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MLA ’20 Communication about COVID-19

March 3, 2020

The implications of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak are changing on a daily basis. As health information professionals, you are at the frontline of providing trusted information to health professionals and the public, which is particularly important in this time of crisis-management and uncertainty.

The Board of Directors of the Medical Library Association (MLA) continues to closely monitor this situation. Our highest priority and concern is the health and safety of everyone in the MLA community.

MLA’s largest annual event is scheduled to take place May 15–19 in Portland, OR. Based on what we know today and guidance of the World Health Organization (WHO), US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Oregon Health Authority, we are moving forward with MLA ’20 as scheduled. The 2020 National Program Committee (NPC), in consultation with the MLA Board of Directors, is implementing recommended precautions to take care of everyone who attends MLA ’20.

MLA members and other contributors have invested significantly in creating contributed content (immersion sessions, papers, lightning talks, and posters) for the greater benefit of the MLA community and for their personal professional development. We want to ensure that this valuable work is shared, however the situation develops. Consequently, we are creating contingency plans.

Should we have to cancel MLA ’20 in Portland, we will replace it with an online MLA ’20 meeting that would be scheduled in early summer (date to be determined). We would consider this challenge as an opportunity for all of us as members to elevate the online experience for meeting attendees, presenters, and vendors for our benefit and that of a larger audience.

We will continue to communicate and provide additional details as conditions develop.

Thank you for your membership and understanding during these challenging times. Should you have any questions, please reach out to us personally or email MLA headquarters at

Best regards,

Janna C. Lawrence, AHIP, MLA ’20 Chair
Melissa De Santis, AHIP, MLA ’20 Cochair
Julia Esparza, AHIP, MLA President
Kevin Baliozian, MLA Executive Director

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