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Papers, Special Content Sessions, Posters, and Lightning Talks

The MLA meeting provides a limited number of contributed session slots which are reserved for members and non-members to submit their ideas, via the peer review process, in order to share the very "best" research and demonstration projects.

Abstracts and presentations shall be scholarly works free from commercialism or private interests.

Exhibitors have many promotional opportunities that are designed to accommodate their training and marketing needs such as Sunrise Seminars and Technology Showcases.

Abstract Reviewers for MLA '17

Attention abstract reviewers, you will need to view a training video (approx 48 min, 35MB) before you begin reviewing abstracts.  The video will enable you to be effective in your role as a reviewer. 

Abstracts for MLA '17

The 2017 submission process closed October 19, 2016. The National Program Committee invites you to submit an abstract for a Late Breaking Lightning Talk that supports the theme “Dream Dare Do” when the online submission site opens in early 2017.  To submit your Late Breaking Lightning Talk abstract:

Program Sessions

Program sessions will feature papers, lightning talks, and special content sessions. Special content sessions may include a panel of invited speakers, a single invited speaker, a facilitated book discussion, and so on.

Sunday, May 28  3:00 p.m.–4:25 p.m.
Monday, May 29  10:30 a.m.–11:55 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.–2:25 p.m.
Tuesday, May 30  3:00 p.m.–4:25 p.m.
Wednesday, May 31  9:00 a.m.–10:25 a.m.


An estimated twenty-four expert paper sessions will be presented over four concurrent sessions. In each, you will see five papers in intervals of roughly nineteen minutes each. Papers in each concurrent session are scheduled to begin and end at the same time. This means you need to change rooms to attend other preferred presentations. 

Lightning Talks

Lightning talks are brief, focus on one main point, and are more verbally oriented; and will be limited to 5 minutes per presentation. An estimated 45 Lightning Talks in four sessions (one focusing on “Late Breaking Lightning Talks”) will be presented.

Special Content Sessions

Special Content Sessions are ninety-minute sessions created by groups within MLA that will engage and inspire you. 

Building on the success of the Special Content Session format developed by the Mosaic ‘16 planners, members are again invited to design and apply for 90-minute Special Content Sessions to be presented at MLA ’17.

These sessions can be developed by Sections, Special Interest Groups (SIGs), or Chapters, but also “unofficial” groups, e.g.:

  • A group of colleagues working on a project or possessing special expertise across libraries
  • A library that wants to share something engaging and relevant for MLA members

Special Content Sessions can be:

  • A panel of invited speakers
  • A single invited speaker
  • Invited papers
  • A moderator-led discussion of a book or series of articles
  • In an unconventional format such as “unconference” or “flipped” sessions
  • Any other format you believe would be engaging and relevant to MLA members

Special Content Sessions CANNOT be:

  • Sponsored by vendors
  • Refereed papers


MLA will provide a room with a “generic” setup: theater style seating, computer and projector, podium or table, and microphone for speakers. MLA will work with someone from your group to coordinate additional logistical request (additional A/V, wired internet connections, furniture, non-standard room setup), but the costs for these requests must be paid by the group(s) delivering the session.


Any additional costs such as speaker fees, speaker travel, etc. must be paid by the group(s) delivering the session.

See more details, including criteria used to judge these applications, in the Special Content Sessions FAQ

Ready to apply? Head to the online submission form.

NOTE: Incomplete applications will not be judged until missing application elements are provided.

Poster Sessions

200+ Posters are located in the Hall of Exhibits with four staffed sessions where you can interact with the authors.

Poster Session 1: Sunday, May 28, 2:00 p.m.–2:55 p.m.
Poster Session 2: Monday, May 29, 2:30 p.m.–3:25 p.m.
Poster Session 3: Tuesday, May 30, 1:00 p.m.–1:55 p.m.
Poster Session 4: Tuesday, May 30, 2:00 p.m.–2:55 p.m.

Posters will be located in the Hall of Exhibits. Attendees can view peer-reviewed posters on MLANET about three weeks before the meeting.

Poster session participants will have 45” X 45” to present their work with pictures, data, graphs, diagrams, narrative text and more and informally discuss their presentations with conference attendees during an assigned 1 hour time slot. Posters will remain up throughout the conference. 

Please direct any questions about poster session presentations and submissions to Mary Piorun or Lisa Marks.

Tech Trends

This popular session takes place at its own dedicated time, Monday, May 29, 5:00 p.m.–6:25 p.m.

Follow-Up to MLA ’17: Dare Dream Do: Focus on Diversity in Medical Librarianship

Follow-Up to MLA ’17: Dare Dream Do: Content and Sessions on New and Emerging Technologies