As I read through the MLA program and looked at the range of topics covered by the program sessions, it reminded me of a comment in Helene Hanff’s book ‘84 Charing Cross Road’. A man told her “people going to England find exactly what they go looking for.” It seemed to me that whatever you are interested in with regards to medical librarianship was on the meeting program. But, some of the comments I’ve overheard at the meeting seem to suggest otherwise, so I want to encourage people to come and make MLA what you want it to be by speaking up.
Without boring you with details, I should point out that I didn’t belong to MLA for many years after several years as a member in the late 90s. And while I renewed my membership about 6 years ago, I have not been active until now. But my circumstances are changing, so I decided to jump in. When the chance to be convener of a SIG came up, I volunteered. Afterwards I discovered that SIG convenors help with national meeting programming. It was very interesting to attend the programming meeting and I even suggested a program, so take a look at the list of SIGs. http://www.mlanet.org/sections/sigs.html
I also decided to attend a Section meeting for one of the sections I have joined. Of course it was mainly a business meeting, but it was good to see the different things the group was trying to do to enrich the profession. Again there is a national meeting planning component to Section work, so if you get involved in a Section you can impact national programming as well. So take a look at all the Sections you can join http://www.mlanet.org/sections/secinfo.html
And just to be sure I was really involved in MLA, I joined a committee this year – the Continuing Education Committee. One of our jobs is to look at the courses people would like to teach at next year’s national meeting in Chicago and choose the ones that will be offered. This actually brings up two things you can do – join a committee or teach a course. Later this year we will be starting to round up courses for the meeting in Austin, TX in 2015. There is an honorarium for teachers so it is a great way to reduce your meeting costs. So, take a look at the Committees you can join http://www.mlanet.org/about/leaders/comminfo.html and take a look at the Continuing Education course in the MLA Educational Clearninghouse http://cech.mlanet.org/ to see what you want added.
And if you have any ideas, feel free to contact me, Margaret Henderson firstname.lastname@example.org
I should add, join the Thursday night #medlibs chat on Twitter. It was great to arrive at MLA knowing a whole group of people, even though we had never seen each other. Find out more on the blog http://medlibschat.blogspot.com/