RUSA STARS Organization Committee (Sharing and Transforming Access to Resources Section) Committee
Appointments to RUSA-level committees
To provide better communication between RUSA-level functional committees and the sections, sections are represented on the following RUSA committees:
- Access to Information
- Awards Coordinating
- Budget and Finance
- Conference Coordinating
- Organization and Planning
- Professional Development
- Publications and Communications
- Standards and Guidelines.
Section vice-chairs name these representatives and send them an appointment message. Section representatives serve the same term of office as any other appointed member of the committee, usually two years. Section representatives are in no way to be considered ex officio.
When possible, RUSA committee members who serve as section representatives will also serve on the related section committee.
In addition to having the customary responsibilities of a committee member, section representatives are expected to represent the concerns of a section and report back to the section's executive committee about the activity of the RUSA functional committee on which they serve.
RUSA Section Review
The RUSA Organization Committee reviews sections every five years. Sections are asked to review their committees and discussion groups and evaluate their effectiveness.
Procedure Statement on Evaluation of Committees
- Policy dictates that all eligible sections be reviewed every five years.
- Newly established sections receive their first review after three years.(STARS first review is scheduled for 2010)
- STARS should submit its review documentation to the RUSA Organization Committee in time to allow distribution of copies in preparation for discussion at the Annual Conference.
- Normally, reviews are conducted during the Midwinter Conference and are administered by the Subcommittee on Reviews.
- If necessary to maintain the integrity of the schedules, reviews also may be conducted during the Annual Conference.
- Reviewers should not be members or active participants of their assigned section. Reviews should be conducted at a regular business meeting of the section.
Calendar and outline of the normal review procedures
- October 15
Chair of Subcommittee on Reviews notifies chairs of all sections slated for review by a form letter adopted for that purpose. Also included is a copy of the evaluation checklist and a copy of the policy statement concerning "Establishment and Evaluation of Committees ."
- December 1
Chair of Subcommittee notifies all Subcommittee members of sections slated for review and their meeting times and dates. By December 10, committee members inform Subcommittee Chair which times they are available.
- December 10
Chair of Subcommittee notifies subcommittee members of review assignments. In cases where committee members have not responded with their choices, assignments will be arbitrary. If subcommittee members are unable to attend their assigned meetings, the Subcommittee Chair should be notified. (If conflicts cannot be resolved, these section reviews may be postponed until the Annual Conference and section chairs informed of same.)
- December 15
Subcommittee members contact chairs of sections to be reviewed directly and inform them of their visit on a certain day.
- Mid-Winter Reviews are conducted according to the schedule described above and checklists are filled out.
- February 14
Subcommittee members send copies of their reviews to Subcommittee Chair for purposes of synthesis and distribution.
- March 15
Subcommittee chair sends each member of Organization Committee copies of all reviews together with a brief report of findings.
- March 30
Organization Committee chair sends review results to section chairs.
HOW TO PRESENT A RUSA/STARS PRECONFERENCE
Preconferences are held at the beginning of the ALA Annual Conference each year. They do not receive financial support from ALA and are meant to be self-supporting. This document is designed to lead you through the process for presenting a successful preconference.
Preconference program proposals must be submitted to the RUSA Conference Program Coordinating Committee 18 months in advance of the program, so you will need to get started early, usually 2 years in advance. Often a section committee will have several ideas for a preconference and will debate the merits of each. You should consider the following points:
- Is the topic relevant to members of ALA and RUSA? Is it current?
- Will the program appeal to enough conferees to ensure a substantial audience?
- Will the cost of the program fit within the budgets constraints of ALA and RUSA?
- Has a similar program been done recently? Will this program bring anything new to the discussion?
- Is the program appropriate for a preconference or would another venue be more suitable?
- Is the title descriptive? Can a potential attendee tell what the program is about by looking at the title?
- Who are potential speakers for the preconference?
- You will want to appoint a preconference planning committee with a chair to organize and run the preconference.
Writing a Preconference Description
When writing or editing preliminary program copy, remember that you are writing copy to market a product. You must not only provide the required information, but also present it convincingly. Write the copy as if you had to justify program attendance to your boss.
The copy should answer the following questions:
- Who should attend?
- Why is the topic important?
- What will program attendees gain to help them do their jobs better?
- What bonus information will attendees gain? Are there special hand-outs or freebies?
- Who will be giving the program and what are their credentials?
- How will the program be conducted? (panel, speakers, small group interaction)
- Is advance registration required? What are the fees?
- When is the program?
- Where is the program? (If it is off-site or requires advance arrangements, say so.)
After writing or editing the copy, read it aloud or show it to someone else. Does it interest you? Would you want to attend the program after reading the copy? Did you leave anything out?
When writing copy, remember:
- Place the most important information first.
- More is not necessarily better. Nothing is more intimidating to a reader than a long, jargon-filled description. Keep it simple. Keep it short.
- Use the active, not passive voice.
- Write your copy and then rewrite it, edit out words and phrases that contribute nothing.
- Announce the preconference on the appropriate listservs, including local listservs in the conference city.
- Remember that people who live close to the conference site may not usally attend ALA but may want to attend the preconference.
- Consider using social media and wikis, such as ShareILL.
- Consider passing out advertisements at ALA Midwinter events prior to the preconference. Circulate information at other library oriented events as well.
- If you have corporate sponsors, consider asking them to publicize the preconference on their websites or listservs.
- Ask the STARS webmaster to include information on the STARS website.
- Request that the event be added to the American Libraries Calendar of Events online.
- Work with RUSA staff to write a press release.
- Remember to begin your publicity far enough in advance of ALA Annual so possible attendees can make their travel plans.
Calendar of tasks for preconference subcommittee
Once you have settled on a topic, a title, and potential speakers it’s time to get to work. Following is a calendar to guide the committee in its work:
- Annual Conference 2 years prior to preconference
- Identify topic and title, appoint committee.
- Consider potential cosponsors, corporate sponsors, and budget. Remember that you must get approval from RUSA to contact any coporate sponsors.
- Notify the STARS Excutive Committe as soon as possible that you are considering a preconference and get preliminary approval.
- After Annual Conference
- Contact potential speakers to see if they are interested.
- Committee Chair submits proposal to RUSA Office no later than the following January 1st.
- Midwinter Meeting 18 months prior to preconference
- Stars Executive Committee approves the proposal.
- RUSA Program Coordinating Committee evaluates proposal and submits it to the RUSA Board with a recommendation.
- Committee continues to work on preconference planning.
- Annual Conference 12 months prior to preconference
- Committee continues planning for preconference, including speakers, handouts, evaluation forms, cosponsors and corporate sponsors.
- Committee reviews budget and publicity.
- If event is to be catered, consider getting support from a coporate sponsor.
- July prior to preconference
- Committee Chair submits the Preconference Workshop Program Form online.
- RUSA staff finalizes budget.
- August prior to preconference
- Preconference chair submits the proposal to the RUSA Publications Committee if the proceeding will be published.
- September prior to preconference
- Preconference chair confirms arrangements with speakers
- Preconference chair submits list of sponsors for approval
- Preconference chair submits information to RUSA for news releases.
- RUSA staff submits meeting request form by October 1 with room size/layout and orders AV equipment.
- November prior to preconference
- Preconference chair confirms sponsor funding.
- Preconference planning committee starts publicizing the event so that potential attendees know about it when they make conference hotel reservations.
- If there will be a publication submit copy to the RUSA Publications Committee.
- Midwinter Meeting 6 months prior to preconference
- Committee reviews details for the preconference.
- Preconference chair submits preliminary program copy information.
- March prior to preconference
- Preconference chair submits final program copy.
- April prior to preconference
- Preconference chair sends handout to RUSA staff for reproduction including evaluation forms.
- Confirm that the registration list, nametags (if provided) and other materials will be available.
- Preconference chair submits list on non-registered participants (speakers, committee). Make sure you have alloted for them in your budget.
- RUSA notifies Chair of final head count and catering arrangements.
- Make sure speakers have a copy of the agenda, PowerPoint presentations are ready to be loaded on computer, etc.
- Annual Conference when preconference is held
- Preconference planning committee arrives early to check setup and greet speakers.
- Preconference committee staffs registration table, keeps time for speakers, helps with Q&A sessions, hands out and collects evaluations, and in general makes sure everything goes as smoothly as possible.
- July after preconference
- Preconference chair completes publications.
- Preconference chair submits requests for reimbursement.
- Preconference chair submits evaluation of program to RUSA.
- Make sure speakers get thank you letters.
As noted earlier, preconferences do not receive financial support from ALA and are meant to be self-supporting. The RUSA Executive Director must give final approval to both the budget and the registration fee, and no registration fees should be publicized until this approval has been given. Please note that only official members of the preconference planning committee may attend the preconference at no charge. Following are some items to consider when planning your budget and registration fees:
- Corporate Sponsorship
- Can be asked to support program or catering costs.
- Must be approved by the ALA Development Office and be registered as Exhibitors for the Conference.
- Publicity, registration, handouts, name tags, etc.
- Publicity, registration confirmation, and other correspondence.
- AV and computer equipment.
- Speaker Expense
- Usually limited to non-librarian speakers.
- Estimated expenses are $200/day for hotel, $40/day for meals, and $450/day for transportation.
- Check with the RUSA office for the most recent guidelines on reimbursing speakers.
- Meeting space rental if not held at a conference hotel or the convention center.
- Expenses for free registrants, including speakers/presenters and planning committee members
- Meals, registration packets, badges, etc.
- Breaks, meals, coffee, etc.
- ALA Overhead
- Cost is set annually by ALA and averages 20%, although it could be higher.
- RUSA Office Expenses
- Photocopying, faxing, and postage will be charged to the preconference.
You may ask another ALA unit or committee or outside organization to cosponsor a RUSA/STARS preconference. The request must be reviewed by the Conference Program Coordinating Committee and then submitted to the RUSA Board of Directors for approval. If the cosponsor is part of a RUSA Section, the Executive Committee must give approval. Otherwise, the approval decision rest with the cosponsor.
Other Topics to Cover in This Document
- Logistics such as: Table and technology setups should reflect the nature of the preconference.
- Possible review of final agenda by exec before the preconference - these events reflect on STARS as an organization.
- What is a preconference? General guidelines for types of activities, learning outcomes, etc.
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