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Plan to Attend: MLA '21 vConference

Conversations and connections. Energy and insights. Connections and interaction. MLA’s 2021 virtual conference will give you can’t-miss value: research and projects from your colleagues; interactive learning sessions; plus the latest innovations from exhibitor partners.

Discover now how you can learn, engage, transform, and register for MLA ‘21!

Watch the Welcome Video

MLA '21 Logo


MLA’s premier event draws more than 1,500 participants including medical librarians and other health information professionals, international attendees, and exhibitors. MLA ’21 offers a variety of opportunities for attending educational sessions, seeing the latest products from exhibitors, and interacting with colleagues.

The 2021 conference experience will be exclusively virtual and build on the success of the MLA '20 vConference and Exhibits, with improvements based on feedback and lessons learned.

A Diverse, Inclusive, and Accessible Meeting

Diversity, equity, and inclusion are the threads that strengthen the fabric of the Medical Library Association. 

MLA’s goal is to ensure that members, volunteers, and staff have a high level of awareness related to diversity, equity and inclusion issues, and ensure that our organizational behavior reflects the diversity of the profession, and of those we serve at our institutions.

MLA has enabled tools for all presenters to caption video and audio presentations. If you need accommodation to fully participate in the MLA '21 vConference, please provide details when you register or indicate how we may contact you to ensure your full participation

Whether you attend MLA ’21 from your workplace, your home office, or your living room, experience more than 200 hours of programs, posters, keynote speeches, round tables, panels, conversations, and sessions that will energize you, spark your creativity, and help you think outside the box!

MLA '21 will feature:

  • 18 Immersion Sessions; 100+ papers; 53 Lightning Talks; 100 posters
  • 3 Keynote Speakers; NLM Update
  • Dedicated time for exhibits and exhibitor presentations
  • New networking features and events
Experience MLA '21

I have a disability and have been unable to travel to MLA for about 10 years. Now I can participate and reap the benefits of membership. I hope this continues!


View the tentative schedule
(subject to change)

Image of tentative schedule, subject to change; select to see larger version

Program Summary


When What Experience

Live Kickoff

May 10

Opening Session

  • Dynamic presentations, tips on how to best experience the vConference and Exhibits, sponsor recognition

Awards and Recognitions

  • Think the Oscars with MLA’s own emcees

Networking Event

  • Short presentations followed by multiple small group speed networking (yes, you will meet lots of people you don’t know, totally randomly)

Exploration Week 1

May 10 to May 14

Posters, Lightning Talks, and Papers

  • View posters with captioned voice recordings, lightning talks, and papers with voice synced to slides & captioned, on your own schedule
  • Participate in group conversations (one per presentation) by asking your questions online via text Q&A

Meetings and Events

  • Participate in the Community Council and Chapter Council meetings
  • Join your colleagues for fun activities

Exploration Week 2

May 17 to May 21

Exhibitor Live Solution Showcases and Live Exhibits

  • Visit the exhibitor booths, watch educational videos, and download information, on your own schedule, on Wednesday May 19 and Thursday May 20.
  • Participate in Exhibitor Live Solution Showcases all day Wednesday May 19 and Thursday May 20
  • Connect with your exhibitor representative, or join short educational sessions via video chat

Posters, Lightning Talks, and Papers

  • Continue to view posters, lightning talks and papers and interact with your colleagues.


  • Join MLA members for the Annual Business Meeting
  • Join your colleagues for fun activities (e.g. networking and social events)

Live Action Week

May 24 to May 27

Virtual Exhibits and Solution Showcases

  • Continue to view exhibit booths
  • Watch the recorded Exhibitor Solution Showcases you may have missed
  • Continue exhibitor appointments

Lightning Talks and Papers Meet-Ups

  • Join your colleagues for thirty-minute intimate virtual video chat sessions

Interactive Immersion Sessions

  • Participate in seventy-five minute immersion sessions designed to be engaging and interactive


  • John P. McGovern Award Lecture: Damon Tweedy, MD - sixty-minute keynote presentation
  • Joseph Leiter NLM/MLA Lecture: Mitzi Baum, MSc
  • Janet Doe Lecture: Sandra G. Franklin, AHIP, FMLA - sixty-minute keynote presentation

NLM Update

  • Stay up to date on National Library of Medicine (NLM) activities by joining NLM leaders for a year in review.

Closing Session

  • Time to wrap up, and to enjoy the performance of the MLA ’21 (Washington, DC) organizing committees

Watch Later

Virtual Exhibits and Solution Showcases

  • Open till June 4 for viewing only


  • Available to meeting attendees exclusively for one year
  • Available to MLA members for three years, after June 1, 2022

What did attendees say about the MLA '20 vConference and Exhibits?

“…never before have I engaged, taken as many notes, met as many collaborators, and fostered next steps as I have with MLA 2020's vConference…overall the experience of truly absorbing content in the quiet of my own home allowed me to get so much more out of this meeting.”

“MLA came to my living room and we had conversations that were quite meaningful.”

“I loved the MLA vConference 2020! …so many creative approaches that included interactive components.”

“Please keep the virtual format—it was amazing.”

“I was able to attend the MLA conference from outside the US and take part in all the fantastic presentations.”

Whether you have full support from your institution or a $0 personal budget to attend, MLA has you covered. Institutions can register multiple staff members at a significant discount (ask your director about this option). If you need to register individually, we have full-attendance financial support options (if you are a full 2021 member)—with a quick turn-around on your application. Apply now.

MLA '21: Affordable


I could afford to attend because there were no travel or hotel expenses. This full virtual conference is an accessibility game changer! Please continue to grow this virtual option.


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