Convention manual


The Program Committee, in cooperation with the Convention Manager (CM), is responsible for preparing the programs for annual meetings and for conducting all business concerning these programs. The Program Committee consists of six regular members. Two members will be newly appointed each year, one for a three-year term and one for a four-year term. The appointee with the four- year term will chair the committee two years later, and the current year’s Program Chair (PC) will stay on an additional year as past-Chair. In addition, there are the following ex officio members: a liaison from the board, a representative from the Education Committee, a liaison from the MOUG program committee, a liaison from MLStEP, and the CM. Personal members shall serve through the end of the annual meeting for which they were appointed. Ex officio members do not vote on program proposals but should otherwise be included as much as possible in Program Committee communications and decision-making. The PC works closely with the chair of the Education Committee or a designee on pre-conference/post-conference workshops (from the MLA Administrative Handbook). The Program Committee reports directly to the Board of the Association. The PC prepares a budget for speaker travel and honoraria and submits it to the Finance Committee for consideration at the spring Board meeting. The Board sets a budget for speaker honoraria at the spring meeting. Following the program proposal review process, the PC confirms the amount needed for travel, lodging, and honoraria for invited plenary and program session speakers who are not MLA members and notifies the Finance Committee Chair and the CM. In late April/early May, the CM will request final Convention Budgets from the Program Committee and the Education Committee (if there is to be a pre- or post- conference workshop) and prepares a unified Convention Budget to submit to the Finance Committee. The Board approves the Convention Budget or recommends changes at its spring meeting. The PC is responsible for meeting room assignments; the CM is responsible for negotiating the arrangements and expenses for audio-visual equipment and refreshments with the hotel. See the Administrative Handbook of the Music Library Association, section VI.H.6 for the Charge, Membership and Procedures and Policies of the Program. Program Chair Calendar. The timeline in this calendar is approximate; the Convention Manager will issue a calendar with precise dates, in coordination with the current MLA Calendar. See Appendix 6.2 Guidelines. The Program Committee is responsible for the programmatic content of the annual conference, and establishes criteria for reviewing proposals. In addition, the Chair of the Committee is involved in producing the conference program. The following guidelines outline processes and procedures to be followed.
  1. Session Proposals
  2. Program Schedule
  3. Equipment and Meeting Room Assignments
  4. Fees and invitations to speakers
  5. Board Meetings
  6. Schedule for Receptions, Banquets, Luncheons, Hospitality Suite, Concert
  7. Business Meeting, User Group Meetings, Chapter meetings
  8. Producing the Program

II.A Session proposals

Proposals for plenary, poster, and other program sessions are received from committees (sponsors), from the membership-at-large, and from non-members. Individuals do not need the sponsorship of a committee or other group to propose a session. Committee proposals should include at least one speaker who is a member of that committee, but guest speakers can be involved if it is a panel discussion. Committees may jointly propose a session. There are no limits on the number of sessions an individual or committee can propose, but the Program Committee will look to balance the program as fairly as

The proposals are reviewed by the voting members of the program committee and the committee is authorized to decide which sessions are accepted. The Program Committee may choose not to accept an entire session as proposed, but may combine facets of several proposals to create sessions they think will be more appropriate for the program. As part of the review process, consult with the CM on how much hotel space is available for program sessions and what the audio/visual budget is, as the number of program rooms will affect A/V expenses.

The following program sessions are often regular parts of the annual meeting program but not reviewed by the Program Committee. Prior to creating a program grid, the PC should communicate with each committee’s chair to see if they plan to hold the session that year.

  • Public Services Town Hall
    • Public Services Committee
    • Formerly “Hot Topics”
  • CMC Town Hall
    • Cataloging and Metadata Committee
  • Best of Chapters
    • Best of Chapters Committee
  • Get Involved
    • Career Development and Services Committee

There are other types of sessions that have been discussed or held, such as a lightning round or unconference, that would likely not be reviewed by the program committee along with other proposals, or perhaps not at all. Ideas/proposals for these sessions could be solicited in a separate call sent out by the program chair.

In the past, live remote presentations have been discouraged due to technical difficulties and potential increased A/V costs. Presenters are encouraged to record a video of their session instead. The PC should consult with the CMs and possibly the MLA President about this issue, prior to releasing the CFP.

Once the deadline for proposal submissions has been reached, the PC puts proposal information (title, abstract, speakers, etc.) into an online spreadsheet for voting members of program committee to review and gives committee deadline for reviewing proposals. Include a column for each voting member to score each proposal and give comments. Remind committee members of criteria and voting scale for evaluating proposals.

The PC sends the CFP to MLA-L and committee chairs e-mail list, and the call for meeting rooms to the committee chairs, MLA-L, and chapter chairs e-mail lists. Use CFP language from recent meetings as a model. Set the online form so proposers receive a confirmation e-mail.

II.B Program schedule

Conference program sessions take place from Wednesday afternoon (pre-conferences) to Saturday afternoon. There have traditionally been two to three plenary sessions, and no other sessions should conflict with them. However, the 2018 meeting in Portland used only one large ballroom in the hotel, which served as the exhibit area Wednesday through Friday, and was then used as a plenary room Saturday. If possible, committee business meetings and interest group meetings should be scheduled during contiguous blocks of

System User Group meetings generally have often been scheduled Saturday afternoons, as this tends to be the least desirous time for programmatic sessions. Evenings generally are reserved for Chapter meetings (Thursday evening), receptions, concerts, and a closing reception. When possible, having at least one free evening for members to explore the city is desirous.

Use the previous year’s program as a guide for your program schedule. In particular, a previous program grid will be helpful (located in Program Committee Dropbox folder). The PC should keep in mind the need for breaks and mealtimes. The length of the plenary session is generally 85 minutes long, and committee meetings should not exceed 85 minutes in length. Program sessions should allow for 5-minute breaks (i.e., 25-, 55-, 85-minute sessions rather than 30, 60, and 90 respectively). In conjunction with the CM, the PC will suggest a schedule and rooms for all program sessions and committee/interest group meetings.

Determine any schedule conflicts from the forms submitted by Chairs and the administrative structure and try to resolve them. The Cataloging and Metadata Committee (CMC) meetings schedule can be tricky, particularly if there are several CMC-related program sessions. CMC typically holds two business meetings, plus subcommittee meetings. It is recommended to block CMC meetings first and to carry their schedule over from year to year. Work with the CMC chair to avoid conflicts as much as possible, but know that there will be times when the PC must choose between scheduling groups against one another: that’s life.

Schedule a 30-minute morning and afternoon break (typically at 10:30 a.m. and 3 p.m.), and at least a 30-minute lunch period, to allow members to visit Exhibits. An hour for lunch is desirable, particularly if easily-walkable dining options are limited.

During the scheduling process, the PC and CM should be in close contact for any questions that may arise. The CM will handle any concerns, conflicts, and unusual requests for small meeting spaces.

The PC should block program sessions and business meetings using a program grid from a previous meeting. Program grid files (.xls) for Orlando 2017 and Portland 2018 are available in the Program Committee Dropbox folder.

The PC will issue a call (separate from program sessions) for business meeting room requests for committees, interest groups, and system users groups. It is discouraged to have program sessions or presentations at these business meetings. Use language from recent meeting call e-mails as a model. Set the online form so requesters receive a confirmation e-mail.

Pre- and Post-Conference Workshops. Other pre- or post-conference workshops may be sponsored by the Education Committee of MLA (and are not reviewed by the Program Committee). Pre-conferences are generally held on Wednesdays and post-conferences on Sunday afternoons. The Program Chair should be in communication with the Education

Committee and the CM re. any potential pre- or post-conference workshops. If these will be held at the conference hotel, it’s good to know that as soon as possible.

Tours. The Past Program Chair is tasked with determining the viability of local tours (not including the Organ Crawl), in conjunction with the local CVB and any local MLA members who might want to help.

MOUG. MLA coordinates its meetings with MOUG, which usually holds theirs prior to MLA (Tuesday morning/afternoon through Wednesday morning; the MOUG Board meets Monday night and Tuesday morning). MOUG sessions/speaker names/events should be entered into the online program software (e.g. Sched) by the PC.

The PC finds volunteers to monitor the chat box for streaming sessions (for questions from remote attendees). Potential volunteers are members of the program committee, reduced registration volunteers, or the membership at large.

ii.C equipment and meeting room requests

A standard equipment setup will be requested by the CM for two program rooms. This includes video display and audio Live internet connections usually are available, but wiser presenters know better than to trust a live demonstration. Playback equipment for CDs and DVDs will not be provided, but a laptop might be available at the podium of the plenary room to facilitate changing between presenters, at the request of the streaming company, VCUBE. In any event, presenters should bring their own portable computers, as well as any adapters needed to connect to the provided setup, in addition to a flashdrive. The PC informs program speakers prior to the conference of the exact equipment setup in their assigned presentation room, particularly if they will need to plan on using a shared laptop (plenary room) or their own laptop (breakout room). The only other equipment provided is power for the central table in the CMC room, and also for the Board meeting before and after the conference.

No audiovisual presentation equipment (projector, microphone, screen, wired internet, etc.) will be made available for committee and interest group meetings.

Non-standard equipment requests will not be approved unless they can be accommodated without increasing A-V costs. Check with the CM to find out if late requests can be accommodated. Be prepared to say no or ask the CM to do so.

Program Room Seating Setup. Starting with the St. Louis 2019 meeting, program proposers had the option of requesting different kinds of audience seating arrangements. Possible seating arrangements at many hotels are theater (chairs in rows facing presenter), classroom (chairs in rows facing presenter, with tables), and banquet (round tables with chairs around, good for group discussion). In advance of sending the CFP, the PC should check with the CM to see what audience seating arrangements are possible per the hotel, then make those choices available on the CFP.

ii.D fees and invitations to speakers

The Program Committee may request travel, lodging, and honoraria for invited plenary session speakers who are not MLA members during the annual meeting. In some circumstances, MLA may offer travel and lodging to invited non-MLA speakers at non-plenary program sessions. Any requests are to be made for the Spring Board meeting and become part of the Convention budget. These requests should be made through the Convention managers. (Fiscal Policies Handbook, 8.a) If possible, finding local speakers is encouraged to eliminate any transportation and accommodation expenses.

Official invitations must be sent to outside speakers after the Board approves the expense, confirming the date and time of the talk, and the total amount approved for expenses and honorarium. The PC may not offer an honorarium to speakers until after the spring Board meeting. If there is a panel of speakers, the Moderator of the panel will be the contact person for the invited speakers.

Two weeks before the fall board meeting (before the annual conference), the Administrative Officer and Fiscal Officer should be sent a final list of the outside speakers who will receive honoraria and/or travel support, along with the amounts budgeted for each. (A spreadsheet template is available.) Include mailing addresses and the speaking date for all recipients of honoraria and travel support. It is also helpful to share the name of the sponsoring committee chair, interest group coordinator, individual, etc., so the AO has a contact for each speaker. The names will be added to the board’s Approved Vendors list in the fall. Alternatively, the CM or Program Chair can submit RFPs for each speaker to the AO for payment after travel has occurred.  

Recipients of travel reimbursement should be advised that they must provide copies of all receipts—hotel, rental car, gas, parking, etc.—in order to receive reimbursement. Receipts may be submitted directly to MLA’s Administrative Officer, and every effort should be made to do so within 30 days of the travel event. Speakers should also be advised that they will need to provide social security numbers (SSN) directly to MLA’s Administrative Officer, before payment, if their honoraria or other awards will total over $600 for that person that fiscal year (these must be reported to the IRS each year). Please note that social security numbers should not be transmitted by email, nor should (unencrypted) lists containing social security numbers be transmitted by email. It is helpful if the CM’s can share the AO’s contact information with speakers. Two separate checks will be sent for the honoraria and travel reimbursement.

Non-MLA speakers are provided with nametags and conference program books. At least four weeks before the convention, send a list of non-MLA speakers to the MLA Business Office with a request that nametags be made. Non-MLA speakers are welcome to attend program sessions at no charge (not including the closing reception). Coordinate with the Business Office as to how the name tags should be provided to the speakers (made available at registration/PC hand-delivers them to speakers or session moderator/other solution).

ii.E Board Meetings at the Annual Meeting

Following is a typical recent meeting schedule for the MLA Board. Contact the President prior to scheduling these meetings, to determine the needed schedule. The Board may need power strips provided during these meetings. Coordinate the power strips and any other A/V requests with the CMs. When determining how large of a meeting room to reserve for the Board, be sure to account

for up to 4 guests, in addition to the number of people on the Board.

Tuesday 9 am-5 pm – Full Board Meeting Wednesday 8 am-4 pm – Full Board

Meeting Sunday 8 am-noon – Full Board Meeting

Prior to 2013, the Finance Committee and Board Planning Group met Monday afternoon. Contact the MLA President to determine whether these meetings should be scheduled.

The Board should meet in the same room for all its meetings, if possible (although the President may decide to host the Finance Committee meetings in the Presidential Suite).

The Board may call additional meetings during the Conference. Generally, these meetings are not scheduled ahead of time, and the meetings generally take place in the President’s suite.

ii.F Special Events

The following receptions are scheduled:

First-time Attendees/New Members Forum and Buffet: held Wednesday evening prior to the Opening Reception. This includes a buffet of heavy hors d’oeuvres and non- alcoholic beverages in a room that can accommodate 75 people, complete with tables.  Because this is during the dinner hour and before the opening reception, something akin to a light meal is provided.

Opening Reception: held Wednesday evening from 7 pm to 10 pm in (or near) the exhibit hall. Exhibits are open during these hours, and one or more of the exhibitors may subsidize the reception.

Donors’ Reception: The President and Development Officer usually host a donor’s reception prior to the Opening Reception. This reception is by special invitation, held in a room accommodating approximately 60-70 attendees. The room ideally will be one of the more elegant spaces in the hotel, preferably with windows. The reception food (including open bar) is generally higher end.

Other Events/Spaces:

MLA Big Band: The Big Band generally rehearses every night beginning at 7 pm or 8 pm. A room needs to be reserved and arrangements need to be made for storing stands, percussion equipment, etc. The PC and CM should collaborate on this. A piano may be needed. Depending on the hotel, there may be an acoustic one that is available, or else an electric keyboard can be rented for the week. The Big Band coordinators are responsible for instrument procurement.

Banquet: A closing reception is normally held on Saturday at the end of the conference. It has been customary for the MLA Big Band to perform during the closing reception, along with other volunteer performers from the membership. The PC does not plan any part of the banquet but does include it in the program schedule.

Chapter and Committee/IG Leadership Meetings: Ask the current MLA President and President-Elect if the following meetings will be held: Chapter Chairs, Web Site Editors, and Newsletter Editors; and the Committee Chairs and Interest Group Coordinators. If yes, schedule a meeting room. Prior to 2013, these meetings were breakfasts and since then have generally been regular business meetings.

NOTES Luncheon: The only scheduled luncheon is for NOTES staff and is By Invitation. The editor of NOTES is the host and will make the arrangements, in consultation with the CM.

Hospitality Suite: The Board will determine if a hospitality suite is to be open during evenings without an event open to all members. This has not occurred in many years!

Quiet Room. In St. Louis 2019, a “quiet room” was scheduled for the duration of the conference. The ability to offer a quiet room will depend on room availability at each hotel. Consult with the CM.

Concert or other Event: The PC (or delegate to program committee members) may wish to research what concerts or other events are taking place during the conference, and provide that information on the conference website.

Welcome. Usually there is a “welcome” session, held during the 30 minutes prior to the first plenary session. The PC should coordinate with the MLA President and the CM to determine the schedule for the welcome session. There may be a local speaker who invites the membership to the area, a brief welcome from the President, and announcements from the PC, CM, and potentially other special officers.

System User Group Meetings: held simultaneously, often during an afternoon or early evening. Each User Group’s coordinator should submit a request for a meeting room. If a coordinator does not submit a request by the deadline, ask directly if they need a room.

Chapter Meetings: Chapters are invited to hold a meeting Thursday evening. The Chapter Liaison (President-Elect/Past President) should be in close contact with the chapters to determine

which plan to hold a meeting and if they plan to meet in the hotel. If a chapter does not submit a meeting room request by the deadline, contact the Chapter Chair and ask if they need a room.

Resume Review Service, Placement Desk, and Interview Room: Consult with the Placement Officer for times when s/he will be available to advise job seekers. The Placement Desk is usually located in the exhibit hall, or immediately outside the exhibits. Often the Placement Service and Resume Review Service are willing to share a table. The PC reserves a meeting room for the duration of the conference that can be used as an interview room; consult the CM as necessary. The interview room does not appear on the program schedule. You can “hide” it in the online program software (Sched). The Resume Review/Placement Service does not have a room but does appear in the program schedule.

Poster Sessions: Space should be allocated in the hotel for 5-6 4’x8′ double-sided poster boards, underneath which are placed tables. The PC consults with the CMs on the best location for the Poster Session. Poster sessions are generally held Fridays 10:30 am to 12:30 pm. The PC needs to send out guidelines (PDF) to poster presenters after their presentation has been accepted and well before the conference takes place; this file is available in the Program Chair Google Drive Account.

Planning Meeting for Next Year. Traditionally there is a meeting held Sunday morning, to recap this year’s meeting and help plan for the next meeting. This meeting is usually for the Business Office, AOs, CMs, PC, and web manager. Check with the CM to see if this meeting should be scheduled.

ii.g mla business meeting

Held on Saturday, typically from 3:30 to 5 p.m., at the conclusion of the conference, before the closing event. (Check with the CM before scheduling the time. Depending on the hotel site, the room (or part of the room) used for the business meeting is also used for the closing event, and often a minimum of 2 hours is needed for hotel staff to “turn” the room around into the configuration needed for the closing event.) The MLA President sets the agenda for the Business

During the Business Meeting, the PC gives a report. Also, the current PC and future PC are responsible for inviting the membership to the next year’s meeting. This invitation is often done using a promotional video from the future meeting site’s Convention and Business Bureau.

Coordinate with the future PC and perhaps the Web Manager (who in the past has created a conference logo and added it to the end of the video) and CM (depending on technology needs) to determine who does this task.

ii.H producing the program

The PC is responsible for producing the conference program, both online and in

Once the program grid is finalized, enter the information into the online program software (Sched). Use the previous year’s program as a guide. The Web Manager provides the PC and CMs with access to the online program software and the PC and CMs will update it as needed prior to and during the conference.

After a draft of the conference program is available in the online program software and prior to registration opening (sometime in October), e-mail conference presenters and those who submitted business meeting requests, asking for any revisions or updates. Give them a deadline. At this time, the PC may also inform program of the exact equipment setup in their assigned presentation room, particularly if they will need to plan on using a shared laptop (plenary room) or their own laptop (breakout room). Consider also communicating presentation best practices: for ex., sharing an abstract with all speakers, especially if session is a panel, keeping introductory bios short, encouraging the consistent use of the microphone during presentations, etc.

For the print version of the program, consult the MLA Business Office for current formatting guidelines for program copy. Use the previous year’s program as a guideline. Perhaps ask for any updates from presenters/meeting requesters again prior to sending draft of print program the MLA Business Office.

After the Fall Board Meeting, the Board liaison will convey comments to the PC. The final draft of the program is submitted as a PDF to the Web Committee to post on the conference web site. Any updated files (for example, after room assignments are finalized) are incorporated into the online program software (e.g. Sched).

The final program (including indexes) must be submitted to the MLA Business Office electronically, in the format designated by the MLA Business Office, and by the deadline set in conjunction with the MLA Business Office. Submit copies to the Board liaison, the CMs, and the President at this time as well.

The following phrase must appear before the beginning of the program section:

Note: Business meetings are generally open to observers, but participation is limited to committee members only. Boldfaced meetings are generally considered open, or program meetings. Smoking is prohibited during meetings or sessions.

Plenary session titles are in bold. The President and the Board must approve changes to this format.

Local arrangements information (restaurants, things to do, travel information) should be made available on the conference website. The PC asks members of the program committee to contribute this information, and works with the Web Manager to post it before conference registration goes live.