I'm a lifelong learner. My friends and co-workers say I'm addicted to learning and sometimes they call me an obsessive learner. That's okay with me. I admit it. I love learning new things. A new hobby? A new recipe? A new subject? A new professional skill? Whatever -- sign me up. Learning something new is one of my favorite parts of attending a conference. I welcome new opportunities to improve my professional knowledge.
This year at the annual MLA conference there are a wide range of opportunities for learning. Are you planning to take advantage of them? I'm going to start with the traditional learning that is offered through a variety of continuing education opportunities. There are twenty-five different continuing education courses that you can choose from. These courses cover a variety of topics and relate directly to the Medical Library Association's professional competencies for health sciences librarians (MLA, 2007). Some classes are even hands on. I had a hard time deciding which courses to attend.
Not planning to attend a CE course? That's okay. Have you ever though about how much you learn through the plenary sessions, poster and paper sessions, the NLM update, Tech Trends, and all the miscellaneous informal and special interest group meetings? These are wonderful opportunities to see what's changed and how others are doing things. I almost always find some great ideas that I can take back and adapt for my library.
Of course, my favorite way to learn is by networking and talking with other librarians! Make sure you take the time to meet new people and exchange ideas. Who knows what valuable nugget of information you might come across in a casual conversation? The chance to learn and improve will be everywhere during the Seattle conference. I plan to take advantage of every opportunity. What about you? It's not too late to register. Visit the MLA website for more information about the conference or go to http://www.mlanet.org/page/mla-17-how-to-register to learn more about registering.
Medical Library Association. (2007). Professional competencies for health sciences librarians.