An Open Letter to the 2018 FCBG Conference Organisers

Dear members of Hertfordshire Children’s Book Group,

As promised, we’ll send you the signage for next year’s conference and are happy to share tips for making the weekend run smoothly – although we know that you’ve done this before and will therefore already have a very good idea of what’s involved!

As you know, Ros Bartlett will start contacting publishers as soon as the venue and dates have been agreed. But if you have a particular theme in mind don’t be afraid of making suggestions or requests for possible speakers, panels or workshops. It’s amazing how it all comes together in the end, but communication is key! 

Hopefully, like us, you’ll have a great group of people who are eager to get involved in planning, preparing and helping out over the weekend. We had regular meetings in the lead up, which became more frequent nearer the event. A great excuse to socialise, with the knock-on effect of strengthening group member bonds. We decided together to whom to present the Federation Gift. The decision was unanimous and it was such a pleasure to gift money for books to Helen and Douglas House, our local children’s hospice.

Without our wonderful volunteers we wouldn’t have been able to produce the annotated list of speakers or the publishers’ leaflet, name labels, information about the venue and travel directions for delegates. During the weekend they helped to set up and clear up, to organise the delegate bags, the rooms for residents, and man the information desk, not to mention the quiz and raffle at the gala dinner. 

Ideally(!), the big jobs should be allocated to people with lots of time and patience – liaising with the venue, delegate bookings, and organising the publishers’ exhibition. Keep notes, save relevant emails and make lists (lots of lists). But you may find that members of Exec will help with some of this – if you don’t ask you won’t get!


Energy, enthusiasm and a good sense of humour is essential for surviving the weekend – but if you are passionate about getting children and books together, you’ll have a ball. What a privilege to be surrounded by so many fantastic publishers, authors and illustrators for a great big celebration of children’s books and the benefits and joy of reading! And there’ll be cake.


Good luck and very best wishes from the members of Reading Children’s Book Group


2 responses to “An Open Letter to the 2018 FCBG Conference Organisers”

  1. Denise Lawrence says:

    Clare, thank you so much for such a lovely, supportive and encouraging message. As one of the happy band of Herts Children’s Book Group who will be organising and hosting FCBG Conference 2018 I feel we need all the advice and support we can get! Conference 2017 was brilliant as ever and I hope that we will do justice to such a special occasion as the 50th Anniversary of the founding of the Federation. We look forward to welcoming you all to Hertfordshire for Conference 2018, hopefully it will be memorable for all the right reasons! Oh and there will definitely be cake!

  2. Jayne says:

    What a lovely post. Shows all the values of fcbg members countrywide.