Tips for Poster Presenters


  • In a poster session, you will stand in front of a bulletin board that displays visual information about your project. You’ll be in an area of the conference exhibit hall with about 15 other poster presenters. Your visual information can be up on the poster all day, but you only need to stand in front of the bulletin board for one 45-minute session.
  • Bulletin boards can be as large as 4’ x 8’, but it’s probably best not to try to cover that whole area with visuals.
  • You can create one large poster if your office (or your Staples) has that capability, but your poster session can also be a display of smaller items.
  • If you bring a laptop to display more information about your project, make sure the battery is charged. There will not be electrical power in the poster area.


As ALA puts it, “Visuals enhance the effectiveness of your presentation. Think in terms of graphic impact. However, simplicity and legibility are more important than artistic accomplishments.”

  • Anyone walking by should be able to tell what your poster is about. Ensure text is readable from five feet away.
  • Ensure that your name, contact information, library name, and title are clearly visible.
  • Use LOTS of visuals to help tell your story, e.g., charts, photographs, models, brochures, flyers. Anything visual instead of textual.
  • Use short, concise sentences in your display, and keep text to a minimum. You can always speak about your project’s details at the session, and you can distribute handouts. You can also keep a sign-up sheet or collect business cards if people want more text-based information.
  • Keep it simple: don’t try to put too much information into your poster. Focus on your key message and two or three key points.
  • Leave open space in the design to make the display easy to view.
  • Try to stand back and look at your visual presentation; is it clear how the viewer should progress through the information?


  • Prepare an “elevator speech” about your poster that will quickly explain your project to passers-by.
  • Conference attendees may come by at any time during the poster session time slot. It’s not a presentation in which you can talk for a long time and then answer questions.
  • Important: You’ll need to bring your own pushpins or thumbtacks.
  • Very important: Poster sessions can be a lot of fun, as people stroll by and you chat and answer questions. So go with the flow and enjoy.


  • A concise description of the project itself.
  • If the topic is not brand-new, it would be helpful to explain how your work has brought something new to the state of human knowledge about the topic.
  • If your project is a “how our library did something good” type project, it’s important to have evidence of evaluation. Participation levels, user evaluations, peer-review, a change in relevant data (web server statistics): anything to show the relative success of your project. The evaluation does not have to be complete by the time of your poster submission, but some evaluation should be complete by the time of the CLA conference.
  • Some explanation of how your session will make the most of the medium. Will you have graphs? Models? Photographs? Sample materials?