March 2024

Apply for a MiALA Conference Scholarships

Applications for MiALA conference scholarships open March 4-March 29. The scholarship will cover the cost of full in-person conference registration as well as up to two nights lodging in the conference hotel. Learn more here:

Learn more about the MiALA conference on our homepage:

MiALA Conference Hotel Info Now Available

The MiALA 2024 Conference is partnering with two hotels in Kalamazoo who have reserved blocks of hotel blocks for the nights of Wednesday May 15 and Thursday May 16. Please refer to the conference accommodations page for conference hotel room rates, locations, and amenities.

Information regarding registration coming in early March.

Haven't yet submitted a poster proposal? You can still do so until March 1.

Deadline extended for poster proposals! Don’t miss out!

Final chance to submit poster proposals by the end of day, Monday, March 11.
MiALA invites you and your colleagues to submit poster proposals for the 9th annual conference to be held in-person, May 15-17, 2024 at The Fetzer Center, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI. Participation from librarians, library staff, LIS students, and administrators from all types of academic libraries is encouraged. We welcome posters in any topic related to work in academic libraries, and particularly if they have a connection to the conference theme.
Poster proposals should include a description of no more than 300 words. They will be evaluated on impact on academic libraries and higher education, originality and creativity, and clarity. If you submitted a presentation proposal that was not accepted, we encourage you to reframe your topic for consideration as a poster.

****Prior to submitting your proposal, please review the information provided on the  Poster Session Guidelines page.****

Please submit your poster proposal using the online form here by March 11, 2024.
The primary contact listed on each proposal will receive a message indicating receipt of the proposal when it is submitted and decisions on proposals before the end of the month.
Questions can be sent to poster team leader, Andrea McMillan ( Questions about the conference in general can be sent to

IDEA Featured Resource

This month’s featured resource from the MiALA IDEA Resources for Education and Training list is:

The Free Black Women’s Library.

Description: “The Free Black Women’s Library is a social art project, interactive installation and book collection that celebrates the brilliance, diversity and imagination of Black women writers.” Includes books but also workshops and other publications.

As part of the IDEA Committee's continued effort to build a concise, streamlined list of recent articles, books, reports, training resources and toolkits, websites, videos, terminology resources, and online communities related to IDEA, MiALA members are invited to suggest resources. In honor of Women's History Month in March, do you have any recommendations for resources related to sex or gender in libraries? Make your suggestion here.


Message from the President

A wise woman once told me getting your heart broken can be a devastator or a motivator. I recently talked to a colleague who told me that they didn’t see the value of being a MiALA member, and it broke my heart. As I prepared notes for our Mid-Year Membership Meeting last month, it motivated me to consider that being on the Board puts you in the middle of everything, but not all members have than insight. If I were to talk to members about MiALA, what would I want them to know? Here are five things as a starting point.

  1. We are a recognized chapter of ACRL and as President I attend biannual Chapter Council meetings. Being part of a larger body ensures MiALA members stay connected with national issues and trends. MiALA is also a non-voting member of the Library of Michigan Board and reports our activities at their bi-monthly meetings.

  2. No good organization stands alone and MiALA collaborates with other organizations. A few examples:

    • We are once again a proud partner and sponsor of Library Advocacy Day at the State Capital building in April. Three board members will be attending.

    • We recommended two members to participate in a Post Pandemic Libraries cohort focusing on community engagement and strategic communication funded by a grant through the UM School of Information.

    • We have a long standing relationship with the Michigan Health Sciences Libraries Association and they will be sponsoring an event adjacent to our annual conference in May.

    • Another long standing commitment is our sponsorship of the MI Instruction Exchange (MIX) conference, which is hosted by our Instruction & Information Literacy IG and other partner groups.

  3.  We are not a secret organization! Our Board meets September through June on the first Thursday of the month. Minutes are posted on the MiALA website after they are approved. You can also contact myself and any of our Board members individually or through

  4. You don’t have to have an “in” to get involved in MiALA. All you need is the enthusiasm and maybe an hour or two each month. Many initiatives are ad-hoc or “one and done”, and it’s a great way contribute to MiALA or explore leadership roles if you don’t have a lot of time.

  5. There are MANY opportunities for learning and networking throughout the year! Our committees and IGs are the heart and soul of MiALA and they have been knocking it out of park this year with virtual meet ups, casual conversations, and webinars. Not getting MiALA emails? Add our Calendar of Events page to your Favorites so that you don’t miss out. You can also follow us on Facebook.

A hearty shout out to our Executive Board officers Carin Graves, Denise Letyon, Mies Martin, and IGCC Chair Ed Eckles for proving updates on the IG activities, budget, annual conference, and nominations/elections process; most of these items will be outlined in this edition of the newsletter.

Our ulterior motive for hosting the meeting was with the hope that members could get to know some of our leadership team. But we want to get to know you as well! Please go to our website, click on MIALA Member Spotlights to read other entries and submit one of your own!

Be good to one another, and let the countdown to spring begin!
Darlene Johnson-Bignotti

Call for Nominations: Academic Librarian Of The Year Award

It’s back! Established in 2020, the ALOTY award recognizes the outstanding accomplishments of a MiALA member and their contributions to their institution and academic libraries. The award criteria is not limited to achievements within the current academic year and nominees may include library administrators or library faculty.

The winner will be announced during the Membership meeting at the Annual Conference in May, and will be formally recognized at the Michigan Library Awards ceremony at the Grand Traverse Resort on Wednesday, October 16, 2024. In addition the winner  will receive a cash prize of $250, a statuette, complementary registration for the 2025 Annual Conference.
Please consider nominating a deserving colleague, or you are that deserving colleague, ask someone to nominate you! Click here for more information and a link to the nomination form.  Deadline for submissions is Friday, April 26, 2022.

Five Tips for Growing Interest Group Engagement

The Librarian Scholarly and Creative Activity Interest Group (LSCA IG) is in its first year and has had fairly consistent engagement with its members. While we have undoubtedly benefited from not having a history of past activities, there are no well-worn groves we feel we must follow, there are still some intentional strategies that the leadership team of the LSCA IG have been using to keep people interested.

1. Schedule Regular Meetings.
Getting meetings on the calendar early means more people will be able to attend, and it will help you not lose momentum. In a pinch, you can always cancel a meeting if you don’t have anything planned. For example, LSCA IG meets monthly, but we turned our January meeting into a leadership team planning meeting and cancelled the regular meeting for the wider IG.

2. Get input from members.
You can do this through surveys, group discussion, or structured brainstorming. That said, sometimes the best brainstorming happens when you are working on something else. For example, we had a session in which we used Padlet to talk about all the steps we take (or would take) to publish a peer-reviewed article. I provided four broad phases (1. Pre-manuscript, 2. Creating the manuscript, 3. Submission and peer-review, and 4. Acceptance, publication, & beyond) and then broke members into four groups and had them brainstorm things they do during those phases. This wasn’t explicitly an activity about brainstorming ideas for future sessions, but it turned out to be a treasure trove of topics we could explore in the future.

3. Follow your own interests.
Sometimes, you have to just do what you are interested in and hope that other people care about those things too. For example, I was excited about hosting a virtual writing retreat. It ended up going well, likely because I was having fun planning it. Now members want to do it again, so I have scheduled another one for late spring/early summer. It isn’t bad for your interests to shine through in your IG leadership. Next year, presumably someone else will be in charge and they will put their own mark on the IG, and that is a good thing.

4. Think about topic and format.
Sometimes it is easier to start planning from a topic, and sometimes it is easier to start from a format. Here are some formats to try.

  • Topic discussion: Is there a new hot topic, or a perennial sticking point in your work you can discuss.

  • Show and tell: Invite participants to share what they are working on. It is like a casual lightning talk.

  • Guest speaker: Don't be afraid to reach out to potential guest speakers. The worst they can do is say no.

  • Mini charette: Participants bring a “design” problem (a project that they have started but may still need polishing or direction). They present the problem and get input.

  • Article/book chapter discussion: A classic!

  • Brainstorm: Is there a key issue your IG members are grappling with? Why not collaborate on generating ideas around that topic? Try tools like Padlet, or Figma that you can use to capture the wisdom of the group for future reference.

5. Cultivate relationships.
Do you have a new member? You should email them to welcome them to the IG and tell them about upcoming IG events. This is a good opportunity to ask about who they are and what their interests are. Did you see some news, an event, or a call for submissions that is of interest to the group or a member of the group? Share them and tie it back to things you have talked about or want to talk or do in the group. Also, leverage your relationships and those of the members to find relevant experts to come be guest speakers!

One Last Thought: The LSCA IG hasn't had a transfer of leadership yet since we are still in our first year, but as the chair, it is something I am already thinking about. This year our leadership team consisted of a chair, a vice-chair, a secretary, and a member-at-large. It has been helpful to have people to share the workload with and act as a sound board. Additionally, I think positions like member-at-large and secretary are great ways to see how IGs work up close without having to jump directly into chairing. I am hoping we can continue to offer positions like that within the LSCA IG to cultivate future IG chairs and keep the engagement going into the future.

Caitlin Benallack
Librarian Scholarly and Creative Activity Interest Group Chair

MiALA Newsletter - March 2024