This week, program organizers will be receiving an email from the Conference Committee Chairs informing them of the program proposals accepted for the 2017 Annual Conference! We had over 100 fantastic submissions this year for all types of events -- regular sessions, double sessions, engaging preconference sessions, social events, lunch opportunities, and more! We're really excited about this year's events, and we can't wait to share all of the details with you! 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 timeslots per day, that's only a maximum of 64 TOTAL regular session programs plus a 3-4 preconference sessions. We were excited to see program submissions from almost every NJLA section or committee this year, and 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! The NJLA Professional Development Committee is working hard this year to pull together a calendar of many of the most popular events held each year, including the Adult and Youth Services Forums, Makerspace Toolkit, NJASL, VALE, NJLA Commons (bi-monthly virtual keynotes), and more. 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 2018 Conference!
Once we were sure that we had a strong list of 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! 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
- Avoiding speaker conficts (We've heard that it's not possible to be in two different places at the same time!)
- Consider a variety of topics and projected audiences when scheduling a single time slot
- Avoid scheduling programs sponsored by the same group in a single time slot (This just wasn't possible in all cases.)
- Spread content out throughout the two days, to ensure the most diverse programming experience, even for daytrippers
- Take into account requests for specific times or days
We extend a great "thank you" to all of our program organizers for not only submitting throughtful and rich programming, but also for being so diligent in answering our questions and providing clarification or changes as necessary for program approval. Your timely responses really allowed us to move much more quickly through the acceptance and scheduling process. THANK YOU!
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 grid. Then we will 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. The Conference Committee will continue to communicate with all program organizers throughout the next few months leading up to the 2017 Conferece. Plus stay tuned: We'll be hosting some virtual conversations and sharing more details about PROMOTION (starts now!), taking care of and making arrangements for speakers, AV and room setup, reimbursements and more.
We are excited to announce that details about programs and 2017 NJLA Conference registration will be available by February 1, 2017! Everything you need to know will be posted at http://njlaconference.info as well as in your email. If you are not an NJLA member, now's the time! NJLA now offers rolling membership, so you can join anytime for discounted conference rates.
Kate Jaggers and the 2016-2017 NJLA Conference Committee