Committee Spotlight - Conference Program Committee, 2022September 8, 2022
Did you know that ILA has an annual conference every October?? (gosh, we hope so! And hope to see you there!) The Conference Planning Committee is a fabulous group of librarians who come together to help ILA staff make the annual conference happen every year.
Starting 16 months before the event, members and co-chairs are selected and quickly get together to brainstorm goals, topics, trends, and agendas that coalesce into the conference theme and tagline. Meetings are held to discuss speaker and program ideas, choose the logo, and plan any conference activities. During this process, members of the committee carefully consider not only the state of libraries but also feedback from immediate past conferences and visions and projections for the future. The 2022 Conference Planning Committee had the special responsibility and privilege of doing all of this as planners for the first in-person annual ILA Conference since 2019!
Since the single goal of this committee is the creation and facilitation of the annual conference, the members are appointed and terms are for a single conference planning cycle. The members of this committee all bring years of experience and a vast array of knowledge, connections, and resources to the table and every meeting is filled with good discussion, compromises, and collegiality. Various subcommittees work on things like the call for programs and poster sessions, speaker education and support, and conference ambiance and extras. Once the program proposals are in, the committee evaluates all the submissions on a numbered rubric, then meets to hammer out the finer details and make arguments for the merits of the various programs. Committee members volunteer to take the lead on programs and speakers that need follow up, suggest proposal combinations, refine focus, and do whatever else is necessary to fill three full days of robust conference sessions. ILA staff, Board liaisons, and the co-chairs work to select and coordinate with keynote speakers, and report on the activities of the committee.
As of this August writing, the committee has mostly finished its tasks and will meet once or twice to finalize plans prior to conference. Members will be in attendance and visible at conference sessions and events and then hand the reins over to the wonderful, all new 2023 Conference Planning Committee, already hard at work planning the ILA annual conference in Springfield.
This committee spotlight was written by Heidi Knuth, Co-chair of the Conference Program Committee, 2022 and assistant department head for youth services at the Bloomingdale Public Library.