Post by Ranti Junus of Michigan State University
When it comes to MMA conference attendees, I'm a bit different from the rest; I do not work in a museum. I am, in fact, a librarian at Michigan State University Libraries. Specifically, I am the Electronic Resources Librarian, supporting the design of and organization access to electronic library materials, including purchased databases, the online catalog, and other digital resources.
Considering this, why, then, do I attend the MMA Annual Conference? Well, I am also the library liaison/subject specialist for the Museum Studies Program here at MSU. My role as liaison includes assessing and collecting library resources (books, e-books, journals, and databases) that support the teaching and learning for this program. I meet with our Museum Studies faculty and discuss their syllabus and resource needs, and work to make sure our students have access to these resources with no problem. During the semester, I usually visit the class and lead a library introduction for the students on how to utilize the library collections for their course needs. A couple of faculty even let me attend the course regularly, so I can be ready when the needs arise. The other advantage is, of course, learning more about topics and issues in the museum field. This, in turn, helps me to reassess our library collection and suggest additions, if needed. I concluded that going to a museum conference is something I must do in order to learn more about the field, current trends, and topics that interest museum professionals. MMA is, of course, the logical choice.
I have attended the MMA conference for several years now and always come back with tons of great information and ideas. The knowledge shared through the presentations, regarding both theory and implementation, have been very helpful in providing more context on how a certain topic or issue could be addressed. The MMA Conference Programs Committee always ensures that various perspectives from various kinds of museums and institutions are represented. I have learned a lot about exhibit development, collections policy, visitor studies, and assessment. My favorite section, though, has been the student papers. It's great to see our future scholars and practitioners presenting their projects and papers; I learned how they picked a project and their approach to work on it. The conference has helped me to be more aware of the issues surrounding the museum field and has allowed me to make a better decision on which resources I'd need to add for our library collections.
I'm looking forward to connecting with and learning from many of you at the upcoming conference! Registration is still open! Learn more here.