MLA President 2005/06
On Wednesday, May 10, I represented MLA at the 23rd annual Leiter Lecture held at the National Library of Medicine. The lecture is alternately held at the MLA annual meeting and the NLM. This year’s lecturer was Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease spoke on “Pandemic Influenza and Other Emerging Infectious Diseases: Public Health Threat and the Research Agenda.”
This year’s lecture was especially poignant since it was the first lecture held since Dr. Leiter’s death in May 2005. I had the honor of meeting Dr. Leiter’s two sons who attended this year, traveling from New York and Boston for the occasion. Betsy Humphreys opened with a lovely tribute to Dr. Leiter, a former NLM director for library operations. Dr. Lindberg then introduced Dr. Fauci.
Dr. Fauci began his talk by sharing a quotation from the 1960’s that declared the imminent demise of infectious diseases. Obviously since 26% of deaths worldwide are still due to infectious diseases, this has not happened. He classified infectious diseases into three categories: newly emerging infectious diseases (SARS, etc), re-emerging (diseases occurring in new locations such as West Nile Virus in North America but having begun in Africa), and deliberately emerging (anthrax as a result of terrorist activities). He made an interesting comment regarding AIDS. At one time it was considered an emerging infectious disease, but now, 25 years into the pandemic, it is considered infectious disease. He then discussed the U.S. public health response to disease which integrates money with human capital (researchers, health workers) with research capacity. He stated he felt this was a very effective strategy for addressing pandemics including the possible upcoming avian flu pandemic. The next part of his presentation addressed influenza in general - examining the pandemics of the 20th century and a primer on Influenza 101 detailing how the virus mutates and why it is so dangerous. He feels that we do not take seasonal influenza seriously enough and that if we were as aggressive in our research and treatment of seasonal influenza as we are in preparing for pandemics, we would be well-prepared for pandemics. He was very adamant that everyone should be vaccinated for seasonal influenza every year. This would encourage drug manufacturers to increase production capacity so they would be ready when we need hundreds of millions of doses for a pandemic, the manufacturers can provide them. From this look at influenza, he moved onto what to do in the event of a pandemic. The best strategy is to have a disaster plan for you, your family, and work. He stated quarantine doesn’t work after a pandemic has spread.
After several excellent questions from the audience, we all adjourned to a reception. I was pleased to find that in addition to the live Webcast, the lecture is archived at NLM for on demand viewing. [View Webcast]
Introductions and Welcome
Eugenie Prime opened the forum and welcomed everyone. She introduced Beth Fitzsimmons of NCLIS and Dr. Lindberg of NLM and thanked them for the support of both organizations
Beth Fitzsimmons welcomed everyone and explained the purpose of the NCLIS and how the Commission’s work is accomplished through consumer health projects – helping citizens live healthy lifestyles and using health information.
Dr. Lindberg welcomed everyone and talked about how important direct access to health information is and how the Internet has facilitated patient and consumer empowerment. He stated NLM was very interested in the area of consumer health and feels strongly this is a fertile area for research. He went on to talk about the different projects NLM has supported to make projects accessible to consumers (MedlinePlus, the NNLM, the exhibits.)
Dr. J. Edward Hill, President of the American Medical Association delivered the keynote address. First he paid homage to Senator Lister Hill and his support of libraries and information. He commented on how 46 million people are uninsured and additional 20 million people are underinsured. Bankruptcy due to unpaid medical bills is the second highest cause of bankruptcy. According to Dr. Hill the eight scourges of our society are:
The costs equate to the equivalent of a jet crashing every day. Good health habits need to be taught early. He feels health education should be mandated in our schools. He made a suggestion that librarians and physicians should go together to school boards to promote health education. He stated that libraries were natural places for outreach to students regarding healthy lifestyles. He spoke with Senator Harkin and with Hillary Clinton’s staff about a healthy lifestyle national education agenda funding similar to funding for the highways construction.
Panel I: Health Literacy
Heidi Sandstrom: Moderator
Heidi introduced all the panelists and gave overviews of their projects. She also gave an overview of the topic of health literacy citing the Institute of Medicine reports and further work by the MLA.
It was gratifying that MLA was so well-represented in this panel.
Naomi started by saying that she thought she had invented health literacy and commented on how she has supported health literacy throughout the many turns her career has taken.
Sally Mandler talked about how her passion for health literacy was fueled by her own inability to comprehend health information many years ago.
Jean Shipman blamed her interest in health literacy on her involvement with the RML.
The panelists reacted to questions about 1. the essence of health literacy, 2. effective materials and products – several comments were made about low literacy and the importance of graphics, simplicity, 3. challenges, 4. training – working with patient educators, senior centers – look for opportunities to partner, go to sites, Naomi showed a slide show about her project. Naomi also showed some outcome measures from her project. Relationship, relevance and rigor – 3 R’s.
Panel II: Effective Programs
Moderator: Karen Motylewski
Alberta Richetelle – Healthnet in Connecticut. Librarian to librarian information resource. Started in the 1980’s. Provides information and training support. Started pre-Internet – lots of face-to-face outreach. Obstacles – lack of time, some libraries do not have professional staff. They try to customize and encourage participation, listen more than they talk; publicize, publicize, publicize
Ada Seltzer – Consumer Health Education Center (CHEC). Targeted health disparities in African-American communities. Jackson Medical Mall and University Hospitals and Clinics (rural setting.) Multiple formats, reading levels – variety. Staff are trained to conduct reference interviews. Three steps to empowerment – simple description of health issue, complete description with focus on treatments, life effects, coping, personal involving. Challenges – scarcity of materials, more community-based materials.
Jeanne Farnworth – Portneuf Library Project – outreach to teenagess – Get real, Get fit! A real grassroots effort with lots of giveaways and activities
Panel III: Partnerships and Outreach
Moderator: Barbara Nail-Chiwetalu
Barbara Carlson – REACH 2010 from CDC, started with the public libraries – needed to engage the community.
Elizabeth Schneider – ARCH project – Treadwell in Boston, Flexible-Fickle-Promiscuous, look in your own organization for the partnership, “Surfer” t-shirts for the senior center.
Vickie Rose – Kentucky – working with teens due to son’s illness growing up, Get Real Get Fit, library receives no tax funding – all volunteer staff.
Barbara Shultz – Health Information Center – Memphis Public Library – community was predetermined – needed to do a needs assessment, worked with the local health sciences librarians – attended consumer health training, partner-partner-partner.
When the afternoon sessions were over, we attended a reception honoring all state winners plus the ten finalists. Additionally, the $20,000.00 award winner was announced. I felt there were pretty good odds (5 of the top ten) an MLA member might win the big prize. And I was right! I am pleased to say that Barbara (Bobbi) Carlson from the Medical University of South Carolina won for their REACH 2010 diabetes. I was doubly proud because not only was she an MLA member but the Southeastern/Atlantic Regional Medical Library at my library funded the project. Tears of joy were flowing. Bobbi had members of her community there and everyone was delighted.
MLA was invited to attend a ceremony on May 1, honoring Margaret Ridley Charlton, at McGill University in Montreal. Margaret Charlton was one of the founders, along with Osler and Gould , of the Medical Library Association in 1898. The ceremony was an unveiling ceremony for a plaque of the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada commemorating the national historic significance of Charlton. Executive Director Carla Funk represented MLA at a ceremony that included greetings and remarks by Jean-Claude Marsan from the Historic Sites and Monuments Board, Emeritus Librarian David Crawford, Emeritus Librarian Frances Groen, and Trenholme Libraries Director Janine Schmidt, Francine Emond from Parks Canada.
On April 4, I flew into Providence, RI to begin my three-day whirlwind tour of the library schools of the northeast – Southern Connecticut, Simmons, and the University of Rhode Island. During my inaugural address I said I hoped to visit at least two library schools during my presidential year to promote medical librarianship. And with a little more than six weeks to go until the end of my term, it was finally happening! Tovah Reis, chair of Section Council and Medical School Librarian at Brown University was the mastermind of this trip. She served as the scheduler, handler, entourage, and navigator and my days were full from morning until night. She did a great job pulling everything together and best of all, we never got lost (although we did circle some things a couple of times), even in the winding streets of Boston!
Southern Connecticut State University
From SCSU we zipped across town to Yale. That’s when some of the aforementioned circling took place. But eventually we found ourselves at the Cushing/Whitney Medical Library where first we met with Charlie and Janis to hear about their experiences at SCSU. When medical librarianship courses are offered, they often get canceled because not enough students register so it has been a real challenge to keep the interest of students in these courses. There is work to be done.
Following my meeting with Charlie and Janis, a lovely reception was held in the historical and special collections room of the Cushing/Whitney Library. Over 25 librarians and staff from across Connecticut attended the reception that was co-sponsored by Yale and the Connecticut Association of Health Sciences Librarians (CAHSL).
Later that afternoon, the Massachusetts Health Sciences Library Information Network (MAHSLIN) and the New England Journal of Medicine hosted a reception for me at Simmons. Over 30 people attended, including one of MLA’s icons, Lucretia McClure. It was another wonderful social event. I left Simmons with the thought we might have found a few new recruits.
After breakfast, we wound our way down to the University of Rhode Island where we first lunched with Mike Havener, Director and Professor of the Graduate School of Library and Information Studies. I wanted to make sure I was properly fortified so that I would have the strength to teach a reference class. My topic? “Medical reference from back in the day to today.” Now there’s a joke – the staff at my library come running when they see me attempting to answer a reference question. I think they may be afraid of a lawsuit due to wrongful information. But, what a great time I had teaching! The 16 students were very attentive and asked very thoughtful questions about preparing for medical librarianship. We talked about backgrounds and appropriate volunteer/internship activities, and even how to focus the cover letter and resume. Again, I felt we found more recruits for the pipeline.
At 3:45 I was on a plane heading home after a rigorous, fun, and engaging three days.
The four-hour trip west from Ellicott City, MD, to Pittsburgh for the MLA chapter meeting was not only a trip of a certain physical distance but also a trip to my past. As many of you know, although I was born in Cleveland, I did my “growing up” in the city of Pittsburgh. The three rivers, the houses clinging to hillsides, and the Pittsburgh Steelers occupy a warm spot in my heart. As I left the rolling hills of central Maryland and began the climb into mountains of western Maryland and the Laurel Highlands of western Pennsylvania, I felt my heart lift at familiar sights. I marveled at the sight of the mountains, just beginning to green, rolling for miles around me, in successive rows of blue-gray for as far as the eye can see. As you drive along the PA Turnpike, you see little communities of houses and you have to wonder, “how did these people find this place and, what do they do?” You also remember how bad the roads are in Pennsylvania – some things never change! Over the years, the landmarks of the drive are a way to measure the minutes to your destination.
The Pittsburgh Chapter of MLA met at McKeesport Hospital. McKeesport is a town on the banks of the Monongahela River to the east of the city and as with many municipalities around Pittsburgh, was dependent on the steel industry. With the collapse of the industry in the 80’s, these towns struggled to survive. It’s a shock to drive along the rivers and literally see that the mills that lit the sky all night are gone, replaced by empty lots.
The chapter scheduled a day long CE course with Ann McKibbon entitled “Understanding Nursing Literature: A Primer for Working with Evidence-Based Health Care Principles.” I was the lunchtime speaker and later in the day a business meeting was held. The chapter had a great turnout with over 40 people attending the class. It was so nice to see old friends Karen Zundel, Alice Kuller, Nancy Spears, Charlie Wessel, Ellen Detlefsen, and June Bandemer. Charlie and Andrea Ketchum did a great job organizing the day and attendees came from as far as Illinois to attend the class. Of course, Ann did her usual great job–engaging students in lively discussion and really making them work. What a warm welcome I received!
I modified the fall chapter update slides and took about one-half hour for my talk telling everyone about the highlights of the past year. The two items that seemed to resonate the most with members were Hurricane Katrina [outdated link removed] efforts and the Vital Pathways project. I thanked the chapter for their very generous contribution to the Katrina fund and told everyone a little about how the funds are being spent. Everyone seemed pleased with the program. As I explained the tripartite focus of the Vital Pathways project, I could see a lot of heads nodding in the audience. As has happened at many of the meetings, I heard first hand of the closures and consolidations of libraries, and layoffs of hospital librarians. One gentleman in the audience commented on how encouraged he was about MLA’s attention to the issues with the Vital Pathways project. He dropped his membership in MLA, as a personal protest, a few years back. I hope he rejoins.
Afterward, a number of attendees remarked to me that they are feeling a new sense of vitality in medical libraries and MLA and in their chapter. Based on what I have seen in my travels, I think I agree.
One final note: Ellen Detlefsen informed me US News and World Report has again named the University of Pittsburgh’s program for medical librarians as Number One. Hail to Pitt!
[Baltimore, MD] -- Sarah Jacobs, host of the WWMX-FM “Sunday Morning” show, interviewed M.J. Tooey on Nov. 2 about medical information and MLA resources for consumers. The taped show aired twice, on Nov. 13 and Nov. 20, 2005.
Listen to the recording. (mp3, 36MB; about 30 minutes)
It’s a dirty job being MLA President but someone has to do it. At great personal sacrifice, I attended the wonderful Southern Chapter meeting in San Juan, PR from October 20-24. “Exceeding Our Boundaries: Advocate, Rejuvenate and Celebrate” was the theme of this year’s meeting and what a delightful meeting it was (even if it hadn’t been in Puerto Rico!)
The meeting opened with a wonderful reception at the Museum of Contemporary Art. You know how some receptions have wine bars? This was the first reception I ever attended with a rum bar. I later found out this is the norm. Dr. Angel Roman-Franco was the opening keynote speaker. He gave one of the best talks I have ever heard “Public Health in History: A Personal View.” Many of us were just enthralled with his presentation. Later that day was the first concurrent papers session which was chock full of great presentations. On Sunday, David Gillikin of NLM gave a presentation on PubMed Central which was interest to many people. Then the second session of excellent contributed papers was held with a third session being held in the afternoon. There were also extensive poster sessions. For the banquet there was a great buffet with local performers and an opportunity to learn local dances. Ask me about playing the spoons! Finally, Roger Guard, CIO of the University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center spoke on predicting trends with a talk entitled “Skating to Where the Puck Will be in 2015: Requirements for the Next Decade.”
I gave the MLA update and Carla Funk staffed the MLA exhibit.
It takes a long time to get to Brazil from Baltimore especially if there is a hurricane in the way. But I was not to be deterred and even though Hurricane Rita caused me to lose a travel day, I made it to Salvador, Bahia, Brazil for the 9 th World Congress on Health Information and Libraries entitled “Commitment to Equity.”
And what an adventure it was! Salvador is the oldest city in Brazil and is situated on the coast of Brazil just south of the “bump.” While most people think of Sao Paulo or Rio de Janiero when they think of Brazil, Salvador is truly the city that is the melting pot for the diverse cultures that make up Brazil. And it is a large city – about 2 million strong. As you may know, Brazilians speak Portuguese, which isn’t as similar to Spanish as one might think and unlike Norway, the majority of the population do not speak English. So much pointing and hand gestures were used to get around.
The conference itself was held at the Convention Center of Bahia which was a bus ride away from most conference hotels. There was a great turnout from MLA members with several members (Scott Plutchak, Rick Forsman, and Laurie Thompson to name a few) participating in the program. MLA had a booth and attracted a lot of attention. I spoke as part of a panel and my talk was entitled “Health Libraries in Developed Countries: Many Options, Complicated Issues…” The panel was fascinating with reports from the Middle East, Africa, and South America. I was interviewed by Brazil One television which was an interesting experience since I didn’t speak Portuguese and the interviewer didn’t speak English. An interpreter told me what the interviewer was going to ask me. I nodded as if I understood the Portuguese question and then responded in English and the interviewer nodded knowingly.
It was very interesting to hear speakers from all around the world speaking about the challenges they face daily finding and providing access to quality health information. For some countries, it’s a problem of simply having access to electricity consistently. I learned of some very innovative programs that don’t rely on the web or computers. I was reminded how fortunate we are in the U.S.
About 20 colleagues had dinner at a very Brazilian restaurant called Paraiso Tropical where I ate all sorts of things that I have no idea what they were. And I discovered a very tasty Brazilian drink called a capareina (sp?). It was home the next day where Hurricane Rita tried to stall me on the return trip with her pass through Texas. But 20 hours later I arrived home, another MLA trip under my belt.
Beautiful Portland and the historic Governor Hotel was the site for the annual meeting of the Pacific Northwest Chapter. Their meeting, with the theme of “Medical Libraries: Core of Discovery” was held from October 15-18. What a delightful chapter! Of all the chapter meetings I attended, this was the one where perhaps I knew the least people but I was made to feel so welcome. Chapter members have a warm relationship with their RML staff and it was wonderful to see the cooperation among chapter members.
The meeting itself focused on somewhat on the Lewis and Clark expedition which of course referred to itself as the “Corps of Discovery.” The keynote speaker, Dr. David J. Peck, talked about the medical aspects of the expedition. Life was certainly hard back then with very primitive health care. That makes it doubly amazing that the expedition succeeded. Another speaker, Dr. Buddy Ullman, gave a fascinating if somewhat icky talk on “Parasites: A Global Health Problem.” There was also an excellent panel discussion on “Getting and Managing Grants.”
Carla Funk represented MLA at the exhibits and I also gave the MLA update. With such a strong hospital contingent in the PNC, I was really pleased at the positive response to the proposed Vital Pathways Project.
From October 4-6, I attended the annual meeting of the Mid-Atlantic Chapter, my home chapter in beautiful Charlottesville, VA. “Information Innovation: Charting New Territory” was the title of this year’s conference. A lot of past MLA presidents were in attendance so I felt the pressure was on!
As always, chapter meetings are full of information and fun! It was nice to see colleagues I have known for 20 years and meet new ones. Alane Wilson from OCLC gave a great talk about emerging issues called “Content has Left the Container.” It really provided the audience with food for thought about how libraries regard how we containerize the information we provide our users. I went home and re-read the OCLC environmental scan from a few years ago. Another keynote speaker was Stephen Cohen, who used humor and energy to turn everyone on to weblogs. No matter how you feel about blogs, his talk entitled “Weblogs and RSS - Innovation Made Easy for Everyone” engaged the audience.
Carla Funk exhibited for MLA and I had an opportunity to participate in an Oprah-like panel entitled “Brainstorming Innovative Solutions in Support of New Librarians.” Two experienced librarians (Carol Jenkins and me) participated with two lesser experienced librarians (Shannon Jones and Kelly Near) in a question and answer session about how to work with and encourage new librarians. It was lots of fun and raised some good issues. I was particularly concerned about this perceived chasm between the generations of librarians since I feel this may be an artificial boundary. I also gave the MLA update under the eagle eye of the former MLA presidents Jenkins and Thibodeau. I was sweating a bit!
And with that statement, the joint meeting of the UNYOC and NY/NJ got underway.
The meeting actually began with an absolutely fabulous opening reception, complete with a torch lighting ceremony, at the Lake Placid Olympic Center (the VERY rink where the U.S. Hockey team won the gold medal in 1980). The over 100 attendees were able to practice their slap shots, try their hand at curling, and/or pretend they were they were graceful figure skaters. If you don’t think seeing librarians sending round, hard rubber projectiles across the ice at high speeds toward unsuspecting goalies is fun…well, you haven’t lived. I believe there were even some people THROWING the pucks!
The program was packed with speakers and panels. The first speaker, Dr. Michael Kienzle, spoke on “Finding the value of information in healthcare.” Dr. Kienzle began by speaking about the way information works into clinical decision-making. He stated that he thought librarians were fairly well integrated into the research and education process but clinical information is the frontier. Clinical information should not be disruptive of the care process but needs to be integrated. He also spoke about how the provision of information in a clinical setting should be as a glass is to a keg – providing the right, highly concise information for the right situation. Filtered to answer the question, not providing every bit of information available. The value in this is that librarians can save time and provide organization for the clinical effort. He said librarians will be most effective if they
In the next session, “The future is us: coaching information champions,” Tania Bardyn moderated a very well-prepared and thoughtful panel consisting of Amy Lyons, Karen Brewer, and Abigail Plumb. There was a discussion of the concept of coaching and then each panel was invited to respond to several questions including ones regarding their participation in MLA’s mentorship program, their experiences as the coaches and the coached, and of course the value of coaching. Brewer brought in AAHSL’s Charting the Future document and discussed how it could be used as a framework for areas for coaching. They all agreed coaching is personalized, concerned about the individual and on their side, takes a long view, and that the coach is an expert at relationship, and may have the ability to teach. Coaching takes time and attention and sometimes making time is the hardest. It requires the coach to focus on the positives. Finally, it focused on the librarian as being a knowledge coach within the institution and how we can coach our users.
The afternoon session were just as stimulating.
Clay Heydorn spoke on “Preventing Olympic sized scandals–Role for the librarian in human subject research.” This talk really focused on the issues involved with the safety of research subjects and how librarians can use their expertise and contribute to institutional review boards (IRBs). However, it was somewhat disheartening to see that when Heydorn polled the room, only three people out of approximately 100 raised their hands regarding whether or not they served on IRBs at their institutions.
The AHIP Session that finished up the day one programming was very stimulating. Tom Flemming discussed the findings of the UNYOC AHIP Task Force survey. The results were very mixed regarding the meaning and worth of the Academy of Health Information Professionals and the panel discussion and audience participation bore out the results. Many members don’t see the worth of the AHIP credential. However, it should be noted that many of the academic librarians who hire professionals felt candidates with AHIP credentials are beginning to be looked at more seriously and that AHIP shows a commitment to the profession. Elizabeth Irish, incoming chair of the Credentialing Committee, was on the panel and served on the Task Force. She was taking good notes about comments and ideas that were shared.
Obviously the highlight of any chapter meeting is the MLA update and this was no exception—except that I was the banquet speaker and one who had been billed as “dynamic,” no less. But it is amazing how much more dynamic a speaker seems after a pre-banquet “happy hour” and all went well. I had a wonderful introduction by Diana Cunningham and only a few members of the audience left in order to watch the Yankees/Red Sox game so all was well. When I finished my talk, I got to judge the Jeopardy game pitting UNYOC vs NY/NJ vs a combined team. The teams battled over categories such as Baby, it’s cold outside (Olympic trivia), You oughta be in pictures (Libraries/librarians in the movies), Your chapter or mine? (Chapter trivia), and Captain, our captain (MJ/MLA trivia). It came down to final Jeopardy with UNYOC squeezing. There were prizes all around and I got to keep my official whistle!
The final day started with business meetings followed by the keynote for the morning, “Your image is showing: librarians in the media worthy of the gold medal” delivered by Southern Chapter’s own Jan LaBeause who explored the fascinating portrayals of librarians in the movies. Who knew librarians have been subjects of movies since silent films? Jan held the audience in the palm of her hand (of course, the candy bars for correct answers helped) as she traveled through the decades with librarians good and bad. And of course, she had a great bibliography!
The meeting concluded with a final ceremony where the team from the Olympic Center returned with a video and awards. MLA’s own Tomi Gunn won an award for curling and I won a gift basket of chocolate goodies with proceeds benefiting their scholarship fund. Life is good!
The UNYOC and NY-NJ Chapters are to be congratulated for such an excellent meeting. Their hospitality was warm and program outstanding. Many thanks to the chapter chairs Barbara Reich and Amy Lyons and to the program chairs, Diana Cunningham and Andrea Markinson.
Hei! God morgen, god dag, god aften!
That’s Norwegian for “Hi! Good morning, good afternoon, good evening!” Not knowing when MLA members might be reading this, I thought I would cover all the bases and exhaust my supply of Norwegian. Fortunately, seemingly all Norwegians speak very good English and I did not cause any international incidents due to language faux pas (that’s French – I am multilingual, aren’t I?). And to my pleasure, I was mistaken for a Norwegian several times during my stay.
The WLIC, also known as the IFLA (International Federation of Library Associations) conference, August 14-18, was a wonderful meeting. Frequently the success of such a meeting depends not only on a substantive program, but also on the hospitality of the host country. The Norwegians certainly rolled out the red carpet and Oslo itself cooperated with temperate weather and lot of sunshine.
A couple of things I came to understand:
1) IFLA is the United Nations of the library world. Attendees came from all over the world and from all types of libraries. And just like the United Nations, IFLA is a very complex organization serving very diverse members.
2) MLA’s Executive Director, Carla Funk, knows everyone in the IFLA library world. She represents MLA well and she and our organization are highly regarded. She took good care of me and shepherded me through the sometimes confusing meeting, making sure I knew where I had to be at any given time.
The theme of the conference was “Libraries–A Voyage of Discovery” and the program logo was a stylized prow of a Viking ship, reminding me of those great explorers Eric the Red and Leif Erickson who set out from Norway to explore new lands. Of course there was the pillaging and plundering part… I watched far too many Kirk Douglas and Tony Curtis Viking movies as a child.
Carla and I attended a pre-conference on August 13, hosted by the Health and Biosciences Libraries Section, IFLA at the Rikshospitalet, Library of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Oslo. The topic was “Open access: the option for the future!?” After a welcome from Bruce Madge, chair of the section we heard from:
It was a very full and robust day. The presentations from the day are posted on the section's program Website. Arne Jakobsson of the Library was a gracious and considerate host.
The opening ceremony on August 14 was amazing and celebrated not only the opening of the meeting but Norwegian culture as well. King Harald V attended the ceremony, which was emceed by Oystein Wiik, a well-known singer, actor and playwright. In addition to introducing other performers, he also performed selections from Ibsen and sang. Harpist Sidsel Walsted performed, as did the Irish/Norwegian fusion group, Secret Garden. It was quite a production.
Throughout the week I attended many sessions both of interest to MLA and to my library including meetings and programs of the U.S. Caucus, the National Associations and the Management of Library Association Section. As with the MLA annual meeting, there are many concurrent sessions and lots of choices to make. I attended sessions on copyright, disaster relief, open source software, health information for developing countries, statistics, and buildings. Many of the papers are already online at the IFLA program Website so that you too can share in some of the program and get a sense of what types of things were covered.
Lest you think I was all work and no play, I did have an opportunity to travel around Oslo. Oslo is a fairly compact, walkable city with excellent public transportation so even if I had two hours free, I could usually fit in some sightseeing. Also, many of the social and cultural events were held at interesting places such as the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History, the Norwegian Maritime Museum, and City Hall. I made it to the Munch Museum, the Nobel Peace Center, the Botanic Gardens, the Akershus Fortress, Oslo Cathedral, and my personal favorite Vigeland Park with more than 200 sculptures by one artist (Gustav Vigeland), including the Sinnataggen (Angry Boy).
There was quite a contingent of MLA members in attendance in addition to Carla and me. These included Ysabel Bertolucci, Jo Anne Boorkman, Suzanne Grefsheim, Michael Homan, Sheldon Kotzin, Becky Lyon, Jill Mayer, Kate Oliver, Tovah Reis, Peggy Tahir, and our British member colleagues, Bruce Madge and Tony McSean.
The WLIC in Oslo was a wonderful experience. It is always affirming to know how much we share with colleagues around the world. It is humbling to see how much some do with so little. The libraries in the U.S. are very fortunate and this was a good reminder for me not to take things for granted. There is much work that can and should be done with, and for our international colleagues.
Nurses would like to see increased coverage due to the multidisciplinary nature of their field and because they would like to see increased citations by those outside the nursing field. The ISI indexes would further the visibility and dissemination of their work. In addition, nursing faculty members are also being judged by the appearance of articles in journals with high impact factors and they would like increased recognition and ratings of their titles, especially those that are peer reviewed and cited by other disciplines.
INANE met with members of ISI and sent them a proposal. ISI explained to them the selection criteria for new journals and the methods for placing titles in various categories. The nursing editors will try to submit, as well as resubmit, their journals for consideration. However, ISI also made it clear that if they heard from their customers, the libraries, that ISI would give serious consideration to increasing the coverage of nursing titles.
MLA was contacted by INANE to seek our help. At the February 2005 Board of Directors meeting, we voted to write a letter to ISI encouraging them to increase the coverage of nursing journals in their citation indexes. Medical librarians realize the tremendous worth of nursing journals and their multidisciplinary impact. Increased coverage by ISI would raise visibility and dissemination of nursing journals and MLA is happy to offer its support to this effort.
As a result of MLA's letter, after MLA '05 we were able to gather a group of concerned editors and leaders and meet with ISI about our concerns and support for improved coverage.
The INANE/MLA group rendezvoused at the 30th Street Station in Philadelphia to strategize prior to our 1:30 p.m. meeting with ISI. We agreed that we needed to discuss
The meeting was very congenial and the ISI team attentive. We started out with the premise that we were there to see how we could be helpful to ISI to make the inclusion of nursing journals happen. Freda and Lewis gave a great overview of the translational nature of nursing research (taking hard science to the bedside and the effect on the patient) and the increasing importance of this type of research as evidenced by the formation of the National Institute of Nursing Research. They talked about the cross disciplinary nature of nursing and the various specialties within the profession. I was able to talk about MLA (along with some of the other hats I wear) and the importance of this proposal to increase the dissemination of knowledge along with support for evidence-based practice. And just when ISI thought we didn’t have hard data, Susan brought out the NAHRS data from their study of key journals. She pointed out the categories that were covered and shared that there were some not even begun yet. I believe ISI was impressed.
The ISI team asked questions specifically about:
We left copies of the study and asked about their time frame. James Testa stated they needed to “huddle” but that this was “just what they needed to move forward.” We suggested that ISI might want to add a nurse to their advisory committees especially because of this project. They thought that might be a good idea. In conclusion, James Testa stated this was the “future of clinical medicine.”
I think we did a good job of educating ISI staff as to the issues; we offered help for the project with our offer to serve in an advisory capacity and with our data; and we were an effective team.
On Monday, May 23, I attended a meeting of the National Commission on Libraries and Information Science, held at the Library of Congress. MLA was invited to make a 10 minute presentation to share our vision and perspective on library and information services for the American people. I was preceded by Prue Adler of ARL and followed by Mary Alice Baish of AALL.
Overall, I would have to say that MLA received a very enthusiastic response to its presentation. Although ARL led off with a discussion about their open access initiatives, during her question and answer period, she referred several questions to me and it was obvious that MLA has greater ownership and depth of knowledge especially regarding biomedical information.
During my testimony I reported on the following:
I spoke very briefly of our involvement with David Brailler, the NHII, patient safety, global initiatives (including Librarians Without Borders).
I did not get an opportunity to address recruitment and retention which disappointed me.
I think it went well because MLA actually has projects and products to show and that make a difference: we have put our money where our mouth is. One commissioner stated that Medspeak was "absolutely fabulous."
The items that seemed to resonate the most with NCLIS were:
Several commissioners followed me out of the room to express great interest in helping MLA distribute Medspeak to major pharmacy and retail outlets with clinics, etc. I will share those names with executive director Carla Funk and strategize with her about next steps.
MLA '05 Inaugural Address (text and audio)
The panel was part of the April 21 Healthline meeting. Healthline is the organization of health sciences librarians from the Dallas metroplex (I was amazed that people actually use that word in such a facile manner). I was invited to represent MLA on a panel that would be discussing partnerships between health sciences librarians and library schools. The Denton area is a particularly rich place for library schools offering health sciences library and informatics courses of study with Texas Womens University and the University of North Texas. The meeting was held at the University of North Texas. My panel mates included: Ana Cleveland; Deb Faber; Roger Guard; Samantha Hastings; and Jeff Huber. Brian Bunnett moderated. He also organized the day and was my chauffeur.
What a great day it was! The Healthline members are a vital, vocal, and fun bunch. Each one of us spoke about our organizations and programs and then it was opened up for a question and answer period. Much of this session focused on questions about how to promote our profession to students as young as middle school students (MLA was encouraged to exhibit at HOSA). Overall they liked my idea of an MLA "field force," i.e., giving members tools to promote medical librarianship at any opportunity and including local students in our national and regional meetings. Roger and I talked about making sure medical librarianship was included as a health occupation in career guides. Roger reported on a series of questions he asked AAHSL members regarding attributes of medical librarians in 2015 (familiarity with technology, risk takers, knowledge navigators and interpreters, collaborators, opportunists, and many others). Ana and Sam talked about how all jobs for librarians are not in libraries and how the business world has discovered us. The conversation just flowed and I got several more ideas for MLA.
The night before the presentation I had the joy of dining with Brian, Laurie Thompson, and several of her staff—including a soon to be graduate, Kay Chapa, who was so passionate about her master's program and excited about her upcoming graduation. I met another staff member, Cameron Kainerstorfer, a paraprofessional who is thinking about getting her master's degree, and finally Mori Lou Higa, a mid-career librarian. A delightful evening! And I learned a very helpful device from Laurie Thompson to help people remember on which side drinks and bread go in restaurants. If you ask me, I will tell or show you her nifty trick!
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