Reflections On My First Day at MLA’11
In case you missed it, I’m attending the Medical Library Association conference in Minneapolis this week. I’ve been chosen as an official conference blogger and will be blogged a couple of times a day on my experiences as a new member and first time conference attendee. I know most of you won’t be following me on the official conference blog, so I will be reposting my posts here.
Saturday was my first official day at MLA and I found that it was a great introduction as it was very low key. I’m already feeling overwhelmed as I sit in this huge ballroom taking advantage of the free WiFi and official blogger tables.
I started the day with my chosen CE for the year, Searching in Support of Systematic Reviews. I took away a lot of great information (and some terrific handouts!) but mostly I learned that when the physicians at my hospital say they are interesting in writing a systematic review, they really have no clue what they are talking about and probably not all interested in writing an actual systematic review. However, I did learn the process and the librarian’s role in the systematic review process so I feel, that if called upon, I could do an adequate job in contributing.
I was a bit worried about finding someone to have lunch with, but thanks to a trip to the ladies room, I met another hospital librarian AND found someone to have lunch with. So, if you are looking for new connections, I highly recommend a trip to the restroom. 🙂 In all seriousness, new friends and colleague connections abound, so if you are feeling lost, just find someone how looks friendly and ask them where they work. Everyone here has been very nice and helpful so far.
I spent my time between lunch and the Welcome Reception people watching near the registration desk. I met a number of very nice people just by sitting at a table, and had a great time watching all the librarians coming and going. Medical librarians are one of the most diverse groups of librarians I’ve seen yet! It quickly became clear to this new MLA member (and new medical librarian in general) that there is a place for everyone in MLA.
My favorite part of Saturday was the Welcome Reception. After attending ALA in 2008 where I was completely overwhelmed by the exhibition hall and number of vendors, I was relieved to find that the MLA exhibits are much smaller and cozier. I was able to find some food and a grab a drink while wandering around to a few vendor booths with my new colleague connection mentor. I even ran into a few library school friends and some other people I know while wandering around.
I made a special trip to the MLA booth to check out the store (I sort of want an official tshirt now) and the chapter/section booth. I learned that you can join 3 extra sections for free until the end of the year. This is a great opportunity to try out new sections, make new connections, and learn new things. I’m thinking about the Leadership and Management section as I’m a solo and can use all the management help I can get.
I was supposed to finish the day by attending the MD Consult party, but I got so caught up in chatting with new colleagues that I completely missed the party and apparently missed some really great food. But I really think I came off with the better deal – after new friends and colleagues are really what I’m here for?