Call for Proposals

We often talk at conferences about projects that went well. In contrast, we rarely discuss initiatives that failed, or unexpected obstacles that forced us to find another route to success. In our 2018 Annual Conference, the ACRL New England chapter is highlighting experimentation and creativity in college and research libraries by acknowledging that missteps and roadblocks are all part of the process. Join us in Plymouth, Massachusetts, in May 2018 to talk about 'failing forward.'

We want to hear about your innovative ideas that went bust; your project development blunders; your event planning faux pas! Tell us how failure has helped you and your library to learn and grow. Give us insight into the missteps that have led you to unanticipated success. How has expanding your capacity for failure helped you to take risks and experience breakthroughs?

Staff, faculty, administrators, and students in all areas of librarianship are encouraged to submit proposals by January 19, 2018. Vendor representatives may be included as session presenters for proposals that have library staff, faculty, administrators, or students as primary presenters.

Submit a Proposal

The deadline for proposal submission is 11:59 p.m. EST on January 19, 2018. Applicants will be notified about their proposal status by late February.

Selection will be done by blind review. Please do not include identifying information, including the names of institutions, in the abstract.

Proposals may be submitted at The person submitting the proposal will first need to create a free ScholarWorks@Umass Amherst account. Before you begin the online submission process, please be sure you have the following items ready:

  • Submission title
  • Names, affiliations, and email addresses of all authors
  • Session format choice
  • Description of session, or abstract (250-500 words): Be sure to include two or three takeaways, learning objectives, or questions for attendees. See the descriptions of session formats for more information about what to include in the abstract.
  • Brief description of how your proposed session broadens the conversation in our field regarding your topic
  • Brief summary (1-2 sentences) to be used in the program agenda
  • Selected conference tags
  • Information on the type of library discussed in the proposal

Speaker Expectations

If accepted, all presenters are responsible for registering in advance for the conference, at a reduced rate. Presenters are also asked to upload final materials (slides, handouts, etc.) to the ACRL | NEC Open Access Repository, hosted by ScholarWorks@UMass Amherst. These materials are frequently requested by conference attendees, and uploading them ensures that the valuable information you share is available during and beyond your session.

Session Formats

Panel Discussion

40-minute discussion with 10-minute Q&A

In 40 minutes, two to four panelists will provide multiple, diverse perspectives on a common topic or theme, followed by a ten-minute question and answer period with the audience. Proposal abstracts should highlight practical takeaways for attendees.


40-minute talk with 10-minute Q&A

Presenters will speak with the audience for up to 40 minutes, followed by a ten-minute question and answer period. Proposal abstracts should highlight practical takeaways for attendees.

Interactive Workshop

50 minutes

Presenters will engage attendees in active, hands-on learning. Proposal abstracts should clearly articulate learning outcomes for attendees, as well as a description of the planned activity.


45 minutes

Presenters will bring a poster describing a project, best (or worst!) practices, or original research findings. Throughout the 45-minute poster session, attendees will visit various posters and talk with presenters. Presenters should prepare 1-2 minutes of introductory remarks designed to engage attendees in discussion around the poster. Proposal abstracts should highlight takeaways for attendees. A maximum of two poster presenters is recommended.


45 minutes

Roundtables are an opportunity for attendees to engage in informal group discussion on a topic of interest. Proposal abstracts should include sample questions that facilitators will use to keep the discussion moving. A maximum of two discussion facilitators is recommended.

Lightning Talk

5- to 7-minute talk with 1- to 2-minute Q&A

Lightning talks enable the audience to hear from several presenters in a short space of time. Talks may cover practical experiences, approaches, perspectives, and reflections. Each will be brief, quickly hit the main points, and express what matters most. Proposal abstracts should highlight practical takeaways. One presenter per talk is recommended.

Conference Tags

Conference tags help the planning committee to create a schedule which reflects many types of library work. Presenters may choose as many as apply to their proposal.

  • Access Services
  • Administration, Management, and Leadership
  • Archives and Special Collections
  • Assessment
  • Collections
  • Data Services
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
  • Outreach
  • Professional/staff development
  • Reference
  • Scholarly Communication
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Technical Services
  • Technology and Tools

Type of Library

Making note of the type(s) of library discussed in your proposal helps the planning committee to create a schedule reflective of the many types of libraries in which we work.

  • Community College Library
  • College Library
  • University Library
  • Consortia
  • Other

Contact Us

Questions? Email the 2018 Conference Planning Committee at

Official conference hashtag #acrlnec18