You all know by now that MLA ’20 has now been rescheduled for August 15–19. Although the 2020 National Program Committee (NPC), the MLA Board, and the MLA headquarters staff are all working to make this year’s meeting a success, there are still many unknowns, just as there are in our workplaces and other segments of our lives.
There are currently two versions of the meeting being planned: a physical meeting with an enhanced online version and an entirely virtual meeting. We know that even if the physical meeting takes place, there will be many MLA members who are unable to attend, so we plan on having a more robust online version of the meeting for them. If the physical meeting is canceled, we want to be able to offer a virtual meeting that is truly interactive, one that will have almost all of the components of a physical meeting. We are lucky that Cadmium, the electronic platform that MLA and other associations have used in the past, is ramping up their offerings to better include all aspects of a physical meeting, including both synchronous and asynchronous presentations, online discussions, and ways for exhibitors to participate. Members who have had papers, posters, lightning talks, and immersion sessions accepted have already been contacted about possible options for presenting virtually, even if a physical meeting takes place.
Mark your calendars for May 19, when the Annual Business Meeting will be held at 1:00 p.m., central time, via WebEx. At this time, members will be able to get a taste of what the meeting will look like, as well as to learn more about pricing options. Also visit the MLA vConnections: Association Member Series page for other virtual activities in May and June. Be aware that it is unlikely a decision related to canceling the physical meeting will be made before July, since that decision must consider a number of factors (one might say “evidence”) that exist nearer the time of the meeting and the variety of contracts MLA has in place.
Please feel free to reach out to us about MLA ’20! These are extremely uncertain times, and answers are not always available, but we are happy to hear from you.
Janna C. Lawrence, AHIP
2020 NPC Chair
Melissa De Santis, AHIP
2020 NPC Cochair