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. Read the rest of this entry »
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. Read the rest of this entry »
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. Read the rest of this entry »
By Allyson Mackay
University of Michigan School of Information
Ann Arbor, MI
In early October I was fortunate enough to receive a library student outreach award from the Greater Midwest Region of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine and attend the Midwest Chapter Conference in East Peoria, Illinois. After a whirlwind weekend in East Peoria, I can safely say that these awards are of great importance and impact to aspiring medical librarians and library students. As I am sure many of you know, graduate students are not swimming in pools of cash.
The cold winds and blue skies along the Illinois River welcomed me to my first full day of meetings, posters, presentations, and a seemingly unending buffet of food and coffee (no complaints).. I was pleasantly surprised at the variety of posters and presentations at the conference. Instead of gushing about all of them in this blog post, I will highlight a few that really spoke to me and left an impact on how I view libraries and the evolving role of the medical librarian. Or should that be health sciences librarian? Read the rest of this entry »
By Diane Giebink-Skoglind
University of Wisconsin
As I drove through Illinois on my way to the Midwest Chapter Medical Library Association annual meeting, I saw numerous signs calling attention to Illinois’ state slogan—Land of Lincoln As I am a Lincoln fan and have read numerous books on his Presidency, I wondered what his take on these times of tremendous technological change would have been.
Lincoln embraced the new technology of his time and utilized the newfangled telegraph to great effect during the Civil War. He used this new medium of electronic communication in an extraordinary way, to transform the nature of national leadership at a time when the new invention was under-appreciated and under-utilized. In fact, when he moved into the White House, there wasn’t a telegraph line to the executive mansion, nor was there one to the War Department. Lincoln soon remedied that situation and the telegraph became a tool that helped determine the outcome of the Civil War.
To another point, Lincoln had been a voracious reader. Indeed, what would the man who had said, “My best friend is a person who will give me a book I have not read,” have thought about the changes in the library world today? I believe he would have embraced those changes and the current new information technologies, and utilized them to great benefit. And, I believe, this is the message that the annual meeting addressed as well.
The Confluence of Libraries, Technology and Change
At the meeting–from the continuing education sessions (CEs), updates, exhibits, papers and the presentations of the two featured speakers, Michelle Kraft, author of “The Krafty Librarian,” and Sarah Houghton, author of “The Librarian in Black”–the oft repeated words and recurring themes related to technology, advocacy and change within libraries.
Much like Lincoln’s practice to get out of the office and circulate among the troops, librarians are getting out from behind the desk and circulating in remarkable ways. From riding in ambulances to rounding with physicians, librarians are bringing their message and the library to patrons. For example, Kacy Allgood spoke of her work, which includes being part of emergency services as an imbedded librarian within Indianapolis’ EMT system. Amy Donahue described the medical librarians’ role in disaster planning and response, through the use of social media such as Twitter, Facebook, etc., in sharing medical information and knowledge. Melinda Orebaugh explained how she and her team at Gundersen Health System work directly with patients, physicians and providers to form a cohesive healthcare team to better address complex case management with multiple morbidity patients.
Initiatives like these provide for the active participation that is essential for team engagement to better address the government’s Triple Aim of optimizing health system performance. These goals: 1) improving the patient experience of care (including quality and satisfaction), 2) improving the health of populations, and 3) reducing the per capita cost of healthcare, are possible with dedicated teams of health professionals, that include librarians and their expertise with technology and information.
Heretical Thinking and Paradox
Still the question recurs ‘can we do better?’ The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew.
–Abraham Lincoln, December 1, 1862
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By Lauren Goode
University of Kentucky
The Midwest Chapter Meeting was an engaging and informative experience which reaffirmed that I have made the correct decision in my career path. My goal for attending the meeting was to learn more about medical librarianship and expand my knowledge about librarianship as a whole. Currently, I am a graduate assistant at Eastern Kentucky University Libraries, in Richmond, KY. I work with the Reference and Instruction team to increase information literacy across the campus community. Though I do not currently work in health sciences or medical librarianship, I do work with nursing students on a somewhat regular basis. I tailored my experience to come back better able to serve the health sciences students in my community. At the meeting I found many inspirations for applying the experience to my everyday life.
I attended two Continuing Education programs. The first, “Planning, Conducting and Publishing Research” taught by Nancy Allee and Jo Dorsch, was a four hour immersion into the research cycle as it applies to medical libraries/librarians. By the end of the session I had developed a brain typhoon for a new research project which I am currently writing up to propose to my team. I plan to use survey methodologies to determine the information needs of biology faculty at EKU and use that information to develop instructional programs for the department. The second CE course I attended, “Emerging Technologies” taught by Gabe Rios ad Melissa DeSantis was fun and highlighted ways to incorporate technology into a librarian’s daily work flow. Technology was a high note for the entire conference as it is transforming the way our patrons seek, find and process information. Since attending the meeting I have explored several apps geared toward the medical profession and helped students use the Ebsco app on their devices. Read the rest of this entry »
By Natalie Reynolds
St. Catherine University
St. Paul, MN
Disruptive. Usually this word brings negative connotations and assumptions. At the Midwest Chapter Meeting, however, it was repeatedly used in in the context of disruptive innovations. Wikipedia defines a disruptive innovation as an act that “improve[s] a product or service in ways that the market does not expect.” Librarians, in the spirit of helping that is so integral to our profession, have turned disruption into a positive force. For example, Melinda Orebaugh and her team at Gundersen Health System are implementing an interactive patient care system that requires patients to participate in their own health care. The four pillars of this disruptive program advocate for thoughtful and careful participation by educating, empowering, entertaining, and engaging the patient. The team had the foresight to develop separate interfaces according to age group, allowing for seamless integration.
The word was used again by Michelle Kraft when describing the role of technology in libraries. She pointed out that technology has brought changes to libraries, and those changes are here to stay. Innovations such as computers, e-books, and mobile devices have disrupted traditional workflows in libraries; therefore, traditional aspects of libraries (like catalogers!) may no longer be necessary. As information innovators, librarians should use these disruptive technologies as opportunities to re-think traditional practices and allow for new ideas. Read the rest of this entry »