Arrangements & Event Preparation
- Allow a minimum of six months lead-time for most author visits.
- After you receive an affirmative reply from the author, have an agreement drawn up. (this can be a contract, provided by the author/publisher or by your library, a Letter of Confirmation or, a Memo of Understanding.) See examples provided.
- Prepare timeline for facility arrangements (book your meeting room or other venue soon!), publicity and purchases (additional titles or related works to be purchased for library's collection to augment the event?).
- If you intend to offer book sales, arrange with the publisher or a local bookstore (know how you handle retail salesdoes your Friends group do it or can the library?). If the library will manage the sales, arrange staff or volunteers to assist at the event. Some bookstores will offer a percentage of sales to the library for the service of providing a venue for book sales. Some publishers will have multiple copies sent to the library before the event and any books not sold are returned to the publishermake sure you know what will be done and who is responsible for payments, mailing, etc.
- Contact community groups, businesses, or neighboring libraries that may have an interest and see if/how they would be willing to collaborate.
- If your library is responsible for making travel and/or accommodation arrangements, do this early. If your library makes arrangements for accommodations be sure to inquire whether there are special needs (i.e. non-smoking room, first floor room). Make sure that you provide the author or publisher with reservation information and confirmation numbers.
- Contact author one week before the event to confirm. Make sure you have provided the author with directions to the program location. Provide the author with a contact phone, such as a cell phone, which is answered by a live person that the author can call in the hours before the event if necessary.
- Plan introductory and concluding remarks. Your introduction is a great place to make a pitch for upcoming library programs. Be sure to thank sponsors. Concluding remarks should include a thank you to the author and an invitation to the audience to express their appreciation. If books are available for purchase, invite the audience to view them and state that the author will sign books, too.
- Set out brochures about the program, author, related material displays, and upcoming library events on a table at the back of the room.
- If refreshments are being served, place them in an area that will least disturb the audience. State at the introduction whether refreshments are available at the conclusion of the event or whether the audience may pick up refreshments during the program.
- At the table or podium (you will have prearranged with the author what he/she requires), place a glass of water with a pitcher.
- Determine room configuration.
- Is it necessary to reserve a parking place for author?
- Make sure that any equipment needed is in place and working (projector, screen, microphone, computer, network connections).
- If books are to be sold, set up a table and chair(s). Have a pen and change ready, too (if your library is handling the sales; bookstore will handle this if they are doing sales). Have staff and/or volunteer(s) do sales (if a bookstore is not doing sales). Do not have the author handle the transactions; the author will be talking and signing books.
Acknowledgement: to the Dakota County Library (Eagan, Minnesota) for some ideas and information used in this material.