Now is the time for you to start planning your program proposal for the 2001 AALL annual meeting in Minneapolis! I know we probably wonít even have attended this yearís meeting in Philadelphia yet by the time you read this. But in order to maximize your meeting experience this year, you must go into it with your plan already begun. Let me get specific. You should sit down with the preliminary program for Philadelphiaís meeting now. You need to plan ahead as to which educational programs and which meetings you will be attending anyway, right? So why not kill two birds? As youíre going through and reading the program titles and descriptions that interest you, think about which could use some follow-up treatment next year. And think about what current topics of interest to you are not in the Philadelphia program.
Maybe you have attended another meeting recently and there were interesting topics and dynamic speakers that stuck in your mind. Or you caught an electronic list discussion about an unfamiliar topic you would like to pursue. Or you browsed a conference program but you were unable to attend. There are so many tantalizing conferences these days, in my opinion. It is impossible to get to all of them. So if AALL is the one meeting you do attend on a fairly regular basis, itís up to you to make sure there are quality educational programs of interest to you presented there. After all, if a topic interests you, chances are good it will also interest some of your colleagues. Think outside your comfort zone and learn about something new by planning a program on it!
So now you have your notes jotted down about interesting new and follow-up topics, plus some names of stimulating speakers. What do you do now? You go to AALLNET and pull off the 2001 Program Planners Handbook. It looks sort of intimidating at first because it is rather long. But a lot of it is examples and the actual proposal forms. And the text reads very quickly and is packed with how-to information on constructing your proposal and excellent tips on making it a strong one. When you do start to fill in your ideas on the proposal form, you will probably have gaps. Perhaps you are not so good at dreaming up a catchy program title or you are unsure of what format the program should follow or you would like another speaker, but just cannot think of anyone. Donít worryóhelp is on the way!
The very next thing you should do is contact an SIS. I am assuming that if you are reading this newsletter, you have some connection to technical services. So your idea may have a technical services slant. In that case, it is wise to look to the OBS or TS SISís for help with your proposal. Both SISís may end up co-sponsoring your proposal in the long run, but it is easier to work with one SIS at this early stage of development. OBS and TS each have an Education Committee already in place just waiting for input such as yours. The Chair of the OBS Education Committee is Ismael Gullon and the chair of the TS Education Committee is Patricia Sayre-McCoy. So you have an easy way to get some helpful input on your program idea. Donít wait! Even if you plan to attend the annual meeting in Philadelphia in July. Contact the OBS or TS Education Chair before then. A lot of discussion can take place via e-mail, telephone, and/or fax in June and early July. Then you can best use the face-to-face contact in Philadelphia to work out especially difficult problems or to put the final touches on your proposal or locate possible speakers. Informal meetings can help you do this, but the OBS and TS Education Committee meetings provide an excellent place to get some great feedback from a group. Here are the details:
And also of interest:
The Open Forum will be of help if you have any general questions about filling out the proposal form or about the process by which proposals are chosen. I am a member of the 2001 AMPSC, and as such, I will be present at all the meetings I have listed above to assist in any way I can. Be sure to check your final program for room assignments for these meetings.
Sound good so far? For further help on choosing a topic, read the description of the theme for the Minneapolis meeting "2001: New Realities, New Roles" in the Program Planners Handbook. Now this is pretty general and open to interpretation, which is true of most conference themes and appropriately so. But tracks within the overall theme have also been chosen. These tracks have been developed for those proposing programs as well as for those who will ultimately attend those programs. The 2001 AMPSC, chaired by Kathie Sullivan, met in Chicago this past February and we brainstormed for a full day and a half. While we were focussing on the theme and the tracks, lots of ideas were mentioned, all of which were recorded and listed under one or more of the tracks. The hope is that these purposely general ideas may be of some help in your program proposal process. I havenít listed everything here, but rather tried to focus on the technical services and general interest concepts. (Please see the sidebar.) I have added a few more that have occurred to me since February. Some ideas are listed under more than one track.
These are just some ideas. It is up to you to put them into focus and create a good program proposal between now and August 14, 2000, the deadline for proposals. That is plenty of time, but only if you get started right now!
Proposals by an individual are of course welcome. I have stressed the SIS route to submitting a proposal because the SISís are very aware of the fact that their members value good programming and the SISís play a big role in bringing that about. In addition, a high percentage of proposals submitted by SISís are accepted each year. This is not just because they are submitted by SISís. It reflects the fact that these proposals have already gone through a review process conducted by SIS members committed to providing their colleagues with high quality educational programs at the annual meeting. Many minds and suggestions do make for stronger proposals. And there is an additional benefit. Say your proposal is accepted, if it has already endured some scrutiny, it may not require much more tweaking as it moves along to fruition. I know this from personal experience. I followed all the advice that I have laid out here for you last year and my proposal was accepted!
A few years ago there was an AALL annual meeting that lacked programs of direct relevance to technical services librarians. OBS and TS have been working very hard to prevent that from happening again. I think the results of that hard work are evident. Last year in Washington, almost every time slot had a program of direct interest to technical services librarians. And the same looks to be true in Philadelphia. Letís make sure that we repeat this happy situation in Minneapolis next year. But this canít happen without your help. Strong proposals must be put forward. So get to work on your program proposal for 2001 right now!
AMPSC Tracks 2001
Agents of Change
Reinventing Law Librarianship