Conference Planning Manual

PART A CONFERENCE POLICIES

  1. Reimbursement of Conference Workshop Presenters.
    (Adopted: November 10, 1994)
    1. The Montana Library Association does not pay travel expenses to Association members or other Montana library and information professionals who plan and present MLA continuing education workshops. These individuals may request and receive an honorarium of $30.00 per presenter, not to exceed $90.00 total per session, and with the restriction of no more than one $30.00 honorarium per presenter per conference. At the discretion of the Conference Planning Committee Chair and with prior approval, these individuals may receive reimbursement for production of workshop handouts and/or other printed material. A note in the annual conference program should make note of the professional service offered by these individuals and express the Association s appreciation. For example:
  2. Montana library and information professionals who plan and present MLA continuing education workshops are volunteers in service to our profession. Their generous contributions of time, talent and energy make this and every MLA conference a success. We appreciate their work!

    1. Association members or other Montana library and information professionals are expected to register for the conference if they plan to participate in conference activities.
    2. Out-of-state presenters and in-state presenters who are not library and information professionals will be compensated for reasonable travel expenses and an appropriate fee, if required by the presenter or speaker. The Association will reimburse presenters for either the lowest round trip airfare or round trip mileage at State of Montana rates. Reasonable honoraria, in lieu of a fee, may also be paid to certain presenters, if appropriate, and at the discretion of the President and/or the Conference Planning Committee Chair.
    3. The Association will reimburse in-state presenters for the actual cost of hotel expenses, if the Conference Planning Committee Chair determines that an overnight stay is necessary. The Association will reimburse out-of-state presenters the actual cost of hotel expenses required as a result of booking lowest rate air fare.
    4. The Association will pay $30 per diem for meals for out-of-state presenters.
    5. The Association will not provide complimentary meal tickets to presenters. Presenters must purchase conference meal tickets if they wish to attend conference meal functions.
    6. Out-of-state presenters will not be required to pay the conference registration fee. They may participate in all conference activities and functions, except those that are ticketed separately.
    7. When the annual conference is held jointly with another association, the Conference Planning Committee Chair may need to negotiate policies regarding reimbursement for conference workshop presenters which are acceptable to both associations.
    8. The Conference Planning Committee will provide information to presenters about conference activities and functions and provide a method by which presenters can purchase meal tickets or tickets to other functions for which a separate fee is charged. All conference presenters who are not members of the Association will be sent the conference pre-registration packet.
    9. The total amount of compensation to be paid to a presenter will be negotiated by a member of the Conference Planning Committee and approved by the Conference Planning Committee Chair. For accounting purposes it is desirable to negotiate a lump sum payment, alleviating the need to write more than one check. The lump sum will include travel expenses, per diem for meals, fee or honorarium, and any other expenses to which the parties have agreed.
    10. Compensation paid to a presenter will be outlined in detail in a written agreement executed by the Conference Planning Committee Chair and the presenter.
  3. Conference Refund Policy.
    (Adopted: November 10, 1994)

    (Updated: June 11, 2013)
    1. The Conference Planning Committee Chair may approve requests for refunds due to cancellation up until 14 days prior to the first day of the conference. Such requests for refunds must be in writing and directed to the Conference Planning Committee Chair. A $25.00 handling fee will be deducted from the refund amount.
    2. Requests for refunds due to cancellation or change of plans will not be approved if made after the date stated in Section 1, except that the Conference Planning Committee Chair has the discretion to approve requests for refunds due to cancellations caused by medical emergencies or death in the immediate family. Such requests must be in writing and directed to the Conference Planning Committee Chair. A $25.00 handling fee will be deducted from the refund amount.
    3. Without exception, requests for refunds made more than 30 days after the last day of the conference will be not approved.
    4. Appeal may be made to the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors for review of refund decisions made by the Conference Planning Committee Chair. The decision of the Executive Committee will be final. 
  4. Equipment.
    (Adopted: November 10, 1994)
    1. The Montana Library Association will arrange for provision of standard equipment for conference workshops, such as podiums, microphones, flip charts, overhead projectors, and slide projectors, in addition to Internet access.
    1. The Montana Library Association cannot guarantee computer equipment and peripherals that may be required by individuals presenting conference workshops, although conference planners will make every effort to provide necessary equipment. The designated equipment representative will do their best to find and provide requested equipment.  All types of computer equipment should be made available to presenters.  When computer equipment is provided by conference planners, presenters will be encouraged to bring their presentations on disk so equipment does not need to be swapped out between sessions.
  5. Complimentary Meals.
    (Adopted: November 10, 1994)
    1. The following guidelines will be followed in providing complimentary meal tickets:
      1. Each award winner will receive two complimentary tickets for the Awards Luncheon. The Chair of the Awards and Honors Committee will notify the Conference Planning Committee Chair of the names of the award winners as soon as they have been selected. The Conference Planning Committee Chair will coordinate with the Local Arrangements Subcommittees and the Chair of the Awards and Honors Committee to work out the details of delivering the tickets to the award winners.
      2. The Association will not provide complimentary meal tickets to presenters. Presenters must purchase conference meal tickets if they wish to attend conference meal functions.
      3. The Association will provide a complimentary meal ticket to an individual who is a speaker for that meal.
      4. The Association will provide complimentary meal tickets to distinguished guests at the discretion of the President, in consultation with the Conference Planning Committee Chair.

PART B CONFERENCE RESPONSIBILITIES

  1. President.
    1. Appoint the Chair and the members of the Conference Planning Committee. Serve as an ex officio member of the Conference Planning Committee.
    2. Select the theme and logo of the conference and keynote speaker and provide general guidance for the conference program.
    3. Prepare the conference budget in consultation with the Conference Planning Committee Chair and the Executive Director. Present the conference budget to the Board of Directors for approval. The conference budget process must incorporate setting fees for registration and exhibitors. The Board of Directors must approve these fees.
    4. Early in the fiscal year, convene an initial conference planning meeting with the Conference Planning Committee Chair, the Local Arrangement Chair(s), and the Executive Director, preferably at the conference site.
    5. The President is responsible for assuring that a resolution is written and presented at the final business meeting of the conference, thanking all those members who assisted with the conference. The President is also responsible for ensuring that, promptly after the close of the conference, thank you letters are sent on behalf of the Association to those individuals, firms, and organizations noted on the list compiled by the Conference Planning Committee Chair.
  2. Executive Director.
    1. Assist in preparing the conference budget in consultation with the President and the Conference Planning Committee Chair. Coordinate with the Conference Planning Committee Chair and the Local Arrangements Chair(s) on conference financial matters.
    2. Serve as an ex officio member of the Conference Planning Committee.
    3. Undertake primary responsibility for arranging exhibits, including the following tasks:
      1. Send a preliminary letter to potential exhibitors notifying them of time and place of conference.
      2. Send a second letter with fees and other particulars to potential exhibitors inviting them to exhibit.
      3. Invite convention decoration vendors to bid on supplying and decorating exhibit booths. Review the bids and make a recommendation to the Executive Committee, who will select a convention decorator. Make all necessary arrangements with the selected decorator to provide booths and assign exhibitors to booths.
      4. Collect fees from exhibitors and provide information as necessary.
      5. Coordinate with the local Exhibits Subcommittee to ensure that Registration Packets are provided to all exhibitors.
      6. Work with local Exhibits Subcommittee members to develop a work schedule that knowledgeable exhibits personnel are present when exhibits are set up, and during all times that the exhibits are open, to answer questions and assist as necessary. The Executive Director should fully inform the local Exhibits Subcommittee of all details regarding the exhibits so that they will be prepared to assist in this regard.
        1. Assist the Registration Subcommittee Chair in preparing the conference registration form.
    4. Coordinate with the Conference Planning Committee Chair and the Registration Subcommittee Chair to facilitate distribution of the Pre-Registration Packet.
    5. Provide the Registration Subcommittee Chair with a current membership list. Coordinate with the chair to make arrangements for handling membership dues that may be collected at the Registration Desk.
    6. Coordinate with the Conference Program Booklet Subcommittee Chair to make decisions on prices for advertising, deadlines, and other procedures regarding advertising in the booklet. Include this information in mailings to exhibitors. Forward exhibitor advertisements to the Conference Program Booklet Subcommittee Chair for inclusion in the booklet.
  3. Conference Planning Committee.
    1. In consultation with the President and the Local Arrangements Committee Chair(s), plan the overall conference schedule.
    2. Plan and coordinate conference continuing education workshops, seeking input from division chairs, interest group chairs, committee chairs, and others.
    3. Contact Division chairs to ascertain the size and type of room required for any separate division meeting, either business or program, whether it will include a meal, and of any special requirements, e.g., public address system, equipment, screens, and the like.
    4. Coordinate with the Local Arrangements Committee on all matters regarding the conference program and schedule.
    5. The chair is responsible for administering the conference budget in consultation with the Executive Director.
    6. No later than the first day of the conference, the chair is responsible for identifying and reporting to the President in writing all local arrangements workers and other members and individuals who assisted in any way with the conference as well as the names and addresses of individuals, firms, and organizations who made donations and/or extended courtesies to the Association in planning and implementing the conference.
  4. Local Arrangements Committee.  This is actually the Conference Planning Co-chairs
    1. Chair(s). Immediately upon being elected, the Vice President-President Elect should identify and seek a commitment from one or two members to serve as Conference Planning Co-Chairs for the annual conference, which will be held during his/her term of office. Input should be sought from the Executive Committee and/or the Board of Directors because it is likely the Board may have discussed potential Conference Planning Co-chairs when setting dates and locations for upcoming conferences. As part of the committee appointment process, the President officially appoints the Conference Planning Co-chairs. Conference Planning Co-chairs are responsible for facilitating and coordinating the work of all local arrangements subcommittees. The chairs serve as members of the Conference Planning Committee.
    2. Duties. Working under the direction of the Conference Planning Committee Co-Chairs, the Local Arrangements Subcommittees have the responsibility for making local arrangements for the annual conference. The chairs(s) should seek volunteers within the local community to take responsibility for executing the following functions as described in following sections: Registration, Meeting Rooms, Meals, Conference Program Booklet, Exhibits, Hospitality, and Publicity. These subcommittees should be organized and appointed by September 1. The chairs should inform the Conference Planning Committee Chairs and the President of the membership of these subcommittees by September 30.
  5. Registration Subcommittee. (Subcommittee should consist of several volunteers.)
    1. Prepare, print, and arrange for distributing the Pre-Registration Packet. Coordinate with the Conference Planning Committee Chair and Local Arrangements Subcommittee Chair(s) to obtain information to be included in the packet. (Much of the information in the Pre-Registration Packet appears again in some form in the Conference Program Booklet, there must be coordination with the persons responsible for producing that booklet.) Coordinate with the Conference Planning Committee Chair and the Executive Director to set the date for distributing the Pre-Registration Packet.
    2. Prepare the pre-registration form. Consult with the Executive Assistant. This form is included in the Pre-Registration Packet materials. We think this is usually just included on the regular registration form, correct?
    3. Be completely familiar with the conference refund policy. It will be strictly enforced.
    4. Be prepared to accept purchase orders. They are treated as pre-payment even if the check does not arrive until after the convention. The Executive Director will be responsible for securing payment on purchase orders. Send all monies collected to the Executive Assistant along with appropriate records.
    5. Prepare a file of envelopes for pre-registered persons with name tag, meal tickets, head table notices, if applicable, and a statement indicating amount due or marked pre-paid.
    6. Prepare nametags for all conference attendees, guests and exhibitors. The name of the individual, institution, company (if vendor) and city should be on the nametag. Arrange to include ribbons for ALA, MPLA, PNLA, ACRL and others in the individual’s envelope if requested to do so.
    7. In coordination with the Local Arrangements Committee Chair(s), select the place and definite hours for registration. This information should be included in the Pre-Registration Packet and in the Conference Program Booklet.
    8. Secure volunteers and schedule the staffing of the Registration Desk. The mornings of the first two days are usually the busiest. Be prepared to collect and account for all monies taken in at the conference. Coordinate with the Executive Director to arrange for handling membership dues that may be collected at the Registration Desk. Arrange with the Executive Director to have change available. Request necessary equipment, furniture, and signs from the Meeting Rooms Subcommittee Chair.
    9. Keep a record of names and addresses of all conference registrants and pertinent registration statistics.
  6. Meeting Rooms and Equipment Subcommittee.
    1. Work with the Conference Planning Committee Chair and conference hotel to schedule rooms for conference activities. A room should be set aside as a Conference Office.
    2. Make arrangements to provide all needed audiovisual, sound and computer equipment. Check to see that equipment is in working order before each meeting.
    3. Make and post signs for all meetings and workshops.
    4. Assign committee member(s) to be present at each session to check that rooms are properly equipped and that signs are properly placed outside workshop room.
    5. Arrange to provide a copy machine, computer, and printer for use in the Conference Office.
  7. Meals Subcommittee.
    1. Work with the conference hotel to select menus and make arrangements for all conference meal functions, including coffee breaks and social functions held at the conference hotel. Coordinate with the Conference Planning Committee Chair on scheduling.
    2. Set prices for meals. Provide a brief menu description and price for each meal function to the Registration Subcommittee for inclusion in the Pre-Registration Packet. It is strongly recommended that meal prices be set as early as possible to lock in prices.
    3. Prepare and print meal tickets for each ticketed meal function. Coordinate with the Registration Subcommittee Chair to determine the date by which tickets are needed. Deliver tickets to the Registration Subcommittee Chair.
    4. Take tickets at meals and report the count to Conference Planning Co-Chairs.
  8. Conference Program Booklet Subcommittee.
    1. Design Conference Program Booklet. Coordinate with the Conference Planning Committee Chairs, the Local Arrangements Subcommittee Chair(s), and the President about the information to be included in the program booklet.
    2. Coordinate with the Executive Director to make decisions on prices for advertising, deadlines, and other procedures regarding advertising in the booklet. The Executive Director will provide this information in mailings to exhibitors. Contact local business for advertisements in booklet. Receive exhibitor advertisement information from the Executive Assistant. Include advertisements in the design and layout of booklet.
    3. Make arrangements to have the booklets printed and delivered to the Hospitality Subcommittee for stuffing in the Conference Registration Packets.
  9. Exhibits Subcommittee.
    1. The Executive Director has primary responsibility for arranging conference exhibits. However, a local committee is needed to assist him/her.
    2. Local Exhibits Subcommittee members should be present when exhibits are set up, and during all times that the exhibits are open, to answer questions and assist as necessary. Therefore, the Executive Director should fully inform the local Exhibits Subcommittee of all details regarding the exhibits so that they will be prepared to assist in this regard.
    3. The Exhibits Subcommittee should coordinate with the Hospitality Subcommittee and the Executive Director to ensure that Registration Packets are prepared for and provided to all exhibitors.
  10. Hospitality Subcommittee.
    1. Prepare a list of local restaurants for inclusion in Conference Registration Packets.
    2. Make arrangements for a message board for use by conference participants. Make arrangements for and staff a hospitality table to provide assistance and information about the local community to conference participants. A table may also be included for other groups, such as MLA Interest Groups wishing to post brochures/information near the hospitality table. These should be located in the registration area. Request necessary equipment, furniture, and signs from the Meeting Rooms Subcommittee Chair.
    3. Gather "favors" and/or brochures and other material from local businesses and/or libraries and/or exhibitors for inclusion in the Conference Registration Packets.
    4. In consultation with the Local Arrangements Committee Chair(s), select and purchase suitable folders or other receptacle to serve as Conference Registration Packets.
    5. Receive all material for the Conference Registration Packets and make arrangements to stuff the packets prior to the conference. Deliver stuffed packets to the Registration Subcommittee. Coordinate these activities with the Registration Subcommittee.
    6. Work with the Executive Director and local Exhibits Subcommittee to prepare and provide Registration Packets for exhibitors.
    7. Work with Conference Planning Committee Chair to prepare and provide Registration Packets for all speakers.
    8. Make arrangements for any entertainment that may be required, coordinating with the Conference Planning Committee Chair on content and scheduling.
    9. Make arrangements for any decorations that may be required for conference activities and for which no other identifiable group has responsibility.
    10. If necessary, provide transportation for speakers, workshop presenters, and/or conference participants.
    11. Plan and make arrangements for tours of interest to conference participants. Coordinate with the Conference Planning Committee Chair on scheduling.
    12. Take tickets at workshops, if necessary.
    13. Prepare and post a sign in the registration area thanking those businesses, organizations or members of the community who assisted with the conference in any way.
  11. Publicity Subcommittee.
    1. In late summer or early fall, send conference information to national and regional library publications.
    2. Prior to the conference, send press releases to local radio stations, television stations, and newspapers. Coordinate with local media who may wish to visit and report on the conference.
    3. Prior to the conference, send press releases to statewide newspapers, highlighting major speakers and programs.
    4. At the conclusion of the conference, prepare and distribute press releases reporting on the conference.
    5. In preparing press releases for newspaper, make special mention of Association officers and conference speakers from the geographical area of each newspaper’s readership.
    6. The Conference Planning Committee Chairs are the authoritative source for all information about the conference and should be noted in all press releases as the contact for further information.