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. 



4 thoughts on “What I Learned at MLA”

  1. This was a great meeting! I reiterate your point on getting involved, and one of the easiest ways to do so is through section activities (which I’m guessing you will talk about later).

    Also, at one point, I had my iphone, my laptop, AND my knitting all in front of me. I clearly need an iPad!

  2. I am totally digging the online content post meeting. I listened to my presentation to see how it went. It was easy to access, loaded quickly and had good sound and production. Will definitely return to check out the presentations I missed.(And attempt drop the ‘ums’ in my future public speaking engagements.)

  3. I have wanted to do some sort of “how to do an MLA annual meeting” guide for some time now. Can we get a group together to figure out the best way to present one?

  4. I really enjoyed this meeting as well. I learned from the last meeting I attended to just make a choice and go to programs that you really are interested in. There is so much to choose from that it is overwhelming but making a plan and sticking to it really helped make this meeting much more enjoyable and educational. I have not checked out the online content yet but will take advantage of experiencing some of the choices that I eliminated in my planning process.

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