Program “Must-Haves” and Content Area Teams – FAQ

Turning Ideas into Education

AALL continues 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.  AALL members can suggest content ideas, develop programs, and participate in peer-to-peer learning.

Q.  What should I know about the program planning process?

A.  The Annual Meeting Program Committee is comprised of Content Area Teams (CATs) representing the domains of AALL’s Body of Knowledge (BoK), and these teams are responsible for identifying the “must-have” program topics that AALL members want to see at the conference. Once those topics are identified, they will be shared with AALL members when it is time to solicit program proposals. All programs should support competencies and skills comprising the Body of Knowledge. The end result ensures that the programs AALL members need will be delivered at the Annual Meeting.

Each team has a team leader, and 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 the conference 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 crowdsourced program ideas for next year.

The “must-have” program topics from each CAT will be included in the call for proposals (issued in October). 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! In addition to the must-have program topics on the list, and there will be room for many more. Explore AALL’s Body of Knowledge (BoK) for ideas. 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.

Q.  What role does an SIS 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 next year?

A.  That’s right. Long before the full (final) slate of programs is announced, you’ll already know of roughly 30 program topics that will be covered, 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 at the Annual Meeting & Conference!

Q.  Where do I find information about how to develop and submit a program proposal?

A.  Explore all our program planning resources.

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 in October, and start thinking about what you might like to propose by the November 30, 2021 deadline.