Why come to an MLA Annual meeting?

First off, I must clear up the name of my blogging category, Distinguished Member, at least  from my point of view. ‘Distinguished’ means I’ve been a librarian for a long time and I like to tell stories about when I was a baby librarian and we had to walk through the snow uphill to get to the card catalogue. I’ll let you decide if my meanderings and stories are helpful.

Now to the events of the day. I must say that social media has made this conference even more exciting for me than it has been in the past. I’ve met so many people virtually, including my fellow Distinguished Member blogger Eric, whom I’m sure is really distinguished, and it is always great to finally meet people in person.  My first MLA in Philadelphia in 1998 was in the early days of the Internet and even then it was fun to meet a few of the people I knew from MEDLIB-L at the conference. Now, thanks to Twitter and the #medlibs tag and weekly chats, I have a whole host of people to meet.

Of course there are former colleagues and people I’ve met at past national and regional  meetings and courses like Woods Hole or NCBI as well. It is so wonderful to meet everyone again and I feel recorded after all the interactions of a big meeting.

This morning I took the Data Curation for Information Professionals CE and it was very informative. Andrea, Yasmeen, and Patricia did a great job and I enjoyed our group discussions on the case study. During break and after class, the discussions I had with other conference attendees turned to in-person classes like the CEs at MLA and the NCBI Fundamentals for Librarians class I attended a few weeks ago vs online education.  It seems like most people agree that in person classes are the best way to learn. Trying to carve out time for online  lectures or webinars when patrons and co-workers are interrupting you, never mind the family interruptions after work, is difficult. Although our week at NCBI was intense, I think it was a great way to really concentrate on NCBI databases.

Of course this doesn’t just apply to CEs, although I encourage every to consider taking a CE and not just because I am now on the CE committee. Getting to any sort of national, regional, or local meeting or CE where you can immerse yourself in medical librarianship and enjoy time with colleagues exchanging ideas is a worthwhile professional pursuit. And if a little socializing is involved, so much the better.