Walt Crawford
Notes on Speaking Invitations

If you're interested in asking me to speak: Ask.

I now speak very rarely, partly because of few/no invitations, partly because I'm doing other things and business travel is such a hassle. Realistically, there are younger and better informed people on most any topic I might speak on.

Informal notes on factors I consider in responding to speaking invitations--and what happens after I accept--follow.


I've spoken on a wide variety of library-related topics over the years. That pretty much ended in 2013.

At this point, you'd need to want me for some reason that's fairly specific to me--and I'm not sure what that would be.

How about open access?

I am not available to speak on OA unless it's related to the unique research projects I've carried out. Otherwise, there are far more qualified people to speak on these topics, and I'd guess most of them are better speakers.

Here's a thought and a list: Chances are, your list of speakers could use more gender balance--and there are a lot of women well qualified to speak on OA. Thanks to April Hathcock, there's even a list of these women. (If that link doesn't work, I suspect this blog post should have a current link.) Why not ask one of them?

Other Notes

I would normally expect full expenses and at least a $2,000 honorarium, if by some chance you had a topic for which I made sense.

What I Need to Know

A request can be as informal as a one-paragraph e-mail message or as formal as a letter.
E-mail is a great way to start.
waltcrawford, domain gmail.com.

I respond to e-mail fairly rapidly unless I'm on the road (in which case I don't check email until I return home)..

Once I know the basics of an invitation, I'll either rule it out because it's impossible or pencil in the occasion and ask more questions.

Before I accept an invitation--moving from penciled in to penned in as confirmed--I need to know the following:

  • Date, time, location, and nature of the occasion. If it's a conference, I need the range of dates.
  • Honorarium (except for ALA programs). Make your standard offer (if you have one).
  • Expense arrangements. Full travel costs, lodging at the conference hotel (if there is one) or a business-class [or better] hotel, and either an adequate fixed per diem for meals or actual meal expenses. Full registration if it's a conference, including social events as appropriate. I strongly prefer to fly American or its partners.
  • For overseas trips, I normally expect at least business class travel on Oneworld airlines (American, British Air, Quantas, etc.).
  • Format and length expected and whether you're looking for a specific topic or not. 
  • Whatever else you think I should know about the group and the occasion.

If you want to explore possibilities before making a formal offer, that's fine with me. Let me know as much of these potential factors as you can, and I'll give you as clear an answer as I can--and, if need be, set up a time for phone discussion of issues. I don't stand on formality--during preliminary discussions or during the event.