Taking Your Show on the Road? Take a Look at Our Checklist

Our gear for this week’s presentation (from top): USB clicker, artifacts, handouts, handouts and more handouts, all on a trusty book truck.

Friday is a big day for the Digitization Projects Group. That morning, Darryl Stuhr (Manager of Digitization Projects) and I will be presenting alongside Dean of Libraries Pattie Orr and VP for the Electronic Library Tim Logan to the Board of Directors for LEARN, a “consortium of 38 organizations throughout Texas” dedicated to “providing advanced network services for research, education, health care and economic development throughout Texas.” This will be the first time LEARN has held its Board of Directors meeting in Waco, and it’s a great opportunity to showcase our digital collections to a group of technology professionals from across the state.

We do dozens of presentations a year within our group. They range from in-house tours of the Riley Digitization Center to professional presentations at conferences and workshops. Even though our presentation this week will take place just a few buildings over from our home base in Moody Memorial Library, we’ll still be bringing a fair amount of materials and handouts with us, and that brought to mind a topic for this blog.

What does a traveling digitization expert pack for a presentation? We thought we’d share our checklist with you, so here’s a rundown for all you would-be road warriors out there.


One of the first things you learn from off-site presentations is never to trust the setup in the room where you’ll be presenting. Despite people’s best intentions, there’s always the chance that something will go wrong. So you pack for as many potential pitfalls as possible.

–       50-foot extension cord

–       Power strip

–       Projector with extra bulb

–       Laptop-to-projector cords and adapters

–       Power cables for laptop, projector

–       USB remote for advancing slideshows

–       Multiple copies of presentation saved online and on removable media (flash drive)


People love technology, and slick PowerPoints do a great job of showcasing your materials, but there’s still a great deal to be said about physical handouts. Depending on the topic and audience, our handouts might include:

–       One-sheet overview of the Digitization Projects Group or the Riley Center

–       Copies of the PowerPoint presentation

–       Flyers and brochures promoting your collections

–       Business cards


Here’s where things can get a bit more challenging. If your presentation can benefit from presenting the originals – like we plan to do Friday with the second volume of the War of the Rebellion Atlas and a 16-inch radio transcription disc – you have to make extra arrangements for secure transportation of a very valuable physical asset. If you’ll be bringing the “real thing” with you, it might be useful to have:

–       Specialized cases or reinforced storage boxes

–       Foam inserts and extra padding for last-minute reconfigurations within a storage box

–       A box truck or other cart for easier transport from vehicles to buildings

–       A hand truck (dolly)


There’s no way you can prepare for any eventuality, but we’ve learned (sometimes from painful experience) that a few of these essentials may be helpful when you’re far from home and expected to perform for a crowd.

–       Breath mints/gum/Altoids

–       A mini sewing kit (for those inconvenient popped-button emergencies)

–       An extra phone charger or USB cord

–       Migraine, sinus relief, indigestion and prescription medications (and extras!)

–       Extra copies of tax exempt status form for hotel stays

–       AA and AAA batteries

–       Spare presentation clothes. Seriously. If you’ve ever had to scour a Kohl’s department store in Lubbock, Texas 30 minutes before a presentation looking for slacks to replace the ones you ripped while getting out of a rental car at 8:30 in the morning you’ll know what I’m talking about. All I can say is thank goodness for extended shopping hours around the holidays.

If presentations at home or abroad are in your future, we hope this checklist will give you a starting point for the things you’ll need to succeed. We’d love to hear your tips and tricks for successful presentations in the comments, so fire away!

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