Gasp! Shock! THE TERROR! I’m grossly overdue in discussing the MLA conference I attended in Dallas a few weeks ago. But, like most things, better late than never!
February 19, 2012
I’m on the plane back from the MLA (that’s the Music Library Association) annual conference in Dallas (yeehaw!). My first professional conference and my first time in Dallas! I really had no idea what to expect: I took a look at the sessions and talks to see what appealed to me, as well as signed up to receive a mentor and took advantage of the resume/cover letter advisory service. The first event to go to was the first-time attendees’ dinner, where some 40 first-time attendees got a chance to be introduced to the chairs, committees and general MLA-workings (as well as eat some delicious pasta, which I was very thankful for after not eating since 7AM that day!). We also introduced ourselves to each other and got a chance to mingle a bit. After dinner, there was the opening reception in the exhibitor’s hall. It was a little overwhelming: though I had just met 40 people in the same situation as myself, I felt like I didn’t know anyone there. Throughout the whole conference, I made an effort to step out of my somewhat shy shell and really meet as many people as possible. Longstanding MLA members are very friendly though; more than once when I was awkwardly standing alone, they just came up, introduced themselves and asked questions about me!
Throughout the conference, I met a lot of interesting people, almost all who had a job that I would love to have one day! There were music librarians from Library of Congress, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and museums as well as university/college librarians that have a music or arts library. There were informative plenary sessions, presentations and round-table meetings. One thing that really struck me was the complexity of MLA as an organization—it has a constitution, a board of chairs, as well as many committees and subcommittees. This was my first time dealing with an institution like this that wasn’t a school or university I was attending/working for.
I loved meeting fellow library science students who had a passion for music and wanted to be music librarians – just like me! Simmons doesn’t have a music librarianship specialization and I’ve only met a couple of other students who are interested in music librarianship. Now I feel part of a larger community that has similar interests and a place to seek advice. A lot of the library students I met had already earned their master’s in musicology or ethnomusicology, which is something I’m considering after graduating from Simmons (more school?! Am I nuts?!) so it was good to hear what their experience was. And, now I have MLA friends I can look forward to catching up with at the next conference!
I attended some really interesting sessions/presentations and am going to be posting more on them soon! Simmons has spring break next week, so that will give me time to sift through my notes and recall the glory of MLA.