Out of all the amazing resources I learned about at MLA 2017, the people themselves proved to be the finest resource of them all.
The International Association of Music Libraries, Archives and Documentation Centres encourages and promotes the activities of music libraries, archives and documentation centres to support and facilitate the realization of projects in music bibliography, music documentation and music library and information science at national and international levels.
This was the first-ever joint conference of IAML, ICTM, and IMS, and we were hosted by Ginny Danielson (head of NYU Abu Dhabi’s library and previously the head of Harvard University’s music library) and her colleagues. NYU Abu Dhabi Institute sponsored the event, which was limited to 30-35 participants due to various resource constraints. Given this limit, the three societies decided to invite 7 to 8 participants each and then encourage as much regional participation as possible. IAML has few members indeed from this part of the world and has not yet connected the way we would like to in this region, so especially with this in mind, the conference was an important event for our Association. And what an event it was!
The idea for the conference was to bring together music librarians, archivists, and documentation specialists from all of the Americas, with an emphasis on the inclusion of Latin American colleagues. MLA, in part with outreach funds left over from the joint IAML-IMS congress in New York in 2015, was able to invite and support colleagues from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Mexico, Uruguay, and Venezuela. In recognition of the importance of this meeting to IAML, the IAML Board decided to hold its mid-year meeting during the two days leading up to the conference. This enabled all of us on the Board to participate in the event and to reach out to these colleagues from Latin America. And it was successful. All Board members actively participated in the event and got to know many new colleagues from Latin America, and we were able to let them know about IAML and to welcome and encourage their participation in our association.
Michelle Urberg shares her reflections of the MLA conference in Orlando, Florida: MLA 2017 in Orlando was my first MLA! I first heard about MLA many years ago from Scott Landvatter at the University of Chicago, where I was a graduate student employee in the Recordings Collection. Fast forward a few years: I found myself finishing library school and starting my first professional library position, with a strong desire to get involved in professional organizations to help support the field where I want to spend my career.