In Boston, at the 2013 Medical Library Association’s Annual Meeting I blogged as the Unofficial MLA Insider. In the past I noticed that both MLA new members as well as long time members aren’t always sure as to how things work. My posts were meant to shed some light on what happens at the meeting as well as within MLA.
MLA is a great group full of interesting and helpful librarians, and even though we aren’t the size of ALA, it is sometimes hard to know the structure, how things work, who does what, etc. within the organization. So I have decided to continue my unofficial MLA insider posts with an attempt at pulling back the curtain of the organization.
One note, much of the stuff I will be blogging about is available on the organization’s website, MLANet.org, and available to current members, but I think the best way to really understand is to also get involved. It is one thing to read and another to do.
I will still continue writing about other things on the blog, but I will throw in an unofficial insider post every once and a while.
If you didn’t read the MLA 2013 blog, here are links to my posts which will give you an idea of what I intend to write about.
- 2015 NPC Ideas Starts Now -What all happens when planning the annual meeting. Timelines, speakers, programs, selecting a theme, etc.
- What is the Leaders Tea and Who is a Leader? -It isn’t the medical version of Library Journal’s Movers and Shakers, it is a meeting on what you need to do now that you are chair of a Section, Committee, Task Force, etc.
- How Things Get Done in MLA - Basic background of how things happen within the MLA structure.
In the following weeks I plan to write a post about Sections, SIGs, Chapters and other entities within the larger MLA. My intention is to shed light on what is sometimes a very confusing area for members. I will be answering the often asked question, “What is a Section and how is it different than a SIG?”
What are some of the things you always wondered about MLA? Let me know and I will try and shed some light on it. I need your imput and questions to help make this unofficial insider series work
I wanted to forward along a press release issued jointly by MLA and AAHSL.
(reprinted from MLA press release)
The Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries (AASHL) and the Medical Library Association (MLA) share a commitment to intellectual freedom and access to information. We strongly oppose the suppression of opinion and censorship of ideas.
We believe that librarians must be able to openly assess publisher products or practices without intimidation.
We strongly support Dale Askey and McMaster University as they face the lawsuit brought against them by Edwin Mellen Press.
“The free exchange of ideas and opinions is essential to academic work,” said Jane Blumenthal, President, Medical Library Association. “This exchange is often critical and sometime intemperate, but regardless, the assessment of information is an essential part of the work of librarians, faculty, libraries, and universities. Academic publishers, as partners in the process of scholarly communication, should not only expect but also welcome critical appraisal. The filing of a lawsuit in response to an expression of professional opinion will work to suppress free and open discussion and hinder the growth of knowledge.”
“Though we may work in different library environments, one common foundational and critical element of our work is the appraisal of information resources in support of our academic communities,” said M.J. Tooey, President, Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries. “These resources support the creation of new methods, of new theories, of new cures, and new pathways to knowledge. Any attempt to stifle professional opinion is an impediment to the scholarly process and a violation of freedom of speech in support of the advancement of scholarship.”
We urge Edwin Mellen Press to drop this suit.
The Journal of the Medical Library Association (JMLA) has a new annual column describing innovative and notable virtual projects in health sciences libraries. This column will focus on library virtual spaces. “In an increasingly digital world, the library’s virtual space can be as much of a hub as the library’s physical space. Digital content and technology-rich library services are moving the library presence outside the physical building to support users in their digital spaces wherever and whenever needed.”
JMLA is looking for submissions of recent virtual projects for the Virtual Projects column. The column will be published in October 2013.
Examples of projects that could be submitted include:
- projects that improve the quality of the library’s virtual presence through webpages or its catalog
- development of technologies that facilitate information discovery and content delivery (e.g., federated searching products and portals)
- mobile-friendly resource and service initiatives
- development of web 2.0/Library 2.0 initiatives (e.g., social networking applications)
- hosting and preserving digital content activities
- projects that demonstrate the use of library resources and services through the institution’s electronic health record (EHR)
- collaborative ventures with campus or other partners to develop new digital resources and services
To be considered for this column, please submit a 200-word abstract of your virtual project or a link to your project web page that describes the project and why it is innovative/notable. Send your submissions to Susan Lessick, AHIP, FMLA, by March 15, 2013.
People have asked me on different occasions how they can become more involved with MLA. They have also asked how can a person new to the profession or the association get to know other medical librarians. The simple answer is they need to get involved. The easiest way to get involved is to join an MLA committee.
(from MLA Focus)
Joining an MLA committee is a great way to become an active participant in the decisions that impact the profession. As a committee member, you could evaluate applications for awards and scholarships; plan membership recruitment strategies, continuing education courses, and the annual meeting; participate in shaping MLA publications; make recommendations on new technology; and more. Apply using the online application form for the 2013/14 association year. You will need your MLANET username/ID and password.
Never served on an MLA committee before? See the August MLA News for tips from President-Elect Dixie Jones, AHIP, on how to increase your chances of being appointed.
The deadline to submit your commitee application is Oct 31st.
So take 5 min. out of your day fill out the application and submit it.
Congratulations and good luck to the people on the slate for the MLA 2013/2014 Election. Now it is up to the voting members to look at the people on the slate and determine who they feel would best represent the MLA membership.
Linda Walton, Hardin Library for the Health Sciences and Branches, University of Iowa–Iowa City
Cynthia L. Henderson, AHIP, Louis Stokes Health Sciences Library and College of Dentistry, Howard University, Washington, DC
MLA Board of Directors
Sandra G. Franklin, AHIP
Terry Ann Jankowski, AHIP
Lisa K. Traditi, AHIP
Kristine M. Alpi, AHIP
MLA Nominating Committee
Julia K. Kochi
Heidi Sue Adams
Rhonda J. Allard
Nicole (Nikki) Dettmar
Elizabeth R. Lorbeer, AHIP
Richard A. Peterson, AHIP
James Dale Prince, AHIP
Margaret H. Coletti, AHIP
Jane Bridges, AHIP
M. J. Tooey, AHIP, FMLA
Gale G. Hannigan, AHIP
Roberta Bronson Fitzpatrick
Brenda Faye Green
Beth Whipple, AHIP
Marie T. Ascher, AHIP
When I was a new librarian I was a bit overwhelmed with MLA. It seemed everybody knew everybody and they were all doing very interesting things. I wasn’t sure how to get involved or how to get my toe in the door. Believe it or not I am an introvert (though my husband says I am extrovert librarian). So seeing everybody knowing everybody made me feel nervous and worried about trying to join the group.
If I knew then what I know now, I would have saved myself some introvert angst. The key to MLA is serving in MLA. Volunteering for committees, groups, projects, etc. allows you to work with and know a lot of people. So by the time the next Annual Meeting roles around you will at least know a few people via email through your committee work. (I would LOVE it if we could add our pictures to the membership directory so that we can begin to put a face with a name and email.)
I have to say that my participation within MLA has been one of the single most important career development opportunies ever! MLA is what you make of it. If you sit around wondering what has MLA done for you, yet do nothing in return, you will get little out of it. But if you participate, engage in the association then your returns will be rewarding. Life is not a spectator sport, neither is MLA. So get out there and volunteer on a committee!
(Below is from the MLA Focus)
MLA Committee Applications Due October 31
Apply today for a committee and play an active part in MLA.
Committees make decisions on awards and scholarships; help plan membership recruitment strategies, continuing education courses, and the annual meeting; participate in the publishing process for the Journal of the Medical Library Association and MLA books; make recommendations on new technology; and more. Apply using the online application form for the 2013/14 association year. You will need your MLANET username/ID and password. Applications are due October 31.
Never served on an MLA committee before? See the August MLA News for tips from President-Elect Dixie Jones, AHIP, on how to increase your chances of being appointed.
Recently Stephanie Gertken posted on MEDLIB-L requesting medical librarians thoughts and feedback about MLA.
( from the MEDLIB-L post)
As a follow up to the Open Forum presentation on the MLA Professional Association Value and Planning Survey at MLA in May, we posed the question to the forum attendees, “Wouldn’t it be cool if MLA” . . . (fill in the blank). We received several interesting suggestions, including a recommendation that this question should also be posted to MEDLIB-L.
We’re interested in hearing your ideas, comments, feedback on this topic.
We’ll compile and share the information with the group and will also incorporate the information into the final report on the MLA survey project that will go to MLA Board. The information that goes into the report will include only the ideas/comments/feedback and will not identify any individuals by name.
We are interested in generating a discussion on the list regarding this topic, and also welcome any comments off-list to stephger[atsign]umich[dotedu].
So what do you think would be cool for MLA to do? What direction would you like to see the organzation take? Suggestions can be big or small, techie or non-techie. Email Stephanie with your ideas and suggestions.
Since I’m in the Midwest I thought I would forward along the call for papers and posters. This year the Midwest Chapter’s meeting will be in Rochester, MN at the Mayo Civic Center from October 6-9, 2012.
The deadline to submit your paper or poster abstract is July 13, 2012!
So you have about 2 weeks left.
New this year will be an option to compete for a new Research Award. (See http://midwestmla.org/midline/?p=1347 for more information, and watch your inboxes for more details from the Professional Practice Committee.)
(Official call below)
Call for Papers and Posters
The Program Committee invites proposals for contributed papers and posters for the conference theme of “Growing Opportunities.” Papers and posters may highlight practical problem-solving approaches, document collaborative efforts or outreach activities, describe innovative programs, or report on research in librarianship, resources or services. Contributed paper and poster topics are as unlimited as your imagination.
Contributed papers will be presented on Sunday, October 7. Posters will be on display on Monday, October 8 from 8:00 am until 3:30 pm. Presenters should be available to discuss their posters during the poster reception from 11:00 am – noon on October 8. For inspiration, take a look at the abundant and varied papers and posters presented at the 2011 Midwest Chapter meeting.
For contributed paper proposals and poster proposals submit a 250 word abstract describing your paper or poster. Include your name, position title, address, phone number and email address on all submissions. Email your abstracts to Ann Farrell, farrell[atsign]mayo[dot]edu, or snail them to her at Plummer Library, Mayo Clinic, 2001st SW, Rochester, MN, 55905. The deadline for abstract submission is July 13, 2012. Notifications of paper/poster acceptance/rejection will be made by July 27, 2012.
For more information on the Midwest Chapter meeting, see the conference web site: http://midwestmla.org/conference2012/
I sometimes hear people saying, “I don’t belong to MLA because what has MLA done for me as a medical librarian.” If you are looking for MLA to come in like a knight in shining armor to magically save your job, increase your salary, combat predatory pricing, and bring about universal health care, you are probably a disappointed medical librarian.
I have gotten the most value out of MLA because of my involvement within MLA. Did you catch that? It was my involvement in MLA that began to add value to my MLA membership. Not the other way around. All too often in society we see a lot of reaction type of people and fewer and fewer action type people. You can’t sit around and wait for things to happen and expect results. Life is not a spectator’s sport, nor is your profession.
I know that is hard to think about in a field that tends to have more than its fair share of introverts among its ranks. Heck, even the average extrovert can go to an MLA meeting for the first time and feel intimidated. However the key to getting the most out MLA (the meeting AND the organization) is by getting involved. I have had the wonderful opportunity to do some cool things like travel to places to be a speaker, sit on various committees, be on two NPC committees, and become a Board Member. However I didn’t just land those gigs on my good looks. I got involved. Baby steps at first. I started writing book reviews and my blog, then journal articles. The book reviews let to greater writing confidence and the blog helped feed the topics. Around the same time I became gradually involved in my local medical library organization, Ohio Health Sciences Library Association (OHSLA). From there I started volunteer to work on projects or items as they came about. It was that work that lead to the things I am doing today. Without it I wouldn’t be where I am now. Why? Because people wouldn’t know who I was and wouldn’t know what I could do.
You don’t have to start a blog to get involved. (It would probably be a Pinterest board or Tumblr account now days.) But you have to find those areas that you are interested in so that you can get involved. Personally, I think the best way to get involved is to start with your local organization, Chapter, or a MLA Section. Get to know people. Volunteer to do some things. You don’t always have to be going to the annual meeting to become involved. There are committees that meet mainly via email. Sections are always looking for section member volunteers to review papers for the annual meeting. You can even teach a class all online without the need for GoToMeeting or some webinar platform. The South Central Chapter just finished providing a FREE online class to MLA members https://sites.google.com/site/getmobilizedmla/home and the course instructors were from across the United States. (I am willing to bet a bag of peanut M&M’s they did everything virtually and didn’t need to travel to MLA or another meeting to create the class.)
The times we live in allow us more opportunities to connect to one another and provide us more opportunities to become involved. More and more things are done via email and using other online methods. This should provide the individual with more ways to participate. Only by getting involved and participating can you get the most out of your membership. My MLA membership has improved my job, increased my salary and helped me become a better negotiator. But it wasn’t the paper membership card that did that. It is my continued involvement within the organization, the people I meet, things I learn, the opportunites and ideas discovered that has done that and continues do that. Now I wouldn’t be able to do that without the paper membership card, but the paper membership card doesn’t do it on its own.
I am going to badly twist a former United States President’s words, but it sums up my thoughts perfectly.
My fellow librarians: ask not what MLA can do for you — ask what you can do for MLA.
The second class of MLA Rising Stars Program has been announced.
The 2012/13 class of Rising Stars, mentors and projects are:
Annabelle Nunez, Health Sciences Library, University of Arizona–Tucson
Mentor: Nancy J. Allee, AHIP, chair, Leadership and Management Section
Project: Work with the Leadership and Management Section’s New Members/Emerging Leaders Survey Project
Rolando Garcia-Milian, Health Science Center Library, University of Florida–Gainesville
Mentor: Mary L. Riordan, AHIP, incoming chair, Awards Committee
Project: Work with the Awards Committee to increase the number of nominations for MLA awards
Kristi L. Holmes, Becker Medical Library, Washington University School of Medicine, Saint Louis, MO
Mentor: Gerald (Jerry) Perry, AHIP, chair, Task Force on the MLA Academy of Teaching Excellence (MATE)
Project: Work with the Task Force on MATE
Elizabeth V. Fine, Bio-Medical Library, University of Minnesota–Minneapolis
Mentor: I. Diane G. Cooper, AHIP, incoming chair, Federal Libraries Section
Project: Work with the Federal Libraries Section Web Committee to evaluate the section’s website
Heather L. Brown, McGoogan Library of Medicine, University of Nebraska Medical Center–Omaha
Mentor: Julia Shaw-Kokot, AHIP, chair, Chapter Council
Project: Work with a Chapter Council team to implement recommendations for interactive web features in the communications plan drafted by 2010 Rising Star Karen L. Hanus, AHIP
The Rising Stars and their mentors begin their program activities at MLA ’12 in Seattle and be recognized at MLA ’13 at the completion of the Rising Stars Program.
If you are interested in learning more about the Rising Star program or the projects the first group of Rising Stars completed, go to http://www.mlanet.org/awards/honors/rising_star.html.