Music Library Association Code of Conduct

The Music Library Association invites members to offer comments, suggestions or questions about the guidelines from now until end of day, November 30, 2017 by posting comments to this blog post.

All responses will be taken into consideration as the Board votes to update this important policy.

Our Values

The Music Library Association (MLA) stands with other library organizations in its opposition to any persons or groups who espouse racism, hatred, bigotry, and violence of any kind. The MLA is committed to developing and maintaining communities of practice that are inclusive, diverse, equitable, and that encourage the free exchange of ideas and information.[1] The MLA (including its chapters) holds professional meetings to provide its membership with an opportunity to engage, continue to learn, build professional networks, and discover new and interesting developments in music librarianship and beyond.

Code of Conduct

The MLA is committed to providing all participants – national and chapter members, other attendees, speakers, exhibitors, staff, and volunteers – an inclusive and welcoming conference or event experience that is free from all forms of harassment. Activities that may constitute harassment include, but are not limited to, offensive verbal comments related to gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, race, religion, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, or other group identity; as well as actions such as, deliberate intimidation, stalking, following, harassing photography or recording, sustained disruption of talks or other events, inappropriate physical contact, and unwelcome sexual attention. Discussion or critical examination of viewpoints, as well as the use of sexual imagery or language, may not, by itself, and in the context of professional discourse, constitute harassing or hostile behavior.

The MLA does not tolerate harassment of MLA community members in any form. All participants at MLA events are expected to adhere to the Code of Conduct. If you are being harassed, notice that someone else is being harassed, or have any concerns, please contact a member of the MLA staff, Board, or a designated volunteer immediately. All reports and conversations will be handled in confidence. Conference staff will assist participants in contacting hotel/venue security or local law enforcement, provide escorts, or otherwise assist those experiencing harassment.

Participants at the MLA conference or any other MLA-sponsored event who are asked to stop the harassing behavior are expected to comply immediately. Participants who violate this Code of Conduct may be warned, expelled from the event, or have their membership suspended.


Codes of conduct from the American Library Association and Digital Library Federation, in particular were used as a model for this document. The MLA Board would like to thank the Planning Committee for work on this document.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Having worked in another organization to make the same efforts, I would like to bring up a piece from our own discussion about this and the former Anti-Harassment policy in kind. One point of our discussion was whether we wanted our policy to be in general terms that apply to any and every activity of the organization, not just our annual meeting/conference. In the previous policy and now this policy, the wording used is very clearly targeted toward our annual meeting/conference. While that is an instance involving a large number of our membership and cohorts who are able to attend, that sort of *unintentionally* leaves out all of the other activities, such as chapters, committees, correspondence, etc. that encompass a great deal of our time and effort throughout the entire year. If we want to keep this wording that is more of a direct policy related to our annual meeting, then it should be called the Annual Meeting Code of Conduct. If we want something that includes ALL of our activities, then it should be worded as such…it is even possible to include our conference exhibitors, attendees, volunteers, etc. in a more general context by specifying that the policy is for all activities, “including exhibitors, attendees, and volunteers at our annual meetings”.

    While this is a preventative measure for a group that has not struggled in this area (like some of our cohort organizations) and is mostly here “just in case we need it”, I would hate for us to reach a point where we need it on the non-conference days and it’s arguably NOT THERE for that purpose.

    –We see success in the big picture of MLA, even when we must pass through a more difficult journey…and we know that we travel together, hand in hand.–

  2. You may want to consider adding something about The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA). I is an amendment to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions constitutes unlawful sex discrimination under Title VII.
    -Kathy Abromeit

  3. In the first paragraph, second sentence, the word “disability” appears twice.

  4. Has MLA’s Anti-Harassment Policy/Code of Conduct ever been included in an MLA meeting program booklet, or would the Board consider consider doing so? It would make it more visible and an easy way to consult the policy should such a situation arise at a meeting, rather than having the policy, while wonderful, simply on the organization’s website. I know that other organizations have developed or are developing similar policy, and it would be great to have an example of an organization that puts their Code of Conduct/Anti-Harassment Policy front-and-center.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Close Menu