Executive Director's Desk - September 10, 2015


Recently MLA staff attended the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) conference held in Detroit. This international conference is held annually and showcases best practices, trends and professional development for association professionals. Due to its proximity this year, we planned the MLA staff professional development budget so all staff could attend.

The overarching topics at this conference focused on trends and forecasting. Additionally, mentoring, and leadership development and training, especially preparing the next generation of association executives was highlighted. Like library leaders, association directors are largely boomers, many on their way to retirement.

This was a valuable event for the entire MLA staff. First it gave us a chance to hear outstanding keynotes and attend sessions on the latest trends and best practices in our industry. But just as important were the contacts that we made in the hallways and at the receptions. We talked about our associations and the challenges we face. While we didn’t always find a solution to our problem or an answer to our question, we often came away with a connection and a business card, knowing that we could call on our new acquaintance as a resource.

The conference opening reception was held at the beautiful Henry Ford in Dearborn. On the bus ride from the museum back to my hotel, I learned I was chatting with the director of the association management company that manages the Minnesota Library Association. Our library challenges are very similar to those faced by the Minnesota libraries and we exchanged contact information and have since corresponded by email. With 10,000 association professionals attending this conference, our meeting was fortuitous and valuable.

Again, it’s not always about finding the solutions to your problems. Sometimes it’s the validation that what you are doing is the most effective or the right thing. And sometimes it’s just good to find that you are not alone.

With MLA 2015 coming up in Novi next month, it’s a good time to think about accessing the latest in library trends, reconnecting with old friends and making some new contacts. With the receptions, special events, the exhibit hall and outstanding keynotes and presenters you will find something to take back to your library.

Keynotes include presentations from “Unshelved” authors/illustrators Gene Ambaum and Bill Barnes, “Under the Radar Michigan” host Tom Daldin and organizational development expert Pamela Meyer. In addition, attendees can choose from more than 50 breakout sessions, including the new Executive Exchange, an unconference within a conference for library leaders. Social events such as the President’s Reception, All Conference and Poster Reception, Your Professional Connection and Hats Off to Learning all provide a relaxed atmosphere in which to both unwind and engage with fellow library professionals, fostering those important and valuable connections through which we can learn and grow.

These examples really only represent a portion of what you can gain by participating in MLA 2015; and for a very limited time, you can still save money on your registration. But don’t delay, the early bird discount is only valid through Friday, September 11. Register now for maximum savings.


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