Cultivating Library, Author, and Speaker Connections

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How to locate a speaker and cultivate a good relationship for a successful speaking event.

How to locate a speaker and cultivate a good relationship for a successful speaking event.

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  • 1. Cultivating Library-Author-Speakers 1 Cultivating Library-Author-Speaker Connections Dr. Jean A. Lukesh (Ed.D., Curriculum & Instruction) NLA/NEMA Conference October 2011So, you need to book speakers for your library (organization, classroom, group, orwhatever). Would it surprise you to know that there are hundreds of people who wouldlove to be your speakers? So, how do you go about making contact and cultivating goodprofessional relationships with the right speakers?FIRST, you need to consider what you want to accomplish: particularly, in regard to theevent(s) and also the kind of speaker desired, as well as possible topics, possible audience(age, level, interest, etc.), expectations, the time/date, the site, possible costs, the political/social climate, competing social events, awards won, reviews given, supplementalmaterials available, press releases, and other such factors.SECOND, start well ahead of the possible date and brainstorm author/speakerpossibilities (with an eye on the factors above). Keep a running list of names and contactinfo on speakers, as well as people, places, and other sources of recommendations. SEESome Online Sources for Finding Speakers (below)Where can you find speakers to bring in? Other libraries, schools, groups, organizations,online sources (See examples below), newspaper/magazine stories or ads, publishercatalogs, ongoing events, and more. Whenever possible, network with others who mighthave ideas for speakers.THIRD, when you think you have some good possibilities for speakers, do some extrahomework-Check the speaker’s credentials—books or other products to see if they are appropriatefor your site/audience, book blurbs, author pages, publisher sites, booksites, websites,blogs, Facebook, Twitter, listservs.-Check to see that the speaker is affordable and acceptable—fees, forms, affiliations, etc.-Check speaker’s references—where has he/she spoken before? Contact past speakercoordinators, other librarians or related organizations, to see how well the speakerfulfilled the contract and met expectations—before, during, and after the presentations.-Provide information to speaker regarding community profile, concerns, expectations,and more.—dress code if needed, language limits, parking, doors, etc.-Have all the pertinent information and materials available for the speaker—sites, times,dates, rooms, needs, speaker needs audience size, audience level, technology, multiplesetups/sites, map of building or sites, transportation to other sites, handouts, audiencepreparation or expectations, followup, etc.-Work directly with the speaker to be sure everything is being passed along to him/herand nothing has been overlooked or left out and all questions answered.-Confirm with or remind speaker (by email, phone, mail, etc.) over time, and especially afew days ahead of the speaking engagement, to be sure the date is still going to work;forms are filled out; fees are still acceptable; payment expectations will be met; booksand technology are going to be available; booksales and signings are acceptable; books
  • 2. Cultivating Library-Author-Speakers 2will be available and from whom; remind about topic, agenda, expectations, audience,etc.; note any changes to anything pertinentFOURTH: Afterwards, follow up with feedback and thank you, possibly with audiencefeedback. Add the speaker to your facility’s newsletter, Christmas card list, etc.FIFTH: Keep a file of good speakers you might want to bring back or recommend toothers. Update the list often. Some Online Sources for Finding SpeakersWebsites of Writing and Other Organizations—these usually give mission statements,activities, dates of meetings, how to join, list of members, may include contact info,affiliated organizations and groups, awards, newsletters, and more. Explore thesewebsites and more to locate and help cultivate relationships with speakers.Nebraska Humanities Council (NHC) Speakers Bureau www.nebraskahumanities.org/Generally involves some grant writingNebraska Writers Guild (NWG) – eclectic group, all genres and all levels ofexperience; established in 1925 by and affiliated with many famous Nebraska writers;still one of the oldest statewide organizations of writers in the country.-Homepage: www.nebraskawriters.org-“Speakers Bureau” Tab: tells what kind of speaking we do—“Speaker Members” SubTab: lists members who speak to groups, is alphabetized bymembers’ last names, includes towns/residence and contact information-“Members” Tab: lists members, alphabetized by last name—“Members by Residence” SubTab: lists members by towns and then by last name(note: other states also have writers groups, as do many communities)-“Resources” Tab: lists Nebraska writers groups by area, also gives meeting/contact infoRomance Writers of America (RWA) – all genres and levels of romance writersNebraska Romance Writers of America (NRWA) – Nebraska chapter-Homepage: www.rwa.org -“Speakers Bureau” Tab: search by author, genre, state(related organizations: Heartland Romance Writers, Prairieland Romance WritersSisters in Crime (SinC) – all genres of mystery and detective writing, primarily but notexclusively women writers (editors, publishers, agents, and more)-Homepage: www.sistersincrime.org-“Resources” Tab allows access to searchable Author and Author Website LinksSociety of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) – all genres and levelsof children’s writing and illustrating-Homepage: www.scbwi.org-“Find a Speaker” Tab and Sub Tab: Searchable by author’s/illustrator’s last name, state or country, or book title; sometimes offers you a profile of that author/illustrator
  • 3. Cultivating Library-Author-Speakers 3-“About School Visits” Sub Tab: gives extra information on booking a speaker-“Regions” Tab: uses slider bars to search different state and national chapters; gives contact information and lists/profiles members of chaptersNebraska Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (NE-SCBWI) – statechapter, see SCBWI homepageWestern Writers of America (WWA) – all genres and levels of Western historyWebpage: www.westernwriters.org/speakers_bureau.htm - alphabetic search, then givesall pertinent profile/contact/etc. info for members who are speakersWebpage: http://www.westernwriters.org/contact_authors.htm - alphabetic search ofmembers and contact infoOther websites of interesthttp://www.illustratorauthor.com/ a link to authors/illustrators/school visitshttp://childrensbooks.about.com/od/visits/School_and_Library_Visits_by_Authors_and_Illustrators.htm ideas for schools and author visitshttp://www.magdanz.com/books/river/authors.htm more possibilities Other Options and Ideas:Talk to other libraries, schools, and organizations and piggyback with themPlan a SKYPE visitUse Scholastic Book Fairs Book TapesBlog with authors or genre readersFind Author Sites—check to see if your favorite author might be coming to your areaFind Publisher Sites, such as Random House http://www.randomhouse.com/kids/authors/ Scholastic and others http://www.scholastic.com/librarians/ab/biolist.htmBranch out and look into other speaking areas besides authors. For example, bring in -a handy man to talk about DIY fix-ups and highlight those books/videos -a greenhouse person and highlight your gardening section -a speaker on World War II events and highlight related materials -a policeman, detective, or forensic specialist and showcase nonfiction & fiction mysteries or crimes -a cowboy or rancher and hold a roundup of western novels, videos, Wild West history, horses, and other related topics - high school students who are readers and have them give book talks to middle grades kids about books they liked when they were younger -speakers or participants from nearby events -a horse or dog person or humane society person and spotlight on such items as horse care or dog training or guidedog training or appropriate topics -someone who has won an honor of substance and give that person a place to spotlight his/her message and experience -other ideas??? Or questions???Have fun with other possibilities to grow your library-speaker connections!
  • 4. Cultivating Library-Author-Speakers 4 About the Author/Presenter Dr. Jean A. Lukesh has her doctorate in Education (Curriculum and Instruction),two Masters degrees, and various other degrees and endorsements. She is a formerNebraska Teacher and Media Specialist, a book editor and publisher, and a multi-award-winning author, presenter, and speaker. She is a past president and longtime member ofthe Nebraska Writers Guild, a member of the Nebraska Educational Media Association(as well as a Mari Sandoz Award winner), and a member of the Society of Children’sBook Writers and Illustrators, Sisters in Crime (mystery writers), the Text and AcademicAuthors Association, and Western Writers of America. Her very popular book The Nebraska Adventure, a 4th grade textbook forNebraska studies, published by Gibbs Smith Company of Layton, Utah in 2004/2005, iscurrently in use in a majority of schools across Nebraska, is in its 9th printing, and haswon a national textbook award, a Nebraska Book Award, and a regional humanitiesliterary award. She contributed several articles to a local Nebraska history book that alsowon a Nebraska Book Award and a regional humanities literary award. Her latest biography in her new quick reading Noteworthy Americans series (ofNebraska heroes), Lucky Ears: The True Story of Ben Kuroki, World War II Hero, abouta Nebraska-born Japanese American airman, recently won a 2011 IPPY (IndependentBook Publishers Award) Bronze Medal for Children’s/Teens/Young Adult’sMulticultural Nonfiction. She expects to have two more Noteworthy Americans (ofNebraska) biographies out in October and November 2011 and two more out sometimearound Christmas. Dr. Lukesh has given book presentations and Nebraska history presentations inclassrooms and libraries, at conferences and elsewhere, all across the state for more thanthirty years. For more information, contact Dr. Lukesh at JeanLukesh@aol.com or athttp://www.fieldmousebooks.com (or http://www.fieldmoouseproductions.com)