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 »
The UIC Library of the Health Sciences invites visitors to view the National Library of Medicine traveling exhibition Surviving and Thriving: AIDS, Politics, and Culture from October 7 through November 16, 2013. The exhibit is on display in the lobby of the building and may be viewed during open hours. The library is located at 1750 W Polk, Chicago, IL 60612.
Professor Jennifer Brier, curator of the exhibit and a member of the faculties of the UIC Gender and Women’s’ Studies and History Departments will speak about the social and political history of the HIV/AIDS crisis on Monday, October 21 at 2:00 p.m. in the reading room of the Library of Health Sciences Special Collections Department (Room 320).
An online version of the exhibit which includes numerous images and links to educational resources is available: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/survivingandthriving/.
Please RSVP to Kevin O’Brien to attend the October 21 event: email@example.com
Be inspired to think how you can be an architect of a health information landscape that responds to the challenges of growth and an ever-evolving environment. How will you design your blueprint for the information future? What tools will you need? What skills will be required? How will you know if what you construct is useful? The Medical Library Association’s 2014 Annual Meeting will offer you an opportunity to plan and style an information future that reflects expanding roles to reach new heights. The 2014 National Program Committee invites you to submit an abstract for a contributed paper or poster that reflects on the best ideas for the future of information practices in health sciences librarianship. To begin, review the instructions in the paper/poster FAQ at: http://mlanet.org/am/am2014/sect_prog/index.html and then log in to the online submission process. Abstracts are due November 1, 2013. Read the rest of this entry »
The GMR is pleased to announce the nine awardees of the Library Student Outreach Award. They will attend the 2013 Midwest Chapter Medical Library Association Annual Meeting to be held in East Peoria, IL, October 5-7, 2013. Library students currently attending a graduate program in Library or Information Sciences located in the Greater Midwest Region or who reside in the GMR were eligible to apply.
Students will attend the conference for at least two days and partake as much of the program as possible. They will be in attendance at the Mentor/Mentee Meet & Greet and help to staff the GMR exhibit booth. Be sure to help us welcome these future librarians.
Here is the list of awardees:
Merete Christianson (ND)
Rebecca Freihaut (KY)
Diane Giebink-Skoglind (WI)
Lauren Goode (KY)
Darra Hofman (KY)
Elizabeth Mady (OH)
Allyson Mackay (MI)
Natalie Reynolds (MN)
Emilie Vrbancic (IL)
By Carmen Howard
Visiting Asst. Regional Librarian
UIC Library of the Health Sciences at Peoria
A few months ago, I reported that The University of Illinois at Chicago’s Library of the Health Sciences in Peoria was participating in the Peoria Academy of the Sciences Treasure Hunt for 1st through 8th grade students. We were excited to be partnering with the College of Medicine as one of the 21 sites for the treasure hunt and the only health sciences site. I promised to provide an update at the end of the summer and unbelievably that time has already arrived!
We were pleased to have nearly 100 people from the Peoria area visit us at the library. We enjoyed meeting the families and especially the kids. Although most of our visitors came in small family groups, one of the highlights of the summer was a large group visit from day campers at the South Side Mission. These middle school students enjoyed answering the treasure hunt questions about the circulatory system and going on a library tour. The human skeleton was a big hit! Several of our medical students took the time to share information about healthy eating and play their version of Jeopardy! with the kids. Read the rest of this entry »