We asked respondents to the 2007 membership survey "we'd appreciate a brief paragraph on why you joined MLA or on how MLA has helped you in your career." These are some of the responses:
Many MLA members have commented on the value of MLA membership to them in their different jobs and situations. Browse below to see a few of the comments we've received in past membership surveys!
Library/Information Consultant; Resource Librarian Consultant for Cinahl Information Systems, Inc., and Project Director, Northwoods HealthNet, Northern Wisconsin AHEC, Inc., Stratford, WI
When I started my professional career as a hospital librarian, a local colleague encouraged me to join MLA - what wise advice! MLA soon became my professional home, and the value of this professional connection increased when I moved to a rural area, isolated from other professional health sciences librarians. In MLA, I found a close group of colleagues who shared my special interests, as well as presentations, courses, and publications that increased my knowledge. I also found an opportunity to share via participation in section sponsored research, writing newsletter articles, and developing and teaching MLA CE courses.
MLA is also our advocate, serving us by promoting health sciences libraries and librarianship and maintaining the Academy of Health Information Professionals. Yes, I do value the AHIP behind my name!
In honoring MLA we honor our collective collegial spirit, which has sustained us for this century and will propel us into the challenges of the next.
University of Louisville, Kornhauser Health Sciences Library, Louisville, KY
I graduated from library school in 1970, but did not begin working in a medical library until 1991. Librarianship had certainly changed a lot in that time period and I never had any background in medicine or the biological sciences. It is through my membership in MLA and its terrific series of continuing education courses that I have learned what I need to know to function at a high level in my library. Taking these courses has added to my confidence in facing the other health care professionals that come into my academic health sciences library.
As a new member of the association, I applied for membership on a committee with a "what the heck, what have I got to lose" attitude, When I was accepted, I was totally surprised and completely pleased... [W]hen I started to work with the committee, saw what good work was done, and got to meet and work with the super people who were a part of it, I was very proud to be a medical librarian, and part of an association that actively encouraged the participation of new members with committees that actually accomplished things in a reasonable time frame.
New York University Medical Center, Ehrmann Library, New York
As you get more active in MLA on committees and do more, you also learn skills that you may not have an opportunity to learn anyplace else. These are skills...like how to run a meeting, how to get things done in groups, how to make people meet deadlines, how to communicate effectively across broad geographic spaces...That's what I want people to experience.
Professor, School of Medicine and director, Health Sciences Library and Informatics Center, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque
Towards the end of the 1970s, my mentor (who was an officer in MLA) appointed me to my first committee....From there I became more active in the association and it gave me the opportunity, coming from a small hospital library environment, to gain skills that I didn't get the opportunity to gain in the hospital at the time...skills in group dynamics, organizational planning, consensus building, an opportunity to hear about how other institutions were solving problems.
Assistant V.P. - Publishing, PCI-Property Casualty Insurance, Des Plaines, IL
I joined MLA when I was a graduate library science student and went to my first annual meeting before I graduated. I found everyone very helpful, receptive to my questions, and immediately had a sense of "coming home" about the Association.
I also at that time was introduced to the Bulletin [now the Journal] and the MLA News, and right after graduation had my first article published in the Bulletin [now the Journal]. Several years later I applied for the position of MLA News Editor, thinking I never even had a chance (since I was only three years into the medical library profession). I was selected after a national search and realized that the association was willing to give each person who could make a contribution a chance and opportunity to do that.
I would encourage a new member to join MLA for the camaraderie, networking, continuing education, publications, committees, chapters and sections and most important for providing a forum for growth, development, confidence and encouragement to be the best information professional one can be!
Head, Medical Center Library, University of California, San Diego
I have been a member of MLA since 1991. My active involvement began in 1992 when I offered to serve as the regional rep for the Membership Committee of the Hospital Libraries Section. The call for help went out and I simply jumped-in and started serving. That's what I've appreciated most about MLA--anyone who truly wants to make a contribution, has a place in MLA. Through my involvement, I've met some extraordinarily talented people from all across the country. I look forward to each annual conference knowing that I'll have the good fortune of not only meeting more new colleagues, but renewing my acquaintance with colleagues met at previous conferences. The annual conferences (though a little exhausting) are so much fun! The depth and timeliness of CE offerings gets better each year.
What do I tell others about MLA ? I tell them that MLA is a lifeline for health sciences librarians interested in professional development and contribution. I tell them to give MLA a try. If you're a health sciences librarian interested in an active professional association, MLA is a wonderful place to serve.
University of Alabama at Birmingham, Lister Hill Library
I have been a member of MLA for about four years and I am still amazed at how easy it was to become involved in the organization. I'm already part of the membership committee. My mentor has done a lot to help me, for example, introducing me to other members and giving me advice on CE classes. The certification program is very important to me. It helps make others understand that we are trained professionals. The best reason to join is to meet new people. Networking is vital even if you aren't job hunting!
University of Michigan, Taubman Medical Library, Ann Arbor
The single most important benefit of MLA, from my standpoint, is the networking -- the opportunities to meet librarians from all over the world and to see/listen to/speak to the leaders in our field. There is simply no other way to make this happen. Our annual meeting is a wonderful vehicle for this networking.
Attendance at the meeting as an MLA member provides each of us with little perks that kick in as the months pass between meetings. Recognizing the name of an author of a relevant article, swapping email with the new librarian you met through the Colleague Connection in June, working on a MLA committee project by phone, or reading medlib-l messages from people you've met--all tie into the networking piece. It really is fun and exciting and helps you look beyond the pile of papers on your desk to broader issues and concerns.
Librarian Emerita, Edward G. Miner Library, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, NY
Joining the Medical Library Association is the best way to become a part of the profession. As a member you can explore all facets of librarianship; you can hear from and participate with your peers on issues that affect our work.
When I joined MLA I found that interaction with other librarians, including those about whom I had read, but never expected to meet, was the most rewarding aspect of membership. The ideas and knowledge one gains from meeting colleagues from across the nation and from around the world cannot be duplicated in any other arena. Being a member of MLA reinforces your worth, encourages your growth, forms a foundation for lasting friendships. I would not have missed it for the world. Will you?
Cornell University Medical College, Wood Library, New York, NY
When you get right down to it, it's a group of people who have very similar ideas and want to get together and talk about things...we have many different challenges that face us, but they're still challenges that face us...It has always been, from 1898, a group of people with similar interests getting together to share ideas. The networking is really the most important aspect to MLA to many of the members and to me especially.
Thomson Scientific, Philadelphia, PA
...the continuing education program [is] a particularly strong part of MLA. I think they have a national, perhaps international, reputation as one of the few professional library organizations that has an outstanding continuing education program....I mention it because I am one of the teachers in that program. It's partly personal interest, but partly it's been very rewarding to see a program that genuinely cares about medical library education, has encouraged professional development of members as well as the instructors, and I really do believe in it.
Duke University, Medical Center Library, Durham, NC
I first joined MLA so I would receive the Bulletin [now the Journal] and the MLA News. I was in a two-person hospital library, and while there was an active local consortia, I wanted to see what other people were doing across the country and see what new, innovative ideas and services people were trying. As an AHEC and then academic librarian, I have continued to rely on both these publications as well as section newsletters. The continuing education courses have been invaluable to me as both a new and experienced health sciences librarian. They have taught me new skills, updated old skills, and kept me abreast of new thoughts and developments in health sciences librarianship. When I was asked to make a presentation at MLA in Anaheim and attended my first annual meeting, I realized how much I could learn at the annual meetings as well as the importance of meeting and talking to other colleagues from around the country.
The best reason to join--to share ideas and experiences with, and learn from colleagues in all types of health sciences settings!
Medical Library Association
Last Updated: 2008 January 18