MLA President 2005/06
Cloning is the only answer! As I work on my itinerary for MLA ’06 in Phoenix, I realize there are several times where I need to be multiple places at the same time. In my almost 20 years in MLA, I have groused with the best of them about program overlap and the many things that occur at the same time. But never like this year. I think everything begins at 7:00 on my schedule so sleep deprivation could be an issue. Can I use that as an excuse if I say something outrageous? And I want to be everywhere! This year’s program is so rich in programming and opportunities for networking and learning. I wonder if anyone has ever made the program planner blow up? Anyway, cloning and vitamins—I better get on it with less than four weeks to go.
Next challenge—how to get everything done here at UMB while trying to prepare for MLA ‘06. Doesn't my boss know who I am? What happened to those promises of leaving me alone, giving me freedom, lightening my load? Oh well, three weeks from today, MLA starts for me and it will be here whether I am ready or not. Lest I seem trivial, I am now starting to obsess about my clothes. I have to find something transformational! It’s going to be hot in Phoenix but possibly cooler in the hotel and convention center. Light sweaters and jackets. Got to remember sunscreen, SPF 15 lip gloss and to drink plenty of water. Good advice for every attendee.
I just found out about the plans for the Welcome Reception. There is usually some sort of special opening ceremony to kick off the annual meeting and open the exhibits. Attendees will be welcomed into the exhibits space by Native American Hoop Dancers. Of course, I have no idea of what a hoop dancer is or what a hoop dance means. So like any red-blooded librarian, I turned to the Internet and found that a hoop dance, through the addition and use of multiple hoops, allows the dancers to weave the story of the interconnectedness of all living things on the earth. This should be a perfect way to launch the annual meeting, “Transformations A-Z.” I'm just happy I am not being carried in on a surfboard!
Well, I finally succumbed. Three hundred fifty days into my presidency and a mere two weeks before the annual meeting, I have been attacked by the throat crud and have lost my voice. The water in Brazil couldn't stop me. Sleep deprivation couldn't stop me. Shaking hands without my Purell hand sanitizer couldn't stop me. But a teeny, tiny virus did. When I woke up this morning, I went to talk to my husband. My mouth moved but nothing came out. I think he thought he had a stroke or that his prayers had been answered. Actually, this may be a good thing since I'm sick before the meeting, not DURING the meeting. Note to self: eat right, exercise, drink plenty of water, take vitamins, and buy more Purell. Only two weeks left!
Shallow, that’s what this diary entry is. The main topic around the library is not what sessions or meetings to attend at MLA 06 but what to wear. Everyone is making their clothing, shoe and accessory plans. In my case, how many outfits does one need for eight days of MLA? Clothes have to pack well, be comfortable (it’s going to be hot!), and look like M.J.’s view of presidential. Exhibit openings, speeches, receptions, symposia, breakfasts, meetings—what to wear? I think my first step will be to see what the luggage weight restrictions are on Southwest.
Speech, what speech? Well, I started my speech yesterday. I know this makes some people very nervous but I’ve written it in my mind many times, editing and re-editing. Now I can just write and tighten it up—after all I only have about 20-25 minutes. Shortening it will be the harder task. I know my late writing date makes my friends and colleagues uneasy but it’s the way I work. Once I get the speech on paper, I will work on the PowerPoint. Now that makes ME nervous. How to best visually represent a year’s worth of work? Well, there are always finger shadow puppets on the screen. My repertoire is limited to bunnies and alligators. I wonder how I can work them into MLA’s accomplishments for the year?
Okay, I will admit it, the speech isn’t done yet. No panic has set in, but I am starting to lose sleep over the meeting. Remember those dreams where you used to be naked in the hallway of your high school? Well, I am not having dreams about being naked at MLA (after all, my clothing is ready—see previous diary entry), however I am starting to dream about not being in the right place at the right time, or missing events, oversleeping, etc. Also, I am suddenly painfully aware that there are a lot of times during the meeting when I need to welcome people, make remarks, do little mini presentations. I think I better do an inventory and invest in notecards for each event.
A lost weekend for sure! I worked on some MLA things but my weekend was consumed by home. Friday was my 22nd wedding anniversary. Saturday, my daughter went to a prom so the day consisted of prom-related issues—nails, hair, makeup, pictures, and worry. And of course, Sunday was Mother’s Day! Waffles at the Forest Diner. Shopping at the mall with my daughter where I got to buy her clothes for Phoenix. My husband and daughter will be at MLA from Saturday until Tuesday morning. Can you imagine any more exciting way for a 17 year old to spend her time than three days with 2000 medical librarians? I had to buy her new clothes as an attendance bribe. Tomorrow my husband wants me to approve his proposed wardrobe. I told you MLA revolves around clothing!
I finished the speech and slides last night. I have to say that once I got rolling it went pretty quickly. Looking for deep psychological meaning, I think I was resisting writing it because if I wrote it I was acknowledging my presidential year was coming to an end. There I go practicing psychiatry without a license again! Anyway, writing the speech did cause a lot of introspection to occur. I have truly enjoyed being president and have been grateful for the opportunity to serve and make a difference. Of course, it still humbles me when I think that I will now be listed in the long line of MLA Presidents. I am now history and I am not sure I am ready for that. So what do I do now? Well, I made sure I got appointed or appointed myself to the Vital Pathways and Librarians Without Border Task Forces. And as past president I oversee the Awards/Grants/Scholarships Committee and the Nominating Committee. So, I guess I have MLA job security for the next year!
Phoenix, here I come! Today, I fly out west. The suitcase is big and packed with clothing, Board materials, speeches and everything else I need to survive eight days of MLA. I think it is time to just sit back and enjoy the experience. See you there!
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