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Recommendations for Developing a Great Proposal

Preview the Proposal Form

You can preview the proposal form to familiarize yourself with the fields you will be required to complete regarding your session and yourself as a session organizer and/or speaker.

Be Inclusive

PLA seeks proposals and speakers representing a wide range of diversity, with a commitment to representation of groups that have been historically marginalized or excluded due to race, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, ability, economic background, and age. We also seek sessions that demonstrate clear connections to and alignment with PLA’s Strategic Plan; Mission & Goals; and Equity, Diversity, Inclusion & Social Justice initiative.

Understand the Selection Process

We expect to receive hundreds more session proposals than we can accommodate. PLA Conferences typically accept only 15-20% of proposals received. Proposals will be rated and selected by the PLA 2022 Conference Program Subcommittee, which uses the following criteria to rate each proposal (view the full rubric; PDF, 1 pg.):

  • Proposal Description: Does the description clearly, with sufficient detail, outline the proposed presentation?
  • Learning Outcomes: Are the learning outcomes clear, specific, and actionable?
  • Innovation: Does the content offer fresh, memorable ideas, methods, or resources?
  • Relevance: Is the content relevant to public library professionals?
  • Equity, Diversity, Inclusion & Social Justice: Does the program have the potential to help PLA and its members advance the strategic goals and values of equity, diversity, inclusion, and social justice?
  • Speaker Reference (Optional): Have you seen this presenter previously present a program? If so, rate the speaker’s skills.

Familiarize Yourself with Past Sessions

We invite you to consider reviewing past program listings to familiarize yourself with successful sessions at past PLA Conferences. Some common themes include:

  • PLA values a diversity of perspectives, so sessions representing multiple library experiences on a panel presentation allow us to include a wider range of viewpoints in our limited program slots.
  • Sessions focused on a single library’s experience can be useful but should also reflect consideration of how their lessons learned can scale or apply to libraries serving different kinds of communities.
  • Perspectives from outside the library field can add great value to a session.

Take Advantage of PLA Resources

PLA offers a free on-demand webinar, “What Makes a Successful PLA Conference Proposal?”, that covers the PLA Conference proposal process, provides examples of successful past proposals, and highlights specific recommendations for how to take your idea and develop it into a truly outstanding proposal.

Also note that coaching or mentoring is available if your proposal is accepted. You can indicate your interest in this opportunity on the proposal form, under Speaker Information.

Don’t Be Late

Finally, please be sure to submit your proposal online by the deadline, no later than 11:59 PM Eastern on June 21, 2021.

Ready to start your proposal? Go to the online proposal form.

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