convention manual


VI.A convention manager and assistant convention manager

Description & Details: The Convention Manager (CM) and Assistant Convention Manager (ACM) are authorized by the President and the Board to coordinate and oversee the planning and implementation of annual conventions of the association.

Duration of Appointment: Typically a four-year commitment; a newly appointed Assistant Convention Manager spends two years in the Assistant position, followed by two years as Convention Manager. Initial appointment is one year, with reappointment possible up to a total of four years.

Position Description: The ACM accompanies the CM on-site inspection/hotel negotiation trips and manages all facets of exhibits, signage, and advertising for the convention. The CM oversees all other convention details and is responsible for onsite management of annual conventions. The CM serves as liaison to the Program Committee chair, the publicity officer, the chair of the Education Committee (or other committee as appropriate, if a pre-conference workshop is being planned), the Administrative Officer, the Board, the MLA Business Office, and other affiliated groups planning events in conjunction with MLA’s annual conference. The CM also works closely with the Development Officer on fundraising for the meeting. The CM, in consultation with Helms- Briscoe, negotiates with hotels for future conventions to secure accommodations for meeting and sleeping rooms. The ACM, in consultation with the CM and MLA Business Office, is responsible for all solicitations and arrangements concerning exhibitors whose publications, products, and services are displayed at conventions. Both the CM and ACM positions demand heavy involvement during the three to four months prior to the annual convention, from early fall when exhibitors/advertisers are solicited to the final preparation for the exhibits at the annual meeting, and also in the spring when the Convention Budget is prepared. The CM and ACM work closely with the MLA Business Office on all aspects of registration, the program book, and also mobile app development. The CM and ACM also work closely with the MLA website editor and Business Office on the content and functionality of the conference website.

Specific Duties, Assistant Convention Manager: Solicitation of exhibitors and program advertisers for the annual convention, maintaining a master list of exhibitors/advertisers, managing the ads for the conference program, working with the Development Officer on vendor fund-raising, consulting with the Advertising Manager on soliciting advertising for the program booklet/online program application, and overseeing all aspects of exhibits for the convention. This includes communications/negotiations with exhibition services/drayage firms, security firms, and internet/electrical services, and on-site management of the exhibit area during the convention. The ACM works closely with the CM, consulting whenever necessary to become familiar with the duties and responsibilities of the position.

Specific Duties, Convention Manager: Site inspection, reporting findings/recommendations to the Board, hotel contract negotiations, communications with the hotel’s sales and event staff, coordination of the work of the Program Committee assigning meeting rooms, communications with the hotel’s catering/banquet service, the A-V service and other services as necessary. The CM arranges for insurance coverage for the meeting. The CM prepares the convention budget in the spring, working with the Program Committee, and, at the discretion of the President, may be invited to participate in meetings of the Board, either in person or virtually. Working with the Program Chair, the CM is responsible for the content of the convention program booklet and its digital version. The CM has final responsibility for on-site management of all facets of the convention, reports to the membership at the annual convention on recent, current, and future annual conventions, and confirms and submits all bills to the MLA Administrative Officer. In addition, the CM is responsible for maintaining, revising and updating, and distributing MLA’s Convention Manual, as well as the convention calendar.

Qualifications: Five years’ experience as a music librarian; membership in the Music Library Association, with good understanding of its organizational and annual convention structure; administrative experience with good organizational and management skills; ability to set and meet deadlines; budgeting experience; effective communication skills in person, on the phone and in writing; availability for business trips of 2–3 days duration 3–5 times per year; availability to attend all annual conventions for a full week; good computer skills including word processing software, spreadsheet management, and telecommunications applications, along with access to a high quality printer, internet, fax machine, and electronic mail. Knowledge of applications such as Guidebook desirable.

Benefits: The CM and ACM receive support for most expenses required to carry out the responsibilities of the position (travel, telephone, postage, etc.), as well as gratis regular membership and early member conference registrations for the duration of their appointments. In addition, the CM receives an honorarium; the Board of Directors determines honoraria annually

VI.B annual meeting specifications

Dates: February or Early March [Insert Year] (Mid- to late February preferred)

Group Profile: The Music Library Association (MLA) is the professional organization in the U.S. devoted to music librarianship and to all aspects of music materials in libraries. Founded in 1931, MLA provides a forum for study and action on issues that affect music libraries and their users. MLA and its members make significant contributions to librarianship, publishing, standards and scholarship, and the development of new information technologies. In the forefront of contemporary librarianship, MLA assures that users of music materials will be well served by their libraries.

General Schedule:

Monday: Board of Directors Finance Committee and Planning Group meetings [not in every year]

Tuesday: Board of Directors; Preliminary events begin afternoon

Wednesday: Board of Directors; Pre-Conference workshop(s) Exhibits setup (day) and opening reception (evening)

Thursday – Saturday: Main conference events, ending with banquet or reception (evening)

Sunday: Primary departure day

Event Space Requirements:

  • Prefer space booked for event is compact—not spread out
  • Large plenary room with capacity to seat 500 (Thursday – Saturday)
  • Exhibit space – 7500 ft for tabletop exhibits (Wednesday – Saturday early afternoon)
  • Breakout rooms: 4-6 simultaneous breakout rooms, in additional to the plenary space
  • Tuesday-Wednesday: 3-6 simultaneous rooms (6 to 125 people)
  • Thursday- Saturday: 4-6 simultaneous breakout rooms
  • 2 small (capacity 8)
  • 1-2 large (capacity 125-150)
  • Remainder (capacity 50-60)

Food and Beverage Requirements:

Banquet or other closing event Saturday evening for 400-500 people (can be in the exhibit area which will be vacated by 3 p.m.)

Coffee breaks in exhibits area, probably with snacks (Thursday and Friday mornings and afternoons, and Saturday morning)

Opening reception for 500+ in exhibit area Wednesday night

Three to five breakfasts for 10-18 [has not happened since 2013] and two to four receptions for 30 to 100.

Guest Rooms: Room block (have always met at least 85%, and we do not have no-shows except for emergencies). The following is the *usual* and is not to be taken as gospel:

Sunday: 5

Monday: 50

Tuesday: 100

Wednesday-Friday: 250

Saturday: 200

The Convention Planning Advisor and the CM will have the historical data regarding room night performance and breakdown (double occupancy vs. single). Typically, MLA needs more double occupancy rooms than single.

21st century meeting history and future contracted venues

2023Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark
2022Hilton Salt Lake City Center
2021Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza
2020Hilton Norfolk The Main
2019Union Station Hilton, St. Louis
2018Hilton Portland, Oregon
2017Rosen Plaza, Orlando, Florida
2016Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza
2015Westin Downtown, Denver, Colorado
2014Grand Hyatt Buckhead, Atlanta, Georgia
2013Fairmont Hotel, San Jose, California
2012Fairmont Hotel, Dallas, Texas
2011Loews, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
2010Paradise Point, San Diego, California
2009Marriott Downtown, Chicago, Illinois
2008Hyatt Regency and Marriott, Newport, Rhode Island
2007Hilton, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
2006The Peabody Hotel, Memphis, Tennessee
2005Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, Vancouver, British Columbia
2004Crystal Gateway Marriott Hotel, Crystal City, Virginia
2003Renaissance Austin Hotel, Austin, Texas
2002Riviera Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada
2001Grand Hyatt Hotel, New York, New York
2000Hyatt Regency Hotel, Louisville, Kentucky


Andrew Justice

Wendy Sistrunk