Contact Us | Donate | Advertise Follow us on TwitterFollow us on facebookFollow us on LinkedIn

MLA '17 FAQ: Special Content Sessions


Groups are invited to design an engaging ninety-minute session, such as a panel of invited speakers, a single invited speaker, a facilitated book discussion, as well as less-conventional sessions like an unconference or flipped session. The only type of programming that cannot be done in a special content session is a call for papers. This is a chance to design the programming that you want to see. Applications will be competitively reviewed, and a limited number will be selected for presentation.

Special content sessions are not an opportunity for vendors to showcase new products or services. For information on advertising and sponsorship opportunities at the 2017 meeting, please contact Barbara Redmond.

We plan to accommodate up to 10 sessions. NOTE that there were many more applications than could be accommodated at Mosaic ’16, so applicants should expect the process to be competitive.

Any group can submit an application (e.g., an MLA section, a special interest group [SIG], or chapter). Informal groups—for example, "nine librarians interested in team based learning" or "a group of librarians from a library that think they have an innovative way of doing something"—are also encouraged to apply. The 2017 National Planning Committee (NPC) encourages groups to work together and cosponsor sessions.

MLA will provide a meeting room with a theater-style seating configuration, computer, computer projector, screens, table or podium, and microphones in each special content session room. The sponsoring group is responsible for paying for other meeting facilities such as special room sets, dedicated Internet and added AV. To determine costs for these, contact Tina Vickery, MLA’s meeting planner.

Speaker fees and/or speaker travel expenses, if applicable, are the responsibility of the sponsoring group. If your group is sponsoring a single invited speaker: Invited speakers who are not current members of MLA, and who have not held membership in MLA in the past five years will be given one day of complimentary meeting registration. To request courtesy registration for an invited speaker, contact Ray Naegele. If the invited speaker is a current member of MLA, they are required to register at least for the day of their presentation. The speaker or sponsoring section must pay for this. If your group is sponsoring a panel of speakers: No complimentary registration will be provided for panelists. Each panelist must register for the conference.

One-day and mulit-day registrations are available on the MLANET meeting site beginning in January.

Potential sources of funds to cover expenses include partnering with an MLA Section or obtaining a grant. MLA sections may engage in fundraising after October 1st (about 7 months before the meeting). Sections that plan to engage in fundraising should contact Ray Naegele. MLA staff can assist and arrange recognition for the sponsor.

Applications for special content sessions are to be submitted by October 10, 2016 using MLA’s online submission site. Since the application requires some writing, it is suggested that the application be prepared in word processing software and then the content be copied and pasted into the online submission site.

The primary contact and sponsor names on the application will be hidden from reviewers. Please avoid including identifying information such as sponsoring group names, institutional affiliations, company names, and addresses in other aspects of the application.

Volunteer reviewers will score the applications using stated criteria. Final selections will be made by the 2017 NPC Program Planning Group: Ryan Harris, Lisa Marks, Mary Piorun, Emily Vardell, and Jeff Williams.

The primary contact for special content sessions will be notified of acceptance or rejection around December 16, 2016. You will be notified of the precise date and time of your session no later than the end of December 2016.


My Session was Accepted—Now What?
Preparing for the Meeting

Once accepted, your special content sessions will be added to the Conference Harvester system, which is an online database of approved abstracts. The primary contact identified on the application will be invited to access the online Conference Harvester to confirm their session title is accurate and to add presenter information.

Additional audiovisual or other special setup needs can be requested through the Conference Harvester and are due February 20, 2017.

Individuals presenting at or moderating a special content session must be registered for the meeting. Registration opens in January on the MLANET meeting page.

Accepted special content sessions will be uploaded in the Conference Harvester. By February 20, 2017, the primary contact must log in to the Conference Harvester and ensure the program title and descriptions are accurate and add presenter, moderator, and facilitator names and bios. Include photos, if available.

The title will appear in the printed program. The title, description, presenter names bios, and sponsoring groups will appear in the online meeting planner. The online meeting planner is used by attendees to help them choose which sessions they want to attend. The planner offers keyword search which examines all presentation information, including session title, description, presenter names, and bios. Be sure to carefully proofread your entry, especially names and titles to ensure all is accurate.

The primary contact for the session should contact the speakers or panelists and obtain copies of their slides or presentations. The primary contact should upload the slides in the Conference Harvester by May 12, 2017.

Sources of funding should always be disclosed. Where a clinical trial registration number is available, this should be included.

Conflicts of Interest

Presenters shall provide a statement and slide at the beginning of the presentation that discloses any conflicts of interest (or lack thereof). Sample wording:

  • [Name of individual] has received fees for serving as a speaker, a consultant and an advisory board member for [names of organizations], and has received research funding from [names of organization].
  • [Name of individual] is an employee of [name of organization].
  • [Name of individual] owns stocks and shares in [name of organization].
  • [Name of individual] owns other interest in the organization and brief description.


MLA assumes no responsibility for statements or opinions expressed in the presentations. The MLA President and/or MLA Executive Director have the authority to exclude a presentation from the program.

Onsite at the meeting, speakers and panelists should check-in at the Speaker Ready Room to view and confirm that your slides are ready or to make final changes, if needed. Speakers and panelist can also ask the AV staff to explain how to use the AV equipment that will be in place for the session.

Inquiries about special content session applications and review criteria should be directed to Jeff Williams.

For help with other aspects of your special content session experience, please contact staff: Mary Oberman, project manager, 630.929.7927; Ray Naegele, MLA director of financial and administrative services, 312.419.9094 x17; or Tina Vickery, MLA meeting planner. Support is available 8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m., central time, Monday through Friday, excluding holidays.

Follow-Up to MLA ’17: Dare Dream Do: Focus on Diversity in Medical Librarianship

Follow-Up to MLA ’17: Dare Dream Do: Content and Sessions on New and Emerging Technologies