First Time Attendees

Tips for making your first MLA Annual Conference a success.

The Basics

  • Wear comfortable shoes and dress in layers - convention center rooms are notorious for being either too hot or too cold.
  • Carry business cards - for vendors and networking connections made with colleagues.
  • Ask questions - look for MLA staff members or conference work group members and don't be afraid to seek out help.
  • Explore your interests and learn something new. Take notes during or just after sessions while the content is still fresh in your mind.
  • For last minute schedule changes and social events check the MLA 2016 conference app. To sign up search for "MLA 2016 Annual Conference" on the Apple or Android app store. This is a free app.

Design Your Conference

  • Schedule out your time in advance. Look for programs that will benefit your library or help you solve a problem.
  • Attend as many breakout programs as your schedule allows; attend sessions from a variety of education tracks; sit up front, ask questions, be noticed.
  • Have alternate events in mind in case the program you intended to go to is overflowing, not what you expected, or cancelled. Don’t be afraid to arrive late or leave early!
  • Take time to visit with vendors in the exhibit hall whether you need anything or not. Time is well spent getting an understanding of new technology and products. Look for opportunities.

Network & Get Involved

  • You are not alone. Ask questions and learn from the hundreds of librarians and related professionals from myriad backgrounds attending the conference with you. These individuals may face the same challenges as you or have developed solutions you need; they may have a similar position as you or one that you want; or they may be a potential collaborator or mentor.
  • Make as many networking connections as possible - even if that means stepping outside your comfort zone and saying hello to somebody you don't already know. You never know when or where that person may be able to help you in the future.
  • If you want to get involved in the association introduce yourself to board members, work group members, staff or volunteers – all identifiable with badge ribbons. Share your interests and ask about opportunities to put your skills and experience to good use. Attend the MLA Annual Membership Meeting on Thursday, October 27, 2016 at 4:30 p.m.

Stay Connected, Apply & Share the Wealth

  • Keep connections! Make a note on the back of business cards you receive to trigger your memory of the exchange. Send follow-up email messages to the contacts and presenters you meet.
  • Apply your experiences. Take time to review the notes and materials you collect and to plan how you can use the information in your position and at your library.
  • Share and discuss the new ideas you learned with your co-workers.