We call the Michigan Library Association Annual Conference the premier professional development event in the state. MLA members from across every geographical area and library size and type work together over the course of a year to identify nationally recognized speakers and bring them to Michigan. This year Manoush Zomorodi, Pat Wagner and Jack Lessenberry are no exception.
Our Michigan Libraries offer their most talented staff, their best projects and innovative programs to share with attendees. The annual conference work group also manages to find ways to provide a little fun as well. This year escape rooms and the break into the box game during Opening Reception will entertain as they challenge.
Even with dozens of planned sessions and events, the most valuable take away from annual conference is the connecting and reconnecting with colleagues. Those conversations in the hallways and at receptions and lunches are where valuable learning can take place. This is where discussions can go from solving problems to identifying and sharing trends to sometimes simply offering some empathy and understanding. Meeting new people who have the same basic interests and goals enriches your life and your professional development. Often it's the chance meeting with another attendee that provides that resource you can call on in the months ahead.
When you're planning your schedule for next week, be sure to work in time for conversations, meetups and networking. Steven outlined the new MLA Interest Groups and those are a perfect opportunity to connect with those in your similar departments or to explore something completely new. Take a chance and join a group formed around a topic you know nothing about. It's a safe way to explore.
Be sure to join us for Library SOUP on Thursday where you can help fund a new library program and contribute to the MLA Scholarship Fund at the same time. The MLA Annual Meeting is called to order at 4:45 on Thursday as well.
Two receptions in the exhibit hall this year include the Wednesday evening Opening Reception and Thursday morning Your Professional Connection and Poster Session Continental Breakfast. This casual, inclusive reception turned continental breakfast is designed to bring emerging professionals, local MLIS program alumni, exhibitors and established library professionals from all backgrounds together to network and grow professionally. Then after a day of learning head to the East Lansing Public Library as C2AE architects joins them in showcasing their newly remodeled facility.
These are all great opportunities to connect and exchange ideas. See you next week.