MLA 2014 has come to close.  I sit at O’Hare awaiting my flight.  The final day is always bittersweet but hats off to the NPC for having a kick-ass final Plenary Session.  Plenary 4 was a two part session this last day of the conference.  I found it inspiring and heartwarming.  (Sorry for the delay of the actual posting of this article – O’Hare does NOT have free wifi and my flight was delayed.)

Plenary Session 4.1 – Professional Identity Reshaped

A four person panel discussion done living room style was the first session this morning.  It was a great venue for this conversation.  Elaine Russo Martin started the conversation and asked her friends to talk about various aspects of change in the profession.  Margo Coletti began the conversation discussing her Knowledge Management Services and how they provide organizational support across the system.  Neil Rambo from NYU discussed what the destruction of the library during Superstorm Sandy did for the awareness of the services of the library in a time of major change.  Finally, Jackie Wirz from OHSU talked about her move from the lab to the library as a PhD in biochemistry working within the library as an informationist.  I couldn’t possible do these fabulous speakers justice in a blog post.  My recommendation is that MLA consider allowing all of the members of MLA to watch this session regardless of going to Chicago or buying the online attendance.  It was great advice for all of us about change and the necessity of it in order to stay relevant in our institutions.

Plenary Session 4.2 – Anna Deavere Smith

Professor, actress and playwright Anna Deavere Smith presented the last plenary of MLA 2014.  Her research and work centers around communicating the stories (oral histories if you will) of people around the world.  Her play “Let me down easy” was a collection of personal encounters people had regarding healthcare.  Performing in character, Ms. Smith told the story of a cancer patient at Yale, a resident who was at Charity Hospital during Katrina and the medical battle of former Texas governor Ann Richards among several others.  It was inspiring, it was desperately sad and it was amazing. 

Thank you MLA 2014

Thank you Chicago