The Local Arrangements Committee (LAC) is comprised of volunteer local music librarians, other interested librarians, or library staff members. The chair (or co-chairs) of LAC is (are) appointed by the President of MLA. Typically, the Committee should have at least five members, but can consist of a dozen or more.
Since 2011, MLA has been working with Sandy DiMinno of HelmsBriscoe to assist in site selection. HelmsBriscoe can take advantage of its national network to identify hotels within a given geographic region that have appropriate facilities to host MLA’s meeting. They also work within the industry and know which contract points are negotiable.
Invitations and expressions of interest are welcome: although there may be local interest in hosting MLA, the hotel situation may mean MLA has to look elsewhere. Local and chapter willingness to host are significant factors in deciding on a location for the conference, and local MLA members are consulted during the site selection process. When a contract has been signed, the MLA President will work with local members and the regional chapter to appoint the LAC Chair/Co-chair and members of the committee.
1. Hosting a reception and/or concert (or special event) is optional and is contingent on sufficient fundraising
2. In consultation with the CM, select banquet menu and arrange for banquet entertainment.
3. Provide local information for conference packet.
4. Work with the MLA Development Officer to plan a fundraising strategy for the conference.
5. With the Development Officer, determine whether to canvass local businesses/institutions for contributions to support LAC or general conference activities/events.
6. Assemble a list of local music firms that may be interested in exhibiting or advertising at the conference for the Assistant Convention Manager (ACM).
7. Design the conference logo, which will appear on the conference web site, the program cover, and will be incorporated into conference signage.
8. Advise the Big Band of resources available for securing stands, instruments, etc., locally.
9. Prepare conference packets (including local map, activities guide, and restaurant guide, and any advertiser inserts).
10. Add materials received for the Conference Pack Insert Service to packets.
11. Staff registrationdesk and assist MLA Business Office with registration process.
12. Arrange for local tours and transportation needs including transportation to receptions, concerts, and other events outside the conference hotel (N.b.: costs must be covered by add-on fees or donations).
13. In consultation with the MLA President, invite local dignitaries to welcome the conference attendees.
14. Provide names/addresses of local newspapers and radio stations to the Publicity Officer.
15. Working with the MLA Web Editor, design, and maintain the web site for conference information, including a link to online hotel reservations (if such service is available from the hotel).
If the LAC is large enough, it is a good idea to delegate specific tasks to a member of the Committee, or to form subcommittees with assigned responsibilities; e.g., delegate responsibilities for the banquet and entertainment to a member or subcommittee, or assign one member or subcommittee to raise funds and/or solicit exhibitors/advertisers. In addition, the responsibility for accuracy and currency of information on the conference web site should be clearly assigned within the LAC, and one member of the LAC should be appointed the official liaison to the MLA Business Office to help coordinate activities at the registration desk.
Check the current year MLA Calendar for exact deadlines; these are approximate dates only. The Convention Manager (CM) will also have a calendar with dates for the overall schedule.
The Convention Managers work with HelmsBriscoe to locate suitable hotels. If local/LAC members are available, the Convention Managers try to meet with them during the hotel inspection visit. See Appendix 6.2 for typical specifications for an MLA annual conference.
The MLA Administrative Officer determines if the association’s tax-exempt number is valid for the state in which the meeting is to be held. Tax-exempt status can save MLA several thousand dollars in sales tax; however, many states do not have tax-exempt status for national nonprofit organizations like MLA.
Gather information as early as possible in order to make appropriate decisions. Depending upon your planning resources, you may sponsor commercial tours, destination company-sponsored tours (which can be tailored to your needs, unlike a regularly scheduled commercial tour), or LAC-organized tours, such as a jazz pub crawl or the Organ Crawl (although the Organ Crawl is the responsibility of the Organ Music Round Table, LAC members may be called on to assist in organizing the Crawl). The local Convention and Visitors Bureau can help you in identifying the operators who would best suit your needs. Planning must begin early, so that you can announce what tours will be sponsored by the LAC at the business meeting of the previous year's conference.
Tours are not subsidized by MLA, and are expected to break even. For this reason, unless a tour is completely subsidized, it will be canceled if there are insufficient registrants. A commercial or company-sponsored tour may set a price per participant that should be charged to all passengers. If the LAC is sponsoring its own tour, the charge should be based on the cost of transportation plus any other fees, and should allow for the possibility of a bus that is not full. Any surplus from a LAC sponsored tour will be added to the MLA conference income.
If you decide to sponsor a tour(s), it may be necessary to rent buses. It is often less expensive to use one bus company for all your bus needs (for example, transportation to an off-site concert or reception). Your university or institution may also offer a bus service at competitive rates.
The MLA Business Office tracks registrations for tours, including funds received. Information about tours needs to be finalized in advance and is due by 1 October (or the date established by the Administrative Officer, in consultation with the MLA Business Office).
You may want to consider developing a "theme" for the conference. For example, the 2008 Newport conference had a New England seafaring theme that was reflected in the program as well as the banquet menu. Many LACs propose a local-interest plenary session to open the conference. This is not required, and should the LAC wish to pursue a local session, it must be submitted through the program proposal process and be reviewed by the Program Committee. Any theme should be decided well in advance, as the chair of the LAC "invites" the membership in attendance at the business meeting of the preceding conference. This "invitation" should highlight any special tours and events that would encourage attendance at your conference. See section on “Budgets,” below, regarding budgeting for design fees.
The LAC is responsible for editing and maintaining the conference web site, in consultation with the MLA Web Editor. The site is hosted on the MLA web site and the conference logo is featured prominently. Conference information is available throughout the year preceding the conference, and the site should be ready to launch no later than June preceding the conference. Hotel information, member registration fees, and exhibitor fee information wil be available immediately following the May/June Board meeting. Local information can be added as it is available, and additional information, including links to conference registration, hotel registration, the draft program, etc., will be added throughout the summer and early fall.. The URL for the site should be provided to the CM and AO as early as possible as this information will be included in the conference mailing. The LAC member in charge of the web site should be in regular communication with the MLA Web Editor, AO, Program Chair, and CM as the conference mailing is assembled and sent out. It is important to coordinate loading the hotel, registration, and program information so that when members receive their conference packets the information that is posted only on the web site (program, etc.) is available.
The LAC has some latitude in designing the conference web site. Nonetheless, it must include links for the Program, Registration, Hotel, Travel Information, Tours, and the Exhibitors List. The site will remain live following the conference so handouts from program sessions can be shared.
Consult the MLA Web Editor for information about developing and maintaining the site.
The pre-conference registration packet information sent to MLA members in October/November includes the URL for the online registration form (the e-commerce site managed by the MLA Business Office), the URL for the preliminary program, the local-information page, and hotel registration information. The LAC is responsible for compiling the local-information page.
The local information guide contains information about the conference hotel, travel and ground transportation, local events, planned local tours, and the expected weather during the conference. Survey all available plane, train, and bus services to the area to be included in this insert. All transportation from the airport (limousine, bus, taxi, etc.) should be noted, with prices of each and any special directions that might be necessary. Often the conference hotel can provide much useful travel and local information through its concierge service. Sometimes quantities of maps, etc., are available from the hotel. CVBs also provide brochures, flyers, and maps of the area.
The link to the page must be sent to the Administrative Officer by the deadline indicated in the Convention Calendar. The Administrative Officer coordinates the final registration site preparation with the MLA Business Office The information also should be posted on the conference web site.
The Chair of the LAC, or the LAC member in charge of banquet arrangements, selects the banquet menu and decoration in consultation with the CM. The CM can provide the approximate budget for each meal.
A choice of meat and vegetarian meals must be available for conference attendees. Frequently members will forget to indicate a choice on the conference registration form. An advisory on this form indicates which entrée will be ordered by default, if none is marked on the form.
Attendees having special dietary needs (generally food allergies, kosher meal, etc.) note them in advance on their registration forms. The MLA Business Office keeps track of these special needs, and the CM submits them to the hotel’s catering service. Banquet tickets are prepared by the Business Office.
The LAC should explore what local events they would like to include in the meeting. These might include a concert and reception, entertainment during the banquet, and musical interludes during the day.
MLA requires the local reception and/or concert to be funded through local fundraising and sponsorships. If the LAC is interested in hosting a reception or concert, they should work closely with the Development Officer to determine whether fundraising for the event(s) fits into the overall fundraising plan for the association. Although Banquet entertainment is paid out of the convention budget, it falls under the Local Arrangements lines and should be offset by contributions directed to the convention. Again, the LAC should work closely with the Development Officer in planning banquet entertainment.
A brief report on the tours and events should be submitted to the Board one month before its June Meeting; send copies of this report to the CM and ACM, who will share the information with the MLA Business Office. This includes entertainment plans for the banquet and a proposed budget for the conference events.
A month before the Fall Board Meeting, the LAC Chair submits a progress report to the Board (with copies to the CM and ACM). In addition, the Board may request reports directly from the LAC Chair(s).
Reports on registrations will be provided by the MLA Business Office prior the conference, particularly during the two months before it starts. After the conference, the MLA Business Office should prepare a report with tallies of the various types of registration (regular, student, single-day, etc.) for the Convention Manager and the Board.
Although conference fundraising historically has covered a Local Arrangements Reception (if the LAC chooses to sponsor a reception), banquet entertainment, and portfolios/totebags for registration, fundraising for the conference must be considered within the context of the Association’s overall fundraising strategy. As such, the Development Officer serves as an ex-officio member of the LAC. Whatever money is raised will help keep the registration fee down.
funds raised for the conference are deposited through the MLA Business Office
and are considered funds raised for the Association. The MLA Business Office staff need to know
the specific budget line to which deposits are
If the LAC anticipates general operating expenses (phone, postage, etc.), that money should be requested during MLA’s annual budget request process.
Survey local businesses (music stores, publishers, software vendors, audio equipment vendors, secondhand bookstores, etc.) for interest either in exhibiting at the convention or inserting an advertisement in the conference program. Send the names and addresses of prospects to the ACM by the first week in August before the conference.
The final program is printed by the MLA Business Office and shipped to the conference site. The typical format for the conference program booklets, as well as who is responsible for which components is as follows:
Size: 8 ½" x 5 ½" (letter sized sheets folded in half)
Approximately 48 pages
600 copies [Actual quantity to be determined in consultation with the MLA Business Office.]
Black-and-white text, 2-color cover (Or however many colors are needed; more colors are more expensive. Please consult the MLA Business Office with all questions about the program.)
Print-quality PDF art (covers and advertisements)
White paper for text and card stock for cover
Cover 1: LAC
Cover 2: ACM (Ad)
Title Page: LAC
MLA Board: AO
Program: Program Chair
Program Index: Program Chair
Donor List: AO; LAC
Exhibitor List: ACM
Floor Plan: CM
Index to Advertisers: ACM
Cover 3: ACM (Ad)
Cover 4: ACM (Ad)
As mentioned above, a LAC member or a professional can do the design of the program cover. Fees for designers can be raised locally or budgeted in the LAC budget submitted to the CM before the May/June Board meeting.
Consult with the ACM regarding signage. The firm providing exposition services may be contracted also to provide printed directional or informational signs in addition to the identification signs for the exhibit tables.
The Program Committee sends the final program to the MLA Business Office in a file format that meets its specifications. The advertisements, handled by the ACM, are also sent to the MLA Business Office. The CM will provide print-quality PDF files of hotel floor plans for the conference booklet. The MLA Business Office compiles all components of the program booklet and produces it.
The MLA Business Office will produce nametags. If the LAC wishes to suggest particular design elements, contact the Business Office to discuss the feasibility of incorporating them on the format for the nametags. Ca. 600 nametags are produced for a conference.
The MLA Business Office is responsible for making copies, as needed, of the MLA financial report, and the business-meeting agenda. Presenters for non-plenary sessions are expected to provide their own handouts.
If a committee requires photocopying during the conference, it is paid for out of the committee's budget line. Only the CM, ACM, or Administrative Officer can provide authorization to make copies.
Most recently, any Internet access has been arranged by the CM and provided by the hotel. Internet access can be provided through a commercial service, through a host institution’s computer services center, or through another provider. It is becoming more common – and may be a requirement – for such service to be provided through the hotel’s A/V department. The CM will advise the LAC about its specific involvement, if any, for a particular conference.
Currently, the LAC makes budget requests once per year. The LAC operating budget includes committee expenses such as phone calls, postage, etc. This is solicited by the Fiscal Officer of the Board before the June board meeting and approved at that meeting. The request covers operating expenses in the planning phase of the convention. A large part of these expenses (phone calls, photocopying, supplies) can generally be absorbed by affiliated institutions. The LAC Chair(s) is/are responsible for this budget, and all reimbursements will go through the Chair(s). The completed reimbursement forms with original receipts are sent to the MLA Administrative Officer.
The CM asks the LAC for its input to the Convention Budget. The CM is responsible for this budget and all reimbursements for convention items/services must be submitted to the CM. The LAC is responsible for submitting the following budget categories:
10.011 Program Printing (logo design only)
10.014 Local Arrangements
Rooms [MLA pays for up to 5 nights for LAC use]
10.016 Equipment (internet access) [submit only if instructed by CM]
Local Arrangements Reception (if any)
Mileage is not generally a part of this budget; however, if some members of the LAC must travel a good distance to the conference site or to attend LAC meetings, you may request that mileage be included as part of the convention and/or operating budget(s), to be reimbursed at the current federal rate.
Registration Portfolios (tote bags, etc., if donated)
Ideally, all contributions to the conference will be unrestricted. If, however, a donor wishes to support a specific activity, the MLA Business Office staff must be aware of the restriction and will book the contribution to the appropriate line, as instructed by the CM or AO.
Expenditures: Program Printing (10.011):
Cost of cover design. Consult the MLA Business Office.
Expenditures: Registration Costs (10.013):
n.b.: the MLA Business Office is responsible for categories 1, 2, 3, 4, and 6
1. Pre-registration information: the MLA Business Office sends out the pre-registration notifications, and any fees are part of MLA’s operating budget.
2. Photocopying: For registration portfolio inserts. These include Board meeting minutes and other flyers sanctioned by the MLA President and/or the Board. Commercial flyers are included if ordered through the Conference Packet Insert Service and are provided by the firms subscribing to the service; ACM will provide details on these orders. Any photocopies made for plenary session handouts are paid for under Program Expense (budget line 10.0122). Non-plenary session speakers are responsible for their own handouts.
3. Registration Folders: Estimate the price of 600 folders, if they will be used.
4. Supplies: Includes name badge holders, color dots, stars or ribbons (if used; for first-time attendees, board members, corporate members, exhibitors, students, and LAC members), and other supplies.
5. Student Workers: MLA relies on volunteers to work at the registration desk. Occasionally, there may be time slots in the schedule that you cannot fill, and this line may be used to hire student workers to fill the gaps. For the past several years, MLA has offered a work-for-reduced-registration option. If you anticipate needing registration desk coverage, let the CM know and s/he may be able to assign some of those hours.
6. Equipment: This line is to be used for equipment used at the Registration Desk. The MLA Business Office provides its own computer and printer for registration purposes; MLA provides internet access at the registration desk for online transactions and access to the e-commerce site managed by the MLA Business Office.
Expenditures -- Local Arrangements (10.014x):
1. Rooms: MLA will pay for 5 nights’ stay (Tues-Sat) in the conference hotel (single or double occupancy), for use by LAC personnel. Only one room will be funded, and the LAC should decide who is to use the room (e.g., a member who lives a significant distance from the hotel); frequently this room is also used by other LAC members to store supplies, belongings, etc.
2. Transportation: Any costs to transport conference attendees to local arrangements events (concerts and/or receptions) held away from the hotel.
3. Tours: The cost of running the tours. The same amount should be entered in the Income side of the budget.
4. Parking: If the hotel charges for parking, estimate the cost for LAC members to park during the conference. MLA will not be able to fund full parking for more than 1-2 members.
Expenditures – Entertainment and Catering (10.014x and 10.018):
Entertainment: Banquet entertainers' honoraria; also may include banquet meal for the entertainers.
Catering/Local Arrangements Reception (if any): This is covered by contributions. The estimated cost of the reception must be entered into both the Expenditures and Income side (as local contributions) of the budget. Occasionally, a local institution may choose to donate and provide a venue for a reception. In this case, the institution may prefer to handle all billing internally, rather than writing a check to MLA and having MLA pay the resulting bills.
Work with the MLA Publicity Officer to get announcements out to the local media regarding the upcoming conference. Make sure local/regional library groups are aware that a national meeting of the Music Library Association will be held in your location.
As the conference approaches, The CM/ACM and AO will make frequent announcements on MLA-L regarding the conference, noting any special events and encouraging members to attend. Also make announcements of approaching deadlines, such as the deadline for sending early registration and the hotel reservation cut-off date.
The MLA Web Editor will establish a link from the MLA web page to the conference web page.
The LAC chair or her/his designee will serve as the official liaison to the MLA Business Office for communication regarding conference registrations. The MLA Business Office processes registrations, including registrations for tours, receives payments, and provides reports.
The registration fee is recommended to the Finance Committee by the CM and approved by the Board. The registration fee includes attendance of the conference and a banquet ticket. There is no refund if the registrant does not attend the banquet.
1. Note that there is an early registration fee. The deadline is included on the registration form. Registrations postmarked or submitted online after the deadline and onsite registration will be at the regular rate.
2. MLA allows a lower registration fee for student members.
3. People may register for a single day of the meeting. This fee is set by the Board to financially discourage people from registering for more than one single day. Single-day rates do not include a banquet ticket, which must be purchased separately.
4. A refund of the registration fee is issued only in special circumstances and must be approved by the Convention Manager prior to transmitting a refund request to the Administrative Officer and MLA Business Office. Per Board action (September 2008, IX.C.), the following policy applies:
Registration fees will be refunded only in emergency situations and with the approval of the
Convention Manager: Refunds will not be given for unused banquet tickets. (Board minutes, 09/2008, IX.C)
MLA recognizes first-time attendees at the meeting, and their registration records should be flagged if they have checked this category on the registration form. In making their convention badges, a special colored dot, star, ribbon or other symbol should be added.
Name Tags: The MLA Business Office will produce nametags. Names should be legible from a distance. If the LAC wishes to suggest particular design elements, contact the MLA Business Office to discuss the feasibility of incorporating them on the format for the nametags. Ca. 600 nametags are produced for a conference. Categories of attendees that should have different colored dots, stars, ribbons or some other symbol are:
1. Special Officers, Board members, Editors, and Committee Chairs
a. MLA President
b. MLA Vice-President/President-Elect, or Past President
c. MLA Recording Secretary
d. MLA Administrative Officer
e. MLA Member-at-Large, including years of term
f. MLA Business Manager
g. MLA Publicity Officer
h. MLA Placement Officer
i. MLA Convention Manager and MLA Assistant Convention Manager
j. MLA Newsletter Editor
k. Notes Editor
l. Music Cataloging Bulletin Editor
m. Index and Bibliography Series Editor
n. Technical Reports Editor
o. Basic Manual Series Editor
p. Web Site Editor
q. Copyright Web Site Editor
s. Program Chair (current year)
t. Program Chair (upcoming year)
u. Standing, Joint, and Special Committee Chairs (with committee names; do not include subcommittee chairs, roundtable coordinators, organizational liaisons or chapter chairs)
2. Local Arrangements Committee members, with a special indication for the Local Arrangements Committee Chair
3. Exhibitors, with a special indication for:
a. Corporate Member
b. Corporate Patron
4. First-time Attendees
6. Two other designations, not highlighted, may be made:
a. Daily registrants [e.g., Daily Registrant: Feb.24, 2000]
b. Guest Speakers
Registrants Lists: The MLA Business Office will generate and print a list of registrants with affiliated institutions prior to the beginning of the meeting. Addresses will not be included (Board decision June 1994, Minutes IV.I, p.6). Names of the exhibitors are included. Complimentary registrations are also included. Give the ACM copies for the exhibitors.
Tallies: Keep tallies of the number of registrants and any activities that need reservation. Note: Some of this information will be generated by the MLA Business Office from registration forms.
1. The CM will check with the MLA Business Office periodically regarding the number of registrants, with subtotals for first-time attendees, one-day, regular, students, and exhibiting attendees.
2. Banquet tickets with subtotals for each type of entree, special meals, allergies, etc. The hotel will require a final number 72 hours before the banquet. This is firm, and most hotels only prepare a 3% food overage.
3. Tours with subtotals for each tour. Tours may be canceled if they do not break even.
4. ADA requirements: the hotel must accommodate any member requesting assistance under the Americans with Disabilities Act; keep a tally of any attendees requesting ADA assistance and notify the CM of the nature of the assistance requested.
5. Others: include concert attendees, and other local arrangement events.
1. The MLA Business Office will send collated registration envelopes to be included in the packets. Packets for Board members will be delivered by the CM or LAC Chair at their first meeting on Monday before the registration desk is open.
2. Packets should include: Program booklet, map of locality (check with the hotel or CVB to get plenty of copies), list of recommended restaurants, minutes of the previous Business meeting, list of pre-registrants, other flyers or items that the President may ask you to include. Commercial advertisements must be contracted for distribution through MLA’s Conference Packet Insert Service (established 2003).
3. The MLA Business Office makes a personalized envelope for each registrant. The envelopes contain the registrant’s name badge, appropriate designations, registration receipt, and banquet ticket(s) (When concerts involve tickets, LAC will distribute the tickets to the members, based on a checklist provided by the MLA Business Office. LAC is responsible for the block of tickets.)
4. Give exhibitor packets and envelopes to the ACM to distribute. The company name rather than the individual exhibitor's name should be on the outside on the envelope. Exhibit registration includes three conference registrations, but only one banquet ticket per company. The ACM will coordinate the exhibitor packets and banquet tickets with the MLA Business Office.
1.Allow adequate time for stuffing and transporting the packets and envelopes to the hotel. The hotel may allow you to store packets and supplies in a locked room 1–2 days in advance; if this is necessary, work through the CM to make arrangements.
desk should be centrally located to the main activities of the conference. The hours of operation are: Tuesday, 7pm
Staffing and Functions: In consultation with the Business Office and the CM, prepare a set of instructions for registration desk staff. Schedule two or three people during busy times (Tuesday evening, Wednesday before and during opening reception, Thursday morning before the plenary session). At other times, one or two staff will suffice.
The following are guidelines (coordinate the processing of registrations with the MLA Business Office staff on site):
1. To admit pre-registrants, the staff hand out the portfolio and envelope, and check off the person in the card file, list, or computer (if necessary).
1. Set aside a separate area for on-site registrants. The MLA Business Office staff will take care of on-site registrations.
2. The MLA Business Office will collect money collected from registration each day after closing. The money may NOT be used to pay for supplies or other bills.
Equipment and Supplies:
1. Paper clips, rubber bands, pencils, a stapler, , etc., will always be needed.
2. Blank name badges and colored dots, stars, ribbons, etc. for coding badges, and badge holders (the MLA Business Office will supply these items).
3. Receipt Book (only for emergencies, if internet access is down; otherwise the MLA Business Office staff will print receipts onsite)
5. Extra programs, maps, and other handouts
6. Message Board (the ACM will make arrangements for a board)
7. Computer and laser printer (provided by MLA Business Office):
Make a checklist of all last minute details to be completed or confirmed before the first day of the meeting, including staff assignments and staff responsibilities.
Keep a close personal eye on ALL aspects of local planning with frequent reports from those responsible. Use checklists to measure progress on tasks.
It is best to assign a person or subcommittee to be responsible for each activity, e.g., a person or subcommittee to arrange each tour, a person or subcommittee to arrange the banquet and entertainment, a person or subcommittee to arrange the LAC reception, etc.
Assigned meeting rooms for committee meetings, sessions, food events, or anything else may not be changed without the permission of the Convention Manager. The LAC may not negotiate directly with the hotel personnel, without specific approval from the CM. The CM will inform the hotel of the names of one-three LAC members who may contact the hotel with questions:. Please channel any contacts with the hotel convention/catering staff through these LAC members.
All registration desk materials, especially computer equipment, must be secured when the desk is closed. If there is no registration office or coatroom near the registration desk, arrange with to transport materials to a secure area when the registration desk closes each evening.
There is a great deal of experience available to you. Consult the CM/ACM whenever you have question. Know the members of the previous year’s LAC, and seek their advice.Keep in contact with the MLA Business Office.
MLA Business Office will provide extra program
for reimbursements for expenditures
by the LAC should be submitted on MLA Request for Payment (RFP) forms with
accompanying receipts. The LAC Chair
should sign committee expenditure forms.
If the expenses are convention-related and come out of the convention
budget, the forms are to be sent to the CM and should be submitted to him/her