June 15, 2017

Reflections from MLA 2017

By Kelsa Bartley

This year’s MLA conference was my first time attending. The conference reminded me of a huge family reunion where you’re meeting all the family you never met for the first time! Everyone seemed familiar; either I’d met them online and were meeting them in person for the first time, people knew me by association to my current work place or library school, or they knew someone I work with or used to work with. It was also my first time in Seattle, such a beautiful city. The weather was a perfect mix of warm days and cool nights for most of the conference. I noticed the heavy emphasis on being green, sustainability, and recycling. All the Uber taxis at the Seattle-Tacoma airport were Prius cars!

Welcome to MLA 17!
Being an official MLA tweeter this year, sharing my conference experiences from a library school student and library paraprofessional perspective was the perfect way to get introduced to the hundreds of medical librarians on Twitter. I learned a lot about Twitter engagement, shared a ton of photos, and made some new connections. I definitely recommend signing up to be a tweeter or blogger for the next MLA conference.

On Saturday, I visited the Resume Clinic to get tips on improving my CV and dived into my CE, "Fun Teaching with Technology." Everyone gathered at the Welcome Reception, where outgoing MLA President Teresa Knott cut the ribbon to the exhibit hall and welcomed everyone to MLA. Later that evening, I had dinner with the African American Medical Librarians Alliance (AAMLA) SIG members and met the current President Elect Beverly Murphy, who will be the first African American president of MLA when her term begins in next year.

The AAMLA SIG Business Meeting
I got up early for Sunrise Yoga on Sunday, then listened the President’s opening address and heard Plenary session speaker Julie Angus talk about the challenges and triumphs of being the first woman to row across the Atlantic Ocean from mainland to mainland. It was quite awe inspiring!
I attended the AAMLA SIG Meeting and the Call to Action for Diversity and Inclusion Session later that day, then began the evening’s festivities with the NLM Associate Fellowship Program Networking Event and ended with JoVE's 10-Year Anniversary Party. I also wanted to attend the Wolters Kluwer Party, but the jet lag finally caught up to me by then!

The JoVE 10th Anniversary Party - Fun in the photo booth!
I declared Memorial Day Monday my sightseeing in Seattle day. The Washington Convention Center and Sheraton Hotel were excellent locations for the event, close to all the major sightseeing areas of downtown Seattle. I started at the Starbucks Reserve Roastery, which was 5 minutes away - heaven on earth for coffee lovers. I took in some more sightseeing later on, heading to the Pike Place Market for seafood sights, the fragrance of the hundreds of floral bouquets and all sorts of fresh fruits and vegetables, pasta, as well as arts and crafts.
Pike Place Market
I quickly headed back to the hotel to prepare for the hottest event of MLA, the McGraw-Hill Education Cirque du Seattle Party at the Chihuly Gardens and Glass exhibit. The permanent Dale Chihuly exhibit happens to be located right next to the Space Needle in the Seattle Center, so it was the perfect “2-for-1 special” of my sightseeing day. The McGraw-Hill party was “sold out” and did not disappoint. The Chihuly exhibit was phenomenal, the food was excellent, and so was the Cirque du Seattle entertainment. There were some amazing acrobatics by the performers and a fire show to culminate the fantastic event.

Receiving my certificate at the President's Awards Dinner
Tuesday was my final day of conferencing. I went to my first Sunrise Seminar, an update on EndNote citation manager, then attended the Business Meeting and the NLM Update. I viewed some posters, chatting with the presenters before heading to the Emerging Technologies (EMTS) Business meeting, and learning from my fellow colleagues at the Library Marketing Session presentations. The highlight of the conference for me was the President’s Awards dinner. As this year’s MLA Minority Scholarship winner, I am very grateful to be receiving assistance to pursue my career as a medical librarian. It was the culmination of a great conference experience in Seattle. Hope to be in Atlanta for MLA 2018!

Kelsa Bartley is a Library Services Manager in the Reference and Education Department of the Louis Calder Memorial Library at The University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. She is currently pursuing her Master of Science in Information at Florida State University. She is an ALA Spectrum Scholar 2016-2017 and the 2017 MLA Minority Scholarship recipient.

1 comment:

  1. Great blog post, Kelsa! We are very proud of all of your accomplishments. The future looks bright for your career in health sciences librarianship! Congratulations! Carmen Bou-Crick