Juried Product Development Forum Application Information

  • Application deadline = Friday, August 18.
  • Applications will be reviewed and selected by a committee of librarians currently working in libraries.
  • Decisions will be emailed to all applicants no later than the week of September 4.
  • Cost: $2,000 payable 30 days after notification of acceptance with limited space available.

CONTACT INFO:

Please contact Caroline Goldsmith (caroline@charlestonlibraryconference.com) with questions about the application process.  Ms. Goldsmith serves as a conduit for communications between applicants and the Selection Committee.

Jack Montgomery, Coordinator of Acquisitions and Collection Services at Western Kentucky University and Charleston Conference Director, has volunteered to help coach applicants if needed. If you have questions about whether your product is a good fit for the forums, or questions about how to best frame your session to receive the desired feedback from librarians, please contact Jack at jack.montgomery@wku.edu.

PLEASE READ CLOSELY FOR DETAILS ON HOW TO APPLY:

The forums were designed to provide vendors with an opportunity to get input from the librarian community while the product is in development. The selection committee prefers product developers, rather than sales staff, to make the presentation. The Juried Product Development Forums are not commercials for your product. There are venues provided for company and product promotion during the Vendor Showcase on Wednesday, and in the Charleston Premiers session on Friday.

The abstract requested in the application will be read by both the selection committee and the librarians who will be invited to your program. We suggest making the abstract as clear and informative as possible so that attendees will want to participate in your session.

GOAL:

To create opportunities for companies seeking market feedback to engage with librarians in order to create more successful products and services.

Criteria for Evaluation:

  1. Has the company identified what they wish to learn from participants?
  2. Is the role of the person leading this session involved in the development of the product or service?
  3. Is the session structured to allow sufficient time for participants to provide feedback?
  4. What are the expectations for the outcome of the session?

Carefully consider the format of your presentation.  Ideally, there will be some demonstration or visual representation of the product. We recommend planning on at least thirty minutes (out of the 90 minute session) for questions and two-way dialogue. Please refrain from handing out branded gifts or special offers.

When completing the digital application, we will ask you to respond to the following questions:

  1. List contact name, title, company, and email address.
  2. Please describe the product for which you want librarian feedback.
  3. Please share a few of the questions you might pose to the librarian group.
  4. Why should the committee select your application?
  5. How will the session be structured?  Demo? Focus group format
  6. Is there a size limit for your group? If so, what is the maximum group size? 
  7. Who will lead the session and what is his/her role in the development of this product?
  8. Please provide an abstract for your session (200 word limit).  The abstract will be read by both the selection committee and the librarians who will be invited to your forum. We suggest making the abstract as clear and informative as possible so that attendees will want to participate in your session.

The Charleston Conference is an ideal venue for an extended conversation about the development of a selected product or service. Publishers and vendors can obtain market feedback on:

  • new business models,
  • pricing strategies, and
  • features and functionality.

This information can contribute to the creation of customer-oriented products for libraries resulting in a shorter sales cycle.

VALUE

Feedback from participating publishers and vendors indicate that the Juried Product Development Forums are achieving the intended results:

“The session provided great feedback at exactly the right time in the product’s development, and will have direct effect on that development.”

“We were fortunate to have a great group of sharp, knowledgeable, engaged librarians, and they provided us with some very helpful feedback on our product at a critical time in its development. This was one of the most productive focus-group conversations we had.”

“This was a helpful session for us. As a UK publisher, it is expensive to have user groups and this was a way of achieving this.”

The following will be included with the cost of the forum:

  • Promotion of the session to all registered librarians and library workers. We will send several rounds of email invitations and handle the RSVP process on your behalf.  Information will also be available on the Conference website and in the printed program. You will understand that we cannot guarantee a certain number of attendees for your session, but we will be happy to work with you to promote your session as best we can.
  • A meeting room at one of two Conference headquarter hotels.  Room assignments will be sent to session organizers closer to the time of the event, after headcounts are assessed and room size requirements determined.
  • A/V equipment, including Internet access, a laptop, and an LCD projector and screen. Please let us know immediately if you need additional equipment.
  • Light refreshments and soft drinks for attendees.
  • A door monitor to check name badges against the RSVP list and ensure only registered librarians/library workers attend the session.  The door monitor will also distribute and collect a short attendee evaluation, and the compiled results will be sent by email following the event.