Submit to Full Speed Ahead (the MLA Blog)
Share the innovative efforts you're involved in by writing a post for the Full Speed Ahead blog.
The Full Speed Ahead blog publishes posts about areas of change and growth in health sciences librarianship. It highlights new work in the profession and how MLA, MLA units, and others are evolving to fulfill their missions more effectively.
Posts appear at least once a week. Elizabeth Lund serves as the managing editor. She schedules posts and provides editorial guidance. Posts may be written by individuals, MLA units (sections, SIGs, chapters, committees, and task forces), or other groups.
We encourage MLA sections, SIGs, and other groups to consider publishing up to four posts a year, to communicate your activities to a wider audience.
- A goal your group has and your plan for accomplishing it
- Anything that relates to MLA’s strategic plan
- How your library or region is preparing for the future or innovations you are exploring
- Perspectives from related groups and professions
- Anything that could broadly fit under the umbrellas of “change,” “growth,” or “strategy”
- Think “big picture”: topics that will get readers excited and give them something new to think about.
- Routine announcements and “this exists” posts. Keep the focus on change, growth, or another big-picture concept.
- Product announcements or anything with a commercial purpose
- Posts should be mindful of the attention span of the reader, sometimes just a couple of paragraphs, and no longer than 500 words.
- The tone should lean toward the fun, engaging, informal, and casual.
- Make it about the reader. How will this be valuable for him or her? Even when the subject of a post is more abstract, tie it back to the reader in small ways: “the committee considered feedback from attendees,” “Do you use ideas like this in your job?,” and so on.
- Use bullets, lists, short paragraphs, and subheadings to break up text.
- Engage readers by soliciting feedback through commenting, polls, and so on. End posts with a question (if it comes naturally).
- Use evidence (statistics, examples, and graphs) when possible.
- Images are encouraged and do not need to be professionally polished as long as they add something (either conceptually or aesthetically) to the post.
- If you include a photo that you didn’t take yourself, please be aware of copyright. Photos available through the public domain or a Creative Commons license should be attributed.
- If you would like an image touched up or improved, MLA staff can help as time allows
- MLA staff can also select appropriate photos through our image provider.
- Avoid passive voice (“It was concluded that…”). Avoid attributing actions to complicated, confusing groups of people (“The Membership Committee, Professional Recruitment and Retention Committee, and Futures Task Force concluded that…”).
- Don’t overthink it.
How to Submit
- Email Elizabeth Lund with a brief outline or with a draft of less than 500 words at least 1 week before the desired publication date.
- Posts do not have to be solely written by the person listed as the author. MLA staff can work with you to draft or shape a post.
- MLA staff may edit the post for style, tone, and length. Significant changes will be sent to the author for approval before posting.