One of the most rewarding parts of attending conferences in person are the chances to make face to face connections, which are so valuable, and which cannot be replicated online. There are many opportunities to network at our annual meeting, including connecting with new and old colleagues, making new friends, planting seeds of future collaboration with someone, giving/getting hugs, and everything in between.
As an MLA Board member I was invited to the New Member/First-Time Attendees Breakfast held on the first official day of the meeting. This breakfast was sponsored by Wolters-Kluwer, one of our loyal MLA meeting vendors. It was held in one of the larger meeting rooms and was very well attended, which was great to see. At my table, we made sure to give encouragement to the new MLA members sitting with us, some of whom were also new librarians. The breakfast keynote speaker was Gurpreet Kaur Rana, a former MLA Board member from the University of Michigan Taubman Health Sciences Library, who shared her story of being a Canadian of South Asian descent.
New Member/First-Time Attendees Program & Breakfast
MLA | SLA '23 also saw the return of the popular Communities Lunch. Attendees enjoyed a Mexican Fiesta buffet and could choose to sit with their favorite caucus, domain hub group, or MLA chapter, and SLA members had designated SLA tables too. Welcoming remarks were made by SLA President Seema Rampersad, MLA President Shannon Jones, and me as outgoing Communities Council Chair. I sat at the Latinx Caucus table, caught up with old pals, met some great new folks, and begged one of them to write an article about a historical event that happened at their library—we’ll see!
One event that I was particularly excited about was the Closing Dance Party, held on the final night of the meeting. An SLA tradition, it was brought to this joint meeting for all to enjoy, and as someone who considers themselves a dancin’ fool, I couldn’t wait to partake. There was food and beverage service, with the food consisting of Detroit hot dogs and other goodies. I got there late due a prior evening commitment, but I still arrived with time to dance although at that late hour it was all SLA’ers on the dance floor. The DJ spun some great tunes, and as we danced to Paula Abdul’s “Straight Up” I had the brilliant idea to create t-shirts for us librarians with her line from the song “How about some information, please?” Look for these to be sold at a library conference souvenirs kiosk near you, soon!