Keynote Committee Duties

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Details for Code4Lib Conference Keynote Committee members.


Note: we need approximate dates for all of these steps.

  • Cultivate nominations from Code4Lib community on the wiki
  • Contact nominees to confirm their willingness & availability (see Initial Nominee Contact)
  • Ensure all nominees have comparative & sufficient bios
  • Add available nominees & their bios to a voting form, schedule the vote to run two weeks
  • Announce voting on the listserv (see Open Voting Announcement)
  • Send follow-up notices one week & a three-couple days before voting closes
  • Close voting & contact the top two nominees (see Successful Nomination Follow-up)
  • If one or both nominees are unable or unwilling to speak, move down the voting list in order
  • Once two keynotes have been confirmed
    • notify the Conference Planning Committee
    • list on the conference website (see how)
    • notify the speakers who were nominated but ultimately not selected (see Unsuccessful Nomination Follow-up)
    • & notify the community
  • Before the conference, write thank you notes to give to the speakers before or after their keynotes

Keynote Speaker Logistics

Before keynotes are selected

The committee should determine a few things before contacting keynote speakers. Most of these will involve communicating with the main Conference Planning Committee or the host institution.

  • conference registration - historically, there's been a special registration code for keynote speakers that allows them to register without charge. Obtain this code from the Conference Planning Committee.
  • hotel logistics - confirm that a room has been reserved for the keynote speakers or, if not, ensure that speakers will have a chance to purchase rooms before hotel information is released to the general public since the hotel block often fills quickly
  • about reimbursement policies and procedures - what expenses are reimburseable (in particular policies vary on alcohol)? Do they get reimbursements or a per diem for conference expenses? What paperwork do they need to submit and to whom? If floating all these expenses presents a hardship, is there a way to have someone else handle them up front?
  • contracts & taxes - does the host institution have a standard speaking contract which must be used? do they require that the speaker send a W9 form and if so to whom is it sent?

When they agree to speak or shortly after

Obtain a speaker image and short bio for the website.

Keynote speakers need to know:

  • all reimbursement policies - everything that was learned above, basically. Keynotes might purchase their own hotel and travel arrangements and later be reimbursed. If so, they must be informed of any restrictions or preferred carriers, regional airports, travel classes (e.g. business, first, coach), etc…
  • that their talk will be livestreamed - this is not obvious to non-code4libbers
  • the length of their talk & any limitations/restrictions - talks have traditionally been 40 minutes with 5 reserved for questions

Speakers may provide their own speaking contract and/or host institutions may have a standard. If the host's standard contract has non-OA-friendly terms on intellectual property, be prepared to help the speaker negotiate those as many code4libby speakers will care. A W9 may be required.

Adding Keynotes to the website

The Website Working Group needs the following things for each keynote speaker:

  • full name as they'd like it presented
  • professional title & organization
  • square headshot image (doesn't need to be very large, 300x300px is fine)
  • short (3-4 sentence) biography which can include links or other HTML

While it's possible to send these details to the website group without asking the keynoter for them specifically, it's best to see if there is a stock bio they like to use rather than, for instance, reusing the entry from their nomination in the wiki. You can pass this information along to the website group by either a) creating an issue on the website' github repo, which will be under the code4lib organization (preferred) or b) messaging the website committee, whether via the #conference-website Slack channel or reaching out to one of the volunteers listed on the conference committee page.

For reference, this is what the keynote data file looks like from 2019 (only the top 2 entries):

A few weeks before the event

Keynoter Speakers will need information on:

  • travel between the venue and the airport (particularly if the committee will be providing this travel, i.e. will anyone be meeting you at the airport and if so where)
  • A/V setup (what computer is at the podium, can they plug their own in, what dongles will they need, do you provide dongles, is there wifi/podium internet, are there speakers if they want to play video - many venues have PCs and do not provide Mac dongles; speakers may have their own but committee would be well-advised to bring some)
  • event hashtag and other social media (remember non-code4lib speakers are probably unfamiliar with the IRC channel, @code4lib, etc.)
  • is there anywhere it might be good for them to upload their slides
  • who will be introducing them and what information that person needs

Many speakers will appreciate receiving their check at the event, but will not be surprised to get it in the mail later. If you'll be sending it after, provide a time frame, and don't make them have to send follow-up emails to get it.

Email Templates

These are provided merely as convenient suggestions and need not be followed exactly. Still, the general content should be the same. We would be remiss to neglect mentioning the Code of Conduct, for instance.

Sections in Mustache-style double curly braces should be replaced with the appropriate information. Don't forget to replace them! You'd feel silly sending someone a template.

Initial Nominee Contact

Dear {{nominee name}},

On behalf of the Code4Lib {{year}} Conference Committee, I want to inform you that you were nominated as a possible keynote for the conference, which will be held in {{location}} on {{dates}}. You were nominated by a member of the Code4Lib community for doing awesome work. We have a transparent planning process in which keynote speakers are selected by community vote. No commitment is necessary at this point, but we'd like to know if you would consider such an invitation should your nomination be selected. If you are unable or unavailable to speak, we would like to know so that we can ensure a fair and transparent vote.

Code4Lib isn't solely about code or libraries. It's a volunteer-driven collective of hackers, designers, architects, curators, catalogers, artists, and instigators from around the world, who largely work for and with libraries, archives, and museums on technology. We are dedicated to providing a harassment-free community for everyone. For more information, please see our Code of Conduct at

You can learn more about our community and our annual conference at or by viewing our prospectus at

Thank you for your consideration,

{{your name}}

on behalf of the Code4Lib Keynote Speakers Committee

Successful Nomination Follow-up

Important: verify the honorarium sum with the Conference Committee before sending this email.

Hello {{name}},

We have finished the Code4Lib {{year}} invited speaker vote and I am excited to let you know that your nomination was selected! I'm sure that what you have to say will benefit the community, and clearly the rest of the community agrees. I hope you consider accepting our invitation.

The conference is able to cover your expenses, including airfare, lodging at the conference hotel, and meals. Additionally, we would like to offer you a {{monetary sum}} honorarium as a token of our gratitude. We know that preparing for a keynote presentation is a lot of work and we would be deeply grateful if you are able to add your perspective to our community.

Code4Lib {{year}} will take place from {{date range}} in {{location}}. We are scheduling two invited talks, and we would like to open our first full ({{date}}) and last ({{date}}) days with one apiece. If you are available, please let me know if either or both of those days could work. Of course, you are welcome to attend as much of our event as you would like.

Please don't hesitate to ask any questions at all. Thank you so much for considering our invitation. I hope you are able to accept.


{{your name}}

on behalf of the Code4Lib Keynote Speakers Committee

Unsuccessful Nomination Follow-up

Hello {{name}},

Thank you so much for your willingness to participate in this year's Code4Lib keynote speaker selection process. We had an extremely competitive slate this year, and the community vote resulted in the selection of other speakers. We were very excited to have been able to include you and sincerely hope that you will be willing to be considered again next year.


{{your name}}

on behalf of the Code4Lib Keynote Speakers Committee

Open voting announcement

The Code4Lib {{year}} Keynote Speakers Committee is happy to open this year's invited speaker election.

All nominees have been contacted and the {{number of nominees}} included in this election are all potentially available to speak. The top two available vote recipients will be invited to be our keynote speakers this year. Voting will end in two weeks on {{date}}.

When rating nominees, please consider whether they are likely to be an excellent contributor in each the following areas:

1) *Appropriateness*. Is this speaker likely to convey information that is useful to many members of our community?

2) *Uniqueness*. Is this speaker likely to cover themes that may not commonly appear in the rest of the program?

3) *Contribution to diversity*. Will this person bring something rare, notable, or unique to our community, through unusual experience or background?

Final followup to Keynote Speaker

Subject: Code4Lib 2019, Keynote logistics and accessibility

Copy the email address on this.

Hi {{name}},

The Code4Lib Keynote Committee would like to thank you again for helping us make {{year}} a Code4Lib event to remember.

We wanted to reach out with some final logistical points to be aware of while speaking:

Talk Length

You will have 45 minutes to use how you see fit for your keynote on {{date and time of keynote}}. You can choose to include discussion and/or Q&A time, or you can use the entire time to speak. The presentation time length includes setup and take down.


We are currently putting together introductions for you, to be announced before your keynote. We are working with the bios you provided us (http://{{year}} Is there any other relevant information you would like us to include, or do you have a different introduction in mind entirely? We’re happy to have as much or as little input from you as you prefer.

Talk Home

If you are willing to make your keynote available digitally to attendees and to virtual attendees, please upload your presentation deck to the Code4Lib {{year}} OSF Meetings space ({{OSF or other repo URL}}).

Code of Conduct

We want all Code4lib events to be welcoming, so please take a moment to review the Code of Conduct (http://{{year}} as it applies to all parts of the event including presentations.

Presentation Accessibility

Speakers are also being asked to read over the accessibility checklist to ensure all in-person and virtual attendees can thoroughly enjoy your presentation: This guide instructs you to send your presentation to the Program Committee, but you can send yours to the Keynote Committee.

We look forward to seeing you in {{city}} soon!

Thank you!

- The Code4Lib Keynote Committee