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Interest Group Leader Resources: Planning and Presenting Programs
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Tips on Planning and Presenting Programs

Conference programs

Interest Groups are encouraged to submit at least one conference program proposal each year to ensure that the conference remains vital and relevant to members. Proposals should be submitted via the official conference program proposal process. For assistance in developing a program for conference, please email contact our Interest Group Liaison.

Spring Fling

CLA’s Spring Fling comprises a series of professional development and networking programs that are presented by Interest Groups during the spring months. If you would like to present a Spring Fling program, please look out for the call for proposals that is issued during the summer, and plan to take advantage of conference to plan your programs.

Tips on planning and presenting programs

Below are some tips and guidelines to help you plan and present Interest Group programs. Selected content is taken and/or adapted from the CARL Interest Group Programming Planning Manual.

Preliminary planning
In-person programs
Working with speakers
On the day


Allow a minimum of three months to plan your event (and if possible allow more time). The longer you have to plan, the more likely it is that your event will be successful.

If you need to apply for funds from CLA, allow time to prepare your application and for your application to be reviewed by CLA’s Interest Group Committee. We recommend submitting a funding application at least 12 weeks before your scheduled activity. Please remember that, depending on workload, it can take CLA's tech team up to two weeks to create a program registration form.

Preliminary planning

Involve Interest Group members in the program planning process. If your members are involved in planning your programs they’re more likely to be engaged with your group.

  • Find out what kind of programs are most popular with your group. Some possibilities include training workshops, panel discussion programs, author events, cultural events (such as visits to local places of interest), social evenings, and online book discussion programs.
  • Find out how your group would prefer to attend programs, e.g. by webinar or in-person?
  • Draw on the collective knowledge of the group to find out about good speakers and good venues for programs.

Consider the following as you start to plan your program:

  • Decide on the nature and topic of your program and who your intended audience is.
  • Is your program better suited as a webinar or an on-ground program?
  • Would you like your program to be part of CLA’s Spring Fling program series or should it be presented at another time of the year?
  • Would be valuable to partner with another group to present your program?
  • Decide on speakers, a program date, time, and location.
  • Decide where, how, and when you will publicize your event.
  • Assign someone to take notes at the program and write it up in publications such as your, CLA’s, or the hosting venue’s newsletter.
  • Notify CLA’s Interest Group Liaison of your intention to present a program and, if appropriate, your intention to apply for funds. This will help us to help you plan your program, submit your funding application, develop and manage your program registration, and avoid scheduling conflicts with other groups.
  • Work with CLA staff to develop a policy statement regarding (a) whether advance registration is required, (b) the registration deadline, (c) whether registration fees can be refunded under any circumstances (and, if so, what the deadline is for refunds) and (d) the minimum number of registrations required for the program to take place.
  • Keep a record of your planning activities to help with submitting reports to CLA and planning programs in the future.


  • Interest Group programs should be cost-neutral and, if possible, generate a profit to strengthen the association and enable us to present more programs in the future.
  • Where possible, try to get your program costs donated as in-kind contributions or through sponsorship.
  • Any program costs must be covered by registration income.
  • When budgeting, assume 3/4 of your expected attendance and assume all attendees will register at the lowest registration fee.
  • CLA staff are available to provide assistance with setting registration fees to help you recoup program costs, generate a profit, and provide member benefits.


  • Publicize your programs often and widely. Typically, each time a program is promoted, new registrations come in.
  • Ensure that, at a minimum, you promote your event via CALIX, the CLA website, Facebook, Twitter, your Interest Group listserv and web page, libraries local to your event, and the local regional library system.
  • Create flyers and announcements that are catchy and easy to read. Feel free to use CLA's program flyer template to get started.
  • Include endorsements from previous events to highlight the quality of your programs.
  • Always include the appropriate logos and acknowledgements in your publicity, e.g., CLA’s logo and any partner logos. If in doubt, please consult with CLA staff to ensure that the correct logos are being used.
  • Place the registration deadline on all publicity.

In-person programs

Room set up

  • How will the room be set up? Theater style? Chairs and tables arranged for small group discussions?
  • Will the room be set up when you arrive or will you have to do this?
  • Create a welcoming and interesting space: consider displaying books and other items relating to the topic of the program.

A/V and other presentation equipment. Will you need:

  • A computer and projector?
  • Microphones?
  • A white board/easel or similar?


  • Create a photo release form (CLA staff can provide you with a template) so that you and CLA can use photos from your event to publicize your work.
  • Assign someone to take photos at the event and someone to ensure that photo releases are signed.


  • Ensure that refreshments are included in your project budget and are ordered in advance.


  • If needed, ensure that handouts are prepared in advance of the program and included in your program budget.
  • Where possible, try to save costs and help the environment by making handouts available online rather than giving them out at the program.


  • Work with CLA's Interest Group liaison to arrange for program evaluations to be emailed to attendees following the program.

Information for attendees

  • Provide registrants with directions, parking details, and any other information that will help them attend your event.


  • Clarify with CLA staff whether an archived version of the webinar will be made available (and if so, who it will be available to).
  • Plan a time for you and your speakers to run through your program with CLA staff to avoid technical hitches.
  • On the day of the webinar, arrive at least 20 minutes ahead of the start time to test the technology.
  • If possible, select a speaker who has an engaging voice and speaks with energy and enthusiasm.
  • Ensure that your speakers are familiar with webinar presenting etiquette.
  • Work with CLA staff to ensure that attendees receive an evaluation form.

Working with speakers*

  • Confirm in writing the program date, time, sponsor(s), location, title, and length, and the subject and length of the talk.
  • If you plan to videotape the program, ensure that you have agreement from the speaker(s), and let the speaker(s) know why you are recording and where the recording will be available. For example, will it be recorded for archival purposes? Will it be made freely available online or available only to select audiences?
  • Tell the speaker(s) about the venue: the size of the room, the anticipated audience size, and the anticipated expertise level of the audience.
  • Encourage the speaker(s) to make handouts available electronically to help cut costs and be environmentally friendly.
  • Ensure that you know what a/v equipment the speaker will need.
  • If you have multiple speakers, confirm a presentation order with all speakers.
  • Ask your speaker(s) to submit their bio and PowerPoint presentation (if one is being used) two weeks before the program, and test the file on the equipment you will use.
  • If you have multiple speakers, ensure that each person’s talk is circulated to the other speakers to avoid duplication.
  • Provide speaker(s) with an address, directions, and parking information for the venue and hotel (if appropriate), and all relevant contact information.
  • Ensure that your speaker(s) knows how to get into the venue—especially if, for example, the program is taking place in a library at a time when the building is not open to the public.
  • Arrange airport pick-up and other rides, if needed.
  • If the program will be videotaped, provide speakers with the following information (provided by Dan Theobald, Principal Consultant, i2i Communications):
    • Wear solid colored clothing rather than plaids, stripes, herringbone, or anything tightly patterned as these can “shimmer” on camera. It is also better to avoid pure black and white. Dangly jewelry (earrings, bracelets) can be a visual distraction as well as cause noises that can get picked up by the microphone and distort the audio, so these should also be avoided.
    • If you will be using a small lavaliere microphone, this is likely to be clipped at approximately clavicle level, so avoid smooth-front clothing where there is nothing to clip to, such as t-shirts and turtlenecks. A button-front shirt and jacket is ideal. The lavaliere also has a small wireless transmitter which is typically clipped to a belt or put in a jacket or pants pocket so presenters should avoid dresses with nothing at or around the waist to attach or put the microphone transmitter in).

* See CLA's policies on program expenses for full information on speaker honoraria, travel reimbursements, contracts, and related items.


Consider presenting your program with a partner:

  • Partners can publicize the program to their networks and open up your program, your Interest Group, and CLA to a wider audience.
  • Partners might share program costs either by donating funds or sharing resources, such as a speaker or venue.
  • Your partner can become a part of your professional network and contribute to your personal professional development.

Some things to keep in mind when working with a partner:

  • Before embarking on the partnership, think about how you and your partner will each benefit from the relationship and try to ensure that these benefits are realized.
  • Communication is the key to a successful partnership: communicate clearly and often, make yourself available, and keep your partner up-to-date with developments.
  • To avoid misunderstanding and to help with planning, follow-up after meetings with a brief email confirming the content of the meeting.
  • Communicate early about any difficulties so you have time to problem-solve.
  • Consider drawing up a partnership agreement describing the terms of the partnership, and the expectations of each partner.
  • After the event, thank your partners publicly and privately, keep them notified of your group’s activities, and add yourself to their mailing list.
  • If the partnership worked for both of you, plan to work together again!

On the day

  • Make sure that at least one program organizer who knows what’s happening and can look after the speaker, arrives early.
  • Put up signs directing attendees to the program.
  • Set up a registration table where people can sign in, get a name badge, pick up CLA membership materials, and sign the photo release form.
  • Have nametags prepared in advance.
  • Have a receipt book ready for people who are paying at the door.
  • Ensure you collect everyone’s name, affiliation, and email for later CLA membership purposes.
  • Have a program organizer on duty who can answer questions about the program.
  • Have CLA membership information available, and be ready to answer questions about membership. (CLA staff can provide you with information and talking points prior to your program.)
  • When introducing the program, credit CLA, your Interest Group, and any other partners as the sponsors of the program. Thank the program host, the speakers, and anyone else who should be recognized.
  • Let the audience know the value of CLA membership. (CLA staff can provide you with talking points prior to your program.)
  • Monitor the length of the talk(s) to ensure that the program does not run over.
  • Hand out evaluation forms and ask attendees to leave them at a designated spot.
  • Remember to take photos!


  • Transcribe evaluations and send them (as appropriate) to the hosting site, the presenters, and program partners. Include the evaluations in your semi-annual activity reports to CLA.
  • Privately thank the presenters, the hosting site, your partners, others involved in planning the program.
  • Review the evaluations to see how you might improve your programs in the future.
  • Publicize your event to your group and to the wider library community. For example, write it up for CLA’s, your Interest Group’s and/or the hosting organization’s newsletter and add photos to your CLA web page.
  • Send photos to CLA for inclusion on our Facebook page and in other publicity materials.