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Archive for the ‘From-Associate Director’ Category

A Time of Transition

Monday, September 10th, 2012

Many of you have probably heard by now that Javier resigned as Associate Director at the end of August. Javier has done a wonderful job guiding and leading the NN/LM NER office. He will be missed by us all and I know he will be successful as he explores new educational and career opportunities. I have been asked to serve as Interim Associate Director throughout this transition period. For those of you who are not familiar with my background, I started at the Lamar Soutter Library in 1999 as a systems librarian. Since that time I have assumed various management positions over the years with increasing oversight of personnel , budget,  library operations and technology projects and am currently serving as the Associate Director for Community, Technology, and Global Relations. Some of my most recent projects have included launching the institutional repository, data management projects, collection management, and space planning. I have also served on local, regional and national committees within  MLA and NAHSL and been active in consortia activities, such as the Boston Library Consortium.

It will take me some time to get up to speed on all the activities and procedures associated with daily operations of the regional office. My “To Do” list seems to be growing by the minute. At the top of this list is to hire an outreach coordinator. The region has been without an outreach coordinator since December 2011. We are in the process of interviewing candidates and hope to have someone on board by the NAHSL conference in October. I am also charged with soliciting proposals for express awards, so if you have any ideas for projects that can be completed by April 30, 2013 please contact me. You will also see shortly the Request for Proposals for sub-contacts and awards to be included in our year 3 budget. So if you have an idea but are not ready to get it started right now watch for this announcement late September/early October.

We also have a few meeting coming up in which the NER will be providing updates.  September 28th will be a Resource Library Directors meeting and November 30th will be the Regional Advisory Committee Meeting. There will also be an update of NER activities at the NAHSL Board Meeting at the Annual Meeting, and finally, in the planning phases is a meeting for Community of Interest leaders. No date has been set for this as of yet, but it’s on the “To Do” list.

I look forward to meeting and working with all of you in the coming months.

Mary Piorun, MSLS, MBA
Interim Associate Director
p) 508/856-2223

Good Bye and Many Thanks

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

These are my last few days as Associate Director of the NER. Leaving for my life’s next adventures, I feel that sense of sorrow in leaving your roots and rich relationships. I’ve thought about how the region and the Network have changed over the last ten years.

Our work has moved from taking place within our libraries to working throughout our environments.

  • Focusing on what’s on our shelves and what our libraries are borrowing, to being part of safety, patient education, and clinical teams.
  • Taking part in our institutions’ community engagement and community benefit initiatives: More members are doing health information outreach and being recognized for it
  • We’ve broadened our ideas of what our information tools and resources are and how these are produced, not just incorporating new technologies but being part of creating locally produced and locally meaningful information.

Sadly, we have seen libraries seep into phases of either doing the same with less or doing less with less. We’ve seen libraries move into less than ideal staffing, restrict their services, or close altogether.

But also with creative thinking we’ve seen libraries examine their roles and restructure. These are libraries that take the best of what they do and target their resources towards new areas of information services. There are great models for these in our region of all shapes and sizes.

I’ve spent a good part of my library career within the Regional Medical Library family. NLM and the National Networks’ programs and emphases have changed in response to not just how health sciences libraries have changed but how patients and providers get and use information. Working throughout our communities, building communities, responding to needs.

I look forward to hearing about the great things the Network continues doing for users and for all areas of health. I know I will stay in touch with many of you. I am grateful and lucky to have worked with such great people, both NER staff and the fine community of health information professionals throughout our network. Thank you all.


Focused Outreach Two Years In

Monday, July 16th, 2012

NER’s Focused Outreach initiative has had two cycles of focused outreach periods in which NER staff work in selected areas to promote NLM resources and provide training to health services agencies and other community based organizations. We are currently wrapping up our outreach period in our second cycle of outreach areas: 1) the Downeast Maine Health District, and 2) Holyoke, Massachusetts.

The Focused Outreach Model involves

  1. Connecting with community agencies that serve NLM target populations
  2. Conducting training and promotional activities and developing and developing partnerships with other agencies to carry out further training
  3. Assess the project’s work through a comprehensive evaluation plan using data collection, process assessments, and outcomes measurement

In the Downeast Maine Health District NER worked with both Healthy Maine Partnerships, Healthy Acadia and Washington County One Community. Healthy Maine Partnership coalitions are community health education agencies. NER also worked with the Maine State Library’s BTOP (Broadband Technologies Opportunities Program) teaching MedlinePlus at BTOP training sites. Outreach work was conducted to reach Passamaquoddy tribal communities and smaller community hospitals that have no library services.

In Holyoke, a train the trainer model was established with local chapters of the Health Occupations Students Association: college students taught high school students about finding good health information and using MedlinePlus. Training was also conducted with residents at Holyoke Housing Authority communities, Holyoke Public Schools science teachers, and adult education centers.

NER’s previous focused outreach cycle was conducted in the Western Maine Health District and Providence, Rhode Island. A comprehensive report is available: Focused Outreach Evaluation Report: Providence, RI and Western Maine Health District.

NER is putting together its report on the Downeast and Holyoke focused outreach sites. We have also begun the initial phases for a third focused outreach cycle in Northern Worcester County and Hartford, Connecticut.

As with other NER initiatives the success of Focused Outreach relies on developing meaningful collaborations and linkages. Throughout all project cycles, NER Network Members have been instrumental in collaborating and helping to create those meaningful connections.

Emergency Preparedness Updates

Thursday, May 10th, 2012

A few new developments in emergency preparedness…

Recent Service Continuity Class

NER recently offered the four session course on Developing Your Library’s Service Continuity Plan. Four libraries prepared a 10-Step Service Continuity Plan developed by the folks who brought you Emergency Preparedness & Response Toolkit (Dan Wilson). The course has been offered by NER since 2009. Since then more than a dozen libraries have developed their own service continuity plans.

Disaster Specialization

The Medical Library Association is developing a Disaster Preparedness Specialization for its members. Five new courses are being developed for the Disaster Information Specialization. The courses are being developed through a collaboration with the National Library of Medicine.

The focus for the DIS is to develop the capacity of librarians to provide disaster-related health information outreach. The plan would have DIS participants taking a specific number of classes to reach one of two levels: The first level of the specialization would be for those who desire a basic familiarity with disaster information resources. The second level is for those who wish to gain additional training.

Two courses are being launched at the MLA Conference in Seattle:

  1. U.S. Response to Disaster and Public Health Emergencies
    (taught by Mary Moore and Kimberly Loper) on
    Thursday, May 24, 2012, 8:00 a.m.–11:30 p.m.
  2. Information Roles in Disaster Management
    (taught by Robin Featherstone) that same afternoon from 1:00 p.m.–4:30 p.m.

Contact Kathleen Combs at MLA for more details on these classes and the Disaster Information Specialization.

Consult your Emergency Preparedness Toolkit

Resources and reports are constantly being developed and refreshed at the Emergency Preparedness & Response Toolkit. Recent reports include summaries of The Earthquake Summit held in San Francisco earlier this year. And the NN/LM Hurricane Summit recently held in Miami.


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