The next AASL National Conference will be held October 21-23, 2021, in Salt Lake City, Utah. I am excited because I get to be part of the AASL National Conference Committee. I will be working with some innovative people to bring the conference to life. October will be here before we know it. I am looking forward to seeing the results of the planning.
One thing that makes the AASL National Conference unique is the interaction and sharing of ideas during conference sessions. I am particularly interested in the research into practice presentations. This is the second year that these sessions will be offered. They are essential because we need more research to illustrate the value of school libraries.
The submission window for proposals opened in October. Here is the call for proposal text related to the research sessions.
“Sixty-minute-long research into practice session proposals to be held on Friday, Oct. 22, and Saturday, Oct. 23. Proposals should focus on incorporating original, current research from the field into the practice setting. Previously presented or published research is permitted. Researchers wishing to present multiple papers or research covering a related topic or theme are asked to combine and submit a single session proposal as only seven proposals will be accepted.”
If you are new to submitting proposals, the process can seem daunting. I want to offer some general methods that I use for developing proposals for conferences.
- Read the proposals that were successful for the last conference. Reading the descriptions provides me with examples of how I can structure my proposal.
- The content of the 2021 proposals will probably reflect strategies to address our current work environments. However, some fundamental concepts are always important to review. Looking at the old proposals will help you understand the types of proposals that are popular.
- Ask an honest friend or colleague to review your proposal to see if it makes sense to them.
- Give yourself at least a week to write a proposal. Then you can go back to it after it sits. I usually think of clarifying points when I let my text sit for a while.
- Plan out the proposal and divide the content into transitional stages. The planning process will help you to understand if your entire presentation can fit into an hour.
- Include audience engagement activities.
- Review applicable standards before writing the proposal. Then incorporate elements of them in submission.
- Consider offering a panel session. These sessions are often popular at conferences and increase the ideas that are shred at sessions.
To conclude, I hope you will be willing to share how you have been implementing research this year. Additionally, please note that research proposals do not need to be exclusively about school libraries. Research reflecting best practices in education will be reviewed. Therefore, individuals that work outside of school libraries may submit proposals. If you know someone with research that is relevant to us, please encourage them to apply.
The submission site will close on February 1, 2021. Learn more at http://www.ala.org/news/member-news/2020/10/aasl-opens-proposals-2021-national-conference-programming.
Author: Daniella Smith
Daniella Smith, PhD. is a former school and public librarian. She is currently the Hazel Harvey Peace Professor in Children’s Library Services at the University of North Texas.