Making the Case for Conference!

We'd love to see you at the NJLA Conference on June 2-4, 2014 in Atlantic City, NJ! Making the case for time off and support for travel and expenses to attend a conference requires a solid understanding of the potential benefits to your institution, supervisor, and colleagues. And you need to be able to communicate those benefits clearly—especially in times of tight budgets and reduced staff. Use the information that follows to help make your case!

  • Find out why others go to the NJLA Conference! Put a call out to colleagues asking what they get most out of attending Conference, or take a look at what other professionals in the field have to say at

  • Get the costs together, showing how much you can save if you register and book travel and housing early. Consider factoring in the savings for traveling together with a colleague or co-worker.

  • Take a look through any preliminary information that is available, identifying sessions, events, speakers, and programs that could help you do your job better. Find a ton of information and details at

  • Share any preliminary information with your colleagues who may be unlikely to attend. Discuss with them how your attending could benefit them, what kind of information you could bring back to help them, and what sessions they’d like you to go to.

  • Share preconference and session information with your supervisor and find out what sessions and programs they think would be of greatest benefit to your workplace.

  • Put together a draft plan for how essential tasks will get done while you’re away, including how technology will keep you accessible and in touch as needed.

  • Develop a draft plan for after you get back—describe how you’ll share the list of discussion and action items you develop during the conference, how you’ll share notes from sessions, discussion groups, vendors, and useful conversations, and by when you’ll provide a written report for your supervisor. Promise that you’ll focus on implementing one new idea that pays back many times the investment of time and money!

  • Put your request in writing—use this sample memo and this budget worksheet if they are helpful. (Thanks to ALA for sharing these great templates!)

For a convenient overview of the conference content, dates, scheduled events, hotels, registration rates, and informational links, check out

- Kate Vasilik, 2014 NJLA Conference Committee