National Network of Libraries of Medicine
English Arabic Chinese (Simplified) French Hindi Japanese Korean Persian Portuguese Russian Spanish

GMR News

Subscribe to GMR News feed
The blog of NNLM Greater Midwest Region
Updated: 1 hour 1 min ago

Funding Awarded to UMN for Research Data Management Education

3 hours 49 min ago

The GMR is excited to announce that the Health Sciences Libraries at the University of Minnesota have been awarded a Research Data Management (RDM) Award to support research data management services! The project will expand RDM education not only within their institution but across the GMR as well!

Project Description

This project has two goals:

  1. Enable health science librarians at institutions throughout the GMR to build research data management knowledge and skills and develop actionable next steps to provide data services at their libraries
  2. Enable health science faculty and graduate/professional students at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) to better understand data management best practices, be better positioned to prepare more competitive grant proposals, and learn how to prepare datasets for preservation, sharing, and re-use

To address Goal 1, the University of Minnesota will fund up to twelve travel stipends for librarians across the GMR to travel to Minneapolis and attend a special MLA CE approved Data Management Course. Librarians will be selected through a competitive application process.

To accomplish Goal 2, a data management workshop will be hosted on the University of Minnesota Duluth campus for up to 40 faculty and students. In person consultations will also be offered following the workshop to offer more personalized training.

Congrats to UMN and be on the lookout in the coming months for information about applying to attend the Data Management Course in Minnesota!

Categories: RML Blogs

Public Library Spotlight: David J. Kelsey, Outreach Services Librarian, St. Charles Public Library, IL

Wed, 2018-04-25 11:54

photo of David Kelsey in a suit with a green tieName: David J. Kelsey

Title: Outreach Services Librarian

Education: Master of Library and Information Studies, University of Rhode Island

About the St. Charles Public Library and the Outreach Services Department:

The St. Charles Public Library is located in St. Charles, Illinois, which is 35 miles west of the city of Chicago. The Library serves a population of 55,000 residents. The Outreach Services Department of the St. Charles Public Library (consisting of David Kelsey, Dana Hintz, Lynda Spraner, and Christine Steck) provides library materials, programming, and engagement activities to nine senior facilities, three home care facilities, and fifteen homebound patrons a month. Outreach Services presents weekly, biweekly, and monthly programming at seven senior facilities, presenting over 25 programs a month that engage over 250 seniors. The Outreach team also facilitates fifteen community book and magazine exchanges including at our local hospital, homeless shelter, judicial center, Salvation Army, and clinics that provide free counseling, medical, and dental services to individuals living below the poverty line.

Why is health literacy important in your community?

Alzheimer’s disease has personally affected millions of Americans and their families. The Alzheimer’s Association reports that more than five million Americans currently live with Alzheimer’s disease and that this number could boom as high as sixteen million in 2050.  Everyone has been touched by Alzheimer’s disease – whether having served as a caretaker, provided monetary support, or offered comfort and guidance to those in need. As outreach professionals, we meet people living with dementia each and every day. Our goal is to bring information, resources, materials, and programming to our senior population including those living with dementia and memory loss. We bring the library out to the senior community – to educate, to inspire memories, to provide engagement activities, and to make a difference in those we serve.

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

Through our programming and engagement activities, I hope that our Outreach Services Department can make a positive and meaningful difference in the lives of our seniors. I hope that we can make a lasting impact in the community and those we serve. My belief is that Outreach is about impact. You might not realize you have reached an individual living with memory loss, but you have. They might not engage, but you are definitely reaching them.

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

The St. Charles Public Library developed the “Attic” Memory Wagon which features vintage and antique items. These items inspire memories, engage patrons, and invigorate the senses. We feature new “Attic” programs every month revolving around three themes: fashion, household appliances and products, and travel in the USA. Recent “Attic” programs include Howard Johnson’s, Holiday Inn, Pan American Airlines, depression glassware, Fiesta pottery, Route 66, Texaco and Sinclair Oil, 1950’s fashion and jewelry trends, and national parks of the United States. We purchase items from antique and thrift stores, the flea market, and online at Etsy.

We developed informational handouts to accompany the programs that feature facts, trivia, and photographs. Favorite patron comments during “Attic” programs include, “This takes me to way back when,” “These bring back great memories,” and, “I used to wear something just like that.” A fond memory was when three ladies modeled a blue pillbox hat, a style made famous by First Lady Jackie Kenney in the 1960’s. We present “Attic” programs at six facilities each month which engage ninety seniors.

David and Lynda will be presenting about their outreach services in a webinar on Friday, April 27th, Grab and Go: Expanding and Strengthening Senior Programming


Categories: RML Blogs

Should Health Sciences Librarians be Involved with Big Data in Healthcare?

Mon, 2018-04-23 09:03

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: Mary Wittenbreer, Head Medical Librarian, Regions Hospital, St. Paul, MN

I would like to give an enthusiastic YES to the question “Should health sciences librarians get involved with big data in healthcare?” I believe that librarians have the skill sets to provide assistance and collaborate with most professions. However the size of my yes gets bigger or smaller when I step back and look at my current situation.

I am a hospital librarian in a regional integrated healthcare system with a large research and education institution. As hospital librarians, our first priority is assisting and providing clinicians with knowledge-based resources for patient care. I don’t want to make this into an issue about not having adequate staff and time but it does come into play. The librarians in the Read article spent a substantial amount of time reading the literature, choosing and creating questions, selecting the study participants and conducting the interviews and then analyzing the results to determine how and what the librarians could assist the researchers. In my institution, I would need a champion who had already half-way convinced those doing research that it would be worth their time to speak with a librarian. I am not saying that this is impossible, but the challenge is there. Or do I need to get over this and accept that not being adequately staffed is the new norm.

Hospital librarians are very capable in training researchers in how to best store and archive data and how to make it findable for future users. We are also capable of writing instructions for standardizing these processes. Our skill set allows us to step-in at the beginning of a project to help organize and identify any special services that might be needed. I particularly liked Martin’s view that at the center of all this big data collection is the user, not the data. Her division of user’s needs into different buckets was helpful in that it put into perspective, one piece at a time, what a librarian’s role would be in each category. Thus breaking big data into smaller pieces.

But I have to admit my eyes glaze over at the mention of R, Python, Tableau,  LOCKSS, and CLOCKSS. This class, I feel, did an excellent job of introducing me to Data Science and its language. I felt that I could read the articles without having to look up too many definitions. Looking back to 9 weeks ago, I realize how little I really understood about Big Data. Now I realize that I know probably just enough to confuse myself and others. I am definitely caught in a training gap and it is decision time. Do I continue to educate myself and suggest to my co-workers to do as well, or do I stop because nothing will ever come of any additional training.

Then my inner librarian voice speaks up and says, “Keep Going!” There are many opportunities for librarian involvement in Data Management within my organization.  Researchers have been extracting patient population data from the EMR for a number of years. They may have systems in place for storing, archiving and sharing but I won’t know until I ask. Holding information interviews might very well be possible for me and my co-workers to handle. Find that champion. Take more courses.

I realize that my situation may be unique in the hospital library world. Not all hospitals have an established research arm. If a librarian’s job is to organize information, data is information. Librarians will need to know how to search the data sets and interpret the meaning just as we do different databases and journal article types. To not be involved in Big Data or to not train future librarians in Data Science is not forward thinking. In the 2017-2027 NLM Strategic Plan Dr. Brennan states in From the Director section, “The very nature of libraries is changing.” I say a big YES.


Categories: RML Blogs

So you want to be an outreach librarian? Spotlight on Katherine Chew

Mon, 2018-04-16 14:48

Who knew there was such a thing as “outreach on a stick”? If you’re in Minnesota, like this month’s GMR Partner Outreach Librarian, Katherine Chew, you might know. From ice cream, taffy apples, and every deep fried food you can think of (olives!), the Minnesota State Fair takes the on-a-stick notion to new heights.


Name: Katherine Chew
Title: Research/Outreach Services, University of Minnesota Bio-Medical Library, Minneapolis, MN

  1. How long have you been in the role of an outreach librarian?
    Officially November of 2014, practically (i.e. first outreach activity/event) April 2015.
  2. How did you get involved in outreach?
    When our Public Health/Outreach Librarian, Anne Beschnett, left in October 2014, I got tapped for the Outreach role for three reasons: (1) I had helped Anne with exhibiting, (2), at the time I had the most flexibility with my current job duties to take on fulfilling the outreach contract and (3) the library director had decided that as part of recruiting for a new Public Health Librarian, that outreach would be replaced by data curation duties, so outreach became a permanent part of my job.
  3. What is your favorite outreach project that you’ve done so far?
    The most favorite outreach activity is staffing a booth at the Minnesota State Fair. It is fun, exhausting (on your feet for six to nine hours), exhilarating, informative and a great way to interact with people. All shapes, sizes, ages, genders, educational levels, nationalities and work disciplines stop by and you get to hear great stories and pass on lots of information.
  4. What outreach activity do you hope to do in the future?
    Don’t have an answer for that — still trying to perfect the ones I am doing now.
  5. What is the one thing you wished you had known before you got started in outreach?
    How difficult it can be to get people to come to an instructional session at a conference and some tips and tricks to get people to show up.
Categories: RML Blogs

Reflections on Big Data in Healthcare: Exploring Emerging Roles

Mon, 2018-04-16 09:35

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: Nicole Montgomery, MISLT, AHIP, Librarian, Assistant Professor, CoxHealth Systems and Cox College, Springfield, MO

I am certain that Health Sciences Librarians should be involved with anything healthcare. This is our job.

I have often teased that we are the bartenders of our institutions. We have a seat in the organization that is unique to any other in that it allows us to interact with everybody. Literally, everybody! From the person who cleans the library, to the CEO of the hospital, or the people who work in financial services, the nurse on the floor, an occupational therapy student, a patient who just learned her baby will be staying in the NICU, or a physician trying to determine the best treatment for a difficult case. We hear people’s stories; we hear their frustrations and sometimes lend an ear when they need one. Librarians are intrinsically user-focused.

We typically get to know our users, and we are able to see the overall picture of the information they are seeking. Because of our familiarity with our users, if a physician needs insight into a nutrition-related topic, I am in a position to know which dietician on staff will likely be able and willing to answer his questions. Or, when the college I work with decides to investigate some cool 3-D equipment, I am able to suggest collaborating with the hospital’s residency program to share the cost and make the most of using the equipment. The real-life examples are endless, but ultimately, we desire to bridge the gap between departments, disciplines and people with like-interests; because we know that working together is usually better than staying in our silos.

What I am not certain of, is to what level we should be involved with big data initiatives. In the light of Big Data, I believe most librarians still have a lot to learn about our organizations before we may answer the question about our level of involvement. I imagine we will all find different answers.

In conjunction to exploring our institutions, I think librarians need to begin discussions in an attempt to answer how Big Data may impact libraries. We need to ask ourselves questions about the future such as: will we still have print books, current journals and stacks of bound serials? Will libraries still exist as brick and mortar buildings? Will all of our materials be delivered electronically? Will the librarian simply become a person behind a computer screen? Will our profession become a fond memory of the past, just like the card catalog? What will the entire publishing industry look like? Krumholz briefly addresses the question about the publishing industry on p. 1169 of his article by saying, “In the future, the products of scientific inquiry may evolve from a static journal publication to a more dynamic platform for presenting and updating results.” Brennan predicts the same at 1:10:21 of her presentation. She says (with an apology to any journal editors), “We’re moving pretty quickly away from journal articles and pretty fast into blogs…and shared knowledge building. In health sciences, the “bread and butter” of our world is journal articles. While we, as librarians, typically pride ourselves on being willing to embrace technology, I think the inception of Big Data into our world may challenge us and may change our profession in a way we cannot yet imagine.

In an effort to give us a place to begin, librarian Elaine R. Martin provides a proposed “Data Management Framework for Librarians.” She says her proposed framework is user-centered and includes five “buckets”: Data Services, Data Management Practices, Data Literacy, Archives/Preservation, and Data Policy. Without delving into explaining each “bucket” within this essay, it is easy to say that each proposed bucket provides familiar concepts to librarians. For instance, the Data Services bucket, “…may include the following activities: assessing researcher needs, performing an institutional data environmental scan, conducting the research interview, designing a suite of services such as assistance with DMPs [Data Management Practices] based on user needs, etc.” These concepts are digestible for librarians and definitely provide us with a place to start.

While my parallel of being the bartenders of our institutions is intended to be humorous, there is quite a bit of truth to this. No matter what changes the future holds, as librarians, we will instinctively do our part.


  1. Krumholz, HM. Big Data And New Knowledge In Medicine: The Thinking, Training, And Tools Needed For A Learning Health System
  2. Brennan, Patti. NINR Big Data Boot Camp Part 4: Big Data in Nursing Research
  3. Martin, Elaine R. The Role of Librarians in Data Science: A Call to Action
Categories: RML Blogs

Stand Up for Health: Health and Wellness Services for Your Community PLA Pre-Conference Workshop, Philadelphia, PA, March 20, 2018

Tue, 2018-04-10 18:06

Written for Midwest Matters by Sherri McConnell

view of a large conference with large round black tables that seat people. About 50 people sitting around the tables in business casual attire.

What happens when a roomful of librarians get together to talk, eat and breathe health and wellness for a day? You get enthusiastic conversation, lots of ideas and determination to create programming at their home libraries. On March 20 over 80 librarians from all over the country got together at a Public Library Association pre-conference workshop to learn about health information from knowledgeable NNLM staff and to learn from each other. Participating in the workshop and doing a little homework earned you the Consumer Health Information Specialist certification from the Medical Library Association. At my table sat librarians from Kansas, Vermont, and Pennsylvania (and I’m a Michigander), and all day long we shared our program successes and challenges. Librarians are fascinating people, and I heard from two of them during the introductions: a librarian preparing to ride her horse across Michigan and another who built a Hobbit-themed wine cellar in her basement with her sisters.

In the next 7 hours we covered large topics like the definition of health literacy and challenges to library staff in providing health information in a public setting; finding and accessing sources of health information; creating programming and finding community partners; how to measure program efforts with PLA’s Project Outcome; and learning about NNLM’s funding opportunities for public libraries. The fun was in the details. Here are some gems:

Health Literacy: If you’re a public librarian you have probably experienced the difficulty of a health reference interview, and we talked about what that means for providing accurate, trustworthy information. Answers to health questions need to be tailored to who’s doing the asking and why. The question may be complicated but the answer needs to be uncomplicated. Appearance is not a clear indication of health literacy level, and many people don’t want to admit that they don’t understand the information given to them.

Health Reference: Our number one challenge is that patrons think we know everything,  but the great news is that there are so many reliable resources thanks to the National Library of Medicine and MedlinePlus. More great resources can be found here on the NNLM website. And remember when judging health resources use these guidelines to measure trustworthiness, the CRAAP test or the Trust It or Trash It test.

Free Professional Development and Stuff: Librarians are always looking for professional development opportunities and NNLM offers free, online classes on consumer health. Check out the schedule here.  Libraries can also order free materials on topics like aging, mental health, exercise and heart health here. Did you know there is a MedlinePlus magazine that your library can receive for free? If you are a fan of MedlinePlus and you would like to share that enthusiasm with your patrons, you can find subscription information here.

Popular vs. Science-Based Selection: Selectors of the 600s and beyond know this struggle very well, balancing science-based titles with patron demand for popular titles from the likes of Dr. Oz and Dr. Mercola. The discussion was lively but the issue went unresolved. As always we must balance professional judgment with meeting the demands of our communities.

Sharing experiences: The best part of the day. Boards of Post-It Notes displayed program successes and challenges, and we gathered in groups to share experiences. There were too many ideas to write down but this photo gives you an idea of the wealth. If you are looking for more ways to share your program ideas, you can do that on the Programming Librarian. If you want to discuss health in libraries, this Facebook page is a good place to start, Libraries are Champions of Healthy Communities. Just ask for permission to join.

view from the front of a large conference room. A podium with a computer is in the foreground, the back are about 6 tables that seat 6 people. About 30 people are seated around them




Categories: RML Blogs

Celebrate DNA Day on April 25th!

Mon, 2018-04-09 17:40

DNA Day badge

Each year, April 25th marks National DNA Day, a date that celebrates the first published papers on the structure of DNA back in 1953. The National Genome Research Institute (NGRI) celebrates DNA Day every year, providing students, teachers and the public with opportunities to learn about genomic research. DNA Day activities are celebrated across the nation, take a look and see if there’s an event near you! If you’re interested in organizing your own event, check out the National DNA Day Starter Kit and consider applying for support through our funding opportunities. GeneEd also provides resources targeting DNA Day, including games, curriculum for teachers, and even origami DNA.

This year, the NGRI is celebrating the 15th anniversary of the completion of the Human Genome Project with a 15 for 15 Celebration. This event will feature 15 ways in which genomics has  influenced our world, each unveiled throughout the month of April. As a part of the celebration, NIH’s director, Francis Collins, will kick off a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” discussion which starts Friday, April 20th from noon-2pm (1-3pm Eastern). For a full schedule of events, go to NHGRI’s National DNA Day website.

Categories: RML Blogs

Successful Funding – Community Conversations at Westchester Public Library!

Tue, 2018-03-27 11:00

For months our local ‘Community Conversations’ group was grappling with how to get funding to bring Alzheimer’s Speaks Founder, Lori LaBey to our area.  We had been seeing an increase in the number of patrons that were attending our Alzheimer’s Association programs here at Westchester Public Library and wanted to bring them more information on the subject.  Lo and behold, I attended my first ALA conference in Chicago and got to meet our NNLM, Greater Midwest Region Rep, Bobbi Newman. She listened to the problems we were experiencing with getting Lori to our area and spoke to me about the opportunities that NNLM offered public libraries.  After working diligently on the NNLM grant, we were overjoyed to be chosen to receive the Public Library Outreach Award for Community Conversations with Lori LaBey!

Our Community Conversations committee met to assign duties to the local partners to get the ball rolling on this event.  Working through some setbacks in November, we finally secured the dates with Lori to arrive in March. We planned for 2 events at Westchester Public Library and thought we would plan the 3rd event at a nearby local community college that had a nursing program.  We decided to have an early morning session for this event along with a 10-table health fair. Always expect the unexpected and have a backup plan! Five days before the event, we chose to cancel the community college session due to low attendance.

I proceeded to contact a neighboring high school that had a vocational health sciences program to see if they were interested in hosting Lori LaBey at their school.  They were thrilled to hear that this was a possibility and asked if she could speak to 2 classes. I immediately contacted Lori, and she was thrilled that she got the chance to talk to our future caregivers.  After speaking to the first class, the teacher introduced the student officers to Lori. The president of the class bravely told us her story that the class had decided to champion Alzheimer’s earlier in the school year when her Grandmother had passed away from this incurable disease in October 2017.  They organized a fashion show to raise funds for Alzheimer’s and wanted to donate the proceeds to Alzheimer’s Speaks!

During the 2 events at the Westchester Public Library, Lori presented the film, His Neighbor Phil, which showed how dementia relates to your own family, circle of friends, workplace, and business.  After the film, she discussed ‘caring roles’ and ‘protection vs. perceptions’ and why care partner roles are changing, as well as answer questions.  Our local Community Conversation partners provided grab-n-go food bags, water, tissues and pens for the evaluations for all the events. These educational events were free to the public.  We had a great turnout for all the sessions and Lori stayed long over the end of the program to answer the audience’s questions.

Room at a public library set with conference chairs filled with people facing a speaker at a podium

Categories: RML Blogs

Can I Find Information about Research in Progress?

Tue, 2018-03-20 09:31


What if I told you there’s a way to search for information about research that’s in progress before results are available in published format?  I know. I know. You must be thinking…there’s no way!

But, there is!

Enter the National Library of Medicine’s Health Services Research Projects in Progress (HSRProj) database.

HSRProj houses more than 32,000 ongoing and recently completed health services, system, and policy research projects and has added 1,000 new projects since the start of 2018.

Interested in learning more? You can visit the HSRProj website or consider taking NNLM’s 2-hour self-paced course Online Resources to Support Evidence-Based Practice on Population Health: An introduction to MedlinePlus, PubMed, and HSRproj. The course includes a tutorial on HSRProj and how it ties into MedlinePlus and PubMed!

HSRProj Description


Categories: RML Blogs

Focus Group Invitation for Public Library Workers

Fri, 2018-03-02 10:53

This focus group is part of our ongoing partnership with the Public Library Association.

We are looking for public library workers to participate in virtual focus groups this spring. We’re looking for both paraprofessional and professional library workers. Would you or anyone on your staff be interested in participating?

The purpose of the research is to understand better the challenges and rewards of providing health information in public libraries. We are interested in library workers’ questions, experiences, concerns and success stories – it’s all useful to us!

The focus groups will happen by telephone and will last 1.5 hours; we are scheduling on all days of the week except Sundays. Audio tapes will be made of the groups, and only members of the study team will transcribe these audiotapes. No individual person or library will be identified in the transcripts or publications; individual speakers will be referred to as, for example, “Reference Assistant Kansas-1.” Participation will last approximately 1.5 hours. As a token of our appreciation, each participant will receive an Amazon gift card worth $25 (which can be donated to your library if employees are not permitted to be compensated).

If you can help us by participating, thank you!

To Sign Up, Please contact Catherine directly.

Catherine Arnott Smith
Preferred contact: Email:
Office phone: 608-890-1334

Associate Professor,
The Information School
University of Wisconsin-Madison
600 N. Park Street Madison, WI 53706

Please do not hesitate to contact Catherine if you have any questions about this study.

Categories: RML Blogs

Save the Date: Midwest Data Librarian Symposium (MDLS) 2018

Wed, 2018-02-28 10:51

SAVE THE DATE! The Iowa State University Library in Ames, IA will be hosting the 2018 Midwest Data Librarian Symposium (MDLS) on October 8-9, 2018.

MDLS 2018 is intended to provide Midwestern librarians who support research data management the chance to network and expand their research data-related knowledge base and skill sets. It is open to all who wish to attend, including those from the Midwest and beyond as well as librarians in training.

Attendance to this event is capped and decided on a first-come, first-served basis. Stay tuned for more announcements, follow @MW_DataLibSym on Twitter, or check the MDLS webpage for updates as they become available

Questions should be directed to

Categories: RML Blogs

Stand Up for Health: Health and Wellness Services for Your Community

Thu, 2018-02-08 16:17

PLAAs part of our ongoing partnership with the Public Library Association(PLA) and supplemental funding from the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM), our office has developed a new course on health information for public library staff. In developing this course, we partnered with OCLC WebJunction and the College of Education at the University of Iowa to incorporate feedback from participants and best practices for online learning. Stand Up for Health: Health and Wellness Services for Your Community is a 12 credit continuing education (CE) credit course, delivered both online and in-person.



Beginning March 5th, Bobbi Newman of GMR and Carolyn Martin from PNR will lead the first cohort of public library staff through the new course. This cohort is part of the supplemental project itself, and will provide feedback which we will use to make final updates to the course. The class will be asynchronous and run for four weeks. Public library staff who are interested in enrolling in this cohort can apply by filling out an online form.

Due to high interest in the course, we will be offering it again April 23rd-May 20th. Registration for that class will be through the NNLM courses website and will open March 5th.


The in-person course will be taught as a PLA pre-conference. Attendees will be required to do 2 hours of pre-course work, attend the eight-hour in-person session, and complete a 2-hour take-home assignment in order to receive their 12 CE credits. Registration is still open!

Stay tuned for more in-person opportunities!

Consumer Health Information Specialization

All public library staff who complete either the online or in-person version will receive the Consumer Health Information Specialization (CHIS) certificate from the Medical Library Association (MLA) compliments of NNLM!

Stand up for Health


Categories: RML Blogs

So you want to be an outreach librarian? Spotlight on Judith Wiener

Wed, 2018-02-07 09:05

This month’s spotlight brings us to the far eastern reach of the GMR, the state of Ohio. Say hello to Judy Wiener, who has been a GMR outreach librarian since…well, let’s find out more about her in her own words. Thanks, Judy, for all you do in support of the NNLM mission.judy_wiener_headshot

Name: Judith A. Wiener, MA, MLIS
Title: Associate Director and Assistant Director, Collections and Outreach, The Ohio State University Health Sciences Library

Our five questions:

  1. How long have you been in the role of an outreach librarian?  I have served as an outreach librarian to the GMR at the OSU Health Sciences Library since 2009.
  2. How did you get involved in outreach? My background is in special collections and public history so the focus of my entire professional career has always had a public outreach component. In 2009, I was asked to extend my outreach responsibilities beyond the special collections department of our library when I accepted the position as Assistant Director for Special Collections and Outreach.
  3. What is your favorite outreach project that you’ve done so far? I feel most proud of the work we have done to develop a consumer health course for public librarians in Ohio. This year, the program will have an even larger reach when we record a webinar that can be viewed upon demand in the future. I find connecting public librarians to the resources they need to meet the needs of their customers extremely rewarding.
  4. What outreach activity do you hope to do in the future? We are currently working with our colleagues across the OSU Library System to develop outreach programming to help support the information needs of those deeply impacted by the opioid crisis. We are at the beginning phase of developing a needs assessment plan but hope we can pull together resources and programs that will help those on the frontline of this issue in our state.
  5. What is the one thing you wished you had known before you got started in outreach? I wish I knew how much support was available as an outreach librarian. At first,  I was not aware of all of the resources and help available from colleagues and from the GMR office and it was overwhelming! I felt like I was drinking out of a firehose. In time I have learned that everyone is willing to help and to collaborate in order to make outreach programming a success.
Categories: RML Blogs

Public Library Spotlight: Glenna Godinsky, Life Enrichment Liaison, Gail Borden Public Library District, Elgin, IL

Tue, 2018-01-30 09:18

photo of Glenna GodinskyName: Glenna Godinsky

Title: Life Enrichment Liaison, Gail Borden Public Library District, Elgin, IL

Education: B.A., University of Iowa, Certified Dementia Practitioner, National Council of Certified Dementia Practitioners

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

Like many, I was a caregiver as each of my parents faced different health struggles. My mom had Lewy Body Dementia and lived with my husband, our 2 teenage boys, our pre-teen daughter, and me during the last 4 years of her life. We became versed on bed alarms, door alarms, the concept of sundowning (when nights turn to days), the drive to wander, repeated questions and anxiety, hallucinations, and confusion – not only as a result of my mom’s disease, but also in ourselves, as caregivers who struggled to find a place to turn for support.

In applying for and accepting the professional role of Life Enrichment Liaison at Gail Borden Public Library District (GBPLD), I hoped to be able to make a difference in the lives of seniors living with dementia as well as their caregivers. Compassion for the situation followed by uplifting library programming that brings a level of normalcy and empowerment is my goal during each patron interaction.

Why is health literacy important in your community?

As 10,000 people turn age 65 each day, ( and with the knowledge that dementia is an age-related health issue (48% of those age 85+ showed some signs of dementia in the 2004 JAMA study by Langa, K.M, Foster, N.L. & Larson, E.B.) caregivers, as well as those living with dementia, need resources to help manage many of the everyday situations that had previously been so simple. How long is it safe for someone to drive? Is there an understanding customer service person to help when a customer becomes flustered or agitated? These are societal situations that have consequences for us all.

As library professionals, we have an opportunity and a responsibility to educate our residents by providing materials, virtual reference, services, and programs. The GBPLD is the largest library district in the State of Illinois for the population served.  Most of the library’s 150,000 patrons live in Elgin, a diverse ethnic and socio-economic population with many older adults below poverty level. The library’s 200+ staff work together with 600 volunteers and more than 200 community partners to deliver library services and programs.

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

The role of the library has changed in the last 15 years. One of the facets libraries provide in our democratic country is a safe space for open discourse. We hope to take the lead in creating conversations on how we can best create a dementia-friendly community. We hope to lead by example by providing sustainable, quality library programs based in literacy, offering multiple forms of expression, for those living with dementia and for their caregivers. One of the GBPLD’s strategic plan priorities is the “Community Table: partnerships are forged to foster a healthy and democratic citizenry” with an objective, “Residents will be connected with community resources to promote physical, intellectual, and emotional wellbeing.”

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

The GBPLD serves patrons in 20 locations throughout our 65-square mile district of over 150,000 patrons. On a monthly basis, teams of volunteers and staff present the Library Ladies programs which are theme-based and incorporate use of the arts – such as music, hands-on visual art projects, singing, and interactions involving the 5 senses –  to revisit popularly shared memories such as “The State Fair”, “Take Me to A Ball Game”, “Art History”, and “Cruise Ships to Subway Trips: Transportation in America”, to name a few.

Our Volunteers and staff also present, on a bi-monthly basis, the nationally-recognized, award-winning Tales and Travel Memories program where patrons “visit” a foreign country through books featuring colorful photography, informative captions and plenty of white space on the pages to alleviate confusion. In addition to reading aloud the 5 facts about the country, patrons also take turns reading paragraphs from a folktale. They pass around and discuss souvenirs such as dolls dressed in native attire, tactile refrigerator magnets of landmark buildings in the country, and the national flag. In November 2017, Tales and Travel Memories was among 15 organizations recognized by the Library of Congress and awarded for their implementation of best practices in literacy promotion and evidence-based research.

The results of such library programming have been proven to improve mood, increase social interaction and decrease the stigma of dementia. Participating in Library Ladies and Tales and Travel programs can be empowering to those who face dementia, and this is uplifting for their caregivers.

Glenna will be participating in our February Webinar: Tales & Travel Memories: Literacy-focused Programming for People with Dementia, a Kernel of Knowledge Webinar

Categories: RML Blogs

Upcoming Funding Opportunities – Get Ready for Spring!

Mon, 2018-01-29 13:42

The GMR funded a number of health information projects this year, awarding over $450,000 to public libraries, academic institutions, public health agencies, health sciences library organizations, and community health organizations across the ten-state region. While our funding is exhausted for this year, it’s time to start thinking about applying for our next funding cycle! Using feedback from our advisory groups, our office is making changes to our awards coming out in the spring. These changes include:

  • A new funding level of $20,001 – $50,000 for large health information outreach projects, with a deadline for applications of April 1, 2018 for these projects. We are able to fund up to three projects at this level, and will evaluate applications following the April 1, 2018 deadline.
  • Opening up eligibility of Professional Development awards to include more members in our region; previously, this was restricted to health sciences librarians.
  • Offering more Professional Development awards in anticipation of more applications! The awards will be offered quarterly with an application deadline for each quarter to maintain funding throughout the year.
  • Consolidation to fewer types of awards, namely Health Information Outreach, Research Data, and Professional Development awards.

Spring garden

We’ll be updating our funding opportunities page with applications and detailed information as soon as these are approved by our sponsoring agency. For now, here are some dates to keep in mind as you plan your projects:

  • Deadline for $20,001 – $50,000 funding category is April 1, 2018
  • Professional Development Award deadlines: May, August, November & February
  • Applications for all other awards will be accepted beginning April 1, 2018, and will be made on an ongoing basis until funds are spent.


If you have a project in mind and would like to consult with staff at the GMR office, please contact us at

Categories: RML Blogs

UC Libraries and IT@UC Host THIRD ANNUAL UC DATA Day

Tue, 2018-01-23 09:52

Data Day logoJanuary 22, 2018 – The University of Cincinnati Libraries and IT@UC announce the 3rd annual UC DATA Day. Scheduled for Tuesday, March 6 from 8:30 a.m. – 4:15 p.m. in Nippert Stadium West Pavilion on UC’s Main Campus (see directions), UC DATA Day 2018 offers a full schedule of engaging events that will reveal solutions to data challenges and foster a community of best practices around improved data management. All events are free and include lunch. The public is welcome.

Registration is now open at  Seats are limited, so register early.

The UC DATA Day 2018 keynote speaker is Patricia Flatley Brennan, RN, PhD, director of the National Library of Medicine (NLM). The NLM is the world’s largest biomedical library and the producer of digital information services used by scientists, health professionals and members of the public worldwide. Prior to her work at the NLM, she was the Lillian L. Moehlman Bascom Professor, School of Nursing and College of Engineering, at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

The day will include panel discussions on “Game Changing Data: How Data is being used to affect change,” “Big Data” and “Data Solutions: Your Questions Answered.”

In addition, attendees can participate in two technical sessions on data analysis and data visualization with Python. During lunch, service providers will speak on how they support researchers and research data management.

For more information, contact Tiffany Grant, interim assistant director for research and informatics, at (513) 558-9153 or

Categories: RML Blogs

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