MLA Focus just emailed the election results and I want to congratulate the new Board Members and Nominating Committee. But I want to steal a quote from Nikki Dettmar which summarizes my thoughts completely.
Nikki was on the Nominating Committee that help select the people on the ballot this year. As she mentions below she is on her NomCom13 Soapbox.
“<Spontaneous Me-on-NomCom13 Soapbox>Yes, a very hearty congrats to those who were elected to Medical Library Association positions! HOWEVER, I would like to offer an even warmer expression of gratitude to all those who were NOT elected: Both those who were actually on the ballot, and those who responded in the affirmative to our initial inquires about willingness to BE on the ballot. For as often as I have heard so many in our field bitch & moan about how ‘MLA needs to do something about…’ YOU WERE WILLING TO! And I hope you don’t stop just because it didn’t work out this time. Now join in the #medlibs chat at the top of the hour about our future. Peace out. </Spontaneous Me-on-NomCom13 Soapbox>”
Nikki you said it perfectly that I have no better way to express it other than to re-post it on my blog (for those of you wondering, yes I did ask her permission).
The greatest way to get MLA to do more or to change is for you to volunteer and do something. Don’t sit on the sidelines or be a back seat driver! Get out take charge and shape the organization. For all the medical librarians who aren’t members of MLA but also complain that MLA doesn’t help them and that is the reason they aren’t members….. I have one thing to say…. PTTHBBBBBBB! What have you done to change that?! What have you done to shape MLA?!
That is why I want to join Nikki and thank EVERYBODY who was on the ballot or who agreed to be nominated to be on the ballot, because they were willing to step up and take action. Keep it up!
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I do not plan to post next week because I will be spending time with the family and because I assume most of you will be doing the same and won’t be thinking of reading a blog about medical library stuff.
So I wanted to wish everyone a Happy Holidays and New Year. I will leave you with this fun little library holiday cartoon.
Santa just might be a librarian. Dude already has some mad indexing and database skills if he has been able to maintain a list of the world’s naughty and nice children.
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I heard someone say, “Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.” This is easier said than done, especially for librarians. The results from the Pew Internet and American Life survey “How Americans Value Public Libraries in Their Communities” were recently released. I have seen many in the library world praising what are definitely good results. Such as:
- 95% of Americans ages 16 and older agree that the materials and resources available at public libraries play an important role in giving everyone a chance to succeed
- 94% say that having a public library improves the quality of life in a community
- 81% say that public libraries provide many services people would have a hard time finding elsewhere
These are definitely things to be proud of. However, there are some statistics that concern me and I don’t seem to be hearing about them from the library world as much.
- 52% of Americans say that people do not need public libraries as much as they used to because they can find most information on their own, while 46% disagreed.
- 54% of Americans have used a public library in the past 12 months
- 77% of those who have ever used a public library said they know only some of what it offers. (Of that 77% about one in five say they don’t know very much about what is offered, and 10% say they know “nothing at all.”)
If 94-95% believe libraries are so important then why have only 54% used a library in the last year? Doesn’t quite make sense. So while people love their libraries, they don’t know much about their offerings and they don’t use them very often.
This is frustrating because it seems as though people like the idea of the public library as it exists in their heads, but have no idea what it does in practice. Sounds familiar medical librarians? I think in order for us to survive we have to do a better job of changing their perception of the library. Thankfully they like us….but liking us isn’t going to get the tax levy renewed or the keep administration from cutting our budget. We need to do a better job of demonstrating to our users and non-users how we can help them. Informing users is tricky enough, but non-users…yikes! But that is needed for us to turn the perception of a library and the know more about our other services and resources (not just that we have books).
This Thursday #medlibs will discuss the what we see coming to libraries in 2014 and beyond. What is the future of the library? What do we need to do and where will be going?
Some ideas for the discussion are:
These are all important things to consider, but I also believe part of our future rests with changing perceptions. If we don’t do that we are going to be the Norman Rockwell of professions. Nice to remember, or as somebody on Twitter said, “an emotional remembrance.”So tune in on Thursday http://medlibschat.blogspot.com/ as we discuss the library of the future.
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While the official deadline has past, MLA is still looking for projects to match with Rising Stars. If you have ideas or would like to mentor a Rising Star for a project you are working on please contact MLA.
Rising Star Host/Mentor Application Information and Form
The MLA Rising Star program has been developed for MLA members who are interested in attaining leadership roles in MLA but who have not yet become active at a national level. The one-year leadership development program matches each Rising Star with a mentor in a curriculum that includes:
- learning how MLA succeeds through the volunteer efforts of its members;
- the roles of the MLA Board and staff; and
- project management skills applied to an actual MLA project.
To get an idea of the kind of projects Rising Stars do, here is a list of the most recent Stars, Menors and their projects.
- Rising Star: Heather L. Brown
Mentor: Julia Shaw-Kokot, AHIP
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.
- Rising Star: Elizabeth V. Fine
Mentor: Diane G. Cooper, AHIP
Project: Work with the Federal Libraries Section web committee to evaluate the section’s website.
- Rising Star: Rolando Garcia-Milian
Mentor: Mary Riordan, AHIP
Project: Work with the Awards Committee to increase the number of nominations for MLA awards.
- Rising Star: Kristi L. Holmes
Mentor: Jerry Perry, AHIP
Project: Serve on and work with the Task Force on MATE.
- Rising Star: Annabelle Nunez
Mentor: Nancy Allee, AHIP
Project: Work with the Leadership and Management Section’s New Members/Emerging Leaders Survey Project
For more information on past projects and Stars go here to see a longer list.
So if you are a Section or Chapter leader and you have something you have been working on and would like to have a Star work on the project with you, contact MLA ASAP!
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Last Thursday a group of medical librarians got together online via Twitter to discuss the issue of change in libraries. Specifically they discussed evaluating the sacred cows in libraries and librarianship within our institutions and whether they should be continued (successful programs) or killed (unsuccessful programs).
I thought I would briefly summarize the discussion for those who were unable to participate. Transcript is available here.
We had 30 people who participated in the chat and each participant tweeted an average of 11 tweets. (Lively discussion.)
In an effort to set the tone or get some context for the discussion. Nikki Dettmar (@eagledawg) reminded us of Mark Funk’s (@funkme77) 2008 Presidential Address, where the gist, “We Have Always Done It That Way” is not the way we want to continue the business of libraries.
Several librarians gave examples of sacred cows they have either killed off or would like to kill off in their libraries. These include:
- Reference desk
- Checking in hard copy journals
- The catalog and cataloging
- Regularly scheduled classes
- Face to face classes
- Table of contents lists
- Reference collection
- Printed books
Many had various thoughts on each of the above topics. For some getting rid of the refernce desk was a sacred cow that was killed or needed to be killed. However, for others, their library’s reference/front desk was still doing a brisk business and killing it would be unwise.
The topic of cataloging while a lively topic at other discussion venues didn’t draw as much ire or skepticism. Several thought small hospital libraries with solo librarians may want to re-consider the idea of an online catalog in favor of something easy, agile, and less time consuming. Almost everyone agreed that the act of cataloging could be done much more quickly and simply that librarians stop fussing with minute details of cataloging and look at user tagging/catalgoing. Tony Nguyen (@TonyNguyen411) mentioned he was “Totally ok with collective cataloging. Original, just the easiest access points to get it quickly on the shelf.”
The rise of electronic collections caused many in the group to discuss alternatives to book and journal purchasing, collection development and management. Teressa Knott (@tlknott) mentioned their circulation numbers has caused her to start thinking of a “strictly e-book collection.” I mention how our institution got rid of our reference section. Reference books were shelved next to the circulating collection. Patrons don’t have to go to different shelves or locations within the library to find books on a topic depending on the book’s loan rules (which patrons don’t know). All of the books are together making them easier to find. A red dot on the spine indicates the book doesn’t leave the library.
The library classes seemed to be a bit of a problem among the #medlibs librarians. As Amy Blevins (@blevinsa) stated, “(I) have mixed feelings about schedule classes. Love them when people randomly show up. Not so much when 0 show.” This seems to a problem shared by several in the chat. There were some librarians who got rid of their scheduled classes and only taught classes by appointment while others tried to get rid of them but had to bring them back because “admin wants to bring (them) back b/c other AAHSL libs do it.” I am not sure whether Stephanie Schulte’s (@s_schulte) referrence to admin was institutional administration or library administration.
In the second half of the hour the discussion seemed to venture away from the library and on to the profession itself and sacred cows within the profession such as:
- The name librarian
- Associations, organizations, societies, and certifications
- Academic journals
- Impact factors
- Peer review
Besides our job title of librarian, I’m not sure how much impact we have in with the other sacred cows within the profession. Additionally there were many that said the issue wasn’t the title of “librarian” but it was people’s out dated notions of librarians. The issue of librarian vs. informationist, vs PubMed Whisperer, vs information specialist is probably a larger issue that could be discussed on another Thursday.
Overall it was a very interesting and fun discussion. I challenge all librarians, not just the 30 on the chat, to think about our sacred cows. I want to quote Mark Funk’s last Presidential blog post, “Remember that ‘We have always done it that way’ isn’t an answer, it’s an excuse. Boomers didn’t like that response in the 1960s, and we shouldn’t like it now.”
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Join us tomorrow for what is sure to be a lively discussion on killing sacred library cows on #medlibs this Thursday at 9pm Eastern.
As I mentioned in my post on the #medlibs blog…
The library environment has changed drastically and is continuing to do so. The library of 5 years ago is different from the library today. For example, the iPhone had just been released, there were no iPads and the idea of a “downloadable” ebook had just been introduced by Amazon Kindle. There were a very limited number of Kindle and certainly not intended for medicine. Yet many of us are doing the same things we did as librarians 5, 10, 15, 20 yrs ago. We were stretched thin back then, so there is no way we can now add things to our repertoire without giving up something in return. We must look at what we do in our own libraries and evaluate whether it is necessary, whether it helps our patrons or helps us. To really evaluate our services we need to look at EVERYTHING including the sacred cows of the library. We need to ask ourselves, do we need to check in journals, catalog books, make copies, eliminate the reference desk, fuss with circulation, etc. The right answers will depend on the library. A large academic library might need to still do cataloging but does a small solo hospital library with 4 shelves (not ranges) really need a catalog system much less spend time cataloging books? Some of these ideas are dangerous and even somewhat heretical librarian thinking, but I feel we need to discuss them. For more background on sacred cows and heretical librarian thoughts check out my summary of my keynote address I gave at the Midwest Chapter annual meeting.
We need to look at, evaluate and slaughter some sacred library cows. IT makes no sense for us to spend our time doing things that are no longer relevant or used by our patrons. That isn’t to say that we should have never done them. Everything has its time and place. It might be hard to give up, but we can’t just do things because we always have. We need to think like our patrons and for many of us that means completely taking off our librarian hat and looking at ourselves from a patrons view point. That may mean we come up with answers that are uncomfortable, that borderline on librarian heresy. But that is what is needed.
This Thursday’s #medlibs discussion at 9pm Eastern will discuss the idea of thinning the herd of library services so that we can grow healthy new opportunities.
Molly Knapp (@dial_m), Amy Blevins (@blevinsa) and I (@krafty) will be moderating the discussion. As always we will be using the hashtag #medlibs but if you want to further the discussion before/during/or after the regular Thursday night time use the hashtag #moo.
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The best way to get the most out of your MLA membership is to get involved. For new members it can be a bit daunting. But never fear, the MLA New Members SIG is having a Hangout this Friday December 6th at 9pm Eastern.
If you are a new member you may not know exactly what a SIG is. A SIG is a Special Interest Group. SIGs are “ad hoc groups open to all members of the association. SIGs range from a series of informal meetings on a specific, short-term issue to an established subgroup within an MLA section.”
There are 21 SIGs in MLA (view list here). SIGs “provide a forum for members with unique interests to identify and meet with others with similar interests without having to fulfill the governance requirements of Sections. SIGs are generally created as less formal and more flexible organizational units, with the advantages of fewer reporting and no minimum membership requirements.” IMHO think of a SIG as the light version of Section. (For more information on SIGs go to MLA or my blog post.)
A SIG for new members is a great way to get some exposure and involvement in MLA because it is less formal and more flexible.
So if you are new member please consider joining other new members at the New Members SIG online event this Friday, Dec 6 @ 9pm Eastern.
They will be talking about the New Members SIG, preparing for MLA 2014, MLA resources, strategies for networking and meeting other medical librarians, and just getting to know each other.
More information can be found here http://bit.ly/1cVg0I2
While the Hangout is geared for new members, it is open to all.
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The MLA election closes on December 6, 2013, now is the time to vote for your leaders if you haven’t done it already.
So if you haven’t voted, dig out the email from MLA that contains the unique URL for you to vote. Click on that URL and vote!
MLA provides the bios of the candidates for Nominating Committee, Board Member candidates, and Presidential candidates. In addition to the bios MLA provides a link to a statement from the Board and Presidential candidates answering a specific question posed to them. This can be found by clicking on the hyperlink of the candidate’s name.
If you haven’t voted and you are still unsure as to who to choose for President, MLA Focus just ran a spotlight article on the two candidates (me and Elaine). Both Elaine and I were given five questions that we had to answer to help members to get to know us better. Please read through my spotlight and Elaine’s to get better idea of our ideas for MLA.
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Just make sure you vote before December 6th!!!
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The winners for the Health Sciences Librarians Make a Difference contest sponsored by Wolters Kluwer Health have been announced.
University of Missouri – Kansas City Health Sciences Library:
“Spot of Tea” Kristy Stiegerwalt describes how her research on green tea and liver toxicity helped a patient. The requesting doctor asked colleagues the question and they had never heard of a connection between green tea and liver toxicity, but he showed them the systematic review she had provided them and after stopping his green tea consumption the patient was less jaundice.
Florida Mental Health Institute Research Library, South Florida:
“Why Research Matters” The librarian describes the creation of 15 videos in response to a discussion with graduate program chairs demonstrating how and why to use databases and other resources for the Graduate programs in Applied Behavior Analysis and Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling. Showing the relevance, value and importance of good and thorough research to real life problems.
CRAI Biblioteca de Medicina/Univeritat de Barcelona:
“The Library, an Evergoing Relationship” The video depicts a medical student trying to get a grasp on his studies in the begining of the year and using the library to understand how it and the librarians can help him. The student evolves from checking out books to using the library for research support, training, remote access, and beyond graduation.
Congratulations to all winners. You can view other great submissions on the Ovid YouTube Channel.
Two things that I think are cool.
First is the praise that one of the judges, Sujana S. Chandrasekhar, MD, FACS, FAAO-HNS, gave to Kristy for her video, “As a busy, practicing physician who just tries to ‘Google it’ or ‘Pubmed it’ on the fly, but who wishes she had that type of support in unusual patient cases, that video absolutely tells the value of a great medical librarian.”
Second is you don’t have to a budding Steven Spielburg to win. I’m always intimidated by video contests because I’m afraid my lack of video editing will hurt my chances. In this contest, Kristy and her colleague have shown you just need to point the camera and shoot and if you got good material you can win.
I ran across a web page indicating Ovid will hold this contest again in 2014 (unfortunately I can’t find that web page right now) so if you are making a difference and you have a web cam, cell phone cam, etc. make a video and submit it. Who knows you might win!
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The final call for Applicants of 2014 MLA Continuing Education Award grants has been sent out. The Deadline is December 1st (right around the corner). This grant allows you to receive funding for your continuing education! MLA members may submit applications for these awards of $100 to $500 to develop their knowledge of the theoretical, administrative, or technical aspects of librarianship. More than 1 Continuing Education Award may be offered in a year.
Visit http://www.mlanet.org/awards/grants/ for more information on MLA grants and scholarships and for downloadable application forms, or email grants[atsign] mlahq [dot] org.
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