Other Medical Library Stuff

MLA Statement Supporting Blogger & McMaster Being Sued by Publisher

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.

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1 comment - What do you think?  Posted by KraftyLibrarian - February 19, 2013 at 11:49 am

Categories: MLA Events/News, Other Medical Library Stuff   Tags:

MIS Members Vote NOW!!

MLA MIS members don’t forget to vote for your future Chair Elect and Secretary/Treasurer. 

Here are the people: Vote before today Thursday 11:59pm

VOTE HERE:  http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/G6NS2BQ

Chair Elect:

Michael Garner
Medical Informatics Librarian
University of Central Florida College of Medicine
Harriet F. Ginsburg Health Science Library

 Why are you interested in running for MIS Chair-Elect?

I am interested in running for MIS Chair-Elect because of the importance of medical informatics in the medical community. Medical informatics promotes the systematic use of data to support the goals of the medical community and I believe that the MIS chair works as a bullhorn letting people know about medical informatics and why they should care about it and I would like to continue the work of past officicers of the section.

 What kinds of things would you like to see happen in the Medical Informatics Section?

First and foremost I would like to ensure that the members of the MIS would have access through the MIS website to information that would be useful to them in their day-to-day jobs as well as current items of interest. Due to the importance of outreach I would also like to broadcast to potential members the resources that the MIS offers. This should further burgeon our ranks and hopefully increase both interchange, community, and collaboration.


Emily Hurst
Technology Coordinator
National Network of Libraries of Medicine South Central Region

 Why are you interested in running for MIS Chair-Elect?

 My interest in running for MIS Chair-Elect comes from growing and learning more about the section through participation. Working with MIS, first as a regular member, I was able to learn more about the goals and focus of the section. Serving as the section  by-laws committee chair and working with leadership on programming topics has broaden my interested in the section and its mission. Support and connection with colleagues across the country has helped to see that MIS members are leaders in various in health science and medical librarianship.  I am interested in running for MIS chair-elect to continue the mission of MIS and promote goals which will keep the section active as well as attract new membership.

 What kinds of things would you like to see happen in the Medical Informatics Section?

I would like to see MIS continue to be one of the most cutting edge, relevant, and collaborative sections in MLA while also growing membership and embracing new ways of involving others in the section. Through continued sponsorship of MLA annual meeting programming including the popular Top Tech Trends panel MIS demonstrates it is a section of leaders as well as tech-savvy librarians who are willing and able to provide new insights on upcoming technology trends. I would also like to see MIS work in collaboration with groups outside of MLA such as LITA and ACRL’s Health Sciences Interest Group to put forth new ideas, programming, or educational support for one-another. By growing and learning together in this era of big data and quickly changing technologies I believe the MIS can provide an educational and supportive environment for librarians facing today’s challenges.


Secretary Treasurer

Kristi Holmes
Becker Medical Library
Washington University School of Medicine

Why are you interested in running for Secretary-Treasurer?

I am honored to have the opportunity to run for Secretary-Treasurer for the Medical Informatics Section (MIS). We see an increasing influence of informatics in the work of the researcher, clinician, and in the way that the general public is able to consume information about health and wellness. I think that the MIS is a great resource for librarians – through their education and programming offerings and also by supporting collaborative communications with their members.  I am excited to have an opportunity to possibly support the work of this section in a more formal way and I certainly look forward to the work of the section as it fosters efforts around informatics and libraries in the clinical and research environment. I work as a bioinformaticist at Washington University’s Becker Medical Library. I am involved in developing and implementing the library’s Bioinformatics@Becker program and my professional interests include  a number of topics that may align with MIS, including education and training efforts across biomedicine; collaboration tools and support; open science; the Semantic Web, and understanding the impact of research efforts.


Brandi Tuttle
Research & Education Librarian
Duke Medical Center Library & Archives 

Why are you interested in running for Secretary-Treasurer?

 Though a newer member to MIS, she is interested in running for the position of Secretary/Treasurer as she is sometimes a “jump in with both feet” kind of gal.  But don’t worry; she’s familiar with taking notes as well as planning and moving monies.  She has four years of experience as a Secretary/Treasurer for (EMTS 2009-2013) as well as two years of experience as Treasurer for the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of MLA (2010-present).  She has worked for the past several years to help select and disperse funds for the EMTS Annual Meeting Attendance Grant award as well as recently helped see the introduction of EMTS support for board member MLA attendance.  MIS is one of those sections that has caught her eye enough times.  She looks forward to working with another exciting group of people for the next few years to conjure up some awesome programming, create new initiatives and connect with other MLA members! Thanks for reading this far!

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by KraftyLibrarian - February 14, 2013 at 1:57 pm

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Host a #Medlibs Discussion

Due to Valentine’s Day there will be no #medlibs Twitter discussion this Thursday.  But the discussion will continue in the Thursdays to follow.  What started out as an experiment in discussing medical library issues with others via Twitter, has grown considerably.

Previous discussions have been on:

  • Disaster Planning (with participation from NLM Disaster Info https://twitter.com/NLM_DIMRC)
  • Embedded Librarianship
  • Data Management
  • Single Service Desk
  • Library Education

People are online every Thursday at 9pm Eastern time and it is always a lively informative and entertaining discussion. 

Now that the discussion has grown, it is difficult for one person to play host every week.  Nikki Dettmar (@eagledawg) has done a great job but she needs help.  She needs people willing to host the discussion on a Thursday.

Speaking as somebody who has hosted a few times, it is VERY EASY!!!!!  Nikki has done the heavy lifting.  She has created a hosting calendar and she has a service that already records the #medlibs tweets posted during the hour long discussion.  So all you have to do is sign up for a day to discuss a topic.   You don’t even have to do it alone!  February 28th will be on the Horizon Report and it will be hosted by @pfanderson, @kr_barker and a few others. 

Thursday Feb. 21st is still open as well as a whole bunch of other dates.  So if you are a #medlibs participant go to the calendar and pick a date.  If the date is somewhat far out then don’t worry so much about the topic, you can always add that as it gets closer.  *Please note the calendar is set on West coast time…so make sure you adjust your private calendar for your own time zone.

On the day and time of your hosted #medlibs chat, you just welcome people, state the topic and have 1-3 questions available to pose should our loquatious group fails to talk.  That is it!  See easy peasy.  Hope to see you hosting.


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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by KraftyLibrarian - February 12, 2013 at 1:22 pm

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Seeking Virtual Projects

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.

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by KraftyLibrarian - January 16, 2013 at 10:26 am

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Volunteers Needed

MLA Research Section Needs YOU!

(courtesy MEDLIB-l)

They are coordinating the MLA-wide effort to characterize the literature that informs the 15 questions MLA members identified in 2011 as the most important research questions facing health sciences librarianship.  With your help, the Research Section will identify several teams of librarians with varied research experience to conduct systematic reviews for the questions using a standard protocol with results stored in a centralized database.

 They envision that each team will have at least one member with systematic review experience. However, this is also an opportunity for those seeking to learn more about systematic reviews to grow their knowledge through hands-on practice.

 Please consider volunteering for one of the systematic review teams being assembled to review our literature.  One tangible outcome for each contributor will be the opportunity for co-authorship on a published article; additional ways to build skills and share knowledge will arise throughout the process.

 Apply online by Friday, January 25, 2013.  

For more information on how the questions were identified, see the JMLA article at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3411260/ 


Questions about applying can be directed to Jon Eldredge, Chair of the Research Agenda Committee, at jeldredge@salud.unm.edu.  Details of the plans for the systematic reviews and processes will be shared with the medical library community broadly once teams are finalized and workflows are developed.  Thank you for your consideration!

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by KraftyLibrarian - January 8, 2013 at 10:18 am

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Consider Adding a Librarian to the Editorial Board

The most recent issue of Nurse Author & Editor Newsletter, December 2012, “Editors Cannot Know (and Sometimes Even Find!) It All:  Making a Case for a Medical Librarian on Your Editorial Board” (requires subscription to read) by Judith S. Young and Tina M. Marrelli is an interesting case for having a medical librarian on the editorial board. 

Full Disclosure:
I am currently on the editorial board for the Annals of Family Medicine and on the library advisory board for Silverchair (hosts several publishers), and I was on the Library Advisory Board of the New England Journal of Medicine.  So I am kind of familiar with the role of a librarian on the board of a publication or publishers group. 

Young and Marrelli describe the benefits having a medical librarian on the editorial board for a nursing journal.   

“Working with a medical librarian and having access to this librarian as a sounding board is an untapped source of support for nursing journal editors– as well as authors, reviewers, and publishers.  An experienced, professional medical librarian can bring value to a peer-reviewed journal and its nurse editor.”

The authors state that not only are medical librarians familiar with evidence based nursing but they can also serve editors as peer reviewers, verify international or unusual references, and conduct content specific search to see what extent certain topics are covered which is helpful for originality of journal content but also when compling subject specific issues. 

As I mentioned, I have some experience being on various journal and publication boards and I think they are EXTREMELY helpful to both the organization as well as the librarian.  I have learned more about the publishing side of things than I ever knew before.  I also am able to experience their perspective on things such as what it takes to get a issue out and the part of the inner works of a journal from editors, advertising, peer review, market, web site demands, etc.  I think the journals and the boards learned a lot from my presence on the board as well.  In various board meetings I have been able to explain how their journal is primarily accessed by institutional users, web site issues/enhancements, budgets of libraries, and networking issues/opportunities.  Recently I have been getting a lot of questions about the use of social media and how journals and publishers can use it effectively.   For many on the boards, the idea of social media is something that they know is growing and is important but they don’t exactly have a concept of how they can use it because all they see about social media are Ashton Kutcher tweets. 

So why am I posting this?  Two reasons. 

First: To inform librarians that there is another opportunity to get involved.  Sure you have to be asked to be on a board, but if you are asked know that you have some good things to contribute. Keep your ears open and you will find your niche.

Second: To inform publishers and library vendors that don’t already have librarians on boards that we can be very helpful and provide a slightly different perspective on things.  The worst thing to have on a board is a group of individuals who are all the same.  You need people who use your product but who are a bit different from each other or have different strengths and backgrounds to compliment your board. 

Librarians aren’t just in libraries.  We actually do some things that can be helpful that is beyond the traditional library.

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1 comment - What do you think?  Posted by KraftyLibrarian - December 11, 2012 at 12:10 pm

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Medlibs What Interests You?

It has been almost 2 weeks since I wrote something on the blog.  I appologize to readers.  These last few weeks have been quite busy with kids stuff and holiday stuff that what little extra time I had got sucked into a vortex.  I do plan on blogging very shortly.  But I thought I would take this time to solicit opinions and ideas about what you would like to see on this blog for 2013. Is there something I should focus on specifically?  Or, is there a topic that I have beaten to death that you are tired of reading?  Let me know!  I write not only because I like to but also because I like communicating with you all.

For example would you like more:

  • Database/product reviews
  • Mobile stuff (in general I will leave medical app reviews to the folks at iMedicalApps, they already do a great job)
  • Trends in medical libraries
  • What is happening on the MLA Board

I know you are all familiar with my voice, but would you be interested in having guest posts every once and a while?  I usually don’t do them, but I am not opposed to them either.  Bigger question…Is my blog relevant still?  Would you rather get my insights from Twitter, Facebook or something else?  Basically is this blog dead to you and I should focus on other things. 

I look forward to any and all comments.  Let me know.  Without you, the reader, I would just be blogging to myself which isn’t much different than talking to myself and I do enough of that already.


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6 comments - What do you think?  Posted by KraftyLibrarian - December 5, 2012 at 4:35 pm

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Not All Hospital Libraries Are For Patients

I recently read several articles by an author that made the erroneous assumption that the ”average user” for a hospital library is the public and that hospital library websites should be easily accessible to them.  The problem is  the author doesn’t realize the average user for a hospital library isn’t necessarily the public.  The average user for many hospital libraries is the hospital employee.  The doctors, nurses, physical therapists, social workers, etc. who work in the hospital are the average users.  The hospital’s Internet site is designed for the public.  Libraries are where their average users are and for many hospital libraries that isn’t the public Internet site.

For example, the library for Energizer doesn’t have a web presence on the company’s website. In fact, if I hadn’t met the librarian at Energizer, I would never have known they had a library if I browsed their website.  The reason, the average user visiting the Energizer website is not that library’s user group.  The employees are the library’s user group and they probably have an internal network for employees to access the library resources and contact information.  The same principle follows with hospital libraries.  If a hospital library’s mission is to serve the employees of that hospital then their resources should be easily accessible to the employees.  If a hospital library serves patients then it should be easily accessible to patients and the public.  The problem is, not all hospital libraries serve patients! Therefore, not all hospital libraries will have have pages on the insitution’s website, because the institution’s website is directed at patients not employees.

Many large multi institutional hospitals have patient education departments that provide patient information resources that can be accessible to the public (or as the author likes to keep saying the ”average user”). These large multi institutional hospitals with patient education departments have libraries that usually serve the employees who treat the patients.  These libraries usually don’t serve the patient directly.  For example, part of my library’s mission statement is “to provide information to support patient care, research, education, and administration to all employees.”  Patients are not our user group, employees are our user group.  It doesn’t mean that a patient can’t use the hospital library, it just means that the resources aren’t geared toward them and aren’t licensed for public use.  Since they aren’t licensed for public use they might be behind the hospital’s firewall on the Intranet or they might be on the library’s Internet site in an area frequented by employees not patients.

So for one to comb through various large hospital’s websites looking for the hospital library’s page to be easily accessible to the “average user”, is a waste of time.   The average user isn’t patients!  Therefore, they don’t design their site nor place it in a spot easily accessible to patients searching the hospital website.   Their average user is the clinician who is in the electronic medical record (EMR) or Intranet site WAAAAY more than the hospital’s public Internet site.  These libraries are designing their access sites for their average users, employees. So if your premise is that this lack of Internet accessibility for the public (which you keep referring to as the average user) renders the hospital library invisible thus diminishing the importance of the hospital medical library in the eyes of hospital administrators and clinical staff, then you are dead wrong.   You are dead wrong because the average user is the employee and they don’t use the hospital Internet site like patients.   

I am not against web site or library accessibility studies.  Accessiblity studies are very important, but only if you study the right user group.  Remember the first thing we learned in library school, know thy user.

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7 comments - What do you think?  Posted by KraftyLibrarian - October 17, 2012 at 11:05 am

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Single Service Desk: Thoughts After #Medlibs Tweet Chat

Last week I summed up the previous week’s #medlibs tweet chat on alternative reference services.  I mentioned that I would go into more detail this week on my thoughts around the reference desk and single service desk in the library.

We have one public service desk in our library.  As I mentioned in my previous post, the library staff at my library tend to call our desk the reference desk or front desk.  In reality it is a single service desk where all sorts of things happen.  It is really the only single established place within the library where patrons can ask questions.  Yes they email, phone, and stop us if we are walking by, but the front desk is the one physical spot to get service.  It could be checking out a book, paying fines, asking for the bathroom, checking out a room, help with a computer/printer, or an actual reference question.  All of our library employees staff the reference desk throughout the week.  The library director, cataloger, ILL personnel and student workers (when we’ve had them) man the desk.

Various people on the tweet chat mentioned several concerns:

  • Isn’t there a blending of our professional status of having both librarians and library assistants essentially doing the same thing (manning the desk) and don’t you have patrons (or administration) thinking we are all the same and interchangeable?
  • You don’t do a lot of “professional” things on the desk. You do more assistant type things such as telling people the location of the bathroom. Isn’t that a waste of time or (to be nice) isn’t there a better use of your time?

First, all of society thinks anybody working in a library is a librarian, so from that perspective it doesn’t matter who staffs the service desk, because everybody thinks they are a librarians. Society’s perspective isn’t going to change on that.  Second, I don’t think of it as bluring our skills and making us interchangeable to patrons.  Why?  I guess because we each have our specialties and if we are on the desk and somebody asks a question outside of the norm and outside of our specialty we freely tell them to wait just a second while we get somebody else who can best help them.  Medical professionals are very familiar with the concept of specialists.  So while all of us work the service desk there are times where we have to have the “Circulation Specialist,” or “RefWorks Specialist” help the patron.  So our patrons see us doing similar services but they also have experienced us getting a “specialist” to help with things certain questions. 

Define professional.  My job is to help people find information.  Information is different for all things, and I am helping people.  While I am on the desk I am constantly looking at ways to improve or help people. I view the service desk as my test kitchen and I am a master chef.  I am able to see what dishes (products) people select and how they use them.  It doesn’t always have to be reference related either.  For example, I have learned a lot just renewing people’s books.  If they tell me they never received the “reminder to renew” email, I am able to double check their email and add a secondary email (that has less stringent spam filters) to their account.  Sometimes I am able to recommend another similar book our research avenue.

I know how my patrons are searching (or not) the catalog and why they can/can’t find things.  I know how they are looking for full text ebooks and I can fully appreciate their frustration with ebooks.  Working on the service desk provides me with the opportunity to work with our patrons and better understand their needs more than any established office hours would because I get to see the patrons in action.  I firmly believe catalogers and tech service people should work the service desk so they experience how their users find and access things.  How are they able to know there is a problem if they are back in their office cataloging all day?

This is just my overall philosophy. Not every situation works for every library.  I think if we had two desks (a reference desk and a service desk) it might be a different story.  Also I think it all boils down to the fundamental real estate philosophy, location, location, location.  If you are off the beaten path you will have a totally different perspective.  We are a very large institution and while the library isn’t exactly centrally located to all departments, we are definitely in a prime location and on one of the main walking thoroughfares.

I believe librarians need to get out and get to know their users.  How they do it can be varied.  The single service desk is just one way.  Abolishing the desk may not be a good thing to do if you have good usage. Our desk has lulls but more often than not, it is hopping.  Getting rid of the service desk would be a disservice to our patrons. Of course keeping the service desk because it has great usage, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do outreach.  There are still lots of people who don’t come in the library and they need to be reached.  However, the idea that the service desk is dead isn’t true in all libraries, in some libraries it is alive and a great place to meet users.

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by KraftyLibrarian - September 26, 2012 at 12:12 pm

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Do Library Vendors Feud Like Apple?

Yesterday I read on the Cult of Mac, Mike Elgan’s “How Apple’s Obsession with Google is Hurting Apple.”  Elgen describes Apple’s Maps and the removal of Google Maps from Apple’s new iOS 6 as an example of how the company operates when faced with competition. 

Apple removed Google’s (far superior) Map and YouTube programs from its new operating system.  It also created a more seamless integration with the other social networking tools Twitter and Facebook but not Google+.  Many, including Elgen, have said Apple’s actions have more to do with Google’s Android system competing with Apple than the operating system itself.  He even mentions this type of behavior is not new with Apple.  If anybody remembers Apple in the late 80′s and 90′s, it was not the powerhouse company it is today.  It was locked in a battle with Microsoft to the detriment of Apple and consumers. 

“…they become obsessed with Microsoft, and were throwing all kinds of spaghetti against the wall to see what would stick. They became blind to the truth that great products bring more and better customers, and instead tried to beat Microsoft and the larger PC industry at its own game. They tried to litter the market with narrowly targeted product lines just like the clone companies did, even though most of the positioning was just a bullshit series of lies. The Centris, Quadra and Performa lines were more or less the same line, and the consumer electronics products had the Apple logo on them but weren’t Apple products.”

Elgan sees Apple history on the verge of repeating itself and it is an interesting thought. It was after an hour or two after reading the article that another thought popped into my head.  Are there library vendors that follow Apple like practices with competitors?  The idea is intriguing to me.  It would seem to me this ideology is not unique to Apple, they are just one the largest most well know companies so it is more obvious.  This probably happens in all areas of business, including libraries. 

I think competition is healthy.  It is what brings better products and services to the consumer.  But what happens when competition mutates and you aren’t focused on a better product but focused on destroying another competitor.  When the focus of the competition leaves the product or service, it negatively impacts the company, product, and consumers. 

Do we see this with OPAC companies competing for libraries, or has that area settled out?  Do we see it with traditional publishers and OA publishers?  Do we see it with point of care tools?  How about ebooks and all the uncertainty and upheaval in that area? 

Let’s forget about libraries for a brief second and think about healthcare.  I certainly think we see this type of behavior with healthcare at large, but do we see it within our own health systems? Do we see it within our own hospitals and departments?

Competition is good but there is a fine line between it and obsession and the slope can be slippery. If you find yourself in that situation within your institution/company what are your options? Do you have any?

Just some deep thoughts that my silly little iPhone has made me think about.

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3 comments - What do you think?  Posted by KraftyLibrarian - September 25, 2012 at 10:56 am

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