*This post is shared on behalf of Jamia Williams, one of the 2022 Professional Development Award Winner*
MLA '22 Reconnect, Renew, Reflect
Attending the 2022 Medical Library Association (MLA) Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana, was an incredible experience. This was the first time attending an MLA conference in person since in 2020, the pandemic stopped my chance of attending the conference in person, and we had to pivot to hosting the conference virtually. 2020 was my first time attending an MLA Conference, so I was delighted to participate in person this year. I participated in various ways like committee work, co-presenting, and moderating a session. Since 2019, I have been involved with MLA by being a student member of the membership committee. We host the new members' breakfast at each conference as a committee. This event is a way for new members to connect with long-time members. It was great to attend the breakfast and help with checking in attendees. Also, I was able to network with other medical librarians, and I was happy to be of service in an in-person manner.
I was able to be a panelist for the African American Librarians Alliance(AAMLA) Immersion Session, which was titled “Mentor-Mentee Relationships: Building Collaborative Partnerships for Career Success.” Our interactive panel discussion was informative and exciting. We were able to engage the audience by using Mentimeter. Also, we had a fellow AAMLA member engage with people on Twitter who could not attend the conference. We hoped that this felt inclusive for people. I was happy to talk about my mentor and mentee experience within and outside of librarianship. Truly mentorship is one of the ways that I was able to remain in this profession.
Lastly, I was able to moderate the Information Management 1 session. This was my first time being a moderator at an in-person national conference. I have served as a moderator virtually, and at our local UNYOC Conference, so it was great to use my experience in this way. In addition, I was so impressed by the presenters in this session, who were knowledgeable and innovative. Hopefully, this won’t be my last time helping in this way. Thank you to UNYOC. I was part of my first in-person MLA conference since we started this global pandemic.