Public Library Spotlight: Monique Mason, Manager, Science & Technology Division, Akron-Summit County Public Library, Ohio
Name: Monique Mason
Title: Manager, Science & Technology Division, Akron (Ohio)-Summit County Public Library
Education: Master of Library Science (yes, just that, it was a long time ago), 1990, Kent State University, Kent, Ohio
How did you become interested in focusing on Health and Wellness?
Quite by accident! When I started working in the Science & Technology Division as a librarian in 2008, there were already several librarians who were involved in creating our consumer health collection and programming for that area. It wasn’t until 2012 when I became head of the division and noticed all those knowledgeable and dedicated librarians had retired that I realized I needed to get involved with this subject. I have made it a goal for all public service staff in our division to become Consumer Health Information Specialists within one year of being hired. We regularly attend NLM training to keep our skills sharpened, we actively engage with our local public health department to broaden our reach and are out in our community promoting our Health Information Center on a regular basis.
Why is health literacy important in your community?
We are each our own best advocates for our health and well-being. Being able to critically examine health news and information, decide what is valid and what is not will allow each of us to make the best lifestyle choices and to get the best health care possible.
What’s challenging about providing health information in the public library?
Public library staff answer so many different sorts of questions all day. The ability to slow down and offer the thoughtful, compassionate, and detailed reference service required by a patron who may be distressed by a diagnosis can be difficult among all the competing demands to troubleshoot a printer/find a recipe/look up a barcode/download an ebook/find the torque specs for someone’s car tires … That, and medical lingo is like a foreign language.
What’s the impact that you hope to make in your community?
To foster a sense of responsibility for our own health. To help the citizens of Akron, Ohio, realize they can take charge of their healthcare, can learn about the conditions and illnesses they face, discover the best course of treatment, and work to implement that care in tandem with their health care provider; and to discover the importance of healthy lifestyle choices and to realize they can make choices which will impact their health for the rest of their lives.
What is your favorite health related program or outreach that you’ve done?
Hmmm.. this is tough. We do a lot of programming at my library. Here’s two:
- We started a seed sharing library in 2013. This allows us to have both informal conversations and more structured programming about the importance of healthy food choices and the health benefits of gardening and other physical activity.
- Each summer for the past few years we have hosted a weekly lunchtime Tai Chi class in front of our Main Library. It is so fun to see thirty or so people from all walks of life doing Tai Chi on the sidewalk on Main Street in Akron, Ohio. And, perhaps most amazingly for rain-prone northeast Ohio, we have never had to bring this program indoors because of weather.
We are hosting a webinar from Monique in September, “I’m a Librarian, Not a Doctor! Providing Health Information to Public Library Customers” register today!
Have you received your membership certificate yet? If not, expect it before the end of the month. University of Iowa Hardin Library staff and students have been carefully tagging envelopes and inserting the corresponding certificates so that you will receive your new NNLM membership certificate, proudly proclaiming that your institution is a member of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine.
When you get your certificate, please check your organization name for accuracy and also check to see if the NNLM Liaison is correct. Then:
Look up your Member profile online.
Note your NNLM ID number.
Use your Drupal user account to update your record as needed.
Let us know if you need help!
Is a member of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine,
Is dedicated to providing high quality information services and to improving the public’s access to health information, and
Is accorded the benefits of Network membership.
Like many states across the country, Indiana has seen a significant increase in the number of opioid abusers. The state ranks 17th in the number of overdose deaths, and the number of deaths involving heroin use has increased from 7 in 2005 to 239 in 2015.
The GMR office is funding IPRC to develop an e-resources database devoted solely to the topic of the current opioid epidemic, with a particular focus on Indiana, that will feature as subthemes from the homepage educational materials on how to judge the quality of health information resources and links to highlighted National Library of Medicine materials. IPRC will promote the database across the state via multiple paths, including social media, direct mailings, and IPRC staff working in various regions. Outreach efforts will be doubled in Indiana’s 21 medically underserved counties in order to increase visibility to health professionals and community members in these regions.
The implementation of this project aims to fulfill four main goals:
1. Raise awareness and knowledge about the current opioid epidemic in Indiana and nationally
2. Raise awareness about the rich resources available through the National Library of Medicine
3. Raise awareness and knowledge about how to judge the quality of health information to improve decision-making about health care
4. Reach health professionals and the general public, especially in underserved areas
It seems as if it was just yesterday when the GMR office sent out notices to check your membership profile on the NNLM Membership Directory, found on the previous iteration of the NNLM website. You know, the directory that was pulled from DOCLINE? If you were a “Full” member, you could go into DOCLINE® and edit your account. If you were an “Affiliated” member, you would contact the GMR staff to update your membership. And then you would patiently wait for a new member certificate signed by Dr Lindberg so that you could hang it on the wall to show that your library is a proud NNLM member.
Fast forward to the 2016-2021 Cooperative Agreement with the National Library of Medicine! Look at what has changed: a new Drupal-based Members Directory is in effect, all members are Members (no more Full and Affiliate members–members are members!), the DOCLINE database is back to being used solely for resource sharing, GMR members as individuals can create their own Drupal user accounts and register for classes, and if you are the designated NNLM Liaison, you can edit their organization profiles by logging in through the NNLM website.
What can you do to make sure that your membership certificate finds you? There’s still time to check your organization’s profile in our Members Directory. If you note any errors in addressing, contacts, NNLM liaison, or any other issues, please let me know. Or if you are the adventurous type, log in via the box at the bottom of the GMR homepage. If you need help with your password, there is a link to help you access your account.
As of this writing, you are one of 1,120 Network Members in the Greater Midwest Region and one of 6,737 across the country. If you don’t get your new certificate by the end of August, 2017, please let the GMR office know.
Congratulations to the State Library of Ohio, a Greater Midwest Region member organization. On Friday, August 4th, the library hosts an Open House to celebrate 200 years of providing excellent service to the state of Ohio: it’s government, librarians, and Buckeye residents.
Governor Thomas Worthington established the library in 1817 with a 509-book collection to be used by the state legislator. During its longevity, the library has restructured, remodeled, and reorganized several times. In early June, I had the pleasure of touring the library at its current location, 274 East First Avenue, Columbus. The historic Jeffrey Mining Manufacturing building has been transformed into an expansive, state-of-the art facility with space for rare and valuable collections, six public meeting rooms, and offices for the Kent State University School of Library and Information Science Columbus Program.
For several months, the library staff has worked tirelessly preparing for the birthday party. Several exhibits of special collections and memorabilia are on display. Not to be missed is the Traveling Libraries, the first “bookmobile.” I encourage you to learn more about the State Library of Ohio and its Bicentennial Celebration and to visit.
I applied and was thrilled to receive funding from the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM) office for the Greater Midwest Region’s Professional Development Award. This award enabled me to attend the 2.5-day workshop, Systematic Review Workshop: The Nuts and Bolts for Librarians at the University of Pittsburgh’s Falk Library of the Health Sciences from July 17 to 19, 2017. As a newbie in the systematic reviews (SR) world, the workshop was ideal—it clarified my confusion in distinguishing among meta-analyses, SRs, and other types of reviews (e.g. narrative review) and the role of librarians as well as the importance of PubMed. We examined several types of reviews. Despite following the same standards (e.g. Institute of Medicine and PRISMA), some SRs may be of poor quality. I am planning on incorporating the information we learned about report bias in SRs in a September workshop in my library at the University of Akron.
At the Welcome Reception, I met my librarian colleagues. The class consisted of 24 academic and hospital librarians who came as far away as California and Florida and included other non-health sciences librarians: one engineering and one instruction librarian. I enjoyed visiting the scenic Duquesne Incline and the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. The host city had an extensive banquet of food choices that were in close proximity to the Falk Library. A friend from Pittsburgh told me that the city has over 700 bridges!
It was clear to us that the SR process is not easy—it is time-consuming, complex, challenging but it can be rewarding in supporting researchers. Not all libraries represented had a formal SR service. The first day of the class focused on theoretical concepts such as introduction to systematic reviews, study design, advice on the reference interview and communicating with the SR team. The instructors gave us examples and urged librarians to always ask for the protocol from the SR team. Clear and ongoing communication is essential. I was surprised at the number of resources, including open access resources that index SRs. On the second day, we concentrated on the heart of the librarian’s role in the SR process—-the literature search. We identified databases, namely PubMed recommended for SRs and several grey literature sources. PubMed was recommended for its comprehensiveness and currency in lieu of licensed MEDLINE databases. Another take home message for me was the importance of searching PubMed effectively—proficient use of PubMed was a must! We also worked in small groups to brainstorm, build a search string and test it using PubMed. The instructors shared examples they had completed with SRs teams and their experiences. Overall, I am more confident and prepared to address questions pertaining to SRs than prior to the workshop. Although we don’t have a current formal Systematic Review services program in my library, the foundations for providing SRs research services are beneficial and core aspects of health sciences librarianship. Being familiar with conducting SRs and honing one’s expertise in advanced PubMed searching contribute positively as we help users with their information seeking research and interests.
Submitted on behalf of Marilia Antúnez, Assistant Professor of Bibliography and Life & Allied Health Sciences Librarian at The University of Akron.
The photos below show the Systematic Review Workshop in action and Marilia and other workshop attendees in front of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh dinosaur.