The Southern Chapter of MLA (SC/MLA) held its seventy-first annual meeting October 4–7, 2021. For a variety of reasons, we held our annual meeting in a virtual space again this year. The theme for this year reflects on our past and ponders the future we hope to welcome: Embracing the Future: Creating Adaptive and Inclusive Environments.
Our meeting was initially set as a November joint meeting with the South Central Chapter (which we're excited will still take place at a future date). When we realized that it'd be more beneficial to host a virtual meeting, we agreed to host separate meetings this year and jointly meet in person. The Program Committee then reviewed requests from previous meeting evaluations and selected requests that focused on change and inclusion. Our committee was full of ideas to meet the requests for members and developed a wonderful program for members.
The meeting started with CE courses and ended with our first social hour. Our second day began with the first general session, Creating Inclusive Environments: Learning from the Experiences of Others. This moderated panel was designed to celebrate and encourage inclusive practices in health science libraries. The wonderfully diverse panelists discussed what they wish they and others knew about the physical and invisible barriers in the workplace, scholarship, volunteering, and other aspects of librarianship and libraries. The moderator for this event was Tara Douglas-Williams, and our panelists were Lin Wu, Erica Rosalle, EJ Justice, and Michael S. Fitts.
Midday, we hosted the New Member Welcome for students, new members, speakers, or anyone who likes to meet new people. Next, the Hospital Librarians Symposium featured novelist Anne Fadiman, who spoke on clear communication with patients. Our generous vendors presented to members, the MLA and NNLM updates were given, and the day concluded with a social hour book club.
Wednesday, we began with sessions that support our colleagues and allow members to show what they're doing to support users and improve our field—a poster and paper session. After lunch, we had our second general session, Representing the Rainbow: The Impact of Diversity in Children's Literature for a Brighter Future. This session was presented by Jonathan Hamilt, Mary Elise, and Amazing Grace. This session explored the importance of introducing children to diversity at a young age and shared the herstory, mission, vision, and goals of the nonprofit organization. There was also a demo story hour that featured a trained drag storyteller who read books that amplified the message of love and literacy.
The remainder of the conference gave us time to hear more from our vendors, have another chance to network during a social hour, hold our business meeting, and conclude with a second paper session.
I want to thank the Program Committee for a job well done and thank our vendors and sponsors: McGraw-Hill for providing the Zoom infrastructure and tech support for the meeting, NNLM Region 2 for an honorarium sponsorship, and Wolters Kluwer, Cabells, BML, Springer Nature, Rittenhouse, JAMA Network, NEJM Group, Elsevier, and Wiley for their generous support.
I hope everyone enjoyed the meeting, and I can't wait to see everyone in person again for 2022. If you'd like to see more about our program, speakers, and other information, please visit the SC/MLA 71st Annual Meeting site.