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My Experience at the 2015 Wisconsin Health Literacy Summit

HLposterBy Pa Thao
Health Programs Manager
Hmong American Center
Wausau, Wisconsin

First of all, many thanks goes to the National Network of Libraries of Medicine/ Greater Midwest Region (NNLM/GMR) for providing the Professional Development Award. With this award I was able to attend the WI Health Literacy Summit on April 14 – 15, 2015 as an attendee and a poster presenter to present our work. The overall experience was very rewarding. Conferences like this are good for networking (meeting new professionals and also those whom you already know). And conferences like this are also good for getting new ideas and understanding what is becoming ‘hot’ on your topic. Sometimes it’s also good for confirming things that you already know. Take for example, I attended the “Understanding Adults as Learners: Implications for Fostering Health Literacy” workshop and data from the workshop also supported what we’ve learned from very own project. The data said, “people are more likely to listen to the people they put the most credibility on”. Therefore understanding where people obtain information that is most credible to them can inform planning and development of any health-related programs. In another workshop, the data that was provided also confirmed our findings that “the lower the literacy level, the more likely the person will have poor health”.

Not only was it rewarding to attend workshops, but having an opportunity to present my work was also a very rewarding experience. What really gets me excited about poster presentations is that I get to share my knowledge with other professionals who are just as excited about health literacy as I am. This was my first poster presentation ever, so I can say that it wasn’t as scary as I thought. Presenting a poster is not nearly as nerve-wracking as an oral presentation. Most interactions are with a few people at a time and it’s more conversational in style than when you are standing before a group presenting.

This event was definitely a great experience for me. I saw several different ways in which researchers can organize and present their research. There were many interesting presentations of work and research going on about health literacy. And of course, I benefited from learning how to present my poster and handle sometimes-difficult questions and make connections with future potential project partners.

Report from The Affordable Care Act / Access to Care – Libraries Making a Difference Symposium

By Heather N. Holmes, MLIS, AHIP
Clinical Informationist
Summa Health System
Akron, Ohio

On Friday, April 24, 2015, I was fortunate to attend the symposium entitled The Affordable Care Act/Access to Care – Libraries Making a Difference in Philadelphia, PA. The event was sponsored by the NN/LM Middle Atlantic Region and had several invited speakers covering a variety of topics. I was interested in attending the event, but Philadelphia isn’t around the corner from Akron, OH, where I live. Philadelphia is a pretty expensive city, so I didn’t think I could really afford to go on my own. As luck would have it, my own region, the Greater Midwest Region, was offering Professional Development Awards to attend, and all I had to do was apply. Several awards were being offered so I was hopeful that I would receive one of them; fortunately I did.

The first speaker of the morning was Nancy O’Connor, BSN, RN, MHSA, who is the Regional Administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). She gave an overview of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and of the Health Insurance Marketplace. I’ve been pretty well versed in the ACA because I am a clinical librarian. I’m fully in tune with what the physicians are doing and how the care they’re providing is being modeled on the rules of the ACA. To that extent, this session wasn’t particularly enlightening to me. That being said, I was truly shocked to learn that others who I was sitting with didn’t know that the ACA was actually a law. I’m not sure what they thought the ACA was, but that they did not know it wasn’t just a choice for people really surprised me. I think that speaks to how fortunate most librarians are that they have health insurance from their employer so they haven’t personally needed to know that the ACA requires everyone to have coverage. Read the rest of this entry »

We have a New Website!  Please update your bookmarks!

We are now almost two weeks into our new Drupalized web site, and we have received some nice compliments about the new cleaner look (thanks!).  On our end, we have been noticing (and fixing) some of the quirks.  One of those comes from our web stats, indicating that around 1/3 of our visitors end up at our old, legacy site.  Because almost all of the URLs have changed to be cleaner, more intuitive paths, old URLs that were bookmarked do not always go to the new site.  For example,
is now

is now

Yes, the old site is still around, for now, since there are a few pages that still have yet to be transitioned.  But information on the old site is no longer being updated.  Eventually, all old URLs should redirect to the new site.  In the meantime, please check and update your bookmarks for pages on our site.  And please keep the feedback coming!

Michigan Outreach to Give Kids a Smile

By Anna Schnitzer
Disability Issues and Outreach Librarian
Taubman Health Sciences Library

On the morning of March 28th, 2015, staff of the Taubman Health Sciences Library at the University of Michigan provided Outreach services to participants at the annual Give Kids a Smile event sponsored by and held at the School of Dentistry of the University of Michigan. This event offers free dental service to approximately 80 children, including, but not limited to, dental examination, filling cavities, and cleaning.

The staff was able to interact with 89 people and talk to them about additional free dental services in the Ann Arbor area as well as online resources for parents to refer to in regard to their own and their children’s health. This year, the dental staff had a table where kids could color pictures of Mr.Tooth and other fun figures while they waited for their turns. This kept the children entertained and their minds off dental activities. They also had a table that displayed various sugar-sweetened beverages and the amount of sugar each container had. This educational piece was not just eye-opening for the children, but also for the parents who had no ideas about how much sugar a can of pop contains. Read the rest of this entry »

Student Outreach Award CFA for 2015

Did you the Midwest Chapter Medical Library Association annual conference over the past two years? Then maybe you met one of the several graduate library school students who received GMR funding to attend the Chapter Meeting. Or maybe you were one of the recipients of the GMR’s Library Student Outreach Award. Once again the GMR is offering the opportunity for eligible students (or recent graduates) to receive funding to participate in meetings, conference sessions and other activities designed for them to learn about the importance of health information outreach and services conducted by librarians in the Greater Midwest Region.

Who can apply for the $1,000 stipend to attend this year’s meeting in Louisville, KY? The following Greater Midwest Region (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin) students are eligible for the Student Outreach Award:

  • Library students currently attending a graduate program in Library or Information Science (GSLIS) located in the GMR; or currently residing in the GMR and attending a GSLIS program outside the Region
  • Recent (2015) graduates meeting the above criteria of attendance or residence
  • Current undergraduate students from tribal colleges located within the GMR who have an expressed interest in pursuing health sciences librarianship and health information outreach
  • GMR tribal college library staff who would like to learn more about health sciences librarianship as a career option

Application deadline for this award is June 19, 2015. If you have questions regarding this award, please contact Jacqueline Leskovec, Outreach, Planning and Evaluation Coordinator.  And if you want to see what the student awardees had to say about their experiences, see their blog posts, linked from the GMR website: Library Student Outreach Award Recipients.

Please note: Previous NN/LM GMR Library Student Outreach Award recipients are ineligible to apply.

GMR to Sponsor Sites for April 22nd MLA Webcast

The GMR is offering to sponsor a number of sites for the upcoming MLA Webcast: The Diversity of Data Management: Practical Approaches for Health Sciences Librarianship to be held on Wednesday, April 22, 2015, 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m., central time.

Visit: for detailed information on how to become a sponsored site.

For this webcast, the GMR will cover the registration costs for up to three (3) sites per state in the region. Because of the limited number of sites we can sponsor, we encourage you to work with your state and local librarian groups to identify centralized locations. Sites will be selected based on geographical location, accessibility, and potential number of attendees.

The deadline to email/fax your registration and email supporting information to the GMR is NOON, Friday, March 27, 2015.

Contact Holly Burt at the GMR, if you have any questions.
For more information on this webcast, visit:

Mapping an Outreach Project: Online Training Opportunity

Mapping an Outreach Project: Start with Information, End with a Plan

Cindy Olney, PhD, of the NN/LM Outreach Evaluation Resource Center will present 4 1-hr online sessions with the potential for up to 8 CEs. This 4-session webinar series is designed for anyone who wants to garner support, financial or otherwise, for a new project or service. You will learn how assessment and evaluation are effective tools for project planning and proposal writing. Community assessment allows you to gather compelling information about the need and viability of your project. It also helps you build relationships with potential partners. Adding evaluation methods to your program plan helps you “begin with the end in mind,” making desired results the centerpiece of your project proposal. While special attention will be given to applications for NN/LM GMR awards and subcontracts, the information is relevant to many types of project proposals.

After completing this series, participants will be able to do the following:

•How people adopt new ideas. Know the factors that influence people to adopt new ideas and technology so you can choose the best strategies for your project. (Part 1)
•Meeting the Community through Community Assessment. Gather community information that is most effective for planning your project. (Part 2)
•Planning Outcomes-Based Outreach Programs. Use a project-planning tool that allows you to logically link resources and activities to desired results. (Part 3)
•Adding Evaluation to Your Plan and Next Steps: Proposal Writing. Incorporate evaluation into your project and understand how your plan can be expanded into a full proposal. (Part 4)

Read the rest of this entry »

A Message from the RML Director, January 2015

Organizational Structure: What Really Works?

Happy New Year! My best wishes for a healthy, happy, prosperous year ahead for everyone; and a productive, efficient, effective year to come for your libraries.

Organizational change and its close collaborator re-organization have been on my mind lately. They are always on my mind, as change is constant, even insistent, in library work. Re-organizations happen, often quickly, with operational task refinements, policy development, staff changes, budget changes, and swift pursuit of emerging opportunities. Re-organization can also be a deliberate process, such as succession planning, or a deliberate investigation into organizational options to improve what works but could work even better.

The most basic – and most important – goal in a deliberate re-organization is to remove the obstacles that impede a workplace being productive, efficient, and effective in its entirety. What will work to encourage getting things done in a timely way? Is the current structure too hierarchical, with many steps to climb and then descend to reach a decision? Is it too centralized, with many consultations and reminders from the perimeter to the center before an action is taken? Is it too autonomous or too decentralized, both of which can create siloed units, and therefore requiring too much relationship building, negotiation, and communication to carry out the work in a timely way? Is there an organizational structure that really works? Read the rest of this entry »

NAL Unveils New Search Engine for Published USDA Research

The National Agricultural Library (NAL) has unveiled PubAg, a user-friendly search engine that gives the public enhanced access to research published by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists. NAL is part of USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS).

PubAg, which can be found at, is a new portal for literature searches and full-text access of more than 40,000 scientific journal articles by USDA researchers, mostly from 1997 to 2014. New articles by USDA researchers will be added almost daily, and older articles may be added if possible. There is no access fee for PubAg. Read the rest of this entry »

Technology Improvement Award Improves Patient Care

By Rachel Sindelar
Health Sciences Librarian
Broadlawns Medical Center Library, Des Moines, IA

I manage the library at a county medical center serving 70% or more low income patients, many with low literacy levels and do not speak English. Wait times for overextended hospital translators is a challenge and so is the lack of mobile technology, plus many hospital rooms do not have computers. The hospital’s Clinical Educator had recognized a disconnect between a patient’s bedside need and access to quality health education materials appropriate for patient reading abilities and native language so I was determined to help. I began promoting library subscription and free foreign language and low literacy level patient education materials to the clinical staff. My efforts were bolstered when our institution became a lucky recipient of a 2014/2015 GMR Technology Improvement Award. Read the rest of this entry »