You are the coordinator of a selected program or workshop at AALL’s 113th Annual Meeting & Conference in New Orleans, July 11–14, 2020. 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.
In particular, 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:
- Hold conference calls with their program’s participants
- Conduct a “dry run” 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 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 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.
|December 13||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 10||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 Request Forms due from coordinators to AALL.|
|May 1||Copy deadline for Conference Program updates. (Any final changes to your program are requested by this date.)|
|June 15||Speaking Commitment and Copyright Agreement due from all speakers, moderators and coordinators.|
|July 7||Last day AALL staff are in the Chicago office before heading to New Orleans. Presenters are strongly encouraged to upload their supplemental program materials in advance of this date.|
|July 10||AALL Staff Office opens, Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. (Some staff will be available while setting up the office during the afternoon of July 9.)|
|July 11-14||The 113th Annual Meeting & Conference of the American Association of Law Libraries convenes, Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. 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
Pam Reisinger, CMP, director of meetings
Meeting logistics and general meeting planning information
Forum (Listserv) Information
To facilitate communication between AALL headquarters, the AMPC, and the dozens of program coordinators, we will establish a forum (Google Group listserv) for the 2020 conference. As a coordinator, you will be automatically subscribed to this forum, 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 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 2020 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.
Now that your program or workshop has been selected for the 2020 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.
The deadline for identifying speakers is January 10, 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 10. 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 publications.
Honoraria & Expenses
Ask your nonmember 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. Requests for honoraria and/or reimbursement should be included on the Speaker Control Form for the nonmember speaker for AALL/AMPC review. (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 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.
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 13 — Deadline for program description and speaker updates (for promotion to AALL members)
- April 15 — Equipment requests deadline (from speakers to coordinators)
- June 15 — Speaking Commitment and Copyright Agreement deadline (for all speakers, moderators and coordinators)
- July 7 — Last day AALL staff are in the Chicago office before heading to New Orleans; presenters are strongly encouraged to upload their supplemental program materials in advance of this date
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 speaker information online in the winter of 2020. You should familiarize yourself with the information so that you can answer speakers’ questions.
Preliminary Discussions with Speakers
Program Takeaways & 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. 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. Please see our section on Moderating a Program for tips to ensure your program’s success.
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.
Some program rooms will be set in the standard theatre style (rows of chairs), with a riser at the front of the room featuring a podium and four chairs. Other program rooms will be set with round tables or desktop tables for the audience, and will also include a riser with podium and chairs. (Please note: tables for panelists are not part of the standard room setup.) Program room assignments are made based on the setups indicated in the original program proposals.
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’s conference template for any PowerPoint presentations.
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 he/she 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 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 “dry run” 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.
In order to make the most effective use of audio-visual equipment, each program coordinator should submit one audio-visual Equipment Request Form on behalf of the moderator and all program speakers. This will help you manage speaker needs and avoid duplicate equipment requests.
The following standard set-up will be provided in each program room for presenters:
- VGA connection-enabled LCD projector and screen
- AALL-provided laptop (with standard presentation software)
- wireless internet access
- 1 lectern microphone and 1 wireless lavaliere microphone
- aisle microphones (for audience use during Q&A)
- remote slide advancer
If your speakers need additional equipment (beyond what is already provided above), it’s important to communicate these needs on the Equipment Request Form. We will assume that speakers will share equipment unless we receive specific requests to the contrary. Please encourage speakers to share laptop computers for smooth transitions between presentations.
Live Internet Connections
Wireless internet connections will be available in each AMPC-selected program’s room. However, please make sure your speakers are prepared to use and to rely on screen captures and temporary internet files that can be available offline 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 & 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 Form
Speakers requiring equipment to support and enliven their presentations should provide their requests to you by April 15. Each program coordinator should submit only one audio-visual Equipment Request Form 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 & Copyright Agreement
This form confirms the speaker’s planned presentation and their commitment to appear. It also indicates permission 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 Speaking Commitment and Copyright Agreement by June 15.
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 your materials directly.
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, moderators, and speakers. See AALL’s Expense Reimbursement Policy.
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.
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. View more detailed guidelines and instructions.
- 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
Please remind speakers of the benefits of submitting handout materials prior to the conference.
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 AALL2go post-conference.
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 “dry run” 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 Katie Brown at 843.377.2432, or Heidi Letzmann at AALL Headquarters at 312.205.8014.
At the Meeting & Troubleshooting
Coordinators should check on several administrative details at the Annual Meeting.
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 in the 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.
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 accommodate requests as time, space, and budget allow.
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 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 15 minutes prior to the start of each program and all room setups and equipment are checked in advance. A technician-staffed “Speaker Ready Room” is also available for speakers to familiarize themselves with the presentation equipment. If you have questions about the equipment, contact the AALL Staff Office.
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. (Please see our section on Moderating a Program for more tips to ensure your program’s success.)
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.
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.
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 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 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 Katie Brown, AMPC chair, with your ideas and suggestions.
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 the next meeting!