I was not going to involve myself in this thread because it is a very
tender topic with me.

I work part-time in a solo library situation since the hospital will not
make this position full-time and I started the library in this very
rural area in 1975. I have been a member of MLA since 1975 or 1977.

I have never been to an MLA Conference in all this time since the costs
are so high. This year the conference is in Chicago in May and I thought
that I could raise the money. The hospital does provide fairly good
education support for this size facility. I did not go to MHSLA
Educational Conference in the fall so I could apply the money to MLA.
Just once I want to go to a national conference. The conference info
came out and I can't afford it. Nor can the other health sciences
librarians from this area.

What does this say about an association whose consistency cannot afford
to attend its annual meetings?

I requested an EBSCO application for assistance. When it came it had
qualifications. You were not eligible if you hadn't worked in a health
sciences library for less than two years or MORE THAN five. I called MLA
and was told that it was assumed if you worked in a library five years
you would have the money for the conference. I was advised to send in an
application anyway which I did more as a statement of principle to raise
awareness that there are grassroots librarians out here who will never
gain state or national recognition but who go about making contributions
on there local level and these people deserve some support too. The
other element in the application was that you get points for being on a
national committee. If you can't afford to get to a national meeting,
how could you effectively contribute to a national committee. Phone and
e-mail contributions just are not that effective.

I belong to the American Theological Libraries Association which is also
having its annual meeting in Chicago in May. The prices are much more
affordable - they are using Loyola University for houseing and their
registration is not as high. If I was as interested I could squeeze the
money out for that conference.

I also make it to the state conference almost every year and I am sorry
I missed it this past year. MHSLA recognizes there are varying income
levels in its constituency.

What percentage of the membership attends the annual conference? And of
the ones who do, what level of institution do they represent? Why can't
some of the CE programs be videotaped and offered for sale at a
reasonable rate - I really wanted to attend Teaching the Adult Learner.

If I sound too emotional about this, it is because I was really

Every year I debate whether to renew my MLA membership and on top of the
conference issue, I hear dues are going to be raised.

Nancy Manninen


Nancy Manninen
Portage Health System           E-mail : [log in to unmask]
Library/Archives                Voice : 906-487-7846
Hancock MI  49930-1495          Fax: 906-482-3080