Guidelines for Local Arrangements Planning

Prepared by Pamela Howard Local Arrangements Chairman, SALALM XXVI (1981) for Local Arrangements Chairman, SALALM XXVII (1982)

Revised by Pamela Howard-Reguindin, with assistance from Richard Phillips and Mary Jo Zeter (2004)

Meeting Space
Depending on the local market, try to book meeting space well in advance (i.e., at least 12-18 months). We needed at least 6 meeting rooms on the first day plus the rooms for the book exhibit and SALALM headquarters. The headquarters room should be booked for the afternoon or evening before the conference starts, and you may want to organize everything that should be at the Registration Desk that afternoon or evening to avoid doing it at 6 a.m. the next day!

Headquarters
It is best to book a centrally located room. You will need a photocopier (hotel photocopy service is usually exorbitantly priced), computer with printer, and the entire gamut of office supplies. Of course, the room should be locked overnight and when no one is around. If your institution cannot lend a photocopier to the headquarters, try to locate a nearby photocopy service center.

Invitations
The host institution is responsible for composing the invitation, and it is best to start working on it as soon as possible. It must be sent to both the SALALM Executive Secretary and the President for editing and final approval. If the hotel has a release time for the block of rooms you have reserved, be sure to indicate that on the invitation and urge members to get their reservations in before the hotel’s deadline. Another reason for doing the invitations early is that you cannot send out the bookdealer/exhibitor packets until the invitation is approved and completed.

Book Exhibits
Try to delegate the coordination of this to one responsible person. The exhibit mail-out packets, including the invitation, press release, hotel reservation card, exhibit announcement and form (see enclosed) should be mailed out by early January at the latest. Try to get the list of the exhibitors who participated in the previous two or three SALALM meetings as a starter list for promoting exhibits in your conference. Ideally, most of them would be interested in future SALALM exhibits. There is also a card file of dealers that I found to be less than useful; however, the exhibits coordinator may want to peruse it and select a few potential exhibitors. Mailing out 75+ packets should net around 35+ exhibitors. The greater number of exhibitors, the better for SALALM as it is a good source of income for the organization. Follow-up packets should be mailed to all former exhibitors who have not registered by mid-February.  It is also useful to maintain an ongoing, accurate list of past exhibitors.  This list should be passed on from one exhibit coordinator to the next. When doing the table layout/floor plan, don’t forget that a SALALM table is needed for SALALM publications.

Local Bank Account
For making deposits or advanced payment to ensure services, you may have to establish a local bank checking account on behalf of SALALM several months before the meeting. You will also use this account to make payments for conference facilities, caterers, local transportation and other miscellaneous expenses. It is best if only one or two responsible persons are signatories on this account.

Folders and Name Tags
Try to obtain these early (i.e., January) so that you do not have to worry about them later. The secret to success is never to procrastinate-do it NOW if it can be possibly be done. The name tags and registration fee receipts can be generated by an assistant as soon as the registration forms are returned. Name tags for new members should be distinctive (different color, hanging ribbon or some such) so that they can be easily spotted from a distance. The local information brochures can go into the folders at an early date. Regarding the working paper abstracts, Microfilming Projects Newsletter, and annual reports, you can collected them in a folder until 2 weeks before the meeting, then have them copied en masse. This will save many trips to the photoduplication center and IT forms. Nevertheless, many folks will be late in sending abstracts, and you cannot avoid some last-minute hassles. Also, keep in mind that copy machines break down (ours did) and may cause unimaginable headache pain if you are stuck with a pile of papers to photocopy and NO MACHINE. For most conferences around 175 folders should be adequate.

Signs
They don’t need to be elaborate–just strategically placed and neatly lettered. White boards and felt pens are adequate and inexpensive, and they can be done well in advance. You will need:

  • 1 or 2 for SALALM HEADQUARTERS
  • 1 each for Company name of book exhibitors
  • 1 or 2 for BOOK EXHIBITS
  • 4 to 6 for SALALM REGISTRATION (with directional arrows; number of signs depends on complexity of hotel layout)
  • 1 name sign for each panelist
  • 1 each for Registration Table for:
  • PRE-REGISTERED
  • NOT REGISTERED
  • NEW MEMBERS
  • Any special events planned

Registration Desk
Apart from the signs mentioned above, there are several items needed for the desk: 1 or 2 staplers, Scotch tape, pens, pencils, scissors, receipt books, 1 to 3 cash boxes, and plenty of change–very important! You should have at least $50 in small bills and change at the registration desk. I completely forgot about having change on hand, and it was a mega-hassle! For post-conference accounting purposes, it is best to encourage payment in checks with a separate check for each item.

It is important to keep New Membership, Registration, and Special Event monies separated. I forgot to, and spent two evenings trying to balance figures. Also, be sure to arrange for a hotel safe deposit box to store the cash overnight.

Staffing needs at the Registration Desk were heaviest during the morning hours on the first two days of the conference. Please consult the staffing needs list below for the duration of SALALM XXVI. It serves as an invaluable tool for planning your Reg Desk task force. Don’t try to coordinate a conference without one! Keep in mind that it is better to be overstaffed than understaffed.

Tape Recorders and Cassettes
You will need as many recorders as there are simultaneous sessions. Generally, 3 should be enough. The Executive Secretary will ship the SALALM recorder to you, so you’ll need to locate one or two others for the Rapporteur General. It is best to buy 60-minute (total playing time) tapes because 90-minute tapes can get messy while playing back. You will probably need 30-35 tapes depending upon the length of the sessions. Be sure to have someone wind the tapes up tightly before use and label them with the session number and rapporteur names. The cassettes were my one and only major problem at SALALM XXVI and winding them tightly to begin with would have avoided that dilemma. This should be done in January or February just to get it out of the way.

Receptions
If you are planning receptions, line up the caterers, maids, bartenders, and beverage purveyor at least 4-6 months before the conference. It doesn’t cost anything and will save time in the long run. Have everything delivered. I tried to save a few bucks by getting the bar setups myself. It was not worth the hassle. Plan the  reception food/drinks for roughly the number of persons attending the conference as usually all persons do partake in the merry making.

Physically challenged participants
Keep in mind that there may be physically challenged attendees with special needs. Be sure that there are adequate hotel and transportation options for them.

Post-SALALM Duties
You will be asked to provide the Treasurer with detailed information about funds spent for the meeting. In order to do this, you must keep an accurate ledger of accounts. Another chore is to determine who paid their registration but did not attend. They must be sent the conference packet of hand-outs by mail after the meeting. Do not, under any circumstance, throw out the registration forms. They will be used later.

Staffing Needs for SALALM Conferences
Day  1 (Committee meetings day)
Registration desk (8 a.m. – 12 noon) 

  • 2 persons for Pre-registered attendees
  • 1 person for At-Conference registrants
  • 1 person for Special Event(s)
  • 1 person for General Information and New Members
  • 5 persons total for the Registration Desk in morning

Registration desk (12 noon – 5 p.m.)

  • 1 person for Registration and New Members
  • 1 person for Special Event
  • 2 persons total for the Registration Desk in the afternoon

Book exhibits (8 a.m. – 5 p.m.)

  • 1 person to help dealers set up and to guard room
Day 2 (Committee meeting day)
Registration desk (a.m.) 

  • Same as previous day
  • Registration desk (p.m.)
  • 1 person for General Information

Book Exhibits (8 a.m. – 5 p.m.)

  • Same as previous day

 

Day 3
Registration desk 

  • Staffed by 1 or 2 floaters

Book Exhibit (8 a.m. – 5 p.m.)

  • 1 person to guard room

Headquarters (a.m.)

  • 1 assistant to type final resolutions and list of participants (?)
Day 4
Registration desk 

  • Staffed by 1 or 2 floaters

Book Exhibit (8 a.m. – 5 p.m.)

  • 1 person to guard room

Headquarters (a.m.)

  • 1 assistant to type final resolutions and list of participants (?)

Other staffing needs will vary depending upon the number of receptions planned.