MLA NEwsletter

A New Season

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As springtime unfolds, we find ourselves celebrating rebirth and renewal. Likewise, it’s also time to move the MLA newsletter out of hibernation after a unexpectedly challenging year.

Hyacinths blooming at Lakeview Cemetery in Cleveland, Ohio

Of course, to call it ‘challenging’ would be an understatement. Personally and professionally, we’ve all had to adapt. When I accepted my role as co-editor following last year’s MLA meeting in Norfolk, I had no idea I’d be flying solo within a few months, nor that my entire library landscape would change. A branch closure and colleague’s retirement made it feel as though I started an entirely new job in August.

But – that’s not to complain. I’m grateful for the kindness and creativity of colleagues who make our profession stimulating and rewarding. Our world may have changed overnight, but the dedication of library professionals has not. Our most recent national conference – 100% virtual – was an example of resilience and teamwork that has opened up new possibilities for future meetings.

Traditionally, the first newsletter after a conference is chockfull of conference reports and session summaries. That’s not what you’ll find here, at least, not yet. As I’m learning – and spring reminds me – it takes time and patience to cultivate content. So, I invite you to contribute: What did you find most memorable at this year’s conference? What challenges have you overcome in the past year? Have you developed new habits or hobbies our membership would find entertaining or enlightening?

For example, I’ve been finding new rhythms – literally and figuratively –  with How to play chord symbols in jazz and popular music by Lee Evans and Martha Baker. For this classically-trained pianist, learning to read lead sheets is a fun challenge, but don’t sign me up for the MLA Big Band just yet!

And speaking of jazz, did you know April is Jazz Appreciation month? That’s just one feature you’ll find in this month’s newsletter, along with reflections from our MLA citation winners, an Oral History interview, and a call to action from the MLA board. The newsletter’s mission is to capture the state of our profession in every season, so please drop me a line at

headshot photo credit: Gerry Szymanski

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