A Joint Meeting of the Music Library Association and the Theatre Library Association, Online, March 1-5, 2021

Call for Papers

The 90th Annual Meeting of the Music Library Association—a joint meeting in collaboration with the Theatre Library Association (TLA)—will be held in Cincinnati, OH from March 3–March 7, 2021. The MLA Program Committee invites proposals for program content until 8am ET on Monday, May 18th, 2020.

This Annual Meeting is open to anyone with an interest in libraries, collections, or librarianship in the wide scope of the performing arts: music, theatre, dance, performance studies, popular entertainment, motion pictures, and broadcasting. We encourage proposals that are topically or practically relevant to these areas, especially those addressing new or emerging areas. We welcome proposals from library, archives, and information technology professionals, students, faculty, and others. MLA members, TLA members, and non-members may submit proposals.

Types of Proposals

Most sessions are 25, 55, or 85 minutes in length. Poster presentations take place within a specified conference time. Types of sessions include:

  • Presentation (prepared paper or panel)
  • Plenary presentation (prepared paper or panel). Plenaries are always 85 minutes in length. No other meetings, sessions, etc. are scheduled during plenaries. The content of plenaries should be of broad interest to Annual Meeting attendees.
  • Interactive presentation (significant audience engagement via an interactive, hands-on, or discussion-based component. Individual presenter or panel)
  • Town Hall (open discussion forum for topics of urgent interest to attendees)
  • Poster presentation
  • Other type of session not mentioned above

Business Meeting Request

The Business Meeting Request Form covers requests for meeting spaces for committees, subcommittees, interest groups, task forces, working groups, and chapters. 

Guidelines for Submission

  • Required abstract should be no longer than 3000 characters (not words)
  • Any individual may participate as a presenter in up to two sessions total (individual, group, or poster). Please apply as a presenter for no more than two sessions.
    • Moderators are not considered presenters and are not subject to these limitations.
    • Participation in scheduled committee and subcommittee business meetings, interest group meetings, roundtables, and/or user group meetings is not subject to this limitation.
  • Please have names of all presenters and their institutions when submitting a proposal.
  • Sessions at this MLA/TLA Annual Meeting are for the educational benefit of attendees. Proposals promoting or selling products or services will not be accepted.
  • A call for Community Choice proposals will occur in September of 2020. Community Choice presentations will be selected by the MLA and TLA communities.

Selection Criteria

MLA Annual Meeting proposals are reviewed by members of the Program Committee, which includes members of MLA and TLA. Proposals should address:

  • The main points of your session
  • Relevance to attendees
  • How your proposal is unique or different from others that may address the same topic
  • How presenter(s) will engage the audience
  • Learning objectives, goals, or takeaways

The Program Committee will evaluate proposals as anonymous submissions; proposals will be selected on the strength of the abstract, based on the above criteria. Special consideration will be given to proposals addressing new or emerging areas of performing arts librarianship, as well as those submitted by first-time presenters.

The Program Committee will additionally strive to select a balance of proposals reflecting the range of institutions (academic, public, special, etc.), specializations (cataloging, archives, information literacy, collection development, etc.), and attendees (librarians, archivists, paraprofessionals, students and emerging professionals, retirees, etc.) represented at our Annual Meetings.

Proposal Submission

The deadline to submit a proposal is 8am ET on Monday, May 18, 2020.

Session Discussion Spreadsheet

The Program Committee has created a public spreadsheet to allow sharing of proposal ideas and connect potential collaborators. The spreadsheet is an informal tool, and the information in it will not be used by the Committee in evaluating program proposals. (Idea credit to the Society of American Archivists). 

Please Note

A separate call for business meeting room requests is forthcoming.

We look forward to your proposals! Please feel free to contact me with questions.


Kristina Shanton, Ithaca College
Program Chair, 2021 Annual Meeting