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Clem Guthro's picture

Low Cost Professional Development Opportunities

Share your ideas for planning low- to no-cost professional development events!

Below are some links to where you can find further information on ACRL regional and other national and international opportunities for professional development

Library Related Conferences: http://library2.usask.ca/~dworacze/CONF.HTM

ACRL Chapters

Arizona: http://www.azla.affiniscape.com/displaycommon.cfm?an=1&subarticlenbr=4
California: http://www.carl-acrl.org/
Colorado: http://cal-webs.org/calendar.html
Montana: http://www.mtlib.org/
Oregon: http://www.olaweb.org/mc/page.do?sitePageId=61032
Washington: http://www.lib.washington.edu/acrl-wa/

Iowa http://www.iowaacrl.org/content/
Illinois http://iacrl.net/
Kansas http://kslibassoc.org/SectionsRoundTables/CULS/
Kansas City Metropolitan Library Information Network  http://www.kcmlin.org
Minnesota http://mnlibraryassociation.org/committees-subunits/academic-and-research-libraries/
Missouri   http://molib.org/macrl/conted.html
Nebraska: http://www.nebraskalibraries.org/cu/index.html
North Dakota-Manitoba: http://www.nd-mb-acrl.und.edu/
Ohio: http://www.alaoweb.org/
Oklahoma  http://okacrl.okstate.edu/
Wisconsin: http://www.wla.lib.wi.us/


Creating your own Professional Development Conference - One libraries experience

Create your own PD conference – One person’s experience


Maine Academic Libraries Day is an informal one day conference for academic librarians and library staff held in April at Colby College in Waterville, Maine. We’ve had two successful conferences so far (2009, 2010) with 88 people attending the 2010 event. The conference gives librarians and library staff an accessible and low cost opportunity to network and hear some interesting things their colleagues are doing.

The impetus of the conference was to provide a low-cost one day event and to use librarians and library staff in Maine to provide most of the programming. It was also envisioned as a way to build collaboration across the state.

The conference was planned by me with the assistance of my administrative assistant and one other staff member who designed the program brochure. The entire planning process took about 10 hours of my time. About 20 hours (max) from my administrative assistant, and about 3 hours from the staff member who designed the brochure. My library absorbed the cost of the name tags and the honorarium for the keynote speaker but an additional $6 per person would have covered those costs.


Here are some general guidelines for a do it yourself event.

  1. Locate a site that can host that doesn’t charge for facilities. Often private institutions will allow their library to host an event without charging for use of facilities.
  2. Chose a day that is unlikely to be hampered by bad weather (e.g. January would be a bad choice in Maine).
  3. Charge only for food if possible. We charged $18.00 per person which included morning coffee and rolls, lunch, and an afternoon snack. You could add a nominal fee if you want to bring in an outside speaker.
  4. Create an email list of library directors in your state (or group that you want to invite). Use this group as your communication mechanism. Send out an email, announcing the event, and asking for volunteers to do a 1 hour presentation of their choice.  You will typically get plenty of responses. Many librarians and staff do not have opportunities to present at national conferences so this is a draw for them.
  5. Keynote speaker: if you choose to have a keynote speaker, try and find one that is local that will come for free or for a small honorarium. You can build a small honorarium into the cost of the event if need be.
  6. Choose the presentations for the program from the responses that you received.  You can do this yourself or use a small group of other librarians. Keep the structure simple to encourage presentations. Provide a number of presentations for each time slot to give people choices. Also give people opportunities to mingle and network.
  7. Work with catering from the host institution to plan the food. Food is important to the success of a program so don’t skimp. Make sure you include vegetarian options.
  8. Find a staff member that can create a brochure. If you have access to something like Microsoft Publisher you can easily use one of their templates and add a few photos, illustrations. Save the brochure as a PDF and send it out using the email list to the directors asking them to share with their staff. There is no need to print the brochure and mail it.
  9. Use your administrative assistant to do registration and collect the money
  10. Invite the State Librarian and other key people to attend. This raises the profile of what we do.

 A copy of the program brochure is attached

MaineAcademicLibraryDay (2).pdf498.31 KB