Archive for November, 2013
By Merete Christianson
I’m so thankful to have received the Student Outreach Award from the NN/LM GMR. Attending the Midwest MLA Conference was a terrific experience that allowed me to learn a lot and meet a number of great library professionals who were very generous sharing their time and knowledge.
First on the to-do list at the conference was the CE Class “PubMed and the Evidence-Based Universe”, taught by Holly Ann Burt and Cleo Pappas. The world of evidence-based medicine is so vast and complex that it can be rather daunting at times trying to navigate it. But the course went a long way to helping clear the muddy waters. I’ve felt much more confident using PubMed since taking this course and I am eager to practice and learn more.
Kent State University
If I had to pick one word that comes to mind when reflecting on the Midwest Chapter MLA conference, that word would be “connections”. Connections are what were formed when librarians, information professionals, and graduate students all gathered together in East Peoria, IL. Connections are what these information givers seek to build with their patrons. Whether it is the theme of the presentations or the spontaneous conversations that formed in the only warm spot of the hallway, connections were sought after and created at the conference. In attending the presentations, mentor/mentee meet and greet and social functions, I feel fortunate in being a part of the connections formed.
Forming connections with patrons and colleagues was the theme of many of the presentations I attended. At the Mentor/Mentee Meet and Greet, emphasis was placed on creating connections with possible mentors and colleagues. I felt welcomed by my mentor, Janna Lawrence, and the overall attitude of the room was one of welcome and a willingness to connect with others. This attitude remained throughout the conference, whether it was in-between presentations or during vendor sessions. This willingness on the part of information professionals to connect with others is essential to our field, regardless if these connections are formed with colleagues, patrons, or community.
By Rebecca Freihaut
University of Kentucky
School of Library & Information Science
Like most graduate students, I have the desire to attend conferences and association meetings, but I don’t always have the financial means to do so. When I first read about the Midwest Chapter MLA Annual Meeting to be held in East Peoria, IL, I dismissed the idea of attending because of the expense involved. It should come as no surprise, then, that I was thrilled to receive an email about the outreach scholarships being offered this year through the GMR. I was even more thrilled to later find I had been chosen as one of this year’s recipients.
The venue for this year’s meeting, the East Peoria Conference Center, was a perfect location to hold a conference. I immediately jumped in Saturday morning by attending a continuing education class entitled, “Planning, Conducting, and Publishing Research” led by instructors Nancy Allee and Jo Dorsch. The class was a great introduction to the world of academic research and publishing and also provided opportunities for networking. Later that day I took part in the Mentor/Mentee program and was introduced to my mentor, Deborah Lauseng, who is the Assistant Director of Academic and Clinical Engagement at the Taubman Health Sciences Library, University of Michigan. Deborah and I had a fun time chatting about our interests, and she was kind enough to introduce me to many of her colleagues during the reception and vendor exhibits time that evening. (more…)
By Darra L. Hofman
University of Kentucky
School of Library & Information Science
Professional conferences are rife with opportunities, through papers, posters, and continuing education, to understand the current breakthroughs and best practices in a field, and the Midwest Chapter Medical Library Association’s annual meeting was no exception. What is more rare at a conference, however, is the experience of certainty, the sense of having found one’s community, that was my privilege at the meeting.
Conferences, unfortunately, are often cynical affairs, with presenters seeking to pad their CVs and attendees trying to make strategic connections. The Midwest Chapter meeting, on the other hand, was nothing of the sort. Instead, it was a gathering of passionate medical librarians, looking to share insights, welcome newcomers, and encourage one another for the betterment of the field. Nearly every librarian I met offered insight, guidance and mentorship, from my assigned mentor, Kacy Allgood, to the OSF Health librarians manning the registration desk to the folks I broke bread with. The conference’s intangible value was immense; this is a field peopled with passionate, dedicated, welcoming professionals who understand and want to increase their field’s value proposition. (more…)
By Emilie Vrbancic
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
I had the great pleasure of participating in the Midwest Chapter Conference in East Peoria this past October which was made possible by the generous award supported by the Greater Midwest Region of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine. This opportunity has solidified my choice to pursue health sciences librarianship after I complete my studies in May. Although I currently work as a graduate assistant at a health sciences library and am familiar with a great deal of medical library topics and issues, the Midwest Chapter Conference has broadened my horizons to the possibilities and opportunities held within the field of health sciences librarianship. Through networking, poster presentations, and the health information summit, especially, I learned valuable lessons on the varied paths health sciences librarians can take to connect various user populations with health information.
The poster and panel presentations represented a wide range of topics surrounding health sciences librarianship. I learned a great deal in the GMR Technology Forum which, this year, focused on technology in disaster planning and response. Meshing disaster preparedness, librarianship, and community outreach activities is a compelling step towards creating new and improved roles for health sciences librarians which critically engage the community in creating positive change. Kacy Allgood, better known as The Ambulance Librarian, spoke several times during the conference of her role as an embedded librarian as well as her continued efforts to provide evidence based prehospital care, even in the back of an ambulance. As an element of outreach, Allgood spoke of marketing library services to multiple stakeholders in order to maintain library relevancy in an institution as well as in the community. Learning to speak stakeholders’ language, knowing the overarching goals of the various stakeholders, and the overlapping interests of stakeholders are all critical elements when marketing library services as well as providing and connecting outreach services to various community institutions. One of the most important takeaways from the conference was the importance of thinking outside of the box, getting rid of some “sacred cows” and re-thinking the ways librarians function inside and outside the library. (more…)