Tips for Section Chairs Scheduling ALA Conference Meetings

ACRL notifies the IS Section Chair via email when the online forms are ready and explains the process for scheduling rooms for ALA conferences. Deadline for submission of Annual Conference requests is usually mid-February. Each room request will be assigned a unique identifier. Copies of each room request confirmation should be printed to later verify that the meetings were scheduled accurately by ALA. Generally the IS Chair has a month to make changes to the room and audiovisual requests and will be notified of the final deadline by ACRL. The IS Chair is responsible for confirming the needs with all appropriate committee chairs.

The exceptions are the IS Conference and Preconference programs – ACRL staff schedule rooms for both of these events.


To prepare before the meeting room request site is available, the IS Chair creates a preliminary schedule in consultation with the IS Executive Committee. For each meeting and event, the IS Chair should determine:

  • Session Title (Committee Name or Event Name)
  • Meeting Description (for Program Book and Online Conference Scheduler)
  • Meeting Type
  • Unit
  • Co-Sponsor(s)
  • iMIS Committee Code or Connect Community ID
  • Printed program?
  • Display online?
  • Open or Closed Meeting
  • Preferred meeting time
  • Co-location needs (as part of Additional Meeting Information)
  • Participant list
  • Subject
  • Tags
  • Audience
  • Seating Arrangement
  • Special AV Needs


ALA and ACRL set “no conflict” times for all conferences. Sections are asked to observe as many of these as possible, with at least one or two “no conflict” times open. ACRL has eliminated its additional “no conflict” times, though they request that the Sections avoid scheduling Executive Committee meetings during ACRL Leadership Council and ACRL Board meetings if the Section has an item on the Board agenda. If necessary to use an ACRL “no conflict” time, check with the ACRL Associate Director for Approval.

IS has some fairly standard scheduling for meetings, programs and events, though they are subject to frequent change based on other ALA and ACRL scheduling changes and changing needs within the Section. Here are some general guidelines, although they are not intended to be prescriptive.

Midwinter Conference

  • All IS committees and task forces meet virtually as needed throughout the year, and do not meet in person at Midwinter.

Annual Conference

  • The IS Soiree is usually Saturday from 5:30-7:00 pm.
  • Executive I is usually scheduled for Saturday morning from 8:30-10:00 am.
  • Executive II is usually scheduled for Saturday afternoon from 1:00-2:30 pm.
  • The Current Topics Discussion usually takes place Saturday afternoon from 4:30-5:30 pm.
  • Executive III is usually scheduled for Sunday morning from 8:30-10:00 am.
  • The IS Conference Program is scheduled by ACRL, with the requested time being Sunday afternoon from 1:00-2:30 pm.


To request that a group of IS meetings be scheduled in the same location or locale (nearby hotels), you must indicate this preference on each online form. Usually this is entered in a field such as “Additional Meeting Information.” Co-location is particularly important for committee meetings and events held back to back, such as multiple Executive Committee meetings, or Executive Committee meetings and the Current Topics Discussion.


Meetings that are selecting awardees, candidates for ballots, or administrator positions need closed meetings. Most of these committees now meet virtually.


Group and Estimated Attendance:

  • Conference program – 500
  • Discussion forums – 100
  • Executive Committee – 15


Currently ALA offers several standard options for room arrangements, which need to be determined for each meeting or event:

  • Conference (boardroom style): One long table with seating around the perimeter of the table. Works best for groups of no more than 20 people.
  • Hollow Square: Chairs are set around a table set in a square. For 20 to 40 people.
  • Theatre: Chairs are set in a row facing the presenter. For presentations and forums, need to specify if a podium or head table is required. This style is most conducive to a lecture format.
  • Banquet Rounds: 10 chairs are placed around a 72” round table. This style is most conducive to small discussions between 8-10 people.  Works well for Discussion Forums.


The IS Chair does not submit forms for Pre-conference Programs or Conference Programs since these are handled by the ACRL office. For all other IS events and meetings, the IS Chair should confirm the needs for AV such as flip charts, podium microphones, table microphones, floor microphones, computers, and projectors – including the types, quantities, and arrangement for each. Additionally, events considered “programs” require a description of 75 words or less to be entered by the form deadline.


ALA finalizes and announces the room assignments approximately two months before the conference. Once the IS Chair receives the meeting schedule from ACRL, a list of IS meetings and events is created by the IS Web Site Administrators showing meeting name, date, time, and location; a legend of the hotel abbreviations is included. The list is posted to the IS web site, sent to the IS Executive Committee, and sent to the IS Advisory Council list for committee chairs to forward to their committee members.

Approved by Executive Committee in June 1998.
Revised October 1998.
Revised May 2005.
Revised July 2006.
Revised January 2012.
Revised February 2013.
Revised June 2015.