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Reflections From MLA 2012 Professional Development Awardees

This year, NN/LM PNR funded several of our Network Members to attend Continuing Education Courses at the Medical Library Association’s Annual Meeting in Seattle.  We asked them to send in some of their thoughts and reflections after attending their classes.  Read on to see what they had to say:

Heather J. Martin, Director, Library Services, Providence Health & Services, Portland, OR

I would like extend a big thank you to the NN/LM PNR for providing me with a Professional Development award which allowed me to take the MLA CE course “Redesigning Libraries for the 21st Century” in Seattle this year. As I have just transitioned into a new role as the Director of Library Services for our regional health care system, it couldn’t have been better timing as we are taking a more regional approach to library services, and with that comes a strategic plan, and potential remodel of one or two of our library facilities. The course provided a lot of great information, and good handouts. It was at times a bit discouraging as the instructor showed examples of all the innovative and functional things you could do if you had the money to do it. Which we likely won’t. But, it was encouraging to hear that other people are in the same boat as we are, and I know I’ll be able to use some of the things I learned as we head into this new future. Thanks again!

Susan Banks, Librarian, Bastyr University, Kenmore, WA

Having worked with hundreds of nutrition students at Bastyr University, I’ve always interpreted the acronym RDA as recommended daily allowance. But recently, it’s taken on a whole new meaning: resource description and access.  Like many part-time catalogers, the idea of learning a whole new set of rules seemed daunting. Fortunately, I got some help by way of a Professional Development award from NN/LM PNR to attend a CE at MLA (how’s that for acronyms): “Cataloging with RDA, Background and Models.”

When I applied for the award, my goals were to gain a fundamental understanding of RDA, and to train other staff members. I’m confident in saying I’m on my way to meeting my aims, at least the first one. Taught by Chamya Kincy (UCLA), a small group of catalogers from a range of institutions jumped feet first into the RDA domain without so much as an AACR2. This fast-paced course covered everything from the historical roots of RDA to practical application and exercises; exactly what I needed!

Coming from a small university, professional development opportunities are limited. I’m grateful to the NN/LM PNR, and especially Gail Kouame, for the award, without which, I’d be scrambling to learn about RDA on my own.

Ann Glusker, Medical Librarian, Group Health Cooperative, Seattle, WA

I was fortunate enough to attend the class, “Optimize Your E-Learning Design and Development: A Hands-On Workshop!” facilitated by Jan Buhmann, from PeaceHealth in Oregon.  Starting with the pre-class wiki, Jan got us involved in thinking of the learning needs of our patrons, and how we might meet them with some learning tools.  In class, we got a chance to create Camtasia projects– I took some screenshots of my library’s site in advance, and made a video of several of the shots, with narration, in which the viewer could follow my mouse movements.  I also did a mini-podcast in the free software, Audacity.  I know from experience how hard it can be to bring a class full of newbies through some very technical content, but Jan made it look easy!  He also showed us some examples of best practices and led us to some fantastic resources– for example, check out .  However, my favorite part of the class was the wide diversity of attendees– people came from so many institution types and with such differing experiences!  There were even two librarians who had come for the conference from Mumbai, India, and Cape Town, South Africa. It made the world feel very small and our work feel very important.  Thanks again to the RML for giving me this fantastic opportunity!

Andrea Dotson. Health Educator, Health Information Resource Center and Patient and Family Education Services, University of Washington Medical Center, Seattle, WA

Finding the Evidence: Evidence Based Practice in Nursing

As a health educator working in a consumer health library at UW Medical Center I found this class very interesting. I was the only non medical-librarian in attendance.  In my work setting I spend a lot of time working with patients and families looking for the health information. Occasionally these visitors are looking for the latest research about an upcoming procedure or treatment they or their loved are facing. This class helped boost my knowledge base about the types of resources available and to assess the quality of the found evidence.  I had heard of “evidence-based” but never really understood all that stood behind it. I now feel I have a very good understanding of the types of nursing research publications as well as how to find the appropriate evidence.

Ann Gleason, Head of Systems, Health Sciences Library, University of Washington, Seattle, WA

At the Medical Library Association’s 2012 Annual Meeting, I attended the Symposium “Managing and Revitalizing your Career as a Medical Librarian” held on Saturday, May 19. I found the symposium to be well-organized with great speakers.  The keynote speaker talked about managing your reputation, including your personal online presence. I hadn’t really thought about this topic before the symposium. The speaker gave several very useful tips for improving online presence that I will implement.  Another speaker focused on professional development and gave me several ideas for networking that I hadn’t previously considered.

The symposium also included several very useful and enlightening exercises. One that I will continue to work on focuses on identifying your core work values. Another activity involved talking with peers about a particular issue with your current work situation. I found it to be very helpful to get unbiased advice from peers.  As a whole, I felt the afternoon at the symposium was well spent. It was thought provoking and gave me several tools to work on as I navigate my career pathways for the future.  Many thanks to NNLM/PNR for funding this workshop.


For information about all of NN/LM PNR’s funding opportunities, visit our Funding page:

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