What I Learned at MLA

The first thing I learned is that being a Section Chair, NPC co-chair, Board member combined with a 3 hour time change makes Michelle a very tired girl at the MLA meeting.  So upon leaving Seattle and returning to Cleveland I decided to take a week break from all things librarian (except for my job) to get some much needed down time.  

Now I am back with renewed energy and want to talk/blog again.  So I thought I would list a few thing of what I learned at MLA.  Some are just small things while, other things are a little bigger and will probably be a future blog post.

  • Get involved! So many people asked me and others I know about the best way to get on committees and being a part of MLA.  Short answer: Get involved. Long answer: See my “how to” blog post later this week.
  • Food is good, but sometimes expensive, think outside the box to lure people to meetings/programs.  I was the chair for MIS, I discovered it would cost close to $450 to provide snacks (cookies and soda) for the MIS Business Meeting.  That is a lot of money and last year the promise of a free breakfast still had us scrambling for enough members for a quorum.  So we got creative and offered an iPad 2 ($400) as an attendance prize. We had people sitting on the floor at meeting.  Think of this when you are trying to lure people (doctors, nurses, med students, librarians, etc.) to a meeting or a class.
  • Google+ Hangouts might be a good free alternative for small group webinars or conference calls.  You can post the documents online and share them with the Google circle.  Big thing to note…you will need a laptop to initiate a Hangout.  So far you can only attend a Hangout on an iPad not be the one who initiates it. 
  • I can almost do everything I need to do on iPad and may not need my laptop at meetings anymore.  I say almost because if I want to do a Google Hangout (which we did for the MIS Business meeting) I need a laptop. I also needed a laptop for displaying the Twitter feed at the Tech Trends program, but that was more for my comfort.
  • Need anything while at the conference? Use Twitter! I had a bad headache and tweeted I needed some Advil and debated about going back to my hotel room to get some.  Within one minute 5 people tweeted they had some for me, including one person in the same room.  I repaid my Twitter karma by giving Alisha764 some Advil when she tweeted she had a headache.

Other observations:

  • More people had iPads or smartphones than I have ever seen in one conference. I think the knitting librarians dropped their needles and yarn and bought iPads. If you doubt me take a look at gabinator’s Instagram photo of the conference room when Mark Funk asked people to lift up their mobile devices. It’s blurry but look at all of those white screens.
  • There is NEVER enough time to see and do everything….that just conference life. That is why the online content is so important now.
  • There is probably a need for “How to do an MLA Meeting” online guide for first time attendees. 
  • You can never have enough power outlets.
  • If you do a Google Hangout to include members not at the conference, don’t schedule your meeting for Saturday or Sunday.

This is just a list of some of the things I learned and observed.  I plan in the next week or two to highlight a few posters and presentations that I found especially helpful or insightful. 



Friday Good: MLA Relevant Issues Service Project

The Official MLA’12 Blog has a post about the Relevant Issues Section project for the Pioneer Square Clinic.  The section invites MLA 2012 attendees to pack a little extra and bring along new socks and underwear, in all sizes, for both men and women. Extra toiletries from your hotel room may also be donated. A collection box will be set up in the registration area. Pioneer Square Clinic is in the Pioneer Square Neighborhood, serves over 1,000 homeless and low-income patients each month and has been doing so since 1971.

So just before you leave make sure you hit the store so you help others out. Also if you bring your toiletries from the hotel each morning, housekeeping will replace them each day and you can bring more.

Kick Some MLA Butt

I just posted on the MLA’12 blog, Bring Your “A” Game to the Unofficial MLA Kickboxing Class about the opportunity to participate in a kickboxing class taught by Gabe Rios. It will be at the downtown YMCA in Seattle on Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 7:00am. It is a cardio workout and not a full-contact class. You do not have to be familiar with kickboxing or martial arts to take this class.

I have never taken a kickboxing class ever, but I am interested in trying it.  So if you are a Kung Fu Panda like me don’t be intimitated, come on try it out and learn from our Master Shifu of MLA.

Calling all Shutterbugs

Some of us are camera people and take pictures no matter the event, some of us snap a shot or two with our cellphones if the mood or subject strikes us.  Whether you are a budding photo journalist or just an occasional cell phone snapper the NPC would like you to post your MLA’12 photos online for all to see.

Simply join the mlanet group on flickr and upload your photos.  More details about the flickr group can be found on the MLA’12 blog.  Don’t forget to tag your photos with the year!

Bearded Pigs: Get Your Concert Shirt Now

Time is running out to joing the Thicket Society to support the Bearded Pigs, the World’s First (Only?) Open Access International Librarian Rock Band.  Putting on a Rock show isn’t free, so for those of you who want to help the Pigs cover their expenses for doing the show please consider joining the Thicket Society.  It is $40 for a single membership, $75 for a couple AND you will get a cool limited edition Bearded Pigs MLA’12 concert t-shirt and pin.  May 1st, 2012 is the deadline. 

For more information on the Pigs and when they are playing, go to the MLA’12 Official Blog.

MLA’12 Videographers Needed

Is there a Steven Spielberg or Kevin Smith secretly hiding in your soul?  Do you harbor a desire to be the next Morgan Spurlock of MLA (minus the french fries and happy meals)?  Or do you just like to take videos?

If the answer is yes, then you will want to consider becoming an MLA’12 videographer.  Read the post from Medlib-l below and if it sounds like something you would want to do then apply.

(Reposted from Medlib-l)

Don’t remember what happened at MLA last year?  Want to relive the unfettered joy of seeing your library colleagues? Wish that when someone asked, “Have you seen the latest viral video on zombie medical librarians taking over Seattle,” that you could pipe up and say, “That was me! I shot that sweet footage!”

 Apply to join the MLA ’12 Official Videographer Team!

 Last year, videographers focused on casual conversations in and around the meeting. This year our intrepid videographer team will use their own smart phones to capture on the spot interviews and will focus on all aspects of the conference.  Videos will be contributed and vetted, then posted to the members-only MLANet conference site, and after the conference to YouTube. No editing of video will be required, so anybody who can take video on their phone can easily participate! Additionally, AHIP points will be awarded—1 AHIP point/video submitted up to maximum of 3 AHIP points per videographer.

 Applications will be accepted until 5 pm ET Friday, April 27, 2012. Official videographers will be announced Wednesday, May 2, 2012.  Apply here:


 Interested in seeing the videos from last year? Go to   http://www.meetingproceedings.com/2011/mla/login.asp . After logging in (have that 2011 badge handy!), select “View Presentations”, then “Posters and Video Shorts”.   At the end of the electronic wall you will find the videos from MLA 2011 in Minneapolis.

Free WiFi at MLA Hotels

The 2012 National Program Committee is pleased to report that all attendees staying at the Seattle Sheraton and the Hyatt at Olive Eight will receive free Internet thanks to the hotels and MLA.   If you have not booked your room yet there is still time.  The deadline for reservations is extended to April 22nd.   To receive free hotel Internet access, save money with discounted rates, and support MLA, make your reservation at:  http://www.mlanet.org/am/am2012/travel/hotel.html   If the Hyatt does not have rooms, try the Sheridan

Get Your MLA Exhibit Floor Info

Rachel Walden will be blogging at the MLA Annual Meeting.  As the Exhibit Scout she will be posting things of interest in the exhibit hall.  Yesterday she tweeted she is collecting questions and interests about exhibitors and the exhibit all month. 

If you aren’t going to MLA but really want to ask a specfic exhibitor a question, tweet or email Rachel.  Even if you are going to MLA, you might want to consider contacting Rachel with your questions and thoughts.  I know I find myself a lot busier than I anticipated and I often don’t have time to ask exhibitors certain questions or I keep missing them because of my schedule.  She is our dedicated correspondent for that area of the meeting so lets make the most of it.

Free Drink Ticket to MLA’12 Tweet Up

Want a free drink ticket to the MLA’12 Tweet up?  Well all you have to do is be a MLA member and complete this Twitter tutorial.  If you aren’t going to MLA’12 you still can take the tutorial (just no drink ticket) so you can interact and exchange ideas with people at the meeting through Twitter.

(From MLA Focus)

“MLA members can hit a home run with Twitter by taking part in an online tutorial about the microblogging service Twitter. Join the Twitter tutorial April 13–22 to learn more about Twitter, get tips from experts, and be ready to tweet about MLA ’12. Members who successfully complete the tutorial will receive a free drink ticket for the annual tweet-up, 6:00 p.m.–7:00 p.m., Monday, May 21. Members who will not attend the annual meeting can share ideas and exchange information through Twitter.”

Tour the Gates Foundation

The NPC tried to get Melinda Gates to be a speaker and it didn’t work out, but a unique opportunity is available for MLA meeting attendees to tour the new campus of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  The location of the new campus is adjacent to Seattle Center.  Join other MLA members on Monday May 21 at 7:30am for a one hour tour.  Registration is first come, first served and is capped at 25 people.  We must provide the Gates Foundation with a final number of tour attendees by the end of April!

Read more about the tour specifics and register by completing this very brief SurveyMonkey form