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Archive for the ‘Advocacy’ Category

Identifying Opportunities in Obstacles

Wednesday, November 11th, 2015

In the October 2015 issue of the Journal of the Medical Library Association, Jeff Williams and Neil Rambo describe their library’s experiences following a major disaster. In October 2012, Super Storm Sandy caused significant damage to New York University Health Sciences Library’s facilities and collections. Williams and Rambo describe what they learned in their insightful JMLA article “It’s the end of the world and we feel fine.”

Although the losses experienced by our staff and our users were wrenching, we began to see that this forced disruption, this destruction completely out of our control, also provided opportunities. These included moving more quickly and forcefully in new areas than would have been previously imagined. Some of these included: (1) improving infrastructure around online services and resources, and (2) engaging with our various user communities to better understand their knowledge and data discovery and management needs.

Even though the resulting water damage triggered a significant adjustment to library operations, the authors note that some good came out of the experience. The library was forced to rethink library services provided in the health sciences center. At the end of their article, Williams and Rambo describe a thought experiment that can be a jumping off point for library organizations to reimagine their own libraries. Their article is well worth reading.

National Native American Heritage Month

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015

The following is a message from National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins:

National Native American Heritage Month (NNAHM) is a time to recognize the accomplishments of this country’s first inhabitants.  As the early inhabitants of this great land, the native peoples of North America have their own tribal orientations, language origins, and cultural histories.  Today, many healing techniques that are practiced have been adopted from traditions that originate from various Native American tribes.  This year’s NNAHM theme, “Tribal Diversity: Weaving Together Our Traditions,” highlights spirituality as an inseparable element of healing in medicine.  Healing the physical parts of a patient is not enough; one must acknowledge the importance of emotional wellness, as influenced by Native American rituals and traditions.

This month is dedicated to building new avenues of opportunity for Native Americans by making critical investments to improve health, to strengthen tribal communities, and to promote educational opportunities at the NIH.  Maintaining an inclusive biomedical research workforce with a diversity of talent is critical to the NIH mission of fostering new discoveries and promoting the highest level of scientific integrity to improve our nation’s health.  NNAHM allows the opportunity for every individual to learn more about the distinctive backgrounds and heritages of Native Americans.

I encourage everyone in the NIH community to show their support during National Native American Heritage Month by actively engaging with the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion’s (EDI’s) social media campaign.  To continue our inclusion efforts, on November 2, we will launch a month-long Twitter campaign ( More information is located on the Strategist for the Native American Portfolio website ( Together, let’s celebrate the many achievements made by Native Americans.

Sincerely yours,

Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D.

Save the Date: 2016 National Diversity in Libraries Conference, August 10-13 at UCLA!

Friday, October 16th, 2015

The UCLA Library and the Association of Research Libraries are co-sponsoring the 2016 National Diversity in Libraries Conference (NDLC ’16) August 10-13, 2016, to be held on the UCLA campus. This 3.5-day national forum on the topic of diversity in the library and information science profession and related sectors will feature a full day event of pre-conference activities on August 10 focusing on issues of accessibility and universal design, keynote speakers, a variety of breakout sessions, exhibits, and posters, all highlighting the conference theme Bridges to Inclusion.

The call for proposals is now available on the NDLC ’16 web site, The proposal form will be available on October 23, with a submission deadline of November 30. More conference information will be added as it becomes available. Registration is expected to open around February 1, 2016. Rates will be very reasonable. Reasonably priced on-campus accommodations near the meeting site will also be available.

August 2015: National Immunization Awareness Month

Monday, August 3rd, 2015

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recognized August as the National Immunization Awareness month. As such, various activities structured by the National Public Health Information Coalition will focus on encouraging individuals to safeguard their health against infectious diseases. Emphasis of the month-long program is designed to highlight the importance of immunization. The CDC in collaboration with the NPHIC has developed a toolkit as a guide. Each week will highlight a different group:

A Ready for School toolkit is available for communicating the importance of vaccinations for students as well.



National Public Health Week: April 6-12, 2015

Monday, April 6th, 2015

April 6-12, 2015, is designated as National Public Health Week by the American Public Health Association. APHA is an organization that seeks to highlight public health issues and policies facing Americans today. NPHW is a manifestation of these efforts, by seeking to collaboratively reach various communities with the goal to reflect and highlight various health related problems that face our nation.  NPHW 2015 theme is “Healthiest Nation 2030.” Each day of the week, there will be an emphasis on a particular method on how we can become the healthiest nation in the world.  They are

Monday, April 6: Raising the Grade – The public health community will discuss why many America is ranked poorly compared to other nations, although many believe we have the best health care in the world.

Tuesday, April 7: Starting from ZIP – Focuses an in-depth discussion of health disparities from one ZIP code to the next, and why.

Wednesday, April 8: Building Momentum – Outlines current and trending changes for the public health community and how will it affect everyone.

Thursday, April 9: Building Broader Connections – Emphasis to seek out and sustain a collaborative effort with various public and private organizations, city officials, education personnel, etc. as partners to combat health related issues.

Friday, April 10: Building of 20 Years of Success-To reflect on past accomplishments of NPHW and discuss what must be done to accomplish the goal of becoming the healthiest nation in the world.

To find out more information about National Public Health Week, you can visit www.

In addition, you may contact your state’s public health association for events and programs.



New Mexico:



School Library Advisory Committee Meeting

Friday, February 20th, 2015

We were delighted to host six school librarians from around the five state region in Houston, Texas today. This was our School Library Advisory Committee. Our Advisory Committee program is a way for us to learn more about the information needs of other professions so that we can create outreach programs to suit those needs.

NN/LM SCR Executive Assistant Carrie Rogers, Consumer Health Coordinator Adela Justice, and Associate Director Jon Goodell met with them and discussed a range of topics, from NLM K-12 website resources to school library frontline advocacy. Some of the unexpected favorites were Haz-Map, the Exhibition Program, and Visible Proofs.

We hope they learned as much from us as we did from them!

In addition to our Outreach Committee, we have four advisory committees: the Public Health Advisory Committee, the Public Library Advisory Committee, the School Library Advisory Committee, and the Hospital Library Advisory Committee. To learn more about our Advisory Committee program, please see our Advisory Committee page.

School Library Advisory Committee

School Library Advisory Committee Meeting

The Importance of NIH Funding to Each State

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

Screenshot of factsheet for Louisiana

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is part of the United States Department of Health and Human Services and is the nation’s medical research agency. The NIH is made up of 27 Institutes and Centers including the National Library of Medicine (NLM). According to the NIH website, NIH-funded medical research has significant positive impacted the health of Americans today. The NIH is the largest source for funding for medical research in the world. This funding creates hundreds of thousands of high-quality jobs by funding thousands of scientists in universities and research institutions in every state across America and around the globe. Budget cuts at the national level can greatly impact the funding that important medical research receives at the NIH.

The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) was funded in 1912 and today is the nation’s largest coalition of biomedical researchers and is now recognized as the policy voice of biological and biomedical researchers. FASEB recently updated their NIH State Information Factsheets which provide information on NIH funding in each state. The factsheets are presented as easy to read and print PDFs with a summary of funding information and how this funding benefits the economy of the state.

Additional tools about the impact of NIH funding are available from FASEB. FASEB makes available tools for advocating for resources for scientists as well as a toolbox for those visiting or writing their Congressional representative.





2014/2015 Hospital Library Promotion Award Recipient

Monday, May 5th, 2014

Photo of Filmstrip with countdown

The NN/LM SCR is pleased to announce the recipient of the 2014-2015 Hospital Library Promotion Award:

Institution: Oklahoma State University Medical Center, L.C. Baxter Medical Library
Project Title: Your Medical Library @ OSUMC
Project Director: Lou Ann Thompson

This project will promote library services and resources by the creation and distribution of a video and print materials. The video will be shown biweekly at the new employee orientation and yearly at the new resident orientation. A link to the video will be uploaded to the hospital electronic newsletter and intranet site. Print materials promoting library resources and services will be distributed when the video is shown.

Congratulations to Lou Ann Thompson and the L.C. Baxter Library!

More information on all NN/LM SCR Funded Projects are available at our Previously Funded Projects website.

Net Neutrality and Libraries

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

Internet Browser Network Neutrality (often called Net Neutrality) has been in the news recently as the result of the January 14 ruling by the US Court of Appeals which struck down most of the Open Internet Order. But what is net neutrality and what does it have to do with libraries? According to the American Library Association (ALA) net neutrality “is the concept of online non-discrimination. It is the principle that consumers/citizens should be free to get access to – or to provide – the Internet content and services they wish, and that consumer access should not be regulated based on the nature or source of that content or service.” The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) uses the concept of “Open Internet” to reflect net neutrality.

The Open Internet Rules adopted by the FCC included the following:

  • Transparency. Broadband providers must disclose information regarding their network management practices, performance, and the commercial terms of their broadband services.
  • No blocking. Fixed broadband providers (such as DSL, cable modem, or fixed wireless providers) may not block lawful content, applications, services, or non-harmful devices. Mobile broadband providers may not block lawful websites, or applications that compete with their voice or video telephony services.
  • No unreasonable discrimination. Fixed broadband providers may not unreasonably discriminate in transmitting lawful network traffic over a consumer’s broadband Internet access service. Unreasonable discrimination of network traffic could take the form of particular services or websites appearing slower or degraded in quality.

According to a recent post by ALA member Larra Clark, the recent ruling struck down most of the FCC’s Open Internet Rules and would in essence allow “commercial companies the legal authority to block Internet traffic, give preferential treatment to certain Internet services or applications, and steer users to or away from certain web sites based on their own commercial interests.” The court ruling did encourage the FCC to “act to preserve the free and open Internet.”

Net Neutrality is an important concept for libraries for several reasons. ALA presents the case that libraries are important access points for information for many people. The ALA itself advocates for “intellectual freedom, which is the ‘right of all peoples to seek and receive information from all points of view without restriction.'” The Internet is a tool which can be used to connect people and allows for the free flow of information and ideas. While many libraries are access points for the Internet, libraries are also looking at ways to leverage technology such as the Internet to better connect, inform, and inspire their users. In higher education unrestricted access to information on the Internet may lead to research and development which will have an impact on society. By allowing business and service providers to determine who has access to the Internet, what content can be viewed, or what type of quality of access a user can have the limitless possibilities of Internet connectivity and research which are supported by Net Neutrality and the principles of the Open Internet are restricted.

Organizations including ALA, EDUCAUSE, and ARL have released a joint letter to the FCC advocating for the preservation of the Open Internet.

On January 19, 2014 FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler issued a statement on plans to update the FCC’s Open Internet Rules and continue to support the goals of the Open Internet.

Professional Development Award: The Evolving Librarian

Friday, September 27th, 2013

Guest Author: Lisa Huang, Central Park Campus Library, Collin College, McKinney, TX

Logo for Krafty Librarian Blog showing a purse and computer coming out of a large purse

I am grateful to the National Network of Libraries of Medicine South Central Region (NN/LM SCR) for providing the Professional Development Award, which enabled me to attend the all day workshop “The Evolving Librarian:  Responding to Changes in the Workplace and Healthcare” held at the OU-Tulsa Schusterman Library, in Tulsa, OK on April 18, 2013.   The workshop was taught by one of the leaders in medical librarianship, Michelle Kraft, senior medical librarian at the Cleveland Clinic and current candidate for MLA President-elect.  Kraft is also renowned for her Krafty Librarian blog

Kraft discussed current and emerging forces shaping the healthcare landscape such as the Affordable Care Act (ACA), electronic health record (EHR), local community benefit, new tax laws, numerous technological changes and evolving expectations of administrators and library clients.  The Great Recession has accelerated these issues as hospitals are being funded differently now.  Non-profit hospitals must turn a profit to stay afloat due to increasing technological costs of the EHR implementation.  Kraft’s lecture was immensely informative and explained why the local hospitals have accelerated their community engagement efforts to maintain their tax exemption.

I was struck by the similarities of funding between Collin College, a community college district, and hospitals.  Collin is no longer being funded by student enrollment numbers; funding is dependent on graduation, completion, and retention rates of students.  For hospitals, funding is dependent on patient satisfaction and success rate of providing health care services instead of the number of services performed or provided to patients.  Compounding these changes is the shrinking number of personnel as institutions have their reduced staffing.  Kraft encouraged the attendees to re-evaluate traditional time honored activities such as cataloging books for hospital libraries with a small print collection.  Libraries must evolve with society and its nomadic client expectations of on demand services and resources.

An issue addressed repeatedly at the workshop is that librarians need to demonstrate value to their home administration because libraries are expensive or as someone calls them, a “black hole.”  Administrators are not sure about the value of libraries because they do not bring in money; librarians need to change the perception of the library as an asset.  Amid fiscally challenging times, the notion of libraries as time honored institutions is antiquated; libraries are up for staff reduction or closure.  Kraft argued that librarians need to re-align library operations and goals with the administration’s goals, regardless if you work for a hospital, academic health sciences center, or a community college.  Libraries need to conduct qualitative research that measures their return on investment and the impact of all their services such as literature reviews, library instruction; or, the value of their books to the clients. ROI calculators and library narratives should be common knowledge for librarians. Librarians tend to shy away from research or simply don’t have the time to conduct research, but they need to conduct mini-research projects to demonstrate value and track impact.  Possible projects include literature searches that lead to improved patient care or decreased length of stay.

Other takeaways from the workshop:

  • The need to be aware of healthcare legislation changes from the local to national level.
  • Staying abreast of new roles for librarians such as data management, emerging roles with the EHR, patient education, and embedded librarianship. The profession is evolving and new identities of librarians are being written.
  • Be flexible as change is constant and inevitable.
  • Understanding when technology is disruptive or you’ve allowed it to be disruptive in your library?

I appreciated the opportunity to attend this workshop and much appreciation goes to Stewart Brower and the OU-Tulsa Schusterman Library staff for their gracious hospitality.