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.
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.
Personally, it is a freaking great lecture.
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/
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.
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.
Categories: Other Medical Library Stuff Tags:
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 first thing I learned is that being a Section Chair, NPC co-chair, Board member combined with a 3 hour time change makes Michelle a very tired girl at the MLA meeting. So upon leaving Seattle and returning to Cleveland I decided to take a week break from all things librarian (except for my job) to get some much needed down time.
Now I am back with renewed energy and want to talk/blog again. So I thought I would list a few thing of what I learned at MLA. Some are just small things while, other things are a little bigger and will probably be a future blog post.
- Get involved! So many people asked me and others I know about the best way to get on committees and being a part of MLA. Short answer: Get involved. Long answer: See my “how to” blog post later this week.
- Food is good, but sometimes expensive, think outside the box to lure people to meetings/programs. I was the chair for MIS, I discovered it would cost close to $450 to provide snacks (cookies and soda) for the MIS Business Meeting. That is a lot of money and last year the promise of a free breakfast still had us scrambling for enough members for a quorum. So we got creative and offered an iPad 2 ($400) as an attendance prize. We had people sitting on the floor at meeting. Think of this when you are trying to lure people (doctors, nurses, med students, librarians, etc.) to a meeting or a class.
- Google+ Hangouts might be a good free alternative for small group webinars or conference calls. You can post the documents online and share them with the Google circle. Big thing to note…you will need a laptop to initiate a Hangout. So far you can only attend a Hangout on an iPad not be the one who initiates it.
- I can almost do everything I need to do on iPad and may not need my laptop at meetings anymore. I say almost because if I want to do a Google Hangout (which we did for the MIS Business meeting) I need a laptop. I also needed a laptop for displaying the Twitter feed at the Tech Trends program, but that was more for my comfort.
- Need anything while at the conference? Use Twitter! I had a bad headache and tweeted I needed some Advil and debated about going back to my hotel room to get some. Within one minute 5 people tweeted they had some for me, including one person in the same room. I repaid my Twitter karma by giving Alisha764 some Advil when she tweeted she had a headache.
- More people had iPads or smartphones than I have ever seen in one conference. I think the knitting librarians dropped their needles and yarn and bought iPads. If you doubt me take a look at gabinator’s Instagram photo of the conference room when Mark Funk asked people to lift up their mobile devices. It’s blurry but look at all of those white screens.
- There is NEVER enough time to see and do everything….that just conference life. That is why the online content is so important now.
- There is probably a need for “How to do an MLA Meeting” online guide for first time attendees.
- You can never have enough power outlets.
- If you do a Google Hangout to include members not at the conference, don’t schedule your meeting for Saturday or Sunday.
This is just a list of some of the things I learned and observed. I plan in the next week or two to highlight a few posters and presentations that I found especially helpful or insightful.
I want to congratulate all of LJ’s Movers and Shakers, but as this a blog on medical librarianship, I want to specifically congratulate Cheryl Rowan.
Cheryl is the Public Health Coordinator for National Network of Libraries of Medicine South Central Region and she is being recognized by LJ for providing innovative outreach to the states within the SCR. Some of her accomplishments are, ”From Beyond Our Borders: Providing Health Information to Refugee Populations” (her newest class), ”promoting Health Literacy Through Easy-To-Read Materials” (tutorial), and “Health Statistics on the Web: It’s as Easy as..1, 2, 3!” (tutorial)
Click here to read the Mover & Shaker article on Cheryl.
Don’t forget to start thinking of other medical librarians who would be good candidates for the 2013 LJ Movers & Shakers.
Categories: Other Medical Library Stuff Tags:
The Bearded Pigs is the World’s First (Only?) Open Access International Librarian Rock Band. They have been playing at MLA for the last 8-10 years (who’s counting when time flies and you are having fun). This year the band will be playing both on Sunday and Monday. A double header!
On Sunday May 20th all are invited to join them for a night of dancing and drinking (cash bar) in “Grand C” of the Seattle Sheraton Hotel. They’ll start up around 8:00 and play until 11:00. Now, putting on a rock show isn’t free, so for those of you who want to help the Pigs cover their expenses for putting on the show you might want to consider joining the Thicket Society. It is $40 for a single membership, $75 for a couple AND you will get a cool limited edition Bearded Pigs MLA’12 concert t-shirt and pin (another piece of flare for your badge). Just go to http://beardedpigs.net/thethicketsociety.html and you can pay by PayPal or snail mail. Remember, you don’t have to join the Thicket Society to enjoy the fun on Sunday, all are welcome.
On Monday the Pigs will be playing at the Armadillo Ball. What is the Armadillo Ball? It is is a scholarship fundraiser for the Southern Central Chapter of the Medical Library Association (SCC/MLA). Because it is a fundraiser, the ball isn’t free, your ticket into the ball is an armadillo pin (usually costs around $10). Armadillos can be bought at the door or from an SCC/MLA member. Not only is the armadillo important to get you into the ball, but it is another crucial piece of flare for your meeting ID badge. People have whole herds of ‘dillos on their badges.
I hope to see you there!
The MidContinental blog posted information about the ALCTS webinar: The Black, White, and Gray Areas of Licensing: a review and update for librarians and publishers.
The webinar is FREE and is February 29, 2012 11am Pacific, noon Mountain, 1pm Central, and 2pm Eastern.
The presenters are Becky Albitz, Electronic Resources Librarian at Pennsylvania State University, Bob Boissy, Manager of Account Development & Strategic Alliances for Springer, and Tracy Thompson-Przylucki, Executive Director of NELLCO.
The presenters will discuss library licensing issues and answer pre-submitted questions. Webinar attendees will be asked to submit questions upon registration.
For additional information including links to the registration page, please click on the following link:
ALCTS webinars are recorded and registrants receive a link to the recording shortly following the live event.
For questions about registration, contact ALA Registration by calling 1-800-545-2433 and press 5 or email
registration[atsign]ala[dot]org. For all other questions or comments related to the webinars, contact Julie Reese, ALCTS Events Manager at 1-800-545-2433, ext. 5034 or alctsce[atsign]ala[dot]org.
Recently there have been a lot of emails (most with the subject line ”sad state of hospital library”) hitting MEDLIB-L about the closings of several hospital libraries and what needs to be done to prevent this from happening to more libraries.
It is a complicated issue with many sides and it is only exacerbated by the down turn in the economy and the changes in healthcare.
As Jerry Perry, MLA President, mentions, everyone has a role in hospital library advocacy. Jerry wrote a very interesting and thoughful blog post on this issue. His post has great suggestions for how to prevent library or position from being downsized. The only thing I would like to add is to start NOW! Don’t wait for trouble or rumors of downsizing for you to start. Don’t wait for budget cuts. The time to start was when you started in your position. But if you didn’t do that, do it now. Some of these things that Jerry mentions take time and require you to make contacts.
Yet even with the best activities of the best librarians some libraries have closed. Look for a future blog entry by Jerry on what MLA is doing at the national level to advocate for all health sciences libraries.