Other Medical Library Stuff

Just Serve! Join an MLA Committe

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.

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by KraftyLibrarian - September 10, 2012 at 10:51 am

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

Professional Discourse Can Happen on Twitter

Professional discourse can and does happen on Twitter.  In fact, I find Twitter as important as email for work communication.  I know, I can practically see your eyeballs rolling and the murmurs through the Internet as I type this.  But it is true. 

Years ago, I remember saying that I couldn’t think of a reason to be on Twitter.  I didn’t say there wasn’t one, but at the time I just didn’t see any.  Today it is a totally different story.  I probably discuss librarian issues and ideas more often over Twitter than I do on Medlib-l.  Yep you are reading that correctly. 

In fact the 140 character limit doesn’t inhibit me at all.  I am able to ask quick questions and have them answered fairly quickly.  What kind of questions do I ask?  Some of the same things I might ask on Medlib-l like:

  • Is PubMed down?
  • How do I bold a line in LibGuides?
  • What other MeSh term can you think of to represent X?


I also make little comments about things I am encountering while I am at work or doing librarian stuff.  Some of these things are just my comments  while others are passing along helpful or interesting websites.  Some recent examples are:



As you can see all of that stuff is related to librarianship.  Doesn’t Twitter get all cluttered with junk about people’s cats, lunch, etc.?  Yes and no.  In fact, I do a little bit of off topic chatting…


I am not a robot, some of my life and personality filters through on Twitter just like it does on email.  The key to Twitter is the you people follow.  Follow other librarians (medical and non-medical), doctors, patient advocates, technology gurus, etc.  Find the people who mainly tweet about professional items and your Twitter feed will mainly be about professional information that you can use.  Yes there will be some personal bon mots that fly through, but that is life.

I have also found it HUGELY helpful to follow my vendors.  Yep, I follow @SpringShare, @WKHealthOvid, @EBSCOInfoSvcs, @NEJMTeam, @ClinicalKey, @MDConsult, @MHMedical, etc.  Not only do I find out about new things like I did the other day with Ovid…


But I have gotten pretty darn good tech support and responses from problems and complaints.  Honestly I have gotten faster responses than I have ever gotten when I post on Medlib-l.   @SpringShare has been very helpful and responded quickly whenever I mentioned I have a problem.  @EBSCOInfoSvcs responded quickly when I was asking people about an A-Z quirk.  @ClinicalKey responded very quickly when I brought up an issue regarding personal logins for PDFs. 

Twitter isn’t for everyone but it isn’t just the realm of Charlie Sheen rants and lunch updates.  It is a valid method of professional communication.  The key is how you use it and how you integrate it in your workflow.  Next week I will share how I have integrated it into my work flow so that it takes no more time out of my day than regular email.  In the mean time, don’t forget about the #medlibs Thursday chats at 9pm est. which is a perfect example of professional Twitter communication.  You are free to lurk and see what is going on. Any questions about Twitter #medlibs chat feel free to contact me.

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2 comments - What do you think?  Posted by KraftyLibrarian - August 30, 2012 at 1:51 pm

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New Roles for Health Sciences Librarians

Are you a health sciences librarian working in position that wouldn’t be considered a “traditional” health sciences librarian position?  If so then pay attention…. The Journal of the Medical Library Association has a special issue on New Century, New Roles for Health Sciences Librarians and they are seeking papers!  Papers must be sumitted by February 2013!

(from JMLA)

The advent of both digital content and new forms of communication has made radical changes in health sciences library users’ expectations for access to information. Researchers and clinicians expect information at their desktops, 24/7, in a format that can be easily digested and used. At the same time, in response to concerns over the increasing cost of health care, government funding agencies have changed their expectations for how health-related research is conducted. Funding agencies look for translational medicine and dispersion of information across disciplines and institutions.   

Responding to the opportunities provided by these changes, some librarians and libraries have changed their focus, no longer emphasizing libraries as keepers of the information universe but instead stressing their ability to provide expertise supporting those who work in the health information universe. A number of new paradigms have been reported at conferences and in the media: embedded librarians, e-science experts, support for translational medicine, and data curation and management. To help us gain a better understanding of these new paradigms, the Journal of the Medical Library Association (JMLA) is planning to devote the October 2013 issue to papers that focus on the outcomes experienced by those who have taken on these new roles.

Not sure you have enough “stuff” for a full length research article?  Don’t worry in addition to full length research papers they are looking for brief communications and case studies.

(Descriptions from JMLA)

Brief communications – 1,800 words or less, describe evaluations of either the need for or success of new roles. They should provide a brief literature review and describe the new role; the method used to assess the need for the role or to evaluate its success, such as a small scale survey, focus groups, or measures of user participation in services provided; and the results of that evaluation or assessment. Papers describing evaluations of education and training programs relevant to new roles are also welcome.

Case studies -3,500 words or less. Describe, in depth, new or innovative roles for librarians such as embedded librarians, e-science experts, support for translational medicine, or data curation should provide a brief literature review; describe the components of the new role and relate, if relevant, the institutional factors that supported the creation of this new paradigm; followed by an evaluation of the success or failure of the initiative and any lessons learned. Papers submitted as case studies must include evidence that allows the reader to judge the value of the librarian’s contribution in this new role, independent of the author’s opinion. Examples of evidence include results of a user survey, inclusion of the librarian in papers authored by a research team, improvements or changes attributed to a librarian in an open access journal, or continued financial support from or additional responsibilities assigned by the institution.

Full length research papers – 5,000 word limit. Investigating a research question related to new roles for health sciences libraries or librarians should use a standard quantitative or qualitative research design. Quantitative studies should employ a sampling methodology that allows extrapolation to the larger population. Examples in this category would be qualitative or quantitative studies evaluating faculty or clinician reactions to embedded librarians or illuminating the features of digital libraries that contribute to their success or a benchmarking study of librarian roles in Clinical and Translational Science Award grant–funded projects.

So if any of this is of interest to you OR you know somebody else who is a non-traditional health science librarian then you should totally pass this on to them and suggest they write something up.

Please contact Susan Starr, editor, JMLA, at jmlaeditorbox[atsign]gmail[dotcom].  Further details on procedures for JMLA submissions and requirements for brief communications, case studies, and full-length papers can be found on the JMLA Information for Authors page. All papers should be submitted online at www.editorialmanager.com/jmla/.

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2 comments - What do you think?  Posted by KraftyLibrarian - August 9, 2012 at 10:22 am

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Free Webinar on AMA Titles

As you all know AMA moved their online platform to Silverchair recently.  Now you have the opportunity to attend a free webinar to “Discover the New JAMA Network Online”  The webinar is August 2, 2012, 10 am CST/11 am EDT. 

The webinar will have representatives from the AMA and Silverchair to answer your questions about the recent transition to Silverchair’s SCM6 platform and demonstrate the latest enhancements to jamanetwork.com, including:

  • How to use the Administrator Dashboard
  • How to access usage reports
  • How to maximize search results

Speakers include Matt Herron, Vida Damijonaitis, and Betsy Solaro from the AMA and Kate Nikkel and Joy Moore from Silverchair.

Register at http://bit.ly/MWw6nq it is free.

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by KraftyLibrarian - July 26, 2012 at 12:57 pm

Categories: Educational Opportunities, Electronic Access, Journals and Books, Other Medical Library Stuff   Tags:

More on the Open Access Debate

An interesting article was recently published in US News and World Report about traditional publishing, open access publishing, libraries, and money. “Is the Academic PUblishing Industry on the Verge of Disruption?” looks at the various problems and potentials of open access publishing and it impact on traditional publishing, libraries, funding of research, etc.

The open access debate is very contentious and quite frankly I don’t know enough about both sides of the issue to make an intelligent comment for or against either side.  My only comment is that if this author’s information is true and 80% of publishers’ income is from libraries then something needs to be done quickly because we (libraries) cannot continue buying.  As Jean Shipman mentions in the Comments, library budgets have been shrinking. When will we get to a tipping point when the publishing houses fail to make 30-40% profits because 80% of the market can’t afford them?  We are very close.  I believe I will see this happen in my career.  What becomes of it, I don’t know.

Unfortunately this article is just on open access publishing, but the problem is bigger than that.  Many libraries subscribe to non-traditional resources such as DynaMed, UpToDate, FirstConsult, VisualDx, Primal Pictures, etc. that are not journals.  They are point of care guides, image systems, etc. that are also very expensive to subscribe to and continue to increase in price.  They are in our budget and we can’t afford them just like we can’t afford the online journals.

It is a mess.

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2 comments - What do you think?  Posted by KraftyLibrarian - July 25, 2012 at 11:28 am

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The Internet is More Attractive than the Library

A colleague sent me a link to the Power Point slides for the presentation “Why the Internet is More Attractive than the Library.” I am always conflicted about posting about slides.  The reason is that without the actual voice/presentation you loose a lot by just viewing the slides.  Often the best in-person presentations have the least amount of information on their slides, so viewing them outside of the live presentation isn’t helpful.   Without judging Lynn Silipigni Connaway’s presentation (I wasn’t there) her slides do have some good information that can be understood without hearing the presentation (although I wish there was an audio file synced to the slides).

Because Lynn’s presentation discusses a lot about users’ behaviors and thoughts prior to the Internet vs. now, it reminds me a lot about a presentation I did a few years ago for the MLGSCA Technology Symposium, “The Evolving Library.”

Both of our presentations discuss how users today are different than in the past and use/view libraries differently.  Lynn says that users used to build their workflow around the library, now the library must build its services around users’ workflow.  I think this is because libraries are seeing more Net Generation users than Net Learners.  As I mentioned in one of my slides, Net Learners (those who didn’t grow up with technology) come to the library to search or read and while technology makes research easier it isn’t a requirement for them.  The Net Generation (those who grew up with technology) want the library to come to them so they can research or read when and where they want to.   Technology is essential for everything they do. 

My presentation was given in 2009 and the differences have only grown and magnified within the last 3 years.  WiFi is even more pervasive, users have iPads and tablets to read books, and smart phones are doing more than they did back then.  People are mapping and tracking their workout runs and posting them online for friends…who did that in 2009?! 

I would even go on to say that the Net Generation is altering the way Net Learners are thinking and even causing them to evolve and become more like the Net Generation in some ways.  I have no official proof, just observational and anecdotal information gained from my mom and her new iPad.  (Those stories could be another whole blog.)

From what I can tell from Lynn’s slides, the change in user behavior and thought process forces us to re-evaluate the way we provide library services and resources.  On slide 32 she seems to say we need to start running libraries as if they are a startup company instead of an already established insitution.  Startup companies are forced to be more flexible as they try to evolve to successful business. 

LIbraries aren’t the only ones who have evolutionary faults.  The list is long of once big businesses that failed or are failing due to the evolution of technology, customer behavior, cultures, etc.  Heck, just look at Yahoo.  Yahoo was the “it” company in the 90′s.  At one point its stocks hit an all time high of $188.75/share before hitting a low of $4.05 and now trade around $15/share.

There are all sorts of theories as to why Yahoo is losing (some say failed already). A Gizmodo article mentions Flickr’s acquisition by Yahoo as an example of how the now established Yahoo lost the vision of evolution and just sought to acquire companies as appendages to integrate.  The Economic Times claims Yahoo failed because it didn’t ”transition from websites that publish professional content to a new digital world dominated by mobile phones and sites where the users are the content creators.”  Wired blames it on leadership Terry Semel (a luddite who didn’t use email at the time) who failed to see the real value of Google when Google went to Yahoo for money.  Whatever the cause, Yahoo is in trouble because it failrd to evolve to user needs/demands.  Once it became a more established company it lost its flexibility to evolve that it once had as a startup.

So what is a library to do if even a once darling startup like Yahoo is having problems evolving, aren’t we all doomed to fail if they can’t get it right?  Well you could say that, but I am a glass is half full kind of gal.  There are examples of established companies that operate, evolve, and are flexible like startups.  You could point to Apple which had its fair share of ups and downs but now is driving the way consumers use technology, not the other way around.  Costco takes every notion about consumer spending and turns it on its ear and turns a mighty profit by continually evolving to consumer demands (You must see Costco Craze, it was very interesting.). 

So there is hope for libraries but we need to be more flexible and one way to do that is to think like a startup as Lynn suggested, because right now the Internet is more attractive than libraries.

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by KraftyLibrarian - July 19, 2012 at 11:57 am

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Medlib Geekery Chats Every Thursday

For the last several Thursdays, people interested in medical librarianship issues have gotten together on Twitter to discuss topics and voice their thoughts and opinions.  It is an interesting bunch of people, not all are medical librarians, but all are interested in various aspects of medical information. 

The discussion is every Thursday at 9pm est.  It is rather informal as people are tweeting and following the discussion over a glass of wine, while getting kids to bed, or making dinner.  But as informal as it is, it is also very interesting.  There was a great discussion about take home points from the MLA meeting, escience and what it really means people, and a free range discussion about iPads, residents, etc.  Nikki Dettmar has written a nice post with word cloud images detailing the last few chats.  She also has a link to the chat transcripts

So if you are interested, I invite you to hop on Twitter tomorrow at 9pm est and follow the hashtag #medlibs.  Can’t make it this Thursday? No worries, we seem to be meeting on Twitter every Thursday. So try next week.

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by KraftyLibrarian - July 11, 2012 at 12:53 pm

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Mark Funk’s Janet Doe Lecture Video

If you weren’t at MLA in Seattle this year then you missed hearing some great speakers, one of which was Mark Funk and his Janet Doe Lecture.  If you paid for MLA e-conference package you can catch the other speakers from MLA’s online meeting content site. But you can also catch Mark’s phenomenal lecture at https://vimeo.com/45367116

In preparation for the Doe Lecture, Mark chose to analyze word usage from the content in the MLA Bulletin from 1960-2010.  The words we chose while writing in the Bulletin tell a story of medical librarianship through the years.  Mark spend 225 hours analyzing the words came up with 4 basic categories: Environment, Management, Technology, and Research.  It was very interesting as well humorous.  By looking at the word usage you can see how trends have come and gone and how some things like Reference has consistently stayed on our minds through the years. 

Check out Mark’s lecture https://vimeo.com/45367116 and the blog posts from Annie Hughes  and Natalie Clairoux MLA about his lecture.

Personally, it is a freaking great lecture.

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2 comments - What do you think?  Posted by KraftyLibrarian - July 9, 2012 at 11:22 am

Categories: Annual Meeting, Other Medical Library Stuff, Technology   Tags:

Midwest MLA Call for Papers and Posters

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/

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by KraftyLibrarian - June 27, 2012 at 11:04 am

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How to Get Involved in Medical Librarian Organizations

Tuesday I wrote about being active in MLA.  Those who are active within the organization are the ones who see the most benefit of membership.  I realize telling people to get active may not be enough, so I am going to give examples of ways you can be active within various medical library organizations. 


MLA Committees, Panels, Juries, Task Forces:

Fill out the appointment application. http://www.mlanet.org/members/comappf_may-oct_only.html You MUST be an MLA member to apply (so you will have to login into MLA.net). If you get redirected after loging in go to Member Center – Apply for MLA Committee. Applications are being accepted NOW!  The deadline is October 31st!  

It is helpful to look at the two links at the top of the application prior to applying.  The Committee Appointment Information (describes the appointment process) and MLA Committees and Charges (defines the work of each committee, jury, and task force).  Knowing this informaiton will help you select the right committee and know what the committee chairs are looking for in a person when they are selecting their committee members.

Please put some effort in the qualifications or special experience.  Even if your qualifications aren’t medical library related but are related to the charge of the committee, jury, or task force, make sure to put that information in there!  For example if you have sat on an awards panel for your job or another volunteer organization, put it in!


Join a section.  Some sections are bigger than others.  In smaller sections there might be more of an opportunity to participate in some activities because they don’t have a large pool of volunteers to draw from.  In bigger sections there might be more opportunities to participate because they have more projects going.  Once you have joined a section, watch their listserv for discussions and look for opportunities to participate (calls for reviewers, awards, etc.).  Watch communications to see if somebody on a committee needs a proxy to fill in at the annual meeting.  This year the MIS membership chair unfortunately was unable to come to Seattle, thankfully we had somebody volunteer to sit in for her at any meetings the membership chair needed to attend.   

Some sections are more loquacious than others.  So if you are on a section’s and the listserv discussion isn’t burning up your inbox, you might look at ways to foster discussion by asking a question related to the subject of the listserv.  You can also just email the chair or incoming chair stating you would like to become more active in the Section and you were wondering if there was anything you could volunteer for. 


Join a Chapter. Think of Chapters as MLA broken down to  specific sections of the United States.  The Chapters ARE NOT related to NLM’s National Network of Libraries of Medicine.  This can be confusing because often they have similar names with some of the same states in their groups.  

For example: Living in Ohio, I am a Midwest Chapter member whose library is a part of the Greater Midwest NNLM.  If I were living in South Dakota, I would be a Midcontinental Chapter member whose library is part of the Greater Midwest NNLM.   Confusing right? 

Once you understand that MLA Chapters are not NNLM regions then things are little easier.  Join your chapter and start looking for ways to get involved.  Join the listserve to stay in touch, look at the website for opportunities and contact people regarding those opportunities. Many people are very active in their Chapters.  Chapter volunteership often leads to being asked to join a something within MLA. 


SIGs are very different than Sections and Chapters because they are more loosely structured.  SIGs are Special Interest Groups and generally are less formal and have more flexible organizational units.  They are not required to have officers, just a convener to act as the contact person with MLA, organize meetings, and coordinate activities.  One of the lures of SIGs is that they do not charge dues nor fundraise for themselves.  SIGs cannot sponsor a program at MLA unless it partners with a Section.  Programs at MLA sometimes cost money and because SIGs have no money they cannot help with the program costs, leaving the costs up to the Section.  While the no fees membership of SIG can be appealing it may limit a person’s official involvement due to its loose structure and possible lack of positions other than convener or co-convener.  SIGs are a great way to meet people with the same interests but depending on their organization they might lack some opportunities for involvement. 

State and Regional Organizations and Associations

Check out your state and regional organizations and join them.  If the idea of getting involved within a larger organization like MLA seems daunting, the state and regional organizations are often smaller and more intimate.  You probably already know many of the members through your regular job activities.  Not only does their size make it easier to know each other, but it provides more of an opportunity to get involved. 

Long before I was an MLA Board member I was chair elect, chair, and past chair of the Ohio Health Sciences Library Association.  That was one of the most rewarding and best opportunities I had.  I was able to work with librarians I already knew planning meetings, CE, budgets, websites, etc.  It really gave me the confidence to get more involved within the larger MLA.  Additionally, being an active member of this group gave me (and continues to give me) a way of dealing with issues in medical librarianship on a local level.  Many of these issues had/have more of a direct impact on my job and medical librarianship than MLA has had at times.  Why? Well, some things are only happening locally or they are better handled locally. 

You can find a list of some of the state and local organizations on MLA’s website. http://www.mlanet.org/resources/allied_lnks.html#3

Other Related Organizations and Associations

If you go to an MLA meeting (or any other medical library meeting) it is a good idea to keep your ears open while people are discussing other organizations and meetings they have attended.  If a lot of people are mentioning it, then there are probably a lot of people who belong to both it and MLA.  I know from my acoustical observations there are quite a few MLA members who also belong to the Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries (AAHSL), Canadian Health Libraries Association (CHLA)/Association des Bibliothèques de la Santé du Canada, and Special Libraries Association Biological Sciences Division (SLA).  Involvement in one of these organizations can lead to involvement within MLA, Chapters, or local groups.  Likewise ideas and lessons learned in one can be adapted or shared too.

Get Involved:

There are many places and ways you can get involved.  You will be surprised your involvement will take on a life of its own and build upon itself.  People will remember you from a committee or a task force or for simply stepping up and attending a meeting as proxy or manning the table/booth.  When people begin to remember you for those things they will want to ask you to join them on other projects and your involvement because self sustaining.  That is when it gets really fun.  You begin to share new ideas across groups and organizations trying and using the best information available to make opportunities for not only yourself but for medical librarianship as a whole.  That is when you really realize that your membership is more than just a piece of paper.  That is when you realize what MLA can do for you.

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1 comment - What do you think?  Posted by KraftyLibrarian - June 7, 2012 at 10:54 am

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