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MLA's Plan for Change According to Star Wars

“You can’t stop change any more than you can stop the suns from setting.”

A great quote about change from probably one of the worst Star Wars movies, The Phantom Menace. Change is everywhere, and there is no way to stop it. MLA, librarians, and libraries are all experiencing change. Since we can’t stop change, the best thing we can do is plan for it.

MLA’s  strategic plan is designed to address and deal with change in the profession. The strategic plan is a bit like a rocket ship.



The front has our core mission, the very reason we are launching into space/librarianship. The middle has our flight plan, navigation: our action plans and priorities important to our mission. The back half of the rocket has the objectives related to our mission (our fuel) and the metrics illustrating how far we are to accomplishing our objectives and missions (our mileage gauge). As priorities are accomplished, new ones replace them, so that we can continue our mission towards new destinations.

Each priority comes with specific goals the MLA Board would like MLA to accomplish. In my inaugural speech, I spoke briefly on some of these goals, such as:

  • Speed up decision making/execution within MLA and MLA groups such as sections and chapters.
  • Support new professionals in the development of their careers
  • Update the core competencies
  • Increase continuing education available to those unable to attend the annual meeting
  • Grow revenues outside of membership and annual meeting
  • Improve the MLANET user interface and experience
  • Develop and grow MLA community opportunities

One of the priorities, technology, is well underway, as you’ve seen in previous posts. Migration to the new MLANET website will begin in September, and MLA staff will work with sections to migrate their current sites over to the new platform.

The next priority to come on board our strategic rocket ship is Research and Advocacy. This priority will support and advance health information research practice and advocate the value, impact and benefits of health sciences libraries and librarians. We must work to strengthen professional development in research and provide increased research support so that we may use this information to advocate, champion, and promote the importance of evidence-based practice and health information research to members and stakeholders. We must arm our members with the tools to conduct their own research to advocate on their own behalf to administrators, but also to enable MLA to advocate for the importance of medical librarians as a whole. We are not the only “world” out there in the medical universe. Our MLA liaisons, our ambassadors, to other planets—like the American Nurses Credentialing Center, the Joint Commission, and the Liaison Committee on Medical Education—need this research to advocate on our behalf.

MLA has a diverse, committed group of members who can work together through sections, chapters, SIGs, and committees to develop new and alternative ways to engage ourselves in our mission. Our strategic plan has some lofty goals, but if we break down the silos within MLA groups and work together, it can and will be done. As Master Yoda said, “Do or do not. There is no try.”

A video of Michelle’s full inaugural address is available to those registered for the MLA ’15 conference or e-conference. Log in with your badge number to view.

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