Conference Proposal Submission Information

Thank you for your interest in submitting a program proposal for the Reaching Forward Conference. This document will provide the information you need to submit your proposal. 

All conference programs are 60-minute sessions, which can feature a single speaker or a panel of speakers, or a guided audience discussion or activity.

If you have any questions, please contact Cyndi Robinson at

Speaker Expectations

1. Read and respond to requests for information in a timely manner
2. Submit session handouts electronically prior to conference.
3. Present the program that is described in your program proposal.

Submitting Your Proposal

You will be asked to provide the following information about your proposed session:

  1. Speaker(s) information
  2. Program title and description

  3. Program Track

  4. Speaker qualifications to speak on your topic

  5. Learning outcomes for attendees

  6. Room setup, preferred time of day

  7. Program experience level and format

  8. Additional information you’d like to share with the committee

Step 1: Search for Speaker Information

Have you presented a session at a past Reaching Forward Conference or ILA Annual Conference? If so, your information should already be in our system. Before you create a new record for yourself or any additional speaker(s), you can save time by searching for existing contact information from previous conferences. Please enter a Last Name, Email Address, or Company/Library Name in the text boxes below and click Search. If you do not have an existing record, you will be prompted to create one after your search.

Step 2: Submit Primary Speaker/Organizer Information

If you have an existing record from a previous conference, please confirm that your information is correct. If you are creating a new record, you will submit the following information.

Required Fields: First Name, Last Name, Email, Institution, Address, City, State, Zip, Phone, Title

Is an honorarium requested?

Conference speakers who are employed by or a trustee of a library (academic, public, school, special), a library agency, or library school located in the State of Illinois are not eligible to receive an honorarium.

  • YES
  • NO

If yes, what is the requested honorarium?

Step 3: Abstract Information

Program Title
While creative and interesting session titles help capture the attention of both the proposal review committee and prospective conference attendees, be sure that your title clearly communicates your topic.

Program Abstract
In 100 words or less, describe your session using the guidelines below. Try to get to the core of what your session is about, while making it sound informative and interesting. If accepted, this copy will appear in the final program listing on the conference website, in the conference app, and in the conference program book. Direct this description to conference attendees, not to the review committee. Additional background information about your proposal can be entered later in the submission process. 

  • Do not include presenter's names or biographical information; speakers will be listed separately.
  • Do not use abbreviations or acronyms

  • Sessions cannot be an advertisement for a vendor or demonstration of a vendor-provided product or service. Specific products or services may be described if essential for understanding a session's topic. Library staff who use the product or service must participate in the presentation.

Program Track
Please select a primary track for your abstract. The Conference Program Committee reserves the right to change primary program tracks or list programs in additional tracks.

If you are submitting a program proposal focusing on any aspect of serving youth, please submit it in the Youth and Young Adult Services track. 

Advocacy and Funding Marketing and Outreach
Collections and Technical Services Personal and Professional Development
Community Engagement and Customer Service Programming
Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Reference and Readers’ Advisory
Human Resources Technology
Ignite Sessions Wellness
Leadership and Management Youth and Young Adult Services       

How are the proposed speakers qualified to speak on this topic? Have they presented on this topic before?

Learning Outcomes

Please identify three (3) learning outcomes for your session. Learning outcomes should use active verbs, be measurable, and state what the participants should know or be able to do after attending your session. Learning outcomes should not simply repeat topics that will be addressed or activities that will take place during the session. Phrase each learning outcome as a completion of this sentence: “At the end of this session, participants will…”

Preferred Program Time of Day

We will attempt to honor requests, but there is no guarantee you will receive your requested time.

  • No Preference
  • AM Preferred
  • PM Preferred

Program Level

  • Beginner (little to no experience with the topic)
  • Intermediate (some experience with the topic)
  • Advanced (expertise in the topic)

Is there any additional information you'd like the committee to have about this program? 

Please enter any additional comments here.

Step 4: Submit Additional Speaker Information

You will repeat the process in Steps 1 and 2. 

Step 5: Submit Your Program

You will receive an email confirmation with login information for the Abstract Service Center. 

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