What Do You Want at MLA 2012?

Monday and Tuesday I was in Boston at the New England Journal of Medicine Library Advisory Board Meeting.  This was my final board meeting, my three year term has come to an end.  It was a very wonderful and illuminating experience and I feel honored and lucky to serve.  While on the board I got to work with other librarians and with the fine folks at NEJM discussing issues, trends, technologies, etc. that both librarians and publishers face.

Unfortunately, I have now been playing catch up at home and work since my return and have had little time to blog.  Next week I am off to Seattle as a co-chair of the 2012 NPC to visit the hotel, conference center and to discuss things.  This will be a turn and burn kind of trip.  I get in Tuesday afternoon and leave Wednesday afternoon.  Since I will be there only a very short time, I want to know from you what you want to see at the Seattle meeting.

 What should we do that you have been dying for MLA to do?  Is there something that you keep writing on the feedback forms for MLA to do and we haven’t done it yet?  Let me know.  I can’t promise you anything but I can look into it.

What sort of fun activities would you like to see us do at the meeting?  I firmly believe that we get the most from these meetings by socializing and networking with other librarians.  Discovering that so and so at such and such library is doing exactly what you have been trying to do in your library.  Even though I think librarians in general are a pretty nice lot, willing to share their success and oops stories it can still be intimidating to approach somebody out of the blue.  That is why I think some fun icebreaker mingle type events are great at getting the networking mojo going.  So in keeping with the Growing Opportunities: Changing Our Game baseball type theme, what do you type of social events do think might be fun?

What did you like at the last meeting that you think we should repeat again at this meeting?  Same question in reverse, what do you think we shouldn’t do?

Finally, for those of you who attend the e-conference and those who are plugged in at the conference…  What would you like to see on the MLA Conference home page during the meeting.  In the past we have had a Conference Community web page but it has kind of been buried and a little difficult to access during the conference while the main conference page remained static with information that was necessary prior to the conference but unnecessary during the actual conference days.  What do you think needs to be featured prominently and what would help your overall experience and increase your connectivity for both e-conference participants and wired in person participants?

Comment back, I look forward to reading them.

11 thoughts on “What Do You Want at MLA 2012?”

  1. More space in the session rooms! Most of the sessions I want to attend are always overcrowded. We need bigger rooms.

    I would also like to see a commitment made to providing easy access in and out of the rooms. Attendees should be able to enjoy part of a session, then move on to another one since there are so many scheduling conflicts. But the setup of the rooms usually makes this difficult, with only one center aisle and very long rows of seating. Making shorter rows for seating, with more aisles, would make it more conducive to getting in and out.

    Also, coffee in the mornings in a central location would go a long way to making the 7:00 a.m. sessions more tolerable. The hotels we meet in usually don’t have an abundance of facilities to get coffee early in the morning, and the lines are long. Just having coffee and hot water outside the rooms where most of the sessions are would help immensely.

    Thanks, and looking forward to a great conference!

  2. I second Patricia on more space in the rooms! I remember several sessions where lots of people were sitting on the floor.

    I would also really like to see some things on solo librarianship. I know it’s late for session ideas, but I was really disappointed in the lack of information for solos. Maybe there are less of us, or maybe budgets are too small for travelers, but those that I did meet and talk to, all wondered how we were supposed to take these ideas geared for academics and make them work for us. We also wondered where the other solos were…perhaps hiding like we are used to doing at work? ;)

    Even if it’s just a meet-up or something small, I would really like an opportunity for solos to come together and discuss what is and what is not working. We have issues that differ (not always but sometimes) from other hospital and small academic libraries, and I know that I would really benefit from some time with my fellow solos.

  3. I second the idea of programming for solos. A meet-up would be great. Early morning coffee iwould be appreciated . more opportunities to see the vendors we used to have more time.

    I know some librarians do not get any funding or partal funding so having discounts, coupons available for restaurants, attractions would be very helpful and appreciated.

  4. Is there any doubt I would say this…. Karaoke!!! :) I would actually like more time for exhibits as well. I never feel like I get to talk to any of the vendors and ask questions.

  5. I hope people realize that the session rooms are pretty much set in size. They are not inflatable. Even for the venues with adjustable walls, we have so many concurrent sessions that large rooms need to be divided into smaller rooms to accommodate the number of sessions. And of course, putting in more aisles means less space for attendees.

    If we could have better “anticipated attendance” data, that would help. A combination of “hotness” of the topic and size of the sponsoring sections might help to match sessions with room size.

    And, although it probably doesn’t need to be said: Wi-fi, wi-fi, wi-fi.

  6. Mark, inflatable rooms just sent me into giggle fits. I just can’t get the image of you with a bicycle pump connected to the walls pumping away to make the room bigger out of my head.
    This year Teresa and I had Ray add sponsorship of WiFi to the sponsor letter. Sponsors can partially sponsor it with others or somebody can sponsor the whole kit and caboodle. Crossing my fingers we can get it sponsored.

  7. I wasn’t suggesting taking hammers and saws to the walls of the session rooms, or even inflating them with a giant pump. But we are being asked for our feedback here, and session room size is a big issues at MLA.

    Many people get shut out of sessions they want to attend. I think there are various ways to address this, including making access to the seats easier so people can get in and out, and so empty seats in the middle of the rows don’t go unfilled. Also we could think about advanced registration like Mark said, or the session content itself. If we anticipate a more popular session, we can put it in a bigger room. But the idea of easier access in and out of the rooms stands whether or not we can put all the popular sessions in bigger rooms or not. It’s an ongoing issue that deserves attention.

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