Welcome to the 2021 MLA Conference! This year’s theme Stronger Together: Celebrating Diversity by Uniting Differences is both prescient and bittersweet as our communities, state, and nation traverse a most challenging landscape populated by a pandemic, inequities, political division, and economic uncertainties. Unsurprisingly, libraries and library professionals continue to strive to serve our communities to the best of our abilities even within these, at times, seemingly insurmountable issues. We know and understand that collaboration, innovation, and critical thinking help change our communities for the better, and this year’s conference is a testament to this sentiment.
This year’s programs offer a great tapestry of what our profession has to share. New voices will be heard. Seasoned voices will once again share wisdom and insight. And our profession will grow as we learn from and teach each other how to evolve as leaders and professionals.
Thank you to conference planners Debbi and Doug for all of their hard work and dedication in preparing for an all online conference—the first the Association has attempted of this magnitude. Thanks also goes out to the conference steering committee–Hannah McKelvey, Nancy Royan, Sara Linder-Parkinson, Rachel Rawn, Alyssa Ramirez, Alana Mueller-Brunckhorst, Christine Call, Chani Craig and Brittany Dolezal-Herwig for all of their hard work in helping select and monitor the conference programs. Last, but not least, thank you to the Montana Library Association Executive Board for all of their work this past year. Many unique challenges have been endured by all this past year, and this group of individuals have approached their duties and responsibilities with the utmost professionalism and aplomb.
Finally, I would like to acknowledge that each of us is accessing this conference on ancestral lands that were stolen from Indigenous peoples whose relationship with the lands continue to this day.