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2.0 Program Committee

The Program Committee, in cooperation with the Convention Manager, is responsible for preparing the programs for annual meetings and for conducting all business concerning these programs.

The Committee consists of five regular members: the current Chair (usually appointed 2-3 years in advance of the meeting), the next year’s Chair, a representative of the Special Committees, a representative of the Round Tables, and a representative of the Membership-at-Large.  In addition, the committee includes the following ex officio members: the past Chair, the liaison from the Board, a representative of the Education Committee, Chair of the Local Arrangements Committee (LAC), and the Convention Manager (CM).  The Program Chair works closely with the Chair of the Education Committee in coordinating pre-conference workshops.

The Program Committee reports directly to the Board of the Association. The Program Chair prepares an Operating Budget (i.e., for Committee operational expenses that members’ institutions are unable to absorb) for the Committee and submits it to the Finance Committee for approval at the May/June meeting of the Board.  The Board approves a budget for speaker honoraria at the February meeting.  Following the program proposal review process, the Program Committee Chair confirms the amount needed for speaker fees (including travel and room for plenary session speakers and honoraria for non-MLA speakers at plenary and other program sessions) and notifies the Finance Committee Chair and to the CM.  In late April/early May, the CM will request final Convention Budgets from the Program Committee, the Local Arrangements 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 May/June meeting.

The CM is responsible for meeting room assignments as well as negotiating the arrangements and expenses for audio-visual equipment and refreshments with the hotel.

See the Administrative Handbook of the Music Library Association, section .H.6 for the Charge, Membership and Procedures and Policies of the Program



The timeline in this calendar is approximate; the Convention Manager will issue a calendar with precise dates, in coordination with the current MLA Calendar.




2 yrs before Conference

Program committee formed (the next year's chair may be appointed 3 years earlier)


One month before Fall Board Meeting (1 year, 7 months before the Conference)

Report to the Board on the tentative calendar for the program proposal/review process, and include and concerns about the process that the committee might have.

Work with the web site editor(s) to insure that the online proposal/review forms will be updated and ready to use by early the following March.

One month before the Winter Board Meeting (13 months before the conference

An updated report should be submitted to the Board, outlining the timetable for requesting and reviewing proposals and requesting business meetings.

Early March before the conference

Notify the membership when the online program proposal form will be available and the final date for submitting proposals for program sessions (usually late April); include a reminder that a call for business meetings will follow.


Early April preceding the conference

Notify the membership when the online form for requesting business meetings is available, as well as the final date for requesting business meetings.

May preceding the conference

Review and discuss all proposals received; decide which proposals will be accepted, and which will be plenary sessions.  Prepare estimate of speaker costs for the Finance Committee and CM

1 month before June Board Meeting (8-9 months before the Conference)

Submit an Operating Budget for the coming year’s operational expenses to the Fiscal Officer (by the established deadline).  This budget is for committee operating expenses, not for conference speaker expenses.

Submit the Program Committee's portion of the convention budget to the Convention Manager to submit to the Finance Committee at the Fall Board Meeting for final approval.

Report to the Board, including highlights of planned plenary sessions and other program activities.

Within 2 weeks following the June Board meeting

After receiving notification that conference speaker expenses have been approved by the Board, notify those who proposed sessions of the status of their proposals, as well as what equipment will be available for their presentations.


2 months before Fall Board Meeting (6-7 months before the Conference)

Send the draft program, along with equipment needs to the Convention Manager.

1 month before Fall Board Meeting (5-6 months before the Conference)

The draft program is due to the President and the Board.  This schedule will show all the scheduled events, including committee meetings, program and plenary sessions, with all speakers and social events.

1 week after the Fall Board Meeting

After discussing any changes proposed by the Board, finalize the draft schedule and send it to the LAC to mount on the conference web site.

Send the list of non-MLA speakers (with addresses) to the  Administrative Officer and request that each speaker be e-mailed registration and hotel information.

1 month after the Fall Board Meeting

Consult with the CM regarding the room assignments for the various meetings and receptions and insert them into the schedule.


4-6 weeks before the conference

Send Request for Payment forms to the Administrative Officer for each speaker honorarium (one form per check).  Verify the RFP timing with the AO; s/he will bring the checks to the conference so they can be given to the speakers onsite.

Date to be determined in consultation with the Business Office

Make the final corrections or additions on the final program and send it to the MLA Business Office.

Opening day of the conference

In the morning, meet with the CM, ACM, and LAC Chair

During the Conference

Be present at all plenary sessions, at least 15 minutes before the session is due to start.  Make sure all speakers and equipment are present.  Be available to assist with any sessions that may be problematic, especially those with complex equipment or set-up arrangements.  On the last day of the conference be available for the Joint Conference Planning Meeting (see Convention Calendar for specific date).

Within 6 weeks of the conference

Gather all requests for reimbursements (hotel, travel, etc.; honoraria have already been paid) from speakers and submit them to the Convention Manager for payment.




 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.


I. Program Ideas

II. Program Schedule

III. Equipment and Meeting Room Assignments

IV. Fees and invitations to speakers

V. Board Meetings

VI. Schedule for Receptions, Banquets, Luncheons, Hospitality Suite, Concert

VII. Business Meeting, User Group Meetings, Chapter meetings

VIII. Producing the Program: content of conference events and program




Proposals for plenary, poster, and other program sessions are received from committees and from the membership-at-large.  The proposals are reviewed by the voting members of the program committee and the committee is authorized to decide which sessions are accepted.  Program committees 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 space is available for program sessions.

Pre-conference workshops are not reviewed by the Program Committee.  The “Hot Topics” session is not reviewed, but the Committee Chair should consult with the Education Committee to determine if the committee plans to sponsor the session; the same is true for the “BCC News Hour” (although, ideally, both the Education Committee and BCC will request these programs if they plan to hold the sessions).  Because they are already reviewed, Best of Chapter papers are not reviewed by the Program Committee.  The Program Chair may need to verify that the sessions are planned.



The main programs of the conference take place from Wednesday afternoon to Saturday afternoon. MLA coordinates its meetings with MOUG, which usually holds theirs prior to MLA (Tuesday afternoon/evening through Wednesday afternoon; the MOUG Board meets Tuesday morning).  Other pre- or post-conference workshops may be sponsored by the Education Committee of MLA.  Pre-conferences are generally held on Wednesdays and post-conferences on Sunday afternoons.  The LAC may arrange local tours, generally held on Tuesday or Wednesday.

There are two to three plenary sessions, and no other sessions should conflict with them.  If possible, committee business meetings and round table discussion meetings should be scheduled during contiguous blocks of time.  User Group meetings generally are scheduled during an afternoon.  Evenings are reserved for Chapter meetings (Thursday evening), receptions, concerts, and the banquet.

Use the previous year's program as a guide for your program schedule. The program chair should keep in mind the need for breaks and mealtimes.  The length of the plenary session is generally 1-1/2 to 2 hours long, and committee meetings should not exceed 1-1/2 hours in length.  The Program Committee/Chair will suggest a schedule and rooms for program sessions; the CM will make all other room assignments, including committee meetings. 

Determine any schedule conflicts from the forms submitted by Chairs and the administrative structure and try to resolve them. The BCC meetings schedule can be tricky, and it probably is best simply to carry the schedule over from year to year.  There will be times when the CM must choose between scheduling groups against one another: that’s life.

Schedule a 30-minute morning and afternoon break, and a 30-minute lunch period, to allow members to visit Exhibits.

During the scheduling process, the Program Chair 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.



A standard equipment setup will be requested by the CM.  This includes video display and audio connections..  Live internet connections usually are available.  Playback equipment for CDs and DVDs will not be provided, nor will computing equipment.  Presenters should bring their own portable computers, as well as any adapters needed to connect to the provided setup.

The Chair of the Automation Subcommittee coordinates User Group sessions.  Decide whether to coordinate User Group requests yourself, or make sure the Chair of the Automation Subcommittee provides you with complete information regarding the meeting space requirements for these groups. (This may be changing – stay tuned to the Committee Structure Task Force reports.)

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



Non-MLA speakers for plenary sessions may receive an honorarium as well as lodging and transportation costs, if necessary (see below). Each non-MLA speakers on program sessions may receive an honorarium of up to $250; no transportation or lodging costs are provided.  Estimates of these fees must be provided to the Fiscal Officer prior to the June Board meeting.  Generally, the fees are paid from the convention budget, thus affecting the registration fee, but if any are extraordinary (for example, inviting a well-known speaker for a plenary session), the Board may choose to supplement the convention budget from other funds and needs to make this decision during the June meeting.  If possible, finding local speakers is encouraged to eliminate any transportation and accommodation expenses. If this is not feasible, lodging and the least expensive reasonable mode of transportation may be requested through the convention budget [SEE Board Minutes, 6/92, p. 12] for plenary sessions only.  If the Program Chair is expecting this expense, it should be submitted to the Board by the June meeting for approval.

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 Program Chair may not offer an honorarium to speakers until after the June Board meeting.  If there is a panel of speakers, the Moderator of the panel will be the contact person for the invited speakers.

Non-MLA speakers are to be provided with name tags 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 name tags be made.  Non-MLA speakers are welcome to attend program sessions at no charge (not including banquet). 




1.   The Finance Committee and Board Planning Group normally meet Monday afternoon.

2.   The full Board begins its meetings Tuesday morning (generally at 9 am).  The Board may also have a Tuesday evening meeting as well.  The schedule is as follows:

Monday, 1 pm-6 pm – Finance Committee (may have evening session as well) and Board Planning Group (2 rooms needed)

Tuesday 9 am-10 pm – Full Board Meeting

Wednesday 8:30 am-12:30 pm – Full Board Meeting

Sunday 9 am-noon – Full Board Meeting

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).

Generally the Planning and Reports Gatherers convene a meeting of the Committee Chairs and Roundtable Coordinators, usually a Friday-morning hosted breakfast.  The President-Elect/Past President hosts a breakfast meeting for Chapter Chairs, Web Site Editors, and Newsletter Editors, also on Friday morning.  Both breakfasts are subject to the availability of funding.

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.



The following receptions are scheduled:


First-time Attendees/New Members Forum and Buffet: held Wednesday evening from 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm.  This includes a buffet of substantial hors d’oeuvres and non-alcoholic beverages.

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.

President's Reception (not always held at the discretion of the MLA President) and Donors' Reception: If this reception takes place, it is Friday (or Thursday) night from 9 pm to 11 pm, in the President’s suite, if possible.  This reception is by invitation to everyone with official MLA responsibilities, including all committee members, chairs, representatives, editors, coordinators, etc.  The President and Development Officer may also host a donor’s reception prior to the Opening Reception (Wednesday).  This reception is by special invitation, held in the Presidential Suite and is neither included in the conference program nor posted on the hotel directory of events.

Local Arrangements Reception: If held, this event may be on Thursday (or Friday) night, coordinated not to conflict with the evening of the President’s Reception.  Sometimes this reception may occur after an event (e.g., a concert or lecture) sponsored by the Local Arrangements Committee.  Consult the chair of the LAC about the time.  This event is often held outside the hotel.  LACs are not obligated to plan a reception, and the event should be considered in the context of other attractions in the conference venue. 

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.  LACs frequently are asked to help find local sources from which to borrow stands, percussion, and other large instruments.  A piano will be needed.

Banquet: The banquet is normally held on Saturday, at the end of the conference.  A no-host cocktail hour (unless a host could be found) precedes the banquet (7:00 pm to 8:00 pm).  It has been customary for the MLA Big Band to perform during the cocktail hour.  The banquet is held from 8:00 pm to 11 pm, and often includes music for dancing or other kinds of entertainment, provided by the Local Arrangements Committee.

Breakfast: Hosted breakfasts include: the Chapter Folks’ breakfast (Chapter Chairs, Web Site Editors, and Newsletter Editors) and the Committee Chairs and Roundtable Coordinators breakfast; both are By Invitation. The Chapter Folks’ breakfast is hosted by the Chapter Liaison (either the Vice-President or the Past-President) and is held Friday morning.  The CC and RT Coordinators breakfast is also held on Friday.

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.

Concert: There may be one evening concert, generally sponsored by the Local Arrangements Committee in conjunction with the Local Arrangements Reception.  The concert generally takes place outside the hotel.  The LAC is responsible for making transportation arrangements.



Business Meeting: held on Saturday, 4-6 pm, at the conclusion of the conference, before the banquet.

User Group Meetings: held simultaneously, during an afternoon.  The Automation Subcommittee Chair is the Coordinator for User Groups and should keep track of which groups are still active.  The Program Chair receives the information from the Chair of the Automation Subcommittee for inclusion in the Program booklet.


Chapter Meetings: Chapters are invited to hold a meeting Thursday evening.  Coordinate the schedule with the Convention Manager.  The Chapter Liaison (President-Elect/Past President) should be in close contact with the chapters to determine which plan to meet in the hotel.

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 should be located near the registration tables. Also consult with the CM, who will try to make a small meeting room available throughout the conference for prospective employers to hold private interviews with applicants. Usually, the Placement Service and Resume Review Service are willing to share a table.  Resume reviewers appreciate a small room, if it is available, but are willing to find their own meeting spaces.


PRODUCING THE PROGRAM: format, layout, and final program

Use previous year's program as guideline for layout.

After the Fall Board Meeting, the Board liaison will convey comments to the Program Committee Chair.  The final draft of the program is submitted as a PDF to the Local Arrangements Committee to post on the conference web site.  Any updated files (for example, after room assignments are finalized) also are sent to the LAC.

The final program 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 Convention Manager 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 sessions are in double boxes, and Ask MLA sessions are in single boxes; both have bold typeface.  The President and the Board must approve changes to this format.