Letter from Debbie

June 25, 2020

We knew that by the end of June, MLA would need to make a firm decision concerning how we were going to move forward with MLA’s 2020 Annual Conference. It is now that time!

After thoughtful consideration, we are ready to announce that the 2020 Annual Conference that was planned for Kalamazoo October 28-30, will not be held as an in-person event. Instead, we are transforming it into a first-class virtual event, with the same educational and inspirational programming that MLA members have enjoyed and taken part in for the last 129 years - keynote addresses, breakout sessions, virtual exhibits, an awards ceremony, MLA’s annual meeting and fun networking opportunities.

So many factors were taken into consideration, the first and most notable, uncertainty with an ever-evolving Coronavirus. Our top priority will always be staff and attendee health and wellness. Other factors at work in our decision:

  • Learning more about what our conference host site is required to implement for social distancing, mask-wearing, room capacity, traffic patterns, and food preparation
  • Looking deeper at our financial position and staff capacity
  • Reduced attendance, based on host site requirements and knowing that even in October, our members will not be able to, nor chose to travel

Below is the calendar of virtual education events for fall:

Tuesday, October 27 - “Fall” Institute for Youth Services

Wednesday, October 28 - Thursday, October 29 - MLA Annual Conference

Thursday, October 29 - Michigan Library Awards

MLA is finalizing our contract for a virtual platform that will deliver content right to your computer screen and registration will be open soon. No travel involved! More library staff members can participate! Details coming soon, stay tuned.

In the meantime, I want to publicly thank MLA’s Annual Conference Work Group this year. With all of the work that they have done to date, and then stepping up to the task of pivoting this event in light of all that is happening in our world, they deserve a standing ovation. Thank you from all of us for your insight and time:

  • Chair - Kevin King, Kalamazoo Public Library
  • Vice-Chair- Claire Lopiccolo, Romeo District Library
  • Amber Alexander, Presque Isle District Library
  • Matti Cook, Flat River Community Library
  • Tim Gleisner, Library of Michigan
  • Jill Lansky, Kalamazoo Public Library
  • Bethany Maley, Kalamazoo Public Library
  • Sherri McConnell, Capital Area District Libraries
  • Terri New, Kalamazoo Public Library
  • James Pugh, Orion Township Public Library
  • Jill Spreitzer, University of Detroit Mercy Libraries
  • Andrea Vernola, Kalamazoo Public Library
  • Jacqueline Wrosch, Eastern Michigan University

MLA’s work group, staff and board are stepping up to move into uncharted territory! How fitting that our conference theme is “Charting a New Course, Together!”


Debbie Signatiure

Deborah E. Mikula
Executive Director


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