This manual is intended as a guide for individuals and groups involved in planning the annual meetings of the association. Although key activities remain constant from year to year, the specific venue changes, and practices of MLA may vary over time, requiring refinements or changes in the convention planning process. For example, following the relocation of the MLA Business Office to Middleton, WI, some notable changes occurred in aspects of managing the annual conference, in part because the association’s membership database is located and maintained by staff at the MLA Business Office. The MLA Business Office then became the central headquarters for handling conference registrations and receipt of donations. It also produces the conference program booklet. Because convention planning unavoidably encounters some change each year, in 2003 the MLA Board endorsed the concept of having the Convention Managers prepare and distribute revisions to this manual annually in July. In 2004, the Program Committee was reconstituted and authorized to establish a formal proposal and review process for program sessions at the annual conference (effective with the program committee for the 2006 annual meeting and forward).
Originally called a handbook, this manual was first prepared by Suzanne Thorin in 1982. Lenore Coral made extensive revisions in 1989. The Task Force to revise the Convention Manual, chaired by Christine Hoffman (other members: Ned Quist, Judy Tsou) further revised the manual between 1993 and 1994. In 1996 Board members Mark McKnight (Convention Manager section) and Judy Tsou (Program Committee and Local Arrangements sections) completed this version of the manual. Susan Hitchens brought the entire document into conformance with then current practice in 2000, when it became the Convention Manager’s ongoing responsibility to edit, revise, and update it. Gordon Rowley incorporated subsequent changes in 2003, revising and reformatting the document. Bonna Boettcher incorporated Board actions from 2003-, preparing substantial revisions to the document in 2008, 2010, and 2012.
While most sections of this manual contain considerable detail, two are intentionally developed more generally. More detail for the chapters on planning workshops and the MLA’s relationship to MOUG through its liaisons for conference planning is to be found in separate sources cited within them. Critical to both chapters, nevertheless, is the Convention Calendar, in which they are included with regard to specific important dates for coordinating their materials with those of MLA’s general conference. As a document under continuous revision, this manual benefits from a broad distribution among all planners of events related to the annual conferences.
Bonna Boettcher, Past Convention Manager
James L. Zychowicz, MLA Business Office
Middleton, WI and Ithaca, NY
Abbreviations Used in the Convention Manual
ACM Assistant Convention Manager
CM Convention Manager
AO Administrative Officer (was T/Ex, [Treasurer/Executive Secretary]
CVB Convention and Visitors Bureau
LAC Local Arrangements Committee
MOUG Music OCLC Users Group
EOP Education and Outreach Program (sponsors pre-conference workshops)