This guest post was written by Alana Verminski, ALCTS Exchange Working Group Member
Yes, really, submit a proposal for the ALCTS Exchange. We want to hear from you. As a working group member who contributed to the call for proposals form and success criteria, I can say that we are truly interested in receiving proposals from the ALCTS membership and beyond. The Exchange is going to be better, stronger, and more valuable because of presentations by librarians and information professionals who are doing innovative things on-the-job and have a vision for the profession. Consider yourself invited.
I want to talk a little more deeply about the call for proposals. My colleagues and I spent quite a bit of time thinking about our priorities for the Exchange, ALCTS’s values, and the message that we wanted to communicate. We started planning the CFP way back in August, which feels like a very long time ago. Naturally, we all agreed that relevance to the forum’s themes was an important criterion for success, and from the start of planning for the Exchange, we agreed on the need for presentations to include interactivity and engagement. We really would like our attendees to feel like they are part of the event and to learn something from each day’s programming. We decided to require learning objectives and put a lot of effort into describing our intention and our expectations for interactivity in the virtual environment.
Not unlike what ACRL did in the call for participation for the 2017 ACRL conference, we created success criteria to guide proposal planners and provide insight into how the working group plans to evaluate proposals. The Exchange is a first-ever for ALCTS and we wanted to be sure proposal planners (and potential proposal planners!) had clear but not limiting guidelines, and were well-informed to develop the best proposals possible.
As a working group member, the biggest challenge in preparing the call for proposals was the element that became the final point in the success criteria: diversity and inclusion. We had long discussions as a working group about how to include and attract diverse voices, as well as proposals on topics related to building diverse and inclusive library services and workplaces. While we felt strongly about prioritizing diversity and inclusion in ALCTS Exchange, we struggled to find the words to describe our intent while recognizing the risk of making “diversity” just another checkbox (as in, Got learning objectives? Check! Diversity?? Double check!). Though small, we took an important step in prioritizing diversity and inclusion directly in the CFP. I hope to see it repeated and expanded across ACLTS, in the Exchange, and throughout the profession, and thank my colleagues who helped shape our words and way of thinking about these important and very timely topics.
I would like to think that the call for proposal form and success criteria speak for themselves, but always feel welcome to send us questions if you’re feeling unsure. On October 24, we presented a webinar to help proposal planners consider ideas and frame their thoughts, and we have made a recording of it publicly available:
This is the first time ALCTS has hosted such an event and we’re all very excited. We hope you are too!