Currently, I’m the Bibliographer for Literatures of Europe & the Americas (which includes theater) at the University of Chicago, and I also serve as interim music librarian. I was a first-time attendee to the Music Library Association’s annual meeting; I usually attend meetings of the American Library Association and Modern Language Association (the other “MLA”). I was very nervous about attending, as I’d been interim music librarian for less than a month, and worried about being feeling out of place.
I had a great “non-official” mentor who assured me I shouldn’t feel intimidated, and that I would be welcomed. She was right. The information session for first-time attendees was very effective and useful. I’m glad the organizers took the time to find a way of making that work, as well for having such a flexible platform. I learned from every session I attended and was able to follow up with colleagues at other institutions who are willing to answer questions as I take up the challenge of serving my institution’s music department.
For not-only a first time attendee, but also a first-time music librarian, this was an enriching conference that helped me feel more grounded as well as offering a support network. Future new attendees should know, as I do now, how welcoming the MLA is and how important having a mentor can be. I am very grateful to my conference mentor, as well as to those who have helped me out in other ways.
Submitted by André Wenzel