Information for Program Coordinators

You are the coordinator of a selected program or workshop at AALL’s 115th Annual Meeting & Conference in Denver, Colorado, July 16-19. A well-designed proposal that survived tough competition means a great deal has already been accomplished. Now the real work begins!

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. We’ll add updates throughout the year as more resources become available.

Members of the Annual Meeting Program Committee (AMPC) come from a variety of library types and backgrounds, but all work as a team. An AMPC member has been designated as liaison to your program, and will work closely with you and your presenters to support its development. In order to help ensure that all programs meet the expectations of our members, coordinators will be required to:

  • Conduct a virtual “run-through” of the program prior to its presentation at the conference. The AMPC liaison assigned to your program will assist with this, as well as help you meet planning deadlines.

Please contact your AMPC liaison, any AMPC member, or Heidi Letzmann, AALL’s education & programs manager if you have a question.

Developing useful and relevant educational programs is quite a challenge for our diverse organization. With roughly 3,700 members operating in a number of different types of libraries and performing the full range of responsibilities of the legal information professional, 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 & Conference.

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

Primary Contact at AALL

Heidi Letzmann, education and programs manager
Speaker/program management and Annual Meeting information
312.205.8014

Coordinator Role

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 ensure that the content of the program achieves the stated learning objectives and that you communicate to AALL and to your speakers all the information necessary for the successful presentation and management of the program.

Identifying/Confirming Speakers

If you haven’t already done so, please contact your speakers to obtain firm commitments for their program participation. If your AMPC liaison made suggestions to change, add, or reduce speakers when informing you of your program’s acceptance, please make those adjustments in your planning. Then confirm their participation to AALL by submitting a Speaker Confirmation Form by April 29.

Later in the spring, speakers will be added to your program’s listing in the conference app, and invited to update their presenter profiles. Of course, if you need to report a speaker cancellation or replacement after this date, please contact Heidi Letzmann at AALL headquarters right away.

Honoraria & Expenses

Ask your nonmember speakers about their expectations for honoraria and expense reimbursement.

IMPORTANT!

If you request any travel, lodging, or expense reimbursement on the Speaker Confirmation Form you submit for your nonmember 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 (specifically, the information in Section 8, under “Non-AALL Members Speaking on Programs”).

AALL must approve any payment of honoraria. (You will be contacted only if there are concerns about a particular speaker on your program.)

Preliminary Discussions with Speakers

Program Takeaways & Description

Provide speakers with the program description and takeaways. Include any comments and/or suggestions offered by the AMPC. 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. 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. Programs that fail to deliver the information promised in the stated takeaways 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.

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. Share the names and contact information of each speaker with others on the program.

Handouts & Audio-Visual Equipment

Talk about the value of handouts and the efficient use of audiovisual equipment and/or computers. Encourage speakers to use AALL conference template for any PowerPoint presentations. Please note: Internet will not be available in the program rooms, so please plan accordingly. Coordinators should compile their speakers’ presentation files into a single file and provide it by June 27 for preloading onto the AALL-provided laptop in the program room. (Coordinators will be emailed a password-protected link to upload their program’s presentation file.)

Your Vision of the Program

Describe your interest in the subject and explain how attendees 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 they share your vision of the program.

Ongoing Coordinating with Speakers

Maintain Regular Contact With Your Speakers

By talking with them frequently about the program description and takeaways, 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.

Coordinators will be expected to:

  • Hold conference calls with their program’s participants
  • Conduct a virtual “run-through” of the program prior to its presentation at the conference

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 & Room Sets

Presentation equipment/technology is ordered through AALL headquarters. The following will be automatically provided in all program rooms for presenters:

  • one AALL-provided laptop (with standard presentation software)
  • one remote slide advancer
  • VGA connection-enabled LCD projector and screen
  • one podium microphone
  • additional wireless handheld microphones (to share between panelists)
  • aisle microphones (for audience use during Q&A)

Speakers should plan to share equipment, including the AALL-provided laptop, for smooth transitions between presentations. Please note: Internet will not be available in the program rooms, so please plan accordingly:

  • Coordinators should compile their speakers’ presentation files into a single file and provide it in advance by June 27 for preloading onto the AALL-provided laptop in the room. (Coordinators will be emailed a password-protected link to upload their program’s presentation file.)
  • Any audio/video files you plan to play during your program will need to be provided and preloaded in advance as well.
  • If any website navigation or demonstration will be part of your program, plan to incorporate screen captures into your presentation file.

Audience seating in all program rooms will be configured in one of three formats:

    • Theater style (rows of chairs) – Rooms 304 & 401+402
    • Banquet style (roundtable seating) – Rooms 301-303, 403+404, 502-504, 505-507
    • Classroom style (desktop tables) – Room 405-407

Program room assignments are made based on the setups indicated in the original program proposals – you can find your program’s room here. All program rooms will feature a platform riser with a podium and four chairs (set in a “talk show” style semicircle with a low table). A panelists’ head table is no longer part of the standard room setup.

If your speakers have special requests (beyond what is already provided above), please contact Heidi Letzmann at AALL.

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 conference than when it is too late to do anything.

Required Forms & Handouts

Plan to 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 used to manage program logistics and to maintain contact with speakers.)

Speaking Commitment & Copyright Agreement

This form confirms the speaker’s planned presentation and their commitment to appear. It also indicates permission for handout materials to be distributed. All program or workshop participants—even coordinators or moderators who only plan to introduce other speakers—must complete the Speaking Commitment and Copyright Agreement by June 15.

Handouts

Specific, detailed handouts enable audience members to fully focus on the speaker, rather than any lengthy notes they might be trying to jot down. Program presenters can upload their supplemental materials directly to their online presenter profiles. These profiles are part of our conference app, and attendees will be able to access these materials directly. Below are some basic guidelines for supplemental materials.

  • Be sure to include the name and the alphanumeric designation of the program, and the speaker’s name at the beginning of the document/presentation.
  • Elements your speakers may provide include:
    • slides used during presentation and space on the handouts for attendees to take notes
    • worksheets, checklists—anything with a practical bent
    • a short, annotated bibliography

If a speaker decides to provide printed handouts, 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 AALL eLearning post-conference.

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

Liaison Role

An AMPC member is assigned to serve as a liaison to each program and will work closely with you and your presenters to support its development. In order to help ensure that all programs meet the expectations of our members, coordinators will be required to:

  • Hold conference calls with their program’s participants
  • Conduct a virtual “run-through” of the program prior to its presentation at the conference

Your AMPC liaison will assist with this, as well as help you meet planning deadlines. Take advantage of this person’s availability, especially if and when questions or problems arise. AMPC members understand that coordinating a program can be challenging, and are available to help. If your liaison is unavailable, you can always contact AMPC Chair Joe Lawson, or Heidi Letzmann at AALL Headquarters.

At the Meeting & Troubleshooting

Coordinators should check on several administrative details at the Annual Meeting.

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 (in person) before the program. Take this opportunity to review the program description and takeaways and to confirm the order in which the speakers will appear and the length of time available for each speaker.

Do an equipment check

Prior to the program, check the audiovisual equipment to familiarize yourself with it. An audiovisual technician is available 30 minutes prior to the start of each program and all room setups and equipment are checked in advance.

What 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.

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.

Remind attendees to silence their devices

As a courtesy to both those attending the program and those presenting, remind the audience to silence all phones and other personal electronic devices.

Point out emergency exits

Please share this information with your audience at the beginning of your program.

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 five 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.

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. Ask audience members with questions to use the aisle microphone and repeat the questions before a speaker responds.

Remind attendees to complete Program Evaluations

Evaluations are important for two reasons:
• They provide valuable feedback to the speaker so that he or she may make adjustments for future presentations.
• 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.

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 your audience. 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.

Speaker Expense Reimbursement Forms

Shortly after the Annual Meeting, contact your speakers to thank them for their participation and to encourage nonmember speakers to submit their expense reports to AALL as quickly as possible; they are due within 60 days of the conclusion of the Annual Meeting. These personalized forms are sent 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 Confirmation 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 or licensing fees.

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 resource useful? Did you discover any problems or complications that you wished we had addressed? Contact your AMPC liaison or Joe Lawson, AMPC chair, with your ideas and suggestions.

Evaluations

Finally, you may request the evaluation summary for your program from AALL (usually available by early autumn).

Coordinating a program at the AALL Meeting is quite an accomplishment. We hope that you found 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 next year!