MLA ’19 was one of my most favorite meeting experiences. Every day was filled with riveting conversations, inspiring presentations, and just pure fun. I left MLA ’19 with quite a few ideas and more business cards and pens than I could count. For this article, I thought it would be fun to offer a snapshot of my MLA experience with a few “MLA Newbie Pro Tips.” I hope you enjoy.
Signing up for the Colleague Connection mentor-mentee program was by far one of the best decisions I made for MLA ’19. My mentor, Marie T. Ascher, was friendly and full of great advice about how to tackle the meeting. She was also infectiously enthusiastic about getting involved in MLA. Like all the other new attendees and members, by the end of the breakfast, I was amped for my first day!
What exactly did I do on my first day? Here is a sample from my itinerary:
The “Clueless at MLA” session was one of the day’s standouts for me. I was particularly eager to finally be able to sit down with someone and ask all of my questions regarding the Academy of Health Information Professionals (AHIP). The other table that I visited was dedicated to early career librarians. Since I was the only one at the table, I took the opportunity to ask questions about getting involved and to get recommendations for networking with the MLA community.
MLA Newbie Pro Tip #1
Sign up for Colleague Connection. This is a great program and wonderful way to meet MLA members, both new and old! Special thanks again to Marie for being so helpful!
I hit the ground running on Monday by checking out “VisualDx: Connecting Symptoms to Construct a Diagnosis.” I was eager for the chance to expand my working knowledge of a tool that my institution utilizes, especially if I could incorporate the information into my instruction!
Since my morning schedule was on the lighter side, I decided to take some time in the exhibit hall to speak with a few different product representatives. While I would like to think I have a pretty decent grasp on my institution’s resources, there is always room to learn more.
That afternoon, I sat in on the following sessions:
The presentation on predatory publishing, “EEK! Is Everything Predatory? Elevating the Conversation about Predatory Publishing and the Ethics of Scholarly Communication,” was one of my favorites of the entire meeting. Being able to hear about other institutions’ actions and initiatives to curtail the threat of predatory publishing got the creative wheels turning in my head, and I eagerly rushed over to talk to the presenters after their panel had ended.
MLA Newbie Pro Tip #2
Collect all the business cards! You might not have time to ask all of your questions so grab a presenter’s business card. You will be able to ask them your questions at a more relaxed pace, rather than trying to keep one eye on your watch so you are not late to the next panel.
Since I was flying back on Wednesday, Tuesday was my last day of MLA. The first activity on the day’s schedule was to attend the MLAConnect Editorial Board meeting. Throughout MLA ’19, I had been mulling over the ways I wanted to become more involved. I have always enjoyed writing and figured that MLAConnect would be a great outlet for my involvement.
Following the MLA Business Meeting and Inaugural Address, I stuck around the Grand Ballroom for the National Library of Medicine (NLM) Update. While hearing the latest news was interesting, it was the history of NLM that really fascinated me. I particularly enjoyed see the images of how their building had evolved over the years in terms of layout and function. Was I expecting this when I stuck around for the NLM Update? Not at all. And that is probably what made it all the more fun.
Being honest, the afternoon of Day 3 is really when things started to blur together.
Thank goodness for the meeting planning app. While the screenshots might not look that bad, keep in mind, these are only the items that I remembered to bookmark. I am grateful that all the rooms I needed happened to be close together. It made room jumping significantly easier. You can imagine that when the day was finally over, I was exhausted. But it was absolutely worth it.
MLA Newbie Pro Tip #3
Take advantage of the meeting website. You can usually find downloadable versions of posters and presentations. In my case, there were plenty of posters that I wanted a second look at. I took a picture of them on my phone and then tracked them down online later.