Program Must-Haves and Content Area Teams – FAQ

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Q What should I know about next year's program planning process?

A AALL is continuing its efforts to design and deliver the education that members need right now to tackle workplace challenges, do their jobs better, and raise the profile of the profession. For the 2015 Annual Meeting, the AMPC worked with Content Area Teams (CATs) aligned with AALL's Competencies of Law Librarianship and comprised of AALL members outside of the committee. Each CAT represented an educational content area, and was responsible for identifying a number of "must-have" program topics—topics that AALL members needed to see (and would see) at the 2015 conference. Once those topics were identified, they were shared with AALL members when it was time to solicit program proposals. Most of the must-have program topics were fulfilled by strong program proposals. The others were curated by members of the AMPC. The end result ensured that the programs AALL members said they needed would be delivered at the Annual Meeting.

Now, CAT members are incorporated into the AMPC, greatly expanding the size of the committee. Each team has a team leader, and once again, each team will be responsible for 1) identifying must-have program topics, 2) soliciting program proposals on these topics, and 3) curating these programs if they're not fulfilled by the proposals AALL receives. The AMPC will seek proposals reflecting these topics to ensure that Austin's programming lineup is more practical and relevant than ever before. Members are encouraged to work with colleagues (for instance, those within SISs, chapters, or caucuses, or across library types) to develop outstanding programming ideas, identify dynamic speakers, and craft engaging sessions.  

Q I'm intrigued. Can you tell me more about these "must-have" program topics?

A Every year, conference evaluations include comments about programs attendees wished had been presented. So now we're connecting the dots, identifying crucial programming in advance to guide proposers and be more strategic in the program planning process. Building upon the success of the must-have programs solicited for and presented at this year's AALL Annual Meeting & Conference, the AMPC has been crowd-sourcing program ideas for 2017. The five "must-have" program topics from each CAT will be included in the call for proposals. At that time, everyone is encouraged to peruse the list of all 30 must-have program topics. Then it's up to you to connect the dots—Perhaps one of the topics is exactly what your library has been tackling this year. Perhaps you know the perfect presenter. Perhaps a working group within your SIS has been brainstorming about the topic already. Propose a program!

Q Sounds great, but what happens if nobody submits a proposal on one of the must-have topics? 

A The AMPC members comprising each Content Area Team will keep working and connecting with members. In situations where a must-have program topic is not sufficiently covered by any of the submitted proposals, the CAT will curate the program with assistance from interested members and SISs who may have expertise and/or speaker recommendations in a particular area.

Q But what if I want to propose a completely different program—one that isn't on the list of must-haves?

A Go for it!  There will be only 30 must-have program topics on the list, and there will be room for many more in Austin. Talk to members, survey your SIS and work with other AALL entities to stay on the right track. Keep in mind that members want substantive, well developed programs that help them do their jobs better. The process and criteria for proposing programs is basically the same as in recent years.

Q What role do SISs have in this process?

A SISs provide their members with resources for meeting the challenges they face in their jobs—through discussion forums, mentoring, working groups, and idea-sharing. SIS leaders (including education committee chairs) should pay attention to topics people are buzzing about and encourage members to propose relevant programming. They should help to connect members who could work together on developing a program. They should foster the involvement of newer members of the profession. They should identify the unsung experts among their members. They should offer support for writing strong descriptions and takeaways. This is true for must-have programs, for programs that fall outside of that list, and for independently produced SIS programs. An AMPC member has been assigned to liaise with each SIS to assist and support the program process.  

Q So we'll definitely have the must-have programs in Austin?

A That's right. Long before the full (final) slate of programs is announced, you'll already know of 30 programs in the works, all based on AALL member input. This could be of particular value to members who need to get the ball rolling months in advance in order to secure authorization to attend the conference. We want to see everybody in Austin!

Q How do I find information about how to develop and where to submit a program proposal?

A Visit the Information for Program Proposers section of AALLNET. Resources will be made available there in the weeks to come—stay tuned for the call for proposals.

Q What if I think of more questions?

A Contact any member of the AMPC or the education staff at AALL HQ. Watch for the official call for proposals, and start thinking about what you might like to propose by the October 3 deadline.