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Updated: 1 hour 12 min ago

Public Library Spotlight: Sue Simenz Title:  Reference Librarian, Brown County Library, Green Bay, WI

Fri, 2018-01-12 09:03

image of Susan feeding a giraffe

Name:  Sue Simenz

Title:  Reference Librarian, Brown County Library, Green Bay, WI

Education:  BA in Communication Arts (Radio-TV-Film), University of Wisconsin-Madison, MLS, University of Wisconsin-Madison

How did you become interested in focusing on Health and Wellness?

I’ve been in this job (reference and collection development) for a long time, so I’ve always been cognizant of the need for a quality physical collection and keeping it up to date.  Our health sections get evaluated/weeded more frequently than other areas and I’m doing that for our branches too.  Around 20 years ago I helped one of the local hospitals when they were setting up a consumer health circulating library.  Around the same time, I wrote some grants for Alzheimer’s and diabetes materials.  Requests for health information have been a constant at the reference desk.  I was aware that I was not as familiar with MedlinePlus and other resources as I’d like to be, so I was very interested in a program at the Wisconsin Public Library Association that Bobbi Newman presented last April.  She spoke about getting public libraries involved in providing health literacy information and the certification process through the National Libraries of Medicine. I was more excited about this than anything in a long time!  I started taking classes through NLM in the summer and I’m very close to getting my Consumer Health Information Specialist Level II Certification.  I was especially interested in the programs for seniors and was disappointed to see NIH SeniorHealth end this summer, but I’m working on adapting some of the information on the Toolkit for Trainers on that.

Why is health literacy important in your community? 

Because there’s so much misinformation out there and such a need for current, understandable, fact-based information.  Also because many people are at a lower reading level than we’d like to believe and are intimidated by health care workers (and librarians!)  In Brown County, some of the top health priorities are alcohol misuse, oral health, mental health, and adequate, appropriate and safe nutrition and we can be a source of help in addressing those priorities.

What’s the impact that you hope to make in your community?

I hope to improve health literacy among our staff as well as our community.  We have nine locations and I need to share what I have been learning with our other staff so everyone knows at least some basics and doesn’t just generically Google things.  The approach needs to be multi-faceted—in- library as well as in outreach programs, partnering with community groups, using television and social media, collection development.

What is your favorite health-related program or outreach that you’ve done?

Our library has been doing a lot of aging and dementia-related programming over the last couple years.  Personally, I’m still getting my feet wet.  I did a program on MedlinePlus for seniors that was not well attended, and I think a lot of that group may need to be met more at Senior Centers, church senior groups, etc. so we’re exploring that.  I’m working with our PR/graphics staffer on coming up with a “brand” of libguides or pathfinders that we can use to highlight library materials, websites, groups, etc. on different topics (diabetes will be the first).  These would be print as well as on our website and social media.  And I’m not afraid to take other’s ideas and adapt for Brown County!  I’ve seen good ideas from others in my classes and really like a couple of programs highlighted in recent public librarian spotlights here, such as the Walking Book Group (see Danielle Henson ) and the Diagnosis Bags (see Nicolette Warisse Sosulski.)

Categories: RML Blogs

So you want to be an outreach librarian? Spotlight on Marcia Francis

Wed, 2018-01-10 11:33
Marcia_Francis_exhibit_ 2017

Marcia Francis exhibits on behalf of the GMR.

In the far northwest corner of the GMR is the state of North Dakota, so large and rural that the University of North Dakota (UND) Partner Outreach Librarians have divided the state into four quadrants to maximize their outreach potential.  Today we spotlight Marcia Francis, who conducts outreach on behalf of the GMR, presenting educational sessions on National Library of Medicine resources. See our website to learn more about our Partner Outreach Libraries.

Name: Marcia Francis
Title: Southwest Clinical Campus Librarian, University of North Dakota School of Medicine & Health Sciences

Our five questions:

  1. How long have you been in the role of an outreach librarian? Outreach has been part of my current position for the past five or so years at UND. I also did outreach work for about 14 years when working at another position in Idaho.
  2. How did you get involved in outreach? I have worked at outreach/resource libraries in the NNLM, so outreach has always been an expected part of my work.
  3. What is your favorite outreach project that you’ve done so far? I cannot think of one specific project, but probably talking with health consumers at trainings and exhibits has been the most rewarding. Consumers are well aware they are expected to take more responsibility for making health choices, but they are not always confident they have access to quality information and skills to evaluate information. NLM has great resources to share with these individuals, and watching health consumers feel empowered as they use those resources makes the time seem well spent.
  4. What outreach activity do you hope to do in the future? I am not sure what the next outreach activity might be as our library is waiting to learn the results of an information needs assessment project we are working on. I am blessed to work with a team of smart outreach librarians, which will make whatever future project we tackle easier and more fun, too.
  5. What is the one thing you wished you had known before you got started in outreach? When I started in outreach, my supervisor cautioned me to have a Plan B, C, and maybe even a Plan D to fall back upon when (not if) Plan A does not work. That was good advice that I still try to follow as being prepared for the unexpected and being flexible can make all the difference in how successful (and fun) outreach work can be.


Categories: RML Blogs

Dr. Patricia Flatley Brennan to Headline UC Data Day Event!

Thu, 2018-01-04 09:10

Researchers producing big data and small data face unique challenges in data management, data sharing, reproducible research and preservation. Data Day is a daylong event that will highlight these challenges and showcase opportunities for all researchers. This event promises to engage audience members, reveal solutions to these data challenges and foster a community of best practices around improved data management. This year, the keynote address will be given by Patricia Flatley Brennan, RN, PhD, Director of the National Library of Medicine. Panel topics include: Game Changing Data: How Data is being used to affect change, Big Data and Data Solutions. The event features some phenomenal and engaging panelists to present these topics. In addition, this year, two technical sessions will be hosted on Data Analysis and Data Visualization with Python. Data Day is free and open to the public, but registration is required.

When: March 6, 2018

Where: University of Cincinnati Libraries

More Info:

Categories: RML Blogs

Funding Award for Akron-Summit Public Library Fitness Tracker Cohorts

Wed, 2018-01-03 09:45

I’m pleased to announce that the Akron-Summit County Public Library (Ohio) Science & Technology Division lead by Monique Mason has been awarded funding for a great community physical fitness project!


Background: Twenty-nine percent of Summit County residents are obese, slightly lower than the state-wide average of 30% 1. The obesity rate in the City of Akron averages 34.2%, with some census tracts as high as 44%. 2 All of these rates are higher than the national rate of 28.7%.

Summit County residents are poorer than the US average with a poverty rate of 14.8% compared to 12.7% national average. The City of Akron’s poverty rate is 26.5%, more than double the national average.3

Description: The Science & Technology Division of the Akron (Ohio)-Summit County Public Library plans to create a multi-week program of loaning wearable fitness trackers to groups of people for the purpose of encouraging a regular and sustained increase in physical activity.   We will select groups of people from pre-existing community groups or groups selected for this purpose and treat them as a cohort – having them all at an initial program for instruction both on using the device and locating quality health information in support of increasing their activity levels as well as an initial “weigh-in” provided by students in the University of Akron’s Department of Sport Science & Wellness Education. We will encourage participants to return midway through the program to check their weight, discover some more resources, and provide fellowship, all in order to continue the momentum developed in the initial presentation and increase motivation.  We will have a final session to weigh, encourage continued activity, and collect the trackers.  We will encourage users to continue their healthy exercise habits and to connect with library staff on a regular basis after the project concludes. We will offer this program to several groups through 2018.


  1. County Health RankingsAccessed 11/28/17.
  2. CDC. Accessed 11/30/17.
  3. 2011-2015 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates accessed 11/30/2017



Categories: RML Blogs

Teaching a Nursing Workshop with the Help of a Professional Development Grant from NNLM GMR

Thu, 2017-12-28 10:30

This Fall Semester 2017, for the first time, I connected with nursing faculty at a brown bag tailored for the University of Akron’s School of Nursing faculty.  The brown bag series are usually well attended, and after getting in touch with the coordinator of the sessions, I offered my first one-hour workshop for the School on September 18th. I had been preparing for the workshop and wanted to share the information I learned in the systematic review (SR) workshop I had attended in July at the University of Pittsburgh. With a Professional Development Award from GMR/NNLM, I was able to participate in the SR workshop and hone my skills. The workshop addressed what SRs are and their characteristics, how they are different from other well-known reviews, standards, the general steps in writing an SR, where to search for them (e.g. PubMed Health, PubMed Clinical Queries), and how they compare with other types of reviews. The 16 participants received one credit hour from the Ohio Nurses Association. Overall, the faculty reported a positive experience and interest in systematic reviews. This semester, I received more referrals from faculty who attended the workshop to assist students in their capstone and other research-oriented projects. I also noticed that conducting the workshop opened the possibility of faculty in conducting SR in some capacity and increasing scholarship endeavors, especially among junior faculty.

Marilia Antunez

Assistant Professor of Bibliography

Life & Allied Health Sciences Librarian 

The University of Akron Libraries, Akron, OH                                         

Posted on behalf of Marilia Antunez by Helen Spielbauer

Categories: RML Blogs

So you want to be an outreach librarian? Spotlight on Heidi Marleau

Tue, 2017-12-19 14:39


Next up in our spotlight on Partner Outreach Librarians is Heidi Marleau. Heidi is one of the GMR’s Partner Outreach librarians from Wisconsin who conducts outreach on behalf of the GMR, presenting educational sessions on National Library of Medicine resources. See our website to learn more about our Partner Outreach Libraries.

Name: Heidi Marleau
Title: Associate Director, Ebling Library, UWisc-Madison

Our five questions:

  1. How long have you been in the role of an outreach librarian? 5 years
  2. How did you get involved in outreach? Due to a change in staff duties, we needed a new outreach coordinator and it was good fit for me.
  3. What is the favorite outreach project that you’ve done so far? I like to make a difference in high school student’s lives when they visit the library to do research.
  4. What outreach activity do you hope to do in the future? I would like to be invited to work with our Pediatrics department Summer Scholar’s program which introduces research techniques to high school students.
  5. What is the one thing you wished you had known before you got started in outreach? That unfortunately public health professionals are extremely busy people so although they have a lot to benefit from our resources, they may not have time to learn about and access them.
Categories: RML Blogs

GMR Sponsors Two Sites for Upcoming MLA Webinar on REDCap!

Thu, 2017-12-14 12:35

Congratulations to the Wisconsin Health Science Library Association and the University of Detroit Mercy! Both organizations applied for and are being sponsored by the GMR office to access next week’s MLA webinar Go Red! REDCap for Library Data Services and Data Collection. Members affiliated with these organizations can view the webinar live or view a recording for up to 6 months. In addition, each organization will receive 25 CE codes that can be distributed at their discretion to individuals who attend the live, or view the recorded, session.

Just a reminder that the GMR accepts applications on a rolling basis for MLA Webinar Sponsorship, but organizations can only apply for sponsorship one time per quarter.

Categories: RML Blogs

Pleased to Make Your Acquaintance

Wed, 2017-12-13 12:00

Hello everyone!  This is Sam Watson writing as a new Outreach Specialist for the National Library of Medicine-Greater Midwest Region.  I am excited, humbled, and honored to be part of the GMR team and to have the opportunity to work closely with the members of the NNLM.

As a late comer to the library field, I’m still grooming my information professional pedigree.  I bring with me an academic librarian instruction and science liaison experience from my time at Knox College and an MLIS degree from my fledgling librarian years at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  My health information focus is the result of my inspirational medical librarian mother and my early career of pharmacy work in both retail and in-patient settings.  Years of witnessing, firsthand, the overwhelming behemoth of managing personal health encouraged me to pursue a career that would inform people of their options and the resources available.

My role here at the GMR will focus on outreach to community colleges; making connections, advocating NLM resources, and empowering people to use high quality information to make informed healthcare decisions both professionally and personally.  If you have any questions, interests, or just want to say ‘Hello!’ please feel free to contact me.

If ever I’m not working, you will most likely find me futzing over old fountain pens in a vain and fruitless attempt to improve my handwriting.

Categories: RML Blogs

Professional Develop Award Funds Two Courses on Data Management

Tue, 2017-12-12 15:49

The Joint 2017 Midwest Medical Library Association and Michigan Health Sciences Libraries Association Conference received the Professional Development Award from the National Network of Libraries of Medicine Greater Midwest Region to offer two continuing education courses focused on data management. We selected this topic based on the vision of the new Director of the National Library of Medicine, Patricia Flatley Brennan, RN, PhD, who said “I believe the future of health and health care rests on data—genomic data, environmental sensor-generated data, electronic health records data, patient-generated data, research collected data. The data originating from research projects is becoming as important as the answers those research projects are providing.”

Kevin Read and Alisa Surkis

Kevin Read and Alisa Surkis, Photo by Don Pearson

The “Perspectives in Research Data Management” CE course was presented by Kevin Read and Alisa Surkis from the New York University School of Medicine1. The 2017 Joint Conference was privileged to be the last venue to offer this course. You can view the content of this course at The second CE offering, “Data Management for Librarians: What Librarians Need to Know,” was designed specifically for our conference by Caitlin Bakker2of University of Minnesota Twin Cities.

 What Librarians Need to Know”

Caitlin Baker presenting “Data Management for Librarians: What Librarians Need to Know” Photo by Don Pearson


These Professional Development Award-funded courses reached a total of thirty attendees, including both academic and hospital librarians.


Written by guest authors, Merle Rosenzweig & Emily Ginier, posted by Helen Spielbauer.





Categories: RML Blogs

So you want to be an outreach librarian? Spotlight on Kathryn Mlsna

Mon, 2017-12-11 14:48

Today we kick off a new feature on Midwest Matters: So you want to be an outreach librarian? The GMR has established a partnership with heath sciences libraries that share NNLM’s mission of outreach. These libraries and librarians conduct outreach on behalf of the GMR office, presenting educational sessions on and promoting National Library of Medicine resources. See our website to learn more about our Partner Outreach Libraries.

Today’s post highlights our Wisconsin colleague, Kathryn Mlsa. Let’s get started!


Name: Kathryn Mlsna
Title: Manager, Public Services and Education, Medical College of Wisconsin

Our five questions:
1. How long have you been in the role of an outreach librarian? 4 years
2. How did you get involved in outreach? I was assigned the role when are dedicated staff member resigned her position.
3. What is your favorite outreach project that you’ve done so far? I presented to Public Reference Librarian on The Health Reference Interview.
4. What outreach activity do you hope to do in the future? Health Literacy for at Risk Youth
5. What is the one thing you wished you had known before you got started in outreach? How fulfilling it would be, because then I would have volunteered for the role!

Thank you, Kathryn, for sharing your expertise and your insights!

Categories: RML Blogs

Funding Awarded for training course, “Evidence-Based Practice and the Medical Librarian”

Wed, 2017-12-06 17:09
Merete Christianson

Merete Christianson

For the full day on August 2nd, 2017, Connie Schardt presented her popular continuing training course, “Evidence-Based Practice and the Medical Librarian” at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences, thanks to the Health Sciences Information Section (HSIS) of the North Dakota Library Association (NDLA) and a Professional Development Award from the GMR.

HSIS applied for this award as an opportunity for librarians of all stripes in our state to learn more about helping patrons find high quality health information. Health sciences librarians, many of whom are new professionals, were of course invited, along with librarians from all other institutions, public or academic, in the region, since that the need for quality health information is not only a concern of health sciences libraries.

Participants, including HSIS members, academic librarians in other specialties, and faculty members, all came from institutions around the state to learn about evidence-based practice. This included identifying study designs and understanding when and why they are used, searching for evidence in PubMed, and critically appraising articles. Each part of the course had an opportunity for participants to practice and apply new skills, making it both effective and enjoyable.

For those who attended and had been in the health sciences library profession for some years, the course was a great refresher and reminder of some of the aspects of evidence-based practice that are easier to forget, particularly the definitions of some of the statistical concepts like absolute and relative risk. The course was also useful to newer professionals who may have had a basic understanding of evidence-based practice now rounded-out and made applicable to their jobs.

Whether doing one-on-one research consultations or classroom instruction, after completing this course the information participants and I share with patrons is much more in-depth; not just confidently demonstrating how we find, evaluate and think about health information, but why it is important. Evidence-based practice helps patients and their providers work together to address their specific health concerns in a way that works best for the patient.

After the course, it is easy to see why Connie Schardt’s course has been so popular for so long—it takes what can seem like very specialized knowledge and breaks it down to make it easily understandable and pertinent to our day-to-day jobs as librarians. We HSIS NDLA members are thankful to Connie, UND and the GMR for making this opportunity possible.

For those interested, the course will next be offered online from February 19th to April 15th; find more information here:

Posted on behalf of Merete Christianson by Helen Spielbauer

Categories: RML Blogs

Seeing the Forest and the Trees: Why Librarians Can Make Valuable Contributions Working with Big Data

Fri, 2017-12-01 09:33

In the NNLM Big Data in Healthcare: Exploring Emerging Roles course, we asked participants, as they progressed through the course to consider the following questions: Do you think health sciences librarians should get involved with big data in healthcare? Where should librarians get involved, if you think they should? If you think they should not, explain why. You may also combine a “should/should not” approach if you would like to argue both sides. NNLM will feature responses from different participants over the coming weeks.

Written by: Heidi Beke-Harrigan, MLS, Health Sciences Librarian, Member Services Coordinator, OhioNET

There has been an explosion of conversation around the topic of big data. The potential for mining large sets of data in endless, customized combinations could revolutionize healthcare, patient outcomes and evidence-based medicine. At the same time, as with systematic reviews, effective data projects benefit from a collaborative environment and a team approach. One individual is not likely to possess the skills to formulate the right questions, write queries, extract the data, provide analysis and manage data storage/retrieval. Data without context is lifeless. Misused it can be exploited, misinterpreted and manipulated. Deriving meaning from data depends on someone’s ability to mine what’s there and make real connections to people’s lives. That’s where librarians excel. Our work has always been about cultivating connections, enabling access to raw information so that new ideas can ferment, providing access to those ideas and end products, and storing the results. Formats have come and gone, but it’s all data and librarians can play a key role in making data useful. Where individuals with specific expertise may focus on a very narrow aspect of data work (trees), librarians tend to see patterns, connections and possibilities (forest). Librarians like to create spaces where nuanced details and creativity can coexist and mingle in a place of infinite possibility.

What skills can librarians specifically bring to the table? Researchers have identified the need to recode data elements and challenges maintaining consistency of data over time as two barriers to big data work. Librarians with cataloging and metadata experience can work with teams to help bring about harmonizing of terminologies and standardize metadata descriptions. They are also able to ask important questions about storage and retrieval. Where will the coding that extracted the data live? Do the resulting data sets need to be stored? How can reproducibility or access points to the data be supported? What story does the data tell and who else might want to discover it?

Imagine further, a world where librarians are part of a new framework of front-line clinical teams and integral to using big data to improve patient outcomes. If we assist with research topic formulation, provide input regarding user experience design, help develop consult management tools, and support the creation of effective query forms and output displays, can we free up clinicians and partner with other colleagues to more fully explore the role of data in Practice Based Evidence (PBE)?

Librarians’ expertise in providing programming, informal learning opportunities and formal classroom instruction can serve us well to assist in citizen data scientist training and to prepare our students with critical skills for work in a data rich landscape. Part of that skill-set should also include an awareness for and appreciation for data literacy, data sharing, and transparency. As Dr. Brennan pointed out, there are certainly opportunities for data scientists and programmers in this information-rich world, but to give that data meaning, requires that we all bring the unique strengths and core values of our diverse professions to the table. In that realm, librarians have much to share.

Categories: RML Blogs

Midwest MLA Tech Topic – Realizing Medicine: How Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality are Impacting Medical Practice and Education.

Wed, 2017-11-29 15:35
 How Virtual Reality & Augmented Reality are Impacting Medical Practice and Education.

Kellie Kaneshiro, Jason Lilly and Jennifer Herron present Realizing Medicine: How Virtual Reality & Augmented Reality are Impacting Medical Practice and Education.

This fall, like many times before, the GMR planned and organized a technology session at Midwest MLA. The 2017 annual conference, held in Ypsilanti, MI, in October, was a joint meeting with the Michigan Health Sciences Libraries Association. The GMR Technology Working Group, one of several Advisory Groups the GMR calls upon to assist in the implementation of projects and services, helped pull together a great program. This year’s team included Ethan D Cutler, Western Michigan University, MI; Jennifer Herron, Indiana University, IN; Stacey Knight-Davis, Eastern Illinois University, IL; and Donald Pearson, Mount Carmel Health Sciences Library, OH.

This year’s approach was a little different from the Tech Forum of the past. The GMR sponsored three panelists from Indiana University Ruth Lilly Medical Library on the topic of virtual and augmented reality, Realizing Medicine: How Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality are Impacting Medical Practice and Education. Kellie Kaneshiro, the Assistant Director for Library Technology for the Ruth Lilly Medical Library, spoke on Virtual reality in medical education and health sciences libraries. Jennifer Herron, the Emerging Technologies Librarian for Ruth Lilly, presented on Augmented reality in health care. Library Systems Analyst, Jason Lilly, shared his knowledge of Virtual reality in health care.

Thanks to the initiative of Don Pearson and the generosity of Amy O’Keefe at EBSCO, attendees were eligible to enter a drawing for a VIEW-MASTER Deluxe VR Viewer. Karen Hanus of the Medical College of Wisconsin, was the lucky winner.

Through the use of Zoom software, the presentation was recorded and is available for view online. Thanks to the planners, presenters, and hosts for making the 2017 Tech Topic a success.


 How Virtual Reality & Augmented Reality are Impacting Medical Practice and Education.

GMR Tech Topic 2017: Realizing Medicine: How Virtual Reality & Augmented Reality are Impacting Medical Practice and Education.

Categories: RML Blogs

Public Library Spotlight: Danielle Henson, Community Engagement Liaison, Gail Borden Public Library

Tue, 2017-11-28 14:05

Photo from the Walking Book Club*

Name: Danielle Henson

Title: Community Engagement Liaison

How did you become interested in focusing on Health and Wellness?

Gail Borden Public Library sits at many tables in the including Kane County Health Department Executive and KCHD sub-committees and Activate Elgin (Erin Donlan, Information Services Librarian is on the Executive Committee and the Income and Education sub-committee and I am at the Activate Elgin Coalition and Kane County Health Department Community Health Council tables).  A.E. is a coalition of health and fitness organizations engaging all sectors in the community to provide free healthy lifestyle and wellness education to build a healthy Elgin. Literacy plays an important role to access and understand health information. We see these health and education initiatives as a natural fit for us as we support literacy and overall community vibrancy.

Why is health literacy important in your community?

A healthy and informed community creates a vital and engaged citizenry. Encouraging recreation, nutrition, and general wellness can activate and energize a community to build a healthy future in all areas of life.

What’s different with a health reference interview?

As a community engagement liaison and program planner, I refer all reference questions to Information Services Librarians. We are fortunate to have Erin Donlan, Information Services Librarian, who has completed the Consumer Health Information Specialization (CHIS) credential program through the Medical Library Association certification in 2017 and is currently assisting community members with health reference interviews. Her certification is invaluable for staff as we build balanced and informed health programming and add health literacy content to our community engagement work.

 What’s the impact that you hope to make in your community?

We hope to continue to provide health and wellness programming for all ages and communities in Elgin by experts in our community in their area of practice. Our strong partnerships across the wellness spectrum offer physical fitness events, health education, nutrition programs and stress reduction presentations that ensure the community has a wide range of free programming that enriches their lives.

What is your favorite health-related program or outreach that you’ve done? 

Gail Borden Public Library hosts the annual March into Health Kick-off in early March: National Nutrition Month. We present 25-30 partner and sponsor tables in our lobby, live fruit jugglers, healthy food demos and tastings, prizes and live (and lively) family entertainment. The M.I.H. kick-off event attracts 3-600 community members and encourages families to get up and moving. The Kick-off event brings the community and 25 health resources together. It initiates the month-long free Activate Elgin March into Health programming for all ages at the library and around town at partner and sponsor locations. 20-30 events throughout March are attended by 2-3,500 people annually and are incentivized by prize entries at each event into the grand prize drawing of a ‘bike of the year’, digital fitness device, fitness and golf packages, family fun packages for the local trampoline park or waterpark, or gift certificate for healthy meals around town. Making fitness and nutrition fun has engaged our district to come out of hibernation each winter and get moving for spring.

* Read more about the Walking Book Club


Categories: RML Blogs

Funding Awarded for Marijuana Prevention and Information Outreach

Tue, 2017-11-21 12:59

Lakeville LogoThe GMR office is excited to announce that the Lakeville School District (MN) has been granted an Outreach Award to develop a prevention and information outreach campaign on the harms of teenage use of marijuana.

As more states legalize marijuana, the perception of harm of marijuana use decreases. This sends a mixed message to youth. They are taught that marijuana is harmful, but media messaging suggests otherwise (See this recent NPR Article). For the first time, the number of marijuana violations has surpassed the number of alcohol violations. According to the 2016 Minnesota Student Survey (MSS), 20% of 11th grade males in Lakeville report past 12 month marijuana use. 14% of 11th grade females in Lakeville report past 12 month marijuana use.

Project Description
The GMR office is funding the Lakeville Area Public School staff to develop an interactive and informative marijuana prevention and information outreach campaign. A group of students will form a Youth Action Team to direct the development of a peer education campaign designed to educate and change perceptions on marijuana use and harms. Students will receive training from GMR’s Outreach Librarian in Minnesota on how to locate reliable health information, and a flyer/brochure will be developed for parents regarding the negative impact that marijuana use has on young people.

This project intends to engage youth in conversation about marijuana, spreading awareness about the reality of marijuana use in Lakeville high schools, and increasing students’ knowledge about the consequences of using marijuana and where to find reliable health information.

Categories: RML Blogs

Seeking food safety information about that turkey? Call the hotline!

Mon, 2017-11-20 11:12

Thanksgiving infographicWith Thanksgiving nearly upon us, I want to share the food and nutrition resources provided by our partners in the federal government, such as the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Within these resources, you’ll find food and nutrition resources, such as Thanksgiving infographics, recipes, food fact sheets, food labeling resources, and important food safety information. All of these resources are organized into an online guide, which was created by Kay Deeney in our Pacific Southwest Region.

One of the tools I’ve found most uprising is the USDA’s Meat and Poultry Hotline – which anyone may call toll-free at 1-888-MPHotline! This hotline has been around for over 30 years, and their operators answer food safety questions through nearly 80,000 calls annually. One of the operators there shared with me her favorite Thanksgiving week story, which involved a caller who left her turkey on the back porch to thaw. While it was out there, a raccoon came and ate half of it! The caller wanted to know if the turkey was still good to cook and serve to guests, if she cut off the part that was eaten from. The answer? You could probably guess… was no.

If you’re interested in learning more about these resources, consider registering for our next Food for Thought course, which will be offered online this spring.

Categories: RML Blogs

Reflections on Big Data in Healthcare: Exploring Emerging Roles

Thu, 2017-11-16 08:57

In the NNLM Big Data in Healthcare: Exploring Emerging Roles course, we asked participants, as they progressed through the course to consider the following questions: Do you think health sciences librarians should get involved with big data in healthcare? Where should librarians get involved, if you think they should? If you think they should not, explain why. You may also combine a “should/should not” approach if you would like to argue both sides. NNLM will feature responses from different participants over the coming weeks.

Written by by Emily B. Kean, MSLS, Research and Education Librarian, Donald C. Harrison Health Sciences Library, University of Cincinnati Libraries.

I believe that health sciences librarians can positively contribute to big data in healthcare, to an extent. After completing this course, I certainly have a much better understanding of what big data is, and I can also see some overlap between traditional functions of librarianship and several of the concepts of big data. In my opinion, the areas where librarians could most significantly contribute are in areas such as creating and developing taxonomies for machine learning. From some of the readings in the class, it seems like some of the positions which were described as data managers are roles that librarians could easily fill; however, as was also demonstrated in the literature, non-librarian professionals are rarely identifying librarians as capable of filling these roles. I feel that if librarians are striving to fill the role of data managers or data scientists, based on some of the readings from this class and some of the discussion that has taken place, a serious effort would have to be made to educate colleagues and peers about the role that librarians can play.

Overall, I find that after completing this course it seems to me that the approach described by Dr. Patti Brennan regarding nursing in the field of data science is also incredibly applicable to the field of librarianship and data science. I think Dr. Brennan’s approach that nurses have an understanding and appreciation for what data science can do for their profession but also the idea that not all nurses will become data scientists is a very healthy approach and it’s one that is also applicable to the field of librarianship. I can easily see a future where librarians could potentially participate on teams that might involve healthcare professionals and data scientists, but I don’t know that it’s realistic that all librarians will develop the skills of a true data scientist. Along the mindset presented in Dr. Brennan’s lecture, I don’t think it’s desirable that all librarians should become data scientists. As Dr. Brennan describes, there will still be a need for nurses to fill traditional nursing roles and there will still be a need for librarians to fill traditional librarian roles, with a small percentage from each profession adopting the role of data scientist.

Just as the traditional approach to schooling for librarians has evolved to encompass the ideas of information science, I do see a future where a Masters in Library Science program would encompass the ideas of data science as well. One of the areas that was touched upon by this course but we didn’t really get into in great detail are all of the different programming languages used by data scientists. I don’t know that it’s entirely feasible to re-train the majority of current working health sciences librarians, but I do believe that exposing library science students to data science concepts as part of their masters-level education will better prepare future librarians – in the health sciences and other areas – to be perceived as experts in this field and be approached as team members for interdisciplinary collaborations.

Categories: RML Blogs

Funding Awarded for Health and Wellbeing Workshop Series

Mon, 2017-11-13 03:03

The GMR office is excited to announce that Comunidades Latinas Unidas en Servicio (CLUES) has been granted an Outreach Award for the development and implementation of a Health and Wellbeing Workshop Series.

Both nationally and in Minnesota, Latinos experience persistent equity gaps in health and wellbeing. These disparities are not based in biology, but rather are the result of the burdens of poverty falling disproportionately on people of color and immigrant communities. To achieve a state of well-being as a community and reverse persistent equity gaps, Latinos need access to high-quality health services that are culturally and linguistically responsive. CLUES’ new Health and Wellbeing course will address that need by providing a holistic, culturally competent health education program to Minnesota’s Latino community.

Project Description
The GMR office is funding CLUES to design and pilot workshops to engage families in experiential learning around topic areas of interest. Workshops will also serve to promote social connectedness among participants and cover topics across well-being, including healthy behaviors (healthy eating, active living, tobacco cessation), communication, and dealing with difficult emotions (regulation of feelings and its expression, trauma). Workshops will be led by CLUES Community Health Workers who live and work in the target communities and will include live streaming or pre-taped sessions by CLUES mental health professionals. Additionally, workshops will include familiarizing participants with online resources, including MedlinePlus. To do so, staff will demonstrate utilizing the web-based tool to research information and will provide examples to participants on when/how the resource could help them.  Participants will receive a printed handout with key resources for their future use.

The implementation of this project aims to fulfill two main goals:

1. Develop a six-session health and wellbeing curriculum in Spanish, including presentations, materials for clients, resources, evaluation tools, and a short guide on delivery instructions
2. Pilot two workshops in target areas in southern Minnesota

Categories: RML Blogs

Libraries Transform Health Literacy Toolkits

Fri, 2017-11-10 09:14

Because-FakeNews_Posters-full-300-2Great news! The Health Literacy Toolkit posters from the Libraries Transform campaign can now be ordered in 11×17 size.

A little history of the project if you are not familiar:

Designed to increase public awareness of the value, impact, and services provided by libraries and library professionals, the American Library Association’s Libraries Transform campaign ensures there is one clear, energetic voice for our profession, showcasing the transformative nature of today’s libraries and elevating the critical role libraries play in the digital age. Library supporters can join the campaign to access free resources and tools for spreading the word about the value of libraries.

Earlier this year NNLM staff, led by Lydia Collins from MAR, worked with ALA staff members to develop the Health Literacy Toolkit as part of the Libraries Transform campaign.  In September NNLM and ALA co-presented a webinar on the campaign (recording available). This week the GMR added a selection of the posters to our Free Training & Educational Materials!

Categories: RML Blogs

Shake, Rattle, and Roll! by Don Pearson, 2017 NNLM GMR Professional Development Awardee

Tue, 2017-11-07 11:06

Donald PearsonEvent planning is hard, especially when unexpected things happen.  It is also fun and rewarding when things go right.  Either way it is definitely worth all the work because it is still, even in our iGeneration, the best way to learn, connect with colleagues, and have fun.

One of the main purposes for me to attend #MidwestMHSLA17 was to observe the details of planning a professional conference.  I am on the Planning Committee for the next Midwest MLA Conference in Cleveland in October 2018.  I am a member of the Publicity Committee, and the Webmaster for the conference site.  The Publicity Committee is responsible for getting the word out to the Midwest MLA membership about the conference and promoting the host city and state. We have already been working hard since the spring and the 2017 meeting was our first big milestone in planning.  Besides observing and meeting our counterparts at the 2017 meeting, the 2018 Planning Committee sponsored a table with promotional materials, and announced the conference at the MHSLA Business Meeting and the Midwest Chapter Business Meeting.

The 2018 Publicity Committee (consisting of Margaret Hoogland, Theresa Kline, and me) planned out our table and decided to give out buckeyes (chocolate and peanut butter truffles for those non-Ohioans), Cleveland pins, and chances to win a $50 coupon towards the registration cost of the next meeting. We made a banner and decorated our table with rock-n-roll paraphernalia.  We encouraged visitors to take selfies and tag them with the official meeting hasthtag, #MidwestMLA18.  We benefited from the 2017 Special Karaoke Event which got people thinking in a rock-and-roll mode.  The video featuring our 2018 conference chairs Mary Pat Harnegie and Mary Schleicher, and the music of real life rock star librarian Cathy Murch put an exclamation point on our marketing efforts.  In a happy coincidence, the NLM in Focus blog has been focusing on “rock-star” medical librarians all month – a gift of free marketing for us!

Don Pearson and Jacqueline Leskovec singing "I Got You Babe". Jacqueline was Sonny, Don was Cher.

Don Pearson & Jacqueline Leskovec singing “I Got You Babe” at the Karaoke Event. Jacqueline was Sonny, Don was Cher.

I am sure that all the 2018 Conference Planning Committee members were watching carefully and learning from the 2017 meeting.  Stephanie Swanberg, the chair of the 2017 Publicity Committee, met with us and shared some pointers and volunteered to be available for questions.  I spoke with Emily Ginier, the chair of the CE committee, when my CE instructor suddenly cancelled.  Probably the most important thing I learned from observing this meeting is how to land on one’s feet when that inevitable something doesn’t go as planned. Switching gracefully to Plan B is a conference planner’s biggest challenge.  But the 2017 conference planning committee did an excellent job of moving forward and rolling with the stormy waves.  I told Emily that I actually enjoyed the substituted CE class very much as it ended up giving me a full day crash course on Research Data Management. Although I was disappointed at not getting to hear Curt Guyette speak, I did not mind the gap in the schedule as things just moved on gracefully.

In reflecting on my 2017 conference experience, I am very thankful for this opportunity.  I am thankful to have received an NNLM GMR Professional Development Award to attend the conference.  I had hoped to take some CEs, and learn from the vendors, paper and poster presenters, and the keynote speaker, but what I learned most is how important personal interaction still is and how valuable physical attendance at a conference is.  Even the “fun” sessions like the welcome party, karaoke night, and down-time are not just icing on the cake, but opportunities to really build relationships among colleagues, have some great discussions, and even establish some mentor and mentee relationships.

All in all I was very pleased with my conference experience – and that is the goal, after all, isn’t it?  I realized that a tight schedule is important, but that just being with and learning from one’s peers is what is most important about conferences.  If I want to learn about a topic I can just search for an article, or watch a video online.  But there is no replacement for meeting people in person.  Even with scheduling snafus, an annual conference still provides that in-person networking and fellowship time that is growing increasingly rare in our society.  I will take this realization back to my 2018 planning work.  I want to keep in mind that building collegial relationships is the most important thing in a conference, not the production of a perfectly smooth, clockwork event.  In that spirit, we can almost guarantee that the Cleveland conference next year will Shake, Rattle, and Roll!!

Donald Pearson, MBA/MIS, MLIS, AHIP
Library Technology Specialist, Mount Carmel Health Sciences Library
Columbus, Ohio |


Posted on behalf of Don Pearson, by Helen Spielbauer

Categories: RML Blogs