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Welcome to the 70th Annual Meeting of the Southern Chapter of the Medical Library Association! For the first time (and hopefully last), we will be meeting virtually instead of our previously scheduled meeting in Montgomery, AL.  So, your visit to the Civil Rights Memorial Center or the Hank Williams Museum will have to wait until 2022.  Instead, we will explore the “Crossroads: Southern Culture and Libraries” from the comfort our homes and libraries throughout the South.  So, if you’re like me, you’ll grab a cup of coffee, dress professionally from the waist up, lock the kids out of the bedroom, and prepare to connect with fellow health science librarians from across the Chapter.  We hope you come away informed, invigorated, and connected with your colleagues.  A big tip of the cap goes to the Program Committee who pivoted from planning an in-person conference to a virtual conference.  I look forward to seeing everyone online this November.

Randall Watts, MLIS, AHIP

SC/MLA Chair, 2020

What a year to be Program Chair!!  One year ago, at our meeting in Savannah, who could have predicted how our lives would be so upended in 2020?  However, I think it’s fair to say that most of us have adapted to the new normal.  For instance, like most of you, I have been working virtually since March and thanks to the digital nature of my position, I feel I am just as productive as before.

When the Program Committee realized in late spring/early summer that business as usual in the form of an onsite meeting simply could not happen, we started from scratch to plan a meeting with little precedent.  Our new reality was that all activities had to be in virtual format.  And although we had to “shift paradigms,” I am proud of the work of the Program Committee in putting together what promises to be a very exciting program.  We are offering “virtually” most of the same events/activities that would have taken place at our onsite meeting in Montgomery.  However, the Program Committee decided to “decompress” the schedule over five days so that members working for institutions not allowing leave for professional events might be able to participate for a few hours every day.

Speaking of the schedule, the conference will commence on Monday, November 16th, with three CE courses covering a variety of topics.  All of the CE courses are free for conference attendees.   On Tuesday November 17th, we will have our business meeting bright and early, followed by the NNLM SEA Update presented by Tony Nguyen, the NNLM Southeastern Atlantic (SEA) Region Executive Director.  Then, Lisa Traditi will present the MLA Update, in her role as President of the Medical Library Association.

Our keynote speaker is Rick Anderson, a thought leader in the field of scholarly communications, who will speak Thursday November 19th on the topic “Scholarly Communication in a Radically Different Information Environment: What’s Changed, What’s Changing, and What Can We Anticipate?”  Rick is the University Librarian for Brigham Young University, formerly serving as the Associate Dean for Collections & Scholarly Communication of the J. Willard Marriott Library of the University of Utah. 

In addition, there will be virtual paper and poster sessions, receptions, and social events throughout the week, with plenty of opportunities for vendor participation.  And speaking of vendors, a special thanks goes to McGraw-Hill for providing virtual infrastructure support for the conference at no cost to SCMLA!!

Finally, in an effort to encourage greater participation, the Program Committee decided that the annual meeting would be free both for members and non-members.

On behalf of the entire Program Committee, I want to invite you to the 70th SC/MLA Annual Meeting. We hope you have a rich and memorable virtual experience while you participate via Zoom.  Please see the meeting schedule for full particulars.


Trey Lemley, MLIS, AHIP(D), JD

SC/MLA Program Chair, 2020

Southern Chapter of the Medical Library Association is a 501(c) non-profit organization. 
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