Edited by Kristin Wolski


Several student assistants from the UNT Music Library, including a recent graduate of the Music Librarianship program, attended this year’s Annual Meeting of the Music Library Association in Cincinnati, Ohio from February 28-March 3, 2024. It was a fun-filled week of learning and meeting new colleagues within the profession; for some, this included a road trip that was one for the ages, with UNT music librarian Blaine Brubaker leading the way! In this post, three emerging music librarianship professionals describe their experiences.

Steven Sellers

Steven is a recent graduate of the music librarianship program at the University of North Texas and now uses skills learned through the College of Information and at the Music Library to create metadata in a new position. Prior to starting his new job, Steven attended the Music Library Association conference and participated in a variety of ways, from presenting on video game music to performing in the big and rock bands. About his experience, Steven shares:

“I recently had the privilege to present at the annual Music Library Association conference in Cincinnati, Ohio in February/March of 2024, and I had a pretty remarkable experience! I worked with my colleagues at UNT and other institutions to discuss the lifecycle of video game music in the library, with our panel being led by Joshua Deringer of the University of Minnesota. My section of the presentation focused on preservation of video game music (VGM), and I was elated to see so many eager researchers, musicians, and librarians that were interested and attending our presentation. Some of the topics I talked about included how it is important to enclose your media, store items in a climate-controlled environment, and remove any batteries of media or playback devices to prevent corrosion. My colleagues also spoke on topics in their area of expertise, like VGM access, acquisitions, research and outreach. In order to properly prepare for this presentation, I created a list of common problems I have encountered in my own work as a music processor and preservation assistant. I also reviewed materials from classes I have taken on the subject of preservation during my Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) degree. Additionally, I met with a colleague at Willis library who specializes in preservation and briefly interviewed them about some of the practices they employ when considering how to properly retrieve, store, and preserve media. I compiled this information into a brief bulleted list of notes, and included some keywords and transitional phrases to allow me to keep my focus on the audience attending our presentation rather than reading my notes verbatim. Overall, I am really pleased with the result and grateful for the opportunity to work with more established professionals in my field on a topic that we are all passionate about. Below is a photo that we took at a Buc-ees along the way :)”

Steven is currently working on a co-authored writing piece for the Journal of Sound and Music in Games as part of the Press Start Special Series within the journal.

Joseph Sioui

This was Joseph’s first year attending the conference and was one of the recipients of the association’s Diversity Scholarship. About the scholarship, Joseph writes, “It was an honor to be acknowledged for my passion for improving diversity at music libraries. It made it possible for me to attend the conference.” About the conference, Joseph states, “I had a great experience! Getting involved in the big band, rock band, and attending all of the lunches/coffee breaks, receptions, and presentations that I could. It was fun and helped me feel comfortable, grow, and network with other attendees.”

For more about Joseph’s work, visit the American Indigenous Music LibGuide, as well as a cataloged record of a nineteenth- century composer of Narragansett heritage that he created during a two-month internship at The Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library at Harvard University. Joseph also published a blog post highlighting music by native artists and has shared his research through tabling events on campus.

three people standing near a buc'ees franchise beaver statue

Left to right: Steven Sellers, Buc-ee, Blaine Brubaker, and Joseph Sioui.

Alexa Frederick

Alexa prepared an informative poster presentation on open access educational resources for this year’s conference and describes some helpful opportunities offered through the Music Library Association’s mentoring program and the Music Library Student and Emerging Professionals Interest Group (MLStP). She reflects:

“I recently attended my first National Music Library Association conference in Cincinnati, Ohio at the end of February and beginning of March 2024. I had an amazing experience at the conference through the conference mentorship program, the MLStEP events, and by presenting my first in-person poster!

For any students or early career professionals attending their first MLA, I would highly recommend participating in the conference mentorship program! It’s a great opportunity to meet new librarians in the music librarianship profession. I was paired with Catherine Hammer, who works as a librarian at AMDA College and Conservatory of the Performing Arts in New York City. We met at the first-time attendee’s reception, which is a welcome event for first time conference attendees and mentors, and we attended sessions together. Catherine introduced me to other professionals in MLA that I might not have met otherwise! There are other networking events sponsored by MLStEP, which is the students and emerging professionals’ group in MLA. There was an MLStEP social at the hotel where students and emerging professionals gathered to talk and enjoy drinks at the hotel. There was also a karaoke night that was open to students and emerging professionals. I was surrounded by a wonderful community of students and professionals at MLA as a first-time attendee!

I also had the opportunity to present a poster at MLA. My poster is called Free and Open Access Resources for Music Education Students and Music Educators. This poster was initially a project I worked on as a senior music education student where I gave a research presentation on critical source evaluation for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion resources for the music classroom. I realized that the free online resources I collected for that project would be helpful for librarians across the country to share with their music education faculty and patrons. In addition to sharing those resources, I researched the needs of educators when it comes to accessing resources for the classroom. I was initially nervous about presenting this poster. I prepared for the presentation by receiving feedback through one-on-one meetings with the Information Literacy and Outreach Librarian, Kristin Wolski, and completing practice presentations with the librarians at the Music Library. At the conference, there were many people that were receptive to learning more about how they can support their music education students and music educator patrons. I am grateful for the opportunity and felt successful in sharing the information about this topic with other librarians.”

Woman standing in front of poster at conference
Alexa Frederick Standing with Poster at the Music Library Association Conference 2024.

Alexa continues, “For any students looking to grow their network and learn more about music librarianship, I highly recommend attending an MLA meeting. While I enjoyed the National conference, I understand that attending this kind of conference might be financially daunting. There are support systems in place from MLA to help students attend through scholarships, travel grants, and the room lottery. There are regional chapters as well that host meetings. The cost of attendance is typically lower than the national conference, and the regional chapter meetings are easier to travel to.”

Woman presenting at a conference in front of a poster
Alexa Frederick Presenting Poster at The Music Library Association Annual Meeting 2024.

Regional Chapter Meetups

three people at a restaurant taking a selfie
Left to right: Megan Cooper, Alexa Frederick, and Blaine Brubaker

An added bonus about the annual Music Library Association meeting is that regional chapters often meet for a fun dinner! The annual meeting also serves as an excellent time to reconnect with local colleagues. From the Texas Music Library Association dinner, Alexa met with colleagues Blaine Brubaker (University of North Texas) and Megan Cooper, (Prairie View A&M University), with the rest of the Texas crew pictured behind them.

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