MLA 2023 Annual Conference Connecting the Dots



Early Arrivals Bar Crawl

Tuesday, October 17 6:00 - 9:30 PM
Coming into town the night before the conference? Join your fellow early birds out in downtown Kalamazoo! We’ll meet at the hotel before hitting the town for an evening of connections and fun. The bar crawl will conclude with a trivia competition at Crawlspace Comedy Theatre. Expect to walk about a mile during the event. View the map for the event.
Event is free to attend but pre-registration is required, and space is limited. Food and drink paid for individually.

Onsite Bookstore

Wednesday, October 18 11:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Thursday, October 19 11:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Friday, October 20 8:00 - 11:00 AM
The 2023 onsite bookstore is courtesy of This is a Bookstore & Bookbug. With a mission to be a strong supporter of, and meaningful participant in, creative and intellectual community within and beyond Kalamazoo, they are Kalamazoo’s favorite independent community bookstore and a space for curiosity to grow. Visit them at 3019 Oakland Drive in Kalamazoo, or online at

Headshot Photography Studio

Wednesday, October 18 11:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Thursday, October 19 11:30 AM - 4:00 PM
Are you in need of a new (or first!) professional headshot? MLA has partnered with local photographer Sarah Hill to offer a headshot photography studio at the 2023 conference. Stop in during any of the open hours to get a free headshot.
Thank you to Fast Forward Libraries for sponsoring this event.

Silent Auction

Wednesday, October 18 11:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Thursday, October 19 11:30 AM - 4:00 PM
Pickup Items at Registration Desk on Friday
Bid on a wide assortment of library-adjacent items donated by members and vendors! All proceeds will benefit the MLA Equity Fund and MLA Professional Development Scholarship Fund. Are you interested in donating an item to our silent auction? Tell us about it here!

New Attendee Welcome Breakfast

Wednesday, October 18 8:30 - 9:45 AM
If this is your first time attending an in-person MLA conference, we want to welcome you in style with a special networking breakfast! Make connections and learn some tips and tricks for getting the most out of your conference experience. Representatives from MLA, The Library of Michigan, and MCLS will also be on hand to help you make the most of resources available in the state. Curious about the event, in search of extra networking, or in need of a conference buddy? This is the perfect place to start!
Event is free to attend but pre-registration is required.

Wednesday Evening Cocktail Reception

Wednesday, October 18 6:15 - 7:00 PM
Connect with your statewide colleagues ahead of the 2023 Michigan Library Awards. Library themed drinks and hors d’oeuvres provided.
Event is free to attend but pre-registration is required.

Michigan Library Awards

Wednesday, October 18 7:00 - 9:30 PM
The Michigan Library Awards are awarded annually and are considered the state’s highest honors within the library community. The awards celebrate the excellence, accomplishments, dedication and service of library staff, trustees and supporters in Michigan libraries.
This event is free to attend for all Wednesday conference attendees or tickets can be purchased as an a la carte event. Event is free to attend for those registered to attend the conference on Wednesday, but pre-registration is required.

A to Z Spelling BeeAtoZ Spelling Bee

Thursday, October 19 12:15 PM – 1:30 PM
Join us for the A to Z Spelling Bee, where library staff from across the state will compete to spell their way to victory! Put your spelling skills to the test, challenge your fellow bookworms, and seize the chance to be named MLA Spelling Bee CHAMPION. Best of all, participation is FREE! So, whether you're a spelling whiz or just want to have some wordy fun, this is your moment to shine.
Thank you A to Z Databases for supporting this event.

Kalamazoo Public Library Reception

Thursday, October 19 6:30 - 9:30 PM
The Kalamazoo Public Library is celebrating 150 years of service to the community, and you are invited for an evening of food, drink, and networking in the downtown library, located about one block from the conference hotel. The library will be closed to the public and library workers from across the state will be able to explore all four floors of the library. Activities will include crafts, video games, scavenger hunt, local history collections, the Idea Lab, green screen studio, and more. The event will also feature the Food for Thought Idea Exchange so you go home with recipes to replicate successful programs and services in your own library.
Thank you Daniels and Zermack for supporting this event.
Event is free to attend but pre-registration is required.

Food for Thought Idea Exchange

The Food for Thought Recipe Cards are designed to bring together ideas, programs, and services shared at the MLA 2023 Annual Conference in a delightful and easily digestible format. Just like a well-curated cookbook offers a diverse selection of recipes, this recipe book serves up a variety of ideas, insights, and inspirations that are sure to inspire the intellectual palates of library professionals and enthusiasts.

Each Food for Thought idea will be a recipe from a Michigan library professional. These ideas are the ingredients that make the library world a dynamic and thriving place. The recipe card is designed to include the key components of the idea, allowing attendees to understand and recreate it in their own library settings.

Download the Food for Thought Recipe Book (pdf).


Uniting the Michigan Library Community

MLA is proud to partner with organizations serving the library community.

Friends of Michigan Libraries logo