National, Regional, and Local – Annual Meetings and Conferences Come in All Sizes


  I mentioned in an earlier post that I am a member of the Music Library Association and that I attended a national conference a few years back.  Well this past weekend I attended the annual meeting of the Pacific Northwest Chapter of the Music Library Association at Reed College in Portland. The meeting included members and presenters from Oregon, Washington, and Canada that hold or have held positions in various music libraries and archives, both public and academic.  The meeting started Friday and ended Saturday afternoon.   For this post I just wanted to provide a summary of the wealth of knowledge shared at the meeting.

   The first presenter was Joe Hickerson.  Joe shared wonderful stories of his 55-plus-years working in music libraries and working with sound collections.  Joe served as the Director of the Archive of Folk Song at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. Joe has not only worked to preserve American Folk Music, but is an avid performer and creator of folk music in his own right.

   The next presenter was Laurel Sercombe (see my interview below), archivist at UW Ethnomusicology Sound Archive. Laurel discussed the development of the Vi Hilbert website with the resources from the University of Washington Ethnomusicology Archives.  The website highlights a collection of audio and video recordings where Vi discussing such topics as her personal history, language work and the stories of her people. Vi’s work and her work with others has been very important in reviving and preserving the Lushootseed (Puget Salish) language and culture.

   The final presenter on the first day was Mark Buford, Assistant Professor of Music at Reed College.  Mark presented his research on a club in Times Square called Sweet Chariot.  Sweet Chariot was a club that featured the performance of pop gospel by African American performers.  Mark discovered information on the club while doing research on Mahalia Jackson for an upcoming book.  The club was eventually closed as the fad of pop gospel died out at the height of the Civil Rights Movement.

   On the second day there was one presenter, Verletta Kern, the Music Research Services Librarian at the University of Washington.  Verletta discussed creating tutorials using software such as Camtasia and Adobe Captivate to give instruction on how to use the services and items the library provides.  Verletta also discussed the creation of tutorials that teach students how to create items such as program notes for upcoming performances.  UW Libraries also has a YouTube Channel were these videos can be found and the number of viewers can be monitored. 

  Going to an annual meeting or conference gives you the opportunity to reconnect with your peers, hear about what other people are talking about and researching within your library community, and to perhaps get a jump on the unannounced position you have been searching for.  It is a great way to network and to meet the people that will someday be your colleagues.  It can also be an inspiring event as you talk to librarians that have held their positions for 20 plus years or as you discuss the issues of a new position with a peer that was a student participant, like yourself, only a couple of years ago.  So find that next meeting and make an effort to attend!


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