Best of Chapters Competition Guidelines
The Best of Chapters Competition was created to honor presenters at chapter conferences for their excellent research and to allow a broader sharing of that valuable work. All chapters are strongly encouraged to participate in the competition. Many of our MLA members have done outstanding presentations at chapter meetings, and the association benefits strongly by the opportunity to hear the presentations again with a wider audience.



Submissions from chapters are usually due sometime in late May or early June, with announcements of winners usually occurring sometime in mid-July. The Chair of the Best of Chapters Committee alerts the Chapter Chairs by means of the Chapter Chair listserv each year regarding the specific schedule and deadlines for that round. 


Nomination Methods

Each chapter may proceed with its own way of nominating papers for this competition, whether done by the executive committee of the chapter, an appointed committee for the purpose, ballot by the chapter members, or other method. 


Guidelines for Chapter submissions: 

You may nominate papers from past meetings as well as for the current meeting just held.Papers previously submitted for the Best of Chapters competition but not chosen as winners are eligible.
Papers submitted for the Best of Chapters competition may not be submitted as proposals to the general Program Committee during the same year. Presenters of nominated papers must be a member of either the local chapter of MLA, the national association, or both. Papers already previously presented at the national conference in any way, including poster sessions, roundtables, etc. are not eligible. You may nominate up to two papers. Nominated papers may consist of panel presentations. Presentations selected as winners may need to be limited to 45 minutes in length for presentation at the national conference When the nominated paper is sent to the BoC Coordinator, the chapter chair will send an accompanying note to certify that this was the paper actually given and selected. Papers should NOT be re-written after presentation.
For written papers: textual presentations need to have any examples shown etc. duplicated and sent along with the text. If the required material is not submitted, the submission will be rejected at the point of receipt as incomplete. For PowerPoint presentations: in addition to a copy of the printed slides, written text summarizing the expanded points of the slides of a minimum of 6 pages also must be submitted (however, the more the better as this will better document for the committee the actual content of the presentation). If the required material is not submitted, the submission will be rejected at the point of receipt as incomplete. All audio musical examples used for a presentation should also be included in the submission and they should be sent on CD or as an email attachment. Presentations consisting solely of audio and/or video are allowed. Any accompanying written text used for the presentation should also be submitted, or if presentation text was delivered freely, a written summary should be created and submitted. Inadequate and poor documentation reduces the chance of a nomination being chosen as a winner, as the committee cannot determine what the content of the presentation was or its quality. It is the responsibility of the chapter to work with the presenter to submit strong material, as one would for any other competition or award. 


Submission Process

Once initial nominations are received, chapters will be asked to submit the presentations themselves. Material may be submitted as email attachments when the size of files are not overwhelming for transfer and receipt, or pointers to websites may be used. Electronic submissions are strongly preferred. If materials (written text, audio, video content) are mailed, three copies should be sent for distribution to committee members. No materials will be returned once the competition is completed. A list of all materials being submitted should be sent to the chair, and the list should indicate how each of the materials is being sent to the chair.

Evaluation Process

The committee is selected to include a broad geographic representation and type of music librarianship representation. A weighted voting system is used to rank the nominations. The number of winners selected will be up to 2 (this is due to the amount of time given to the Best of Chapters Session at MLA). While nominated presentations must be submitted to the committee in their original form, winning presentations may be updated or revised to reflect current research or data, provided that such revisions do not constitute a substantial change to the original.

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About MLA

The Music Library Association is the professional association for music libraries and librarianship in the United States. Founded in 1931, it has an international membership of librarians, musicians, scholars, educators, and members of the book and music trades. Complementing the Association’s national and international activities are eleven regional chapters that carry out its programs on the local level.