YA Lit Symposium: Your Presenter’s Preparations

If you’ve never made a presentation at an event like the YA Literature Symposium, watching the speakers might make you wonder how it all comes together.’  Those polished, funny, engaging speakers must have done some hard work, but they must also be lucky, right?’  Yet the process of crafting the presentation and actually making it isn’t a mysterious one, as this tongue-in-cheek timeline for a speaker at the YA Lit Symposium illustrates.


Nine Months Before Symposium:’  Find out the program proposal you wrote has been accepted.’  Do a happy dance.’  Spend the next six months “contemplating your topic,” which looks like doing nothing.

Three Months Before Symposium:’  Realize you have to give a presentation in three months.’  Cry.

Two Months Before Symposium:’  Work on your presentation.’  Consult with the authors that the YALSA Office has indicated would be a good fit for your presentation.

One Month Before Symposium: Find out an author has dropped out.’  Cry.

Two Weeks Before Symposium: Put the final touches on your presentation.’  Hope that you’re presentating on Saturday, since the most people are here on Saturday.

One Week Before Symposium:’  Find out you’re presenting on Sunday.’  Cry.

Two Days Before Symposium:’  Pack, trying to remember all your supplies for your presentation.’  Especially your laptop.

One Day Before Symposium:’  Arrive at Symposium’s location.’  Reconnect with old friends and colleagues.’  Hear about how great the preconferences were.’  Worry about your presentation.

Symposium Saturday:’  Attend presentations.’  Hear funny, intriguing speakers.’  Worry that your presentation isn’t funny.

Symposium Saturday Evening:’  Do a final run-through on your presentation.’  Worry that your ideas are all wrong.

Symposium Sunday Morning:’  Wake up at 8am, a half-hour before you are to present and you haven’t even showered.’  Cry.

Symposium Sunday Morning, Later:’  Get to the room you’ve been assigned to present in.’  Look at the people gathered in the room and take a deep breath.’  Begin your presentation.

Symposium Sunday Afternoon:’  You survived!’  In honor of the occasion, and as relief from all the nerves, cry.

Seriously, presenting isn’t so scary.’  It’s a chance for you to share your knowledge with your fellow librarians.’  Who wouldn’t like the chance to be an expert on a topic?’  And there’s few ways that are better to make you an expert than to prepare a presentation for your eagle-eyed, high-standards-having fellow librarians.’  If you’ve attended a lot of presentations, you’ve probably got your own ideas on how to present information and what you would like to hear.’  Why not put that into practice?’  YALSA gives you plenty of chances to present, whether at Annual, the YA Lit Symposium (in 2012 in St. Louis, mark your calendars!) or more.’  So the next time a call for program proposals go out, why not throw your hat in the ring?

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Melissa Rabey

I'm a teen librarian for a library system in Maryland. I became a librarian because I love books, I love technology, and I wanted to connect people with those two things. I'm happy that I get to do all this and even more.