Coordinator's Handbook

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Coordinator's Calendar
Primary Contacts at AALL
Forum (Listserv) Information
Identifying/Confirming Speakers
Preliminary Discussions with Speakers
Ongoing Coordinating with Speakers
Required Forms, Handouts and Speaker Information
Handout Materials
Liaison Role
At the Meeting and Troubleshooting
During Your Program
After the Annual Meeting


You are the coordinator of a selected program or workshop at the American Association of Law Libraries 108th Annual Meeting and Conference in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, July 18-21, 2015. A well-designed proposal that survived tough competition means a great deal has already been accomplished. Now the real work begins!

This Coordinator's Handbook was prepared to assist you. Here you'll find information that will ensure a successful educational program and provide a positive experience for you, your speakers, and your program's attendees. It will be updated throughout the year as more resources become available.


Members of the Annual Meeting Program Committee (AMPC) are available to answer your questions or help in any way. In particular, an AMPC member has been designated as your program's liaison. Members of the AMPC come from a variety of library types and backgrounds, but all work as a team to ensure that Annual Meeting programs meet the needs of all AALL members - please contact your liaison or any AMPC member when you have a question. Association staff are available to help you as well.  

Developing useful and relevant educational programs is quite a challenge for our diverse organization. With approximately 5,000 members operating in a number of different types of libraries and performing the full range of responsibilities of the modern law library, AALL constantly strives to offer educational opportunities to meet ever-changing needs. Your role as a coordinator is crucial to the success of the Annual Meeting and Conference.


Congratulations again. We look forward to working closely with you during the upcoming year.


Coordinators Calendar

December 12 Copy deadline for requested program content updates/changes so that accurate program listings can be featured on AALLNET by the time conference registration opens.
January 9
Speaker Control Forms due from coordinators to AALL. Speaker database is created.
Winter Conference registration opens.
Speaker materials made available on AALLNET; speaker listserv is launched.
April 15 Equipment Requests due from speakers to coordinators.
April 22 Equipment Requests due from coordinators to AALL.
May 1 Copy deadline for printed Conference Program updates. (Any final changes to your program are requested by this date.)
June 15 Speaking Commitment and Copyright Release due from all speakers, moderators and coordinators.
July 1 Handout materials due from all speakers who wish to have their materials included in the Educational Program Handout Materials Collection (available to conference attendees to download from AALLNET). These materials must be uploaded to the collection site.
July 17 AALL Staff Office opens, Pennsylvania Convention Center (Room 202), Philadelphia, PA.  (Some staff will be available while setting up the office during the afternoon of July 16.)
July 19-21 The 108th Annual Meeting & Conference of the American Association of Law Libraries convenes, Pennsylvania Convention Center, Philadelphia, PA. Remember to stop by the Staff Office and check the set-up orders for your program before 4:00 p.m. the day before your program takes place. Changes cannot be implemented after that time.


Primary Contacts at AALL

Heidi Letzmann, education and programs manager 
Speaker/program management and Annual Meeting information

Phone: 312/205-8014       

Pam Reisinger, CMP, director of meetings
Meeting logistics and general meeting planning information
Phone: 312/205-8026

Vanessa Castillo, education and meetings assistant
Administrative Support
Phone: 312/205-8010 

Forum (Listserv) Information

To facilitate communication between AALL headquarters, the Annual Meeting Program Committee (AMPC) and the dozens of program coordinators, we have established a forum (listserv) for the 2015 conference. As a coordinator, you have been automatically subscribed to this forum (am-coor), where you will receive timely notices and information to help you meet your deadlines throughout the next several months. 

In addition to the forum for coordinators, all speakers will be subscribed to a separate forum (am-spkr) later in the Annual Meeting planning process. We will post reminders of deadlines and other important speaker information there as well.

The rest of the planning process for the 2015 Annual Meeting is governed by a calendar of deadlines for coordinators and speakers. Refer to the Coordinator's Calendar often. We will remind you about deadlines but anticipating the dates will help keep the process a smooth one.

Coordinator Role


Now that your program or workshop has been selected for the 2015 Annual Meeting, your pivotal work as coordinator really begins. So, what’s next? Your role as coordinator is probably the least obvious to meeting attendees but it is really the most important role in the whole process. Your job is to see that the content of the program achieves the stated learning objectives and that you communicate to us and to your speakers by the stated deadlines all the information necessary for the successful presentation and management of the program. Here are some things you should do.


Identifying/Confirming Speakers

The deadline for identifying speakers is January 9, when Speaker Control Forms are due to AALL. Of course, if you need to report a speaker cancellation or replacement after this date, please contact Heidi Letzmann at AALL headquarters right away.

  • Identify Your Speakers
    Your program was accepted on the basis of the speakers you identified as potentially being available. If your AMPC liaison made suggestions about speakers (different names, too many for the amount of time, etc.) when informing you of your program's acceptance, please make those adjustments in your planning.

  • Confirm Your Speakers
    Once you learn that your program has been accepted, contact the speakers to obtain firm commitments to participate in the program. Let them know the program has been accepted, and make sure they are willing and available to speak on your scheduled program. Your AMPC liaison should have informed you of the scheduled date and time of your program. Submit a Speaker Control Form by January 9. Please provide accurate information, as the information derived from this form is the basis for our speaker database, our source for future contacts, mailings, and printings.

  • Honoraria and Expenses
    Ask your non-member speakers about their expectations for honoraria and expense reimbursement. Refer to AALL's Expense Reimbursement Policy. The AMPC Chair and AALL must approve any payment of honoraria. Submit requests to Heidi Letzmann by including requests for honoraria and/or reimbursement on the Speaker Control Form.

  • AMPC Approval of Speaker List
    AALL and the AMPC will review speaker names and expense and/or honoraria requests submitted on the Speaker Control Forms. (You will be contacted only if there are concerns about a particular speaker on your program.)


    • Inform speakers of program content and provide speakers with a copy of your proposal. Include any comments and/or suggestions offered by the AMPC. 
    • Share the names and contact information of each speaker with others on the program. 
    • If you requested any travel, lodging or expense reimbursement on the Speaker Control Form you submitted for your non-member speaker, please share this information with your speaker early on, and again closer to the conference, so that there are no surprises. Also share AALL's travel, lodging and reimbursement policies.
  • Make Sure Speakers are Aware of Deadlines
    Provide them with a copy of the Coordinator's Calendar to help keep program development on track. 

    • December 12 - Deadline for program description and speaker updates (for promotion to AALL members) 
    • April 15 - Equipment Request Form for Speakers deadline (from speakers to coordinators) 
    • June 15 - Speaking Commitment and Copyright Release deadline (for all speakers, moderators and coordinators)
    • July 1 - Speaker handouts due to online collection site

    In January, we will add your speakers and their contact information to the Speaker Database at AALL Headquarters.

    Approved and confirmed speakers will be able to find the AALL Speaker's Handbook online in the winter of 2015. You should familiarize yourself with the information so that you can answer speakers' questions.

Preliminary Discussions with Speakers

  • Program Takeaways and Description:  Share the program takeaways and description with your speakers. Be realistic about the amount of information that can be covered in the time specified for the program. Speakers need this information in order to craft their presentations. Programs that fail to deliver the information promised in the stated learning outcomes and program description disappoint attendees, and their disappointment is reflected in the program evaluations. 

    You may be the program moderator as well, so you'll want to discuss your role with the speakers in advance of the presentation. The moderator's responsibilities generally include introducing the program and speakers, moderating any discussion that may take place and - most importantly - making sure that the program stays on schedule. AALL staff maintains all the coordinator, moderator and speaker information: your role is to ensure that the content of the program meets the learning objectives and to encourage speakers to meet deadlines and help the planning process go smoothly. Please see our section on Moderating a Program for tips to ensure your program's success.     

  • Program Format:  Discuss the program format with your speakers. In most cases, the AMPC accepted the format suggested in the proposal. Now you should make sure your speakers understand the vision, especially if the format is at all unusual. Also discuss how much time each speaker should allot for his or her portion of the program.   

  • Handouts and Audio-Visual Equipment:  Talk about the value of handouts and the efficient use of audiovisual equipment and/or computers.  

  • Your Vision of the Program:  Describe your interest in the subject and explain how law librarians might use or benefit from the speaker's expertise. Imbue the speaker with your enthusiasm! Discuss the program and the individual speaker's role to ensure that the speaker shares your vision of the program.  

Ongoing Coordinating with Speakers

  • Maintain Regular Contact With Your Speakers
    By talking with them frequently about the program description, level, and learning outcomes, you can help your speakers stay on track. While email is a good method to communicate information and details, the personal touch of a telephone call is often a more effective means of getting speakers to meet deadlines. We recommend that you make verbal contact with your speakers one to two weeks prior to the major deadlines and remind them of the deadlines. Brief conference calls with your speakers are great ways to keep everybody on the same page.

  • Audio-Visual Equipment
    In order to make the most effective use of audio-visual equipment, please monitor speaker requests. Audio-visual equipment requests are frequently forgotten by speakers and by coordinators. AALL's director of meetings has requested that each program coordinator submit the audio-visual Equipment Request Form on behalf of the moderator and all program speakers. This will help you track the speaker responses and avoid duplicate equipment requests. When you have completed this form, please include the names of the speakers responding so that the director of meetings knows that your program is accounted for. If there are duplicate equipment requests, we will assume that speakers will share equipment unless we receive specific requests to the contrary. Please encourage speakers to share laptop computers.

  • Live Internet Connections
    Both wired and wireless Internet connections will be available in each program's room. However, please make sure your speakers are prepared to use and to rely on screen captures and temporary Internet files (stored on a notebook computer to be available off-line) as a backup should problems arise with the live Internet connection. Too often, speakers and coordinators depend heavily on the assumption that the Internet connection will be reliable and instantaneous, or that the website they plan to visit is never offline for maintenance, but this cannot be guaranteed. Such an unfortunate discovery during a presentation can result in wasted program time and diminished impact.

  • Difficult or Unresponsive Speakers
    On rare occasions, you might encounter a difficult or uncooperative speaker. Some speakers often miss deadlines, don't respond to email, or don't return phone calls. If you have significant problems with a speaker, contact Heidi Letzmann. We would rather deal with potential problems before the meeting than when it is too late to do anything.

Required Forms, Handouts and Speaker Information


After the speakers receive the appropriate information about the program content, it is your responsibility to answer their questions, cajole, coddle and nag them into meeting their deadlines, and help them focus and then refocus their presentations. In short, you work with your speakers on meeting deadlines and preparing content for the program. (AALL staff oversees the countless administrative details associated with putting on a program; however, you are responsible for gathering information from your speakers for the databases used to manage meeting arrangements and to maintain contact with speakers.)  In addition to the Speaker Control Forms you'll need to complete for your speakers, it is the coordinator's responsibility to make sure that the following materials are submitted for all program participants:

  • Equipment Request Forms:  Speakers requiring equipment to support and enliven their presentations should complete these forms and submit them to you by April 15. AALL's director of meetings requests that each program coordinator submit only one audio-visual Equipment Request Form for Coordinators on behalf of the moderator and all program speakers (due to AALL on April 22). This will help you track the speakers' responses and avoid duplicate equipment requests.      

  • Speaking Commitment and Copyright Releases :  This release confirms the speaker's planned presentation and their commitment to appear.  It also indicates permission for presentations to be recorded and for handout materials to be reproduced and distributed (when applicable). All program or workshop participants - even coordinators or moderators who only plan to introduce other speakers - must complete the online Speaking Commitment and Copyright Release by June 15.   

  • Handouts:  Handout materials that support the content of the program may be uploaded to the online collection site by July 1. Materials will be available in an electronic collection online for attendees to download prior to the conference.

Be prepared to follow through with speakers via phone call or email to be sure the speakers are aware of upcoming deadlines.


Don't forget to register for the conference when registration opens in February. All AALL members attending/participating at the Annual Meeting must register, including coordinators and speakers. See AALL's Expense Reimbursement Policy.

Handout Materials

Because adult education takes place on many different levels, it is important for speakers to provide attendees with written material to accompany their presentations. Our members expect and value written materials, and expressions of this need comprise the majority of comments found in the speaker evaluations each year. Specific, detailed handouts enable audience members to fully focus on the speaker, rather than any lengthy notes they might be trying to jot down.

Please emphasize the importance of handouts to your speakers and please do everything in your power to see that your speakers provide handouts for inclusion in the online conference materials collection, where attendees will be able to download materials for the programs they plan to attend.

Speakers will be able to submit their handout materials online, and in a variety of formats. Included there will be handout guidelines and fully detailed instructions for format and submission. Below are some basic guidelines for the materials included in the conference materials collection. More detailed guidelines and instructions can be found here. 

  1. Be sure to include the name and the alphanumeric designation of the program, the title of the speaker's presentation, and the speaker's name at the beginning of the document/presentation.
  2. Elements your speakers may provide include:
    a.    a short biographical statement (no more than one or two paragraphs) 
    b.    slides used during presentation and space on the handouts for attendees to take notes 
    c.    worksheets, checklists - anything with a practical bent 
    d.    a short, annotated bibliography
Please remind speakers of the benefits of submitting handout materials by the deadline, and if the speaker expresses interest in supplying and creating handout materials, please follow up with him or her. Audience members will have a chance to preview their presentations and begin learning even before the program begins. Members who are unable to attend the program will still have access to some of the speaker's expertise.

If a speaker misses the handout submission deadline and decides to provide printed handouts on the day of the program, he or she is responsible for that expense and for distribution of the materials. AALL will not reimburse the speaker for copying or shipping expenses. These materials can be posted on AALLNET post-conference. (A post-conference call for materials will also be issued.)

Liaison Role

An AMPC member serves as a liaison to each program, and is usually (though not always) the same individual who was assigned to assist the various AALL entities during the initial proposal process:
 Academic Law Libraries SIS  Elizabeth Outler
 Computing Services SIS  Darla Jackson
 Foreign, Comparative and International Law SIS      Gayle Lynn-Nelson
 Gen X / Gen Y SIS  Mary E. Matuszak
 Government Documents SIS  Ellen Richardson
 Legal History and Rare Books SIS  Michelle Tolley
 Legal Information Services to the Public SIS  Ellen Richardson
 Micrographics and Audiovisual SIS  Gayle Lynn-Nelson
 Online Bibliographic Services SIS  Mary E. Matuszak
 Private Law Libraries SIS  Elaine M. Knecht
 Research Instruction and Patron Services SIS  Pauline S. Afuso
 Social Responsibilities SIS  Elizabeth Outler
 State, Court and County Law Libraries SIS  Pauline S. Afuso
 Technical Services SIS  Michelle Tolley
 Caucuses  Carol Watson
 Committees  Carol Watson
 Chapters  Carol Watson

Your liaison can be a valuable asset in the planning process. Take advantage of this person's availability, especially if and when questions or problems arise. AMPC members know how overwhelming it can be to coordinate a program and are available to help. If for some reason your liaison is unavailable, you can always contact Carol Watson at 706/542-5078, or Heidi Letzmann at AALL Headquarters at 312/205-8014.

At the Meeting and Troubleshooting

Coordinators should check on several administrative details at the Annual Meeting.
  1. Check in at the AALL Staff Office. A notebook containing the master plan of room layouts and audiovisual equipment will be in the AALL Staff Office (Room 202 of the Pennsylvania Convention Center). You should double-check this notebook before 4:00 p.m. the day prior to your program so that changes (if any) may be implemented in time for the program the next day.

    Please note that in most cases, meeting rooms have been set up for the maximum number of people using that room during the course of the Annual Meeting. It takes time and there are charges to reset a room, so we generally make set-up choices based on the largest program scheduled for that room. 

    You also might consider recruiting a friend to be available in the room while your program proceeds. The friend can contact the Staff Office if a problem should occur. The office can be reached by dialing "5230" from a house phone, or 215/418.5230 from an outside line.

    If you have any concerns about special room set-up requests you may have made in advance (those that differ from the standard room set), discuss them with Pam Reisinger, director of meetings. We will honor requests as time, space, and budget allow.

  2. Meet with your speakers ahead of time. Plan to meet with your speakers prior to the program for coffee, a meal, or just a chat in the lobby. Speakers often do not know one another, and it is a small but important courtesy to introduce everyone before the program. Take this opportunity to review the program description, level, and learning outcomes and to discuss the order in which the speakers will appear and the length of time available for each speaker.

  3. Do an equipment check. Prior to the program, check the audiovisual equipment to familiarize yourself with it. An audiovisual technician is available 15 minutes prior to the start of each program. If you have questions about the equipment, contact the AALL Staff Office.

    An A/V Speaker Ready Room will also be available (Room 106A of the Philadelphia Convention Center). Speakers desiring a separate practice session with equipment for their presentation may make arrangements with Pam Reisinger, director of meetings prior to arriving on-site.

  4. What to do if a speaker cancels at the last minute? Although this rarely happens, it is imperative to contact Heidi Letzmann, Education and Programs Manager, with this information immediately. Sometimes it is appropriate (and possible) to locate a suitable substitute and sometimes it is not. In either case, you must keep AALL headquarters informed of your efforts.

During Your Program

After all the work you've done in the months leading up to this moment, don't drop the ball now! You'd be surprised by how many terrific programs falter just before the finish line when program coordinators/moderators fail to properly address the following items. (Please see our section on Moderating a Program for more tips to ensure your program's success.) 
  1. Practice Introductions. When you are meeting with your speakers, be sure to get the correct pronunciation of their names and practice saying them. If you have not done so before, get the names of their institutions or affiliations, and some piece of information about the speaker that will get the audience's attention and interest in the material to be presented. Naturally, if you are not the program moderator, you should be including the moderator in this meeting with speakers. See The Importance of Introductions by Marie Wallace.  

  2. Remind attendees to silence all cell phones. As a courtesy to both those attending the program and those presenting, remind the audience to silence all phones and other electronic communications devices. 

  3. Point out emergency exits. Emergency and/or evacuation route information will be provided to you before your program. Please share this information with your audience at the beginning of your program.

  4. Be prepared to keep speakers on track. Although it can be difficult to cut off a speaker, the coordinator or moderator must control timing to ensure that other speakers are given all of their allotted time. You and your speakers should have already agreed on the length of each presentation and question and answer period (if applicable). Confer with your speakers ahead of time to arrange for a signal that will alert them to the time remaining. One tactic that works includes passing the speaker a note that he or she has 5 or 10 minutes left.

    Another tactic is to have a colleague sit in the first row and hold up a small sign when the speaker is nearing the end of his or her allotted time. Also, it is important that the session end on time to allow for room and audio-visual preparation for the next session.

  5. Q & A session. You and your speakers should decide whether and how to provide time for audience members to ask questions. Many times a Q&A period is scheduled for the end of the program. Occasionally, speakers prefer to answer questions immediately following their presentations. Knowing speakers' preferences and informing the audience early will result in a smoothly run program.

    Keep in mind that all AMPC-selected educational programs are recorded for the benefit of members who cannot attend your program or who want to listen to the program again. Ask audience members with questions to use the aisle microphone and repeat the questions before a speaker responds.

  6. Remind attendees to complete program evaluations. Evaluations are important for two reasons: 

            A. They provide valuable feedback to the speaker so that he or she may make adjustments for future presentations. 
            B. They are used to evaluate the relevancy of the topic to the needs of AALL members.

    Please remind your audience to complete the online program evaluations. Make the announcement at both the beginning and the end of your program. 

  7. Medical Assistance & First Aid. Emergency Medical Technicians are on duty in the convention center throughout the AALL Annual Meeting, and a First-Aid Office is located in Room 306. In the event of a medical emergency at the convention center, please dial "4911" immediately from any beige house phone to reach the security Command Station, or 215/418.4911 from an outside line. The phone numbers for EMTs and the Staff Office will also be sent to you prior to the meeting and will be posted by the telephones in the meeting rooms.

After the Annual Meeting

You survived the experience of coordinating a program at the Annual Meeting, and, if all went well, the program has been a successful learning experience for you, your speakers, and our attendees. We hope you have enjoyed participating and will volunteer to serve as a program proposer, coordinator, or speaker in the future. A few tasks still remain.

  1. Speaker Expense Reimbursement Forms
    Shortly after the Annual Meeting, contact your speakers to thank them for their participation and to encourage non-member speakers to submit their expense reports to AALL Headquarters as quickly as possible; they are due within 60 days of the conclusion of the Annual Meeting.

    These personalized forms are mailed to the speakers in advance of the meeting. If you have any questions about the forms, contact Heidi Letzmann. Only expenses approved prior to the meeting and indicated on the Speaker Control Forms will be reimbursed. AALL members are not reimbursed for expenses. Remind speakers that the Association does not reimburse for the following: the production and/or shipping of handout materials not uploaded to the online conference materials collection, and presentation costs such as the reproduction of slides and licensing fees.

  2. Feedback to AALL
    Next, provide AMPC with feedback on your experience. How could we have made the process easier for you or your speakers? Did you find this handbook useful? Did you discover any problems or complications that you wished we had addressed? Contact your AMPC liaison or Carol Watson, AMPC chair, with your ideas and suggestions.

  3. Evaluations
    Finally, review the evaluation summary that AALL staff will send you and speakers after the meeting (usually by early autumn).

Coordinating a program at the AALL Meeting is quite an accomplishment. We hope that you find the experience wonderfully rewarding and enriching and that you will continue to be involved in the educational mission of AALL in one form or another.

Congratulations again. We thank you for a job well done. Your AALL colleagues greatly appreciate the time, thought, and energy you have contributed to ensure your program's success.

That's it. You're officially done. NOW you can rest on your laurels. Or you can think about proposing a program for the next meeting!