Meetings, seminars, and roundtables are essential delivery systems to communicate ALA chapter benefits and education programs to members. Meetings/events/seminars provide many opportunities:
- Find out what’s happening from your colleagues.
- Gain insight on what others with similar jobs are doing.
- Work with others.
- Involve business partners who want contact with ALA members.
- Receive sponsorship money from business partners.
There are many keys to running an effective program.
- Always know the purpose and what you are trying to accomplish (e.g., learning, networking, idea exchange, business partner information, etc.).
- Develop a thorough, well-timed agenda.
- Send a clear meeting notice that induces targeted people to attend.
- Select and organize a meeting site that is conducive to productivity.
- Begin and end on time!
Use the Event Planning Checklist to get started, and then utilize the Business Partner Involvement worksheet and Budget Plan worksheet. The completed worksheets will help your successors plan for the next event. These templates are located in the Tools section.
Before the Program
The first step to planning any program is to decide the who, what, when, where and how.
WHO: Your committee or section must decide whom they want to target. Are you trying to reach the new administrator/functional specialist? The seasoned administrator/functional specialist? Or both?
Is this a program that business partners would be interested in sponsoring or attending? If yes, utilize the business partner involvement worksheet.
Who will be responsible for the logistics? Who will help run the event?
WHAT is your topic?
WHEN is the best time for the program? Is it more appropriate in the morning/evening/lunch hour? How long do you want the program to last?
WHERE will the event be held? Is there a cost associated with the space? Do you have that budgeted?
HOW are you going to conduct the program? Will it involve a speaker with a question and answer period? A roundtable discussion? A panel? Can a business partner provide assistance?
When planning a chapter event, it is important to consult the ALA Calendar of Events. This will ensure your event does not conflict with others being organized by your peers around the country. Chapters can thus avoid situations where they contact a business partner for an event sponsorship only to find out that business partner is committed to sponsoring an event a month earlier in the next town.
Once your chapter schedules an event, please remember to notify ALA Headquarters via email with the following information:
- Date and time
- Name/title of event or meeting
- Sponsoring group
- Location of event or meeting
- Contact person(s)
Note: The ALA Board of Directors has established a 60-Day Window Policy, which sets specific parameters regarding the timing of chapter events in relation to events hosted by the international organization.