can walk to different restaurants. [This was tried in Kansas City and didn=t work well because groups got finished at different times.] If complimentary hotel or university vans are available they might be a good alternative.
Everyone likes to see other libraries, so if there are some interesting ones in your area, try to arrange for tours. These might be combined with an evening event or take place during the day as a part of the program. Friday afternoon is a typical time slot for tours.
Choose libraries that are in walking distance, or you or Transportation Chair will need to arrange, and budget, for transportation. (See Transportation chapter.)
Have advance sign-up, especially for smaller libraries, so the tour doesn=t get too crowded. This is also necessary if you are providing transportation.
Have a contact person at tour library who will be responsible for receiving the visitors, showing them around, and answering questions.
Don=t limit your choices to law libraries; other types of libraries or other organizations may also be of interest. [Kansas City 1999 offered Friday afternoon tours of the Linda Hall Library of Science and Technology, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, and Kemper Museum of Modern Art.]
Depending on the locale, it may be nice to offer excursions which are outside the regular MAALL schedule, such as on Thursday morning or Saturday afternoon. This might be to area attractions that are too far away, complicated or expensive to include as events for the full membership.
These might be outings lead by local MAALL members, or Local Arrangements might just facilitate sign up by MAALL members for regularly scheduled commercial tours.
Ping pong tournament
MAALL 2001 St. Louis held the first-ever MAALL ping-pong tournament, modeled after the tournaments being held at the AALL annual meeting.
The ping-pong tournament resulted from an offer by the William S. Hein Co. to donate ping pong equipment and $10 per player for MAALL travel grant. After the meeting the equipment was donated to a local charity.
The tournament was fairly successful, with over 30 players. However time did not permit full completion of the tournament. Also, it is a fair amount of work to plan and coordinate.
Arranging a tournament
If Hein continues to make this offer, there are a lot of arrangements to be made if you want to include a ping-pong tournament in your meeting. Also, give careful consideration to whether there is really enough time for it. If you decide to go ahead, you=ll need to arrange the steps outlined below.
Locate a local dealer from which to purchase the table and other equipment. You=ll also need to arrange for delivery. [In 2001 St. Louis, Hein reimbursed for the table, paddles etc., but it was up to us to buy the table and get it to the hotel!]
Locate a local charity (Boys/Girl=s Club, YM/YWCA, etc.) that would like to have the equipment and can pick it up (unless you have means and want to deliver it).
Find an appropriate place at the hotel to hold the tournament. [Note: Putting it next to program rooms didn=t work so wellBduring some programs there was a distinctive Aping-pong@ noise in the background! Having it near vendors or, if there=s space, in the Hospitality/Internet Room might work better.]
Determine days/times to operate the tournament. One problem is that a MAALL meeting tends to be very tightly scheduled with little downtime. Therefore, in St. Louis, we had the ping pong available almost all day and evening Thursday and daytime hours Friday. [The tournament had to end on Friday because the table was being picked up Saturday morning.]
Arrange with the hotel for the delivery and pick up of the equipment.
Publicize the tournament, and encourage people to sign up before they arrive. Include a form in the registration packet.
Set up brackets for the players= pairings, and notify participants. Encourage them to arrange their game time before they arrive. (Investigate the possibility of using an online scheduler on the web page.)
Make signs with the pairings to post near the ping pong table.
After the tournament, send information to Hein about the number of participants.
Hein=s donation provided the justification for the ping pong tournament. Of course, other recreational activities, such as a run/walk, could be planned at a MAALL meeting. Or, how about a dance contest, or MAALL charades?
The possibilities are probably endless, but the time isn=t. Keep in mind the busy schedule in determining whether it=s worthwhile to hold a recreational activity.
The events can be a meeting highlight, so be sure to describe them in Local Arrangements newsletter articles, announcements, web page, etc.
On the day of the event, ask Local Arrangements Chair to announce transportation arrangements (time and location of buses, etc.)
It is helpful to prepare an event flyer describing transportation arrangements and directions for those who wish to drive. (See Publications chapter.) Include this in registration packets or have available at registration desk. Also, provide hotel staff a few copies on the day of the event in case they are asked questions. [See samples at end of chapter from MAALL 2001 St. Louis.]
Send information and flyers to the Webmaster for placement on the web site. In some cases simply posting information on the MAALL listserv can be an easy way to publicize events, but keep in mind not everyone subscribes to the listserv.
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