Thank you for your patience! We know that you are anxiously awaiting news of accepted program proposals. Over the next week or so, the Conference Committee will be sending correspondence to all those who submitted program proposals for the 2018 Annual Conference to provide further information!
(Note: This post has been edited and updated. The original post lives on the Conference Blog.)
Over 125 fantastic submissions were received this year for all types of events -- regular sessions, double sessions, engaging preconference sessions, social events, lunch opportunities and more! Especially since we opened proposals up to individuals and groups outside of the NJLA membership for this year, we're really excited about the lineup of events!
In the meantime, we want to share some of the behind-the-scenes details so that you know what the committee has been working on, and know what's coming up next . . .
First, to get it out of the way, we understand that it stinks when your program proposal isn't accepted. Please know that there is a lot of thought and discussion that goes into each program when deciding upon acceptances. The Conference Committee met for a full day in December to go over the nitty-gritty of each one. With only 8 program room and 4 time slots per day, that's only a maximum of 64 TOTAL regular session programs plus less than a handful of preconference sessions. We were excited to see program submissions from almost every NJLA section or committee this year, and the committee strived to choose programs that reflected the diversity of our association.
If your program was not selected for this year's conference -- because of competition of similar topics, cost, diversity, or insufficient detail -- please consider the many other professional opportunities within NJLA and our library community to present! Your colleagues work tirelessly on a calendar of events that appeal to library workers of all types, including the Adult and Youth Services Forums, Makerspace Toolkit, NJASL, VALE, and the NJLA Commons virtual keynotes. Information will also be coming out soon about Poster Sessions at this year's event, which could be the perfect place to showcase your topic to a broad audience. At the very least, you are encouraged to continue to develop these submissions and propose them again for the 2019 Conference!
In going through all 125+ submissions, we always uncover details in program proposals that need further clarification or confirmation. It often takes some time to nail down all of the specifics that we require to not only confirm acceptance of programs, but also to be sure that we have everything we need in order to post full program details on the schedule of events on the website in order to successfully open up registration! We extend a great "thank you" to all of our program organizers for not only submitting thoughtful and rich programming, but also for being so diligent in answering our questions and providing clarification or changes as necessary for program approval.
Once we are sure that we have a strong list of completed, accepted programs from the committee, the chairs met to create the grid, which includes dates, time slots, and room assignments for each room. This took another entire day to accomplish and a whole pad (at least) of post-it notes! This is something that needs to be finished before we can get acceptance notices out to all of you! The whole process definitely takes some time and the entire committee genuinely appreciates your understanding and patience.
The following are many of the things we need to consider when creating a schedule:
- There are only 4 regular session time slots for each of the two full days of programming.
- The more programs in one time slot, the more options and variety there is, but the less programs any one person can actually attend.
- The more sessions submitted by each NJLA section/committee, the better chance of some sort of overlap in sponsorship or content during the same time slot.
- It’s essential to avoid speaker conflicts. (We've heard that it's not possible to be in two different places at the same time!)
- A variety of topics and projected audiences must be considered when scheduling a single time slot.
- We make every effort to avoid scheduling programs sponsored by the same group in a single time slot. (This just wasn't possible in all cases.)
- We try to prioritize spreading out content throughout the two days to ensure the most diverse programming experience, even for daytrippers.
- We always try to take into account requests for specific times or days.
As we begin to communicate with each program organizer individually with details about their accepted proposals, the next steps for the committee are to triple-check for speaker conflicts (let us know if you find any!) and confirm the schedule. Then we can finally upload all of the programs, including social events, keynotes and luncheons, to the conference website (you'll see a new tab for Schedule fairly soon). We'll also be sharing information on the website about room rates and hotel registration.
Plus stay tuned: We'll be communicating more details about keynotes, PROMOTION (starts now!), taking care of and making arrangements for speakers, AV and room setup, reimbursements and more any day now.
We anticipate opening registration in early February. Everything you need to know will be posted at http://njlaconference.info as well as in your email (if you are an NJLA member). If you are not an NJLA member, now's the time! NJLA offers rolling membership, so you can join anytime for discounted conference rates. To register for Conference at a member (NJLA, NJASL, ACRL, NJLTA or other state associations) rate, you must be a current member at the time of registration AND conference.
Kate Jaggers and the 2017-2018 NJLA Conference Committee
For more information about how Conference is put together, take a look at the Conference Blog.