MLA President 2006/07
Jean Mapping: Forging New Frontiers
September 13-17, 2006, MLA Board of Directors Meeting, Chicago, IL
It was great to meet with members of the MLA Board of Directors in Chicago this week along with MLA headquarters staff. The meeting went really well and the weather couldn't have been more perfect. We discussed many issues, got updated on task force and committee efforts and shared many great ideas. I always find being able to review issues pertinent to our profession with my colleagues to be uplifting and fun! We also had fun playing Teago—a tea version of bingo. You can be proud of your Board representatives—they are a great group of individuals who really have MLA and its membership in their hearts. I'm sharing a photo of the Board from our meeting location which was the Four Points Sheraton Hotel on Rush Street.
While in Chicago, Faith Meakin, M.J. Tooey and I took an architectural river boat tour around sunset. What a fantastic way to see the city and to learn about many of its river-front skyscrapers. The tour guide was very knowledgeable and I now will be able to recognize more buildings than ever. I highly recommend this tour to anyone already thinking about what they might want to do while attending MLA’s 2008 annual meeting which will be held in Chicago. Our hotel will be directly across the street from where you catch the tour boats.
This coming Sunday, I'm off to Philadelphia to meet with the chairs of the 2007 annual meeting National Program Committee, the chairs of the Local Assistance Committee and MLA headquarters staff to visit the Marriott Hotel 2007 meeting location. Then I start attending chapter meetings. This is the time of year my luggage has to demonstrate its mettle and value!
Yep, I'm at home today and it is a Saturday! The weather is great so I started the day working on the MLA Updates for the chapter meetings but then took a break to go play tennis with Mark. He’s such a good sport! After that, we went to Ginter Gardens (http://www.lewisginter.org/) to look at the end of the summer plants and foliage. They were celebrating their one year anniversary of the Children’s Garden which consists of international houses, a huge walk-up tree house overlooking a picturesque pond and a sprinkler area for playing in. We often go here for a late Sunday walk through the park to sooth our souls for the coming week. The day finished with a great Vietnamese dinner and yes, I'm eating rice once again (after having so much in Korea and Japan)!
More About Japan
Speaking of Japan, one of the highlights of my recent vacation was touring a tea farm in Kyoto. Mark found the farm via an Internet search. The farm we visited is located in Ujitawara and is called the Japanese Green Tea Hibiki-an (http://www.hibiki-an.com/). "Hibiki" in Japanese means "touching someone's heart." As the owners say “It brings us great happiness to know that Japanese tea culture can touch people's hearts around the world."
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The farm owner’s daughter-in-law, Keiko, picked us up at the town center in Uji and drove us to their farm. All teas come from one kind of plant but it is how and where plants are grown as well as how they are treated while growing, and then how they are picked and fermented (if so) that makes the large variety of tea that exists.It was fascinating to learn how they cover the plants with a black cloth screen about a month prior to picking the tea leaves to keep the tannin within the plants from enriching for the Gyokuro and Matcha types of tea and don't cover the leaves that produce sencha tea so that it gets a stronger flavor than the other green teas.
It was also interesting to learn that most Japanese do not flavor or sweeten their green tea and wish that we Americans didn't. Green tea is so prevalent in Japan that it was available through street vending machines as a bottled drink – and not just one kind of green tea was offered but about 4-5 kinds per machine.
Keiko then drove us to the birth place of Soen Nagatani, who in 1740 invented the manufacturing process for sencha tea. There was a small museum inside with a charcoal pit complete with rolling trays and large crocks that were placed deep underground when filled with green tea to keep it from fermenting. Keiko was a great tour guide and a delightful person. She and I have been emailing since the trip and plan to write some tea magazine articles together when I get a chance.
I was reminded of the farm this morning as my first order arrived in record time. Can’t wait to brew some sencha this weekend for a truly natural pick-me-up!
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Took the train to Philly today to tour the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown Hotel where the 2007 MLA annual meeting will be held and to meet with several members of the National Program and Local Arrangements Committees. The conversation in the train seat in front of me was all about two women’s health and how they needed to find good information about their conditions and tests in order to know what was happening to them (honest)! They even discussed what Websites they had consulted to learn more about their heart disease and cholesterol levels. I was pleased to know that health information literacy needs are alive and well, even on trains!
The hotel treated us royally with a Southern buffet luncheon and complimentary rooms. It is located in a very central spot of Philadelphia with the Reading Terminal Market within walking distance as well as Macy's and other great stores. We had a good time planning social events and tightening up details about the meeting speakers and programs. And we had a great dinner at a nearby restaurant, the Capital Grill. Now I can’t wait until the meeting! It is going to be a lot of fun as well as educational! Please mark your calendars for May 18-23, 2007! And with fall approaching, I could really smell the “change in the air” while there.
I knew the Midwest Chapter meeting was going to be grand! But the chapter really outdid itself this time. I had the pleasure of attending this chapter’s meeting last year as well and it was wonderful to see so many people again this year. Thank you for inviting me back! Michel Atlas and Laura Davison were gracious co-chairs as they ensured that everyone felt comfortable and welcome. I particularly applaud this chapter’s use of a blog [http://188.8.131.52/ConferenceCall/] to build excitement for the meeting and to record its proceedings.
My meeting experience began with a “build your dream ice cream sundae” social in the exhibit hall complete with a can-can routine (who were those wonderful dancers)? From this I knew this meeting was going to have a special flare. The next day started with an interesting keynote speech by Alane Wilson from OCLC on the topic of “Their Perceptions, Our Reality: The OCLC Environmental Scan”. I have heard Alane speak several times now but I'm never sorry to listen to the delightful way she delivers her speech content. She made statistics very interesting and enlightening. Please take a chance to read this report (http://www.oclc.org/reports/2005perceptions.htm) as it really emphasizes to librarians that while our users appreciate us, they think of “books” when they think of libraries and really prefer to use search engines to start their research endeavors. They also do not really differentiate between the trustworthiness of librarian expertise-supplied information and what they find via the Internet. Clearly we have a lot to do to inform our public about our value and what we can contribute to their information seeking.
This talk was followed by three concurrent paper sessions highlighting the local talent present! Please refer to the chapter’s blog for details about these sessions.
Then there was a delicious buffet lunch with Italian desserts (need I say more). During the end of the lunch, the first business meeting was conducted (and may I say very well) with the acceptance of many bylaw changes.
Lunch was followed by an excellent overview of where we are with scholarly publishing by Linda Watson, Director, Health Sciences Libraries, University of Minnesota. Linda took us bravely through the jungle of topics (actually by sharing pictures of her recent safari through the Serengeti). She did an excellent job of summarizing where we are now compared to three years ago and of making sense of the alphabet soup that embroils this huge topic.
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Meeting with the exhibitors was next with the awarding of many prizes donated by the exhibitors and local agencies and companies. This chapter really believes in prize awards – and I am pleased to report, that I was the recipient of one of the great gifts (and better yet, managed to get it packed into my luggage)! Thank you!
Posters presented by chapter members followed and from the room buzz, I know that a lot of great information was shared. Congrats to all who presented these wonderful posters!
After some down time to refresh our energies, we traveled to the Kentucky Derby Museum at Churchill Downs to take in all of the great exhibits there. We again were treated to more wonderful food and a surround movie about the derby’s history. And the weather and sunset couldn't have been more perfect!
Bright and early the next day—at 8:00 a.m.—Ruth Holst and I respectively gave updates regarding the Greater Midwest Region Regional Medical Library and MLA. Our session was followed by one by Betsy Humphreys about the recently crafted NLM Long Range Planning Report. Once again listening to what all NLM is doing makes me appreciate its staff even more. They truly are forging new frontiers and need our help!!! Betsy encouraged us to consider our outreach programs as professional recruitment tools—people see us in our communities and want to contribute as we do to improve their conditions through health information.
At this point, I drank a final cup of coffee (not reporting how many total you notice) and packed to leave for Richmond, to do laundry, repack and get ready for my trip to the UNYOC Chapter Meeting in Niagara Falls, NY.
Next year, this chapter will have a combined meeting with the Midcontinental Chapter in Omaha. A quick peek at the line-up of speakers guarantees that this will be another stellar meeting!
Thank you everyone in the Midwest Chapter for a delightful visit and for your terrific hospitality—it is much appreciated as is the “Hot Brown plate”!!
The drive from the Buffalo/Niagara Falls airport illustrated the changing fall colors of the leaves on the trees. I knew I had arrived at a cooler climate than Richmond’s 81 degree weather. Now, those that know me know that I'm not complaining, as heat and I don’t mix. But unfortunately, for the Local Arrangements Committee (LAC), the temperature continued to drop and lots of rain fell, and I know that I saw about five snow flakes before the UNYOC (Upper New York and Ontario Chapter) meeting ended. But I realized I was in good hands when the LAC started giving away umbrellas at lunch to help attendees survive the weather! What TLC!
The meeting’s theme “UNYOC at the Falls: Harness the Power!” was extremely appropriate as the meeting kicked off with a welcome reception at the Top of the Falls restaurant located at Terrapin Point on Goat Island. We arrived in time to grab a plate of—what else—Buffalo wings and something new to me, Beef on Weck (read all about this delicious other Buffalo staple at http://whatscookingamerica.net/History/Sandwiches/BeefOnWeck.htm). This was accompanied by more hors d’oeuvres and lots of chocolate and desserts before the illumination of the falls drew our attention away from the food.
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The meeting program started with a keynote address by Dr. Joanne Marshall who challenged us to get involved with research to create evidence for our library practices. She described several of the research projects she is currently involved with that deal with workforce issues and the revamping of public library services to address the desires of us aging baby boomers. She encouraged us to not just talk to ourselves about what we find but to share these findings with those we serve, health care providers and our communities. Thanks Joanne for urging us to address this very important topic and to perform the research that we do such an extraordinary job of supporting others’ work in accomplishing.
After breaking with the exhibitors, we next heard about risk management and medical malpractice from Mary Ann Schreiner of the Medical Liability Mutual Insurance Company. She shared many great Websites that include lots of information related to this topic.
Mr. Daniel Doody then led a panel of speakers who shared various aspects of how the Doody's Core Titles in the Health Sciences is created, how resources are selected by a volunteer group of librarians; and how vendors are linking to the list from their resources.
A wonderful lunch followed with posters on display to highlight work done in local libraries. A session on “nuts and bolts” disaster planning tips was given by Karen Brown, Preservation Librarian at the University at Albany Libraries. She also gave us a wonderful list of resources to consult as well as templates for creating our own plans for our libraries.
More food was offered at the afternoon break with the exhibitors and then several updates including the MLA one, one from the Middle Atlantic Regional Medical Library Director and Associate Director and another by CISTI. Then we ate more food and had a delicious reception with the exhibitors before partaking of a delicious evening banquet meal. Did I mention how much food there was at this meeting???? Brave souls then took several buses to the Canadian side of Niagara Falls and to a shopping mall in the casino area. Others retreated to the warmth of their rooms and to watch the latest episode of Grey’s Anatomy.
The final day of the meeting commenced with a Majors Walk and a chapter business meeting. Then there was a speaker on electronic medical records and one on Web usability testing but I missed these speakers as I took a taxi back to the airport to fly to Atlanta for the joint Southern/Mid-Atlantic Chapters meeting. I do know though that several wonderful baskets of goodies were raffled off and some lucky winners went home with their arms full of treats. This raffle raises money for the chapter’s scholarship fund. And last but not least, awards were given to deserving individuals and the hard working executive board met prior to leaving the falls. What a non-stop crew!! I know that you are already starting to work on planning next year’s meeting which will be held from October 10-12, 2007 at the Riveredge Hotel, Alexandria Bay, NY.
The members of this chapter were wonderful to me and made me feel very much a part of them! I learned that there are a lot of knitters in the group and I appreciated seeing some of your talented work. I enjoyed meeting many of you for the first time and look forward to hearing from you as you share your thoughts about MLA and how it can help you. Thank you for your terrific hospitality and warm friendship! Thanks Diana, Judi, and team for planning such an informative program and social events.
Well, who says traveling on Friday the 13th isn't going to be without issue? I was sure that it would be a lucky day for me, and in many ways it was, despite being snow-bound due to a 22.6 inch storm in Buffalo, NY.
After seeing no snow on the ground in Niagara Falls, I was confident my plane would be taking off for Atlanta as planned. I checked my email and noticed an hour flight delay announcement from Delta. No problem; I'm flexible. So I proceeded with my morning ritual of listening to Good Morning America as I got dressed. An announcement about an airport closure caught my attention. Wonder where I questioned. When I heard Buffalo, NY, I again went to my window and saw no snow (and yes Christina Pope, not even the five flakes I had seen the prior day). So, I quickly realized what “lake-effect snow” is all about.
My mind started to churn about what to do next. I called Jody Burton of ProQuest Company fame and inquired what she was planning to do, as we originally were going to share a taxi to the airport. We joined Ofer Avital (EvidenceMatters) and Phil White (BMJ) for breakfast equipped with our wireless laptops, Blackberries, and Bluetooth phones. It’s amazing how quickly being stranded together builds camaraderie. Soon other hotel guests started sharing stories of airport delays and road closures as we collectively began drafting our “Plan Bs”. After about 5 pots of tea and cold eggs, we managed to establish new flights for the following day and extend our hotel stays. Then we had to make the tough decision of what to do with our “adult snow day”.
Jody and I started the reprieve with a very brisk walk to the falls where we didn't tarry for long. Took some photos, got sprayed with cold water, and got some exercise! Then we went our separate ways to work in our rooms and notify others of our delay only to rejoin at dinnertime for a delicious meal at the hotel with many more cups of tea.
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The next morning we arrived at the airport just fine; one couldn't really tell that a major storm had caused so much detriment the previous day. But our travel woes continued as we realized we had only moved five inches in 40 minutes in the check-in line. Delta was without its computer system, and everyone was manually being issued seats and boarding passes. (I have the cutest hand-written pass for a souvenir.) As we all got to our seats four hours later, we issued many cries of joy (while other passengers who had just spent the last 30 hours in the airport without food) were less than happy that we had to wait another half an hour to get a manually-produced manifest issued so we could depart. But depart we did and we safely arrived in Atlanta to attend the Southern/Mid-Atlantic Chapters Joint Meeting. I was never so delighted to sit in the “middle seat’—something I usually dread!
Jody and Ofer—thanks for the memories and for sharing the travel nightmare—you are great and made this whole experience very delightful! And Jody—thanks for all the chocolate!
Report contributed by Mark E. Funk, AHIP, president-elect
This was the 34th Annual Meeting of MCMLA. The meeting was organized and sponsored by the St. Louis Medical Librarians group (www.slml.org), and located in Clayton, a suburb of St. Louis, home of the 2006 World Series champions. I am originally from Missouri and have been a member of this chapter since 1976, so it felt like a real homecoming to me.
Speaking of homecoming, the Saturday before the meeting Carolyn and I flew in to St. Louis to attend her XXth high school reunion (I'll never tell...) Carolyn had a blast meeting old friends (and I do mean old. How did all those geezers come from her class?) After the reunion we drove to Columbia, MO, where I gave a presentation at Mizzou on medical librarianship and MLA to librarians, library school faculty, and library students. While the presentation was well received, I was concerned to discover that with a recent retirement, there is no longer a faculty member qualified to teach the HSL courses, and no plans to hire one. This was a great program, and it's a shame to see it die.
Driving back to Clayton, the meeting (entitled "Gateway to Re-Discovery") started Wednesday evening with a welcome reception after a day of CE. Acquaintances were renewed, backs were slapped, and a good time was had by all. Many attendees wore stars on their badges, recognizing professional activities and achievements that are above and beyond their regular duties. In addition, a hefty handout listed all of the year's achievements of individual members with stars. The Chapter won the Majors/MLA Chapter Project of the Year Award last year for this stars program.
On Thursday the program started with keynote speaker Glynn Lunney, Professor of Law at Tulane, who gave a condensed version of his semester-long course on copyright. MLA staff member Evelyn Shaevel and I were at the MLA booth at the morning and afternoon breaks, and traffic was fairly good. However, the exhibits closed before the MLA update, so new announcements weren't able to drive interest. It would be very advantageous to MLA if the update could be give at chapter meetings before the exhibits closed.
After lunch, a panel discussion on bioterrorism featured a DVD showing a simulated smallpox attack in St. Louis. While the CDC commissioned the simulation, they felt it was so frightening they decided not to use it. MLA board member Scott Plutchak represented librarians on the panel, which also included a biosecurity expert, an infectious disease physician, the St. Louis Deputy Police Chief, and a TV reporter.
The meeting planners enlivened the business meeting on Friday by hosting a Stereotypical Librarian contest, poking fun at our public image. Judging was by Ivana Readalot, who gave out awards for Most Cats, Best Bun, Most Sensible Shoes, etc. I think this was the liveliest business meeting I've ever attended.
The meeting closed with a panel discussion on issues representing threats to libraries and librarianship. Topics included Google, Wikipedia, electronic publishing, and Open Access. (I spoke on the latter.) Wayne Peay closed with a discussion on treating threats as opportunities.
This was a terrific meeting, and I am very pleased to be invited to attend next year's meeting in Omaha, combined with the Midwest Chapter. This will be another homecoming, since I lived in Omaha for 7 years before moving to New York.
Due to my flight delay, I arrived just in time to close the poster session and to share my travel woes in person. There were 44 posters presented on a variety of topics—congrats to everyone! I then joined friends for a wonderful dinner and nightcap. My long day ended on a very positive note!!
The next morning, I attended the MAC Breakfast Business Meeting which included an award ceremony for very deserving members and a very humorous invitation to next year’s October 9-12, 2007, Baltimore-based meeting. Now “hons”—ya all going to attend aren't ya after the special invite from our University of Maryland at Baltimore fair-haired friends!!! Was that really M.J. with pink hair????
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Mark Williams, MD, from Emory University, gave the next session on Health Literacy. Thanks to Carla Funk, here’s a summary of what he presented. “Dr. Williams based his presentation around the research he, Ruth Parker, and others have done in the area of health literacy and showed parts of the videotape on the topic featuring interviews with patients who have low literacy. He stressed the importance of multi-media responses to low literacy individuals.”
I followed with an MLA Update—in the format of a $25,000 Pyramid game show (Click on the pictures for larger versions). I'm pleased to report that librarians are very competitive, especially when chocolate is involved right before lunch. Thanks to everyone for being such great sports and participants, and if you all wondered why I wouldn't let Beverly Murphy ask me any personal questions—it's because the last time I did, the answers ended up on a poster!
After a delicious lunch with Carla Funk to catch up on all the events of the past couple of weeks, I toured the new CDC Information Center with many other attendees. What a beautiful place!!! Thanks to the CDC library staff for the terrific tour, transportation, and refreshments!!
The day ended with a banquet accompanied by a variety of entertainers. After everyone had digested their desserts (and it’s a good thing that they had), a home-grown group of “resolutionaries” presented their version of a meeting resolution to the tune of “Sweet Georgia Brown”. Apparently, this group has been more or less in existence for five years and swears that this was their last performance. And yes, I was a part of this challenged group—having agreed at a weak moment on my snowed-in day—and with only my travel gear from which to design a last minute 1920’s outfit. But with the help of some “loaned beads” from Lynne Turman (MAC’s one founder of the “Pearl Girls”) and a kazoo, I took on the role of a flapper and enjoyed very minute of it (once I stopped blushing!!!)
Real entertainment followed with several dance routines by Ballethnic, a “classically trained, culturally diverse professional performing company.” And then MLA’s very own Bearded Pigs band commanded the stage with several hours of terrific songs including my requested one of “Amie”. Thank you!!! I couldn't believe how quickly people jumped to their feet to dance—and they kept going until the very last song!!! The Bearded Pigs will be performing again at the Philadelphia MLA meeting in May and welcome you to join their Thicket Society—details are available on their Website.
The last day of the meeting commenced with a great talk by Dr. David Satcher, currently of Morehouse University and the 16th Surgeon General of the United States. He highlighted a three dimensional way of looking at health disparities through research, intervention, and surveillance, and referred to medical librarians' roles in helping to alleviate health disparities. His book Multicultural Medicine and Health Disparities is a must-have for any health sciences library collection.
Something just told me to get to the airport, so I missed the NLM and RML updates given by David Gillikin and Janice Kelly. But I'm glad I did as I was able to get an earlier flight and avoided what I discovered later were more delays due to weather. My travel luck had indeed changed to the positive.
In summary, thanks to the Program and Local Arrangements Committees for planning such a terrific action-packed and informative meeting. I really enjoyed seeing so many friends from my RML days and catching up on your lives. And if you haven’t heard it enough—I was REALLY glad to be there!!!
Next year's meeting for the Southern Chapter will be held in Charleston, SC, from November 12-16, 2007. I'm sure this will prove to be another delightful meeting so mark your calendars and plan on attending.
Report contributed by Craig C. Haynes, director and secretary
The First Joint Conference on Librarians of Color was truly a wonderful experience and an amazing event. This was an event that was in the planning stages for many years. ALA's ethnic caucuses came together in Dallas around the theme: Gathering at the Waters--Embracing our Spirits, Telling Our Stories. There were over 1000 conference attendees and about 130 exhibitors. Hooray! and major kudos to NLM, for being one of the largest sponsors and one of the most extensive exhibits at the conference. NLM's presence was also evident in their contribution to the concurrent sessions. Thanks to MLA for putting this event on the schedule and many thanks to MLGSCA and to my institution (UC-San Diego) for their financial support in order that I might attend this conference.
Programming was divided into seven tracks: Recruitment and Retention, Staff Development, Gender, Advocacy, Service Delivery, Legacy, and Literature.
MLA staff member Beverly Bradley was available at the MLA table in the exhibit area throughout the conference. Craig helped with the set-up and was available at the table for the opening of the exhibits. Generally speaking, traffic at the table was a bit light. MLA's presence was important as it raised awareness regarding the association's purpose, plans and programs for many attendees, even if they didn't stop to chat. Sidelight: Right across the aisle from MLA's exhibit was the other MLA (Music Library Association). One of my colleagues from UC-San Diego Music Library staffed the table, small world! We both got a kick out this. Craig had the opportunity to make the health sciences librarianship pitch to three UT-Austin SLIS students (they came en masse) who were undecided regarding their career specialty. They took the career brochures and said they would seriously consider the HSL option. Keep your fingers crossed.
Job Placement Center
About 23 recruiters and human resources directors were available in the placement center to recruit. City and county library systems and several universities were available. University of Maryland, University of Virginia, New York Public, Los Angeles County, Enoch Pratt, Boston Public, just to name a few. Several more had job postings online with the JCLC Placement Service.
Craig followed the Recruitment and Retention track for the most part. Here are comments regarding a few of the sessions.
Other sessions attended:
Report contributed by Connie Schardt, director
The Western MLA Chapters meeting attracted about 200 members from 4 chapters [Pacific Northwest (~90 members) , Northern California and Nevada (~45 members) , Southern California and Arizona (~36 members), and Hawaii and Pacific (5 members)].
The program offered 7 CE courses and several informative talks. The keynote speaker was Dr. Stephen Bezruchka from the University of Washington who spoke about the economic equality of medicine. His basic premise was that individual behaviors are not as important for our health as political policies that impact the gap between the rich and the poor (See http://depts.washington.edu/eqhlth/pages/about.html.) Other program content included a panel discussion featuring several journalists that addressed health issues in the media and where medical librarians fit in; the banquet featured author Gordon Taylor who spoke about the life of Dr. Grant who practiced in Kurdistan from 1835 until his death in 1844; and a plenary session on natural disasters and public health delivered by Dr. Mark Oberle, who was in Banda Aceh during the tsunami.
There was an interesting discussion about journalist and what medical librarians can do for them. Mostly they wanted us to help them decipher medical articles and get them full text. Someone mentioned the MLA workshops for journalist that were presented several years ago. The panel was interested in this type of activity, although they wanted a kit with all the content and materials so they could conduct the course themselves rather than take the time to travel or attend a seminar.
The MLA booth was well situated in the exhibit room and saw lots of action. In addition to MLA staff member Tomi Gunn, Janet Schnall from the University of Washington spent some time promoting MLA and making sure everyone had the proper stickers on their name tags. Meeting attendees were given "passports" that needed to be stamped by each vendor before they were eligible for the drawings at the end of the meeting. This also insured that almost everyone stopped by the MLA booth. Hot items were the Medspeak brochures and the DVD.
I used the MLA pyramid game to give the MLA Update. The audience looked like they were having fun and feedback was very positive.
Report contributed by Mark E. Funk, AHIP, president-elect
Whew. I got one day at home after the St. Louis-Columbia-St. Louis trip, then I was on the train to Hartford. This was a content-packed meeting with the theme "The Evidence is in..."
The train schedule meant I missed an Open Forum on AHIP hosted by Joan Yanicke, but no way was I missing the welcome reception, held at the Mark Twain House and Museum. Growing up in Missouri, Mark Twain was prominently featured in school, and it was a treat to visit the actual home he built and lived in during his later years. It has been painstakingly restored, and the feeling is that he could walk in at any time. One of the best receptions I've ever attended.
Monday's keynote was Dr. David Hunt from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. He spoke on the the Medicare Patient Safety Initiative, and how librarians can contribute to patient safety. Dr. Hunt is an excellent speaker, and other chapters might want to consider him.
After an exhibit break (MLA staff member Evelyn Shaevel and me, again), a panel on technological issues facing librarians made some of us feel technologically backward, as we lack the "ubiquitous mobile devices" our patrons are using. The highlight of the panel was Andrea Mercado, the young Reference and Techie Librarian (her official title) at the Reading, MA, Public Library. She spoke on Web 2.0 technologies that libraries can use, and later led a breakout session on the secrets of successful library Websites. Based on Andrea's knowledge and enthusiasm, the kids are alright.
At lunch, Marry Hollerich gave the NLM update, and I gave the MLA update. I was late coming back to the booth that afternoon, and I arrived thinking MLA staff member Evelyn Shaevel had started breaking the booth down already. But the attendees had descended like locusts and wiped out the supply of handouts on Talking to Your Hospital Administrator, the Medspeak brochures, and the recruitment DVDs, all of which were featured in the update. Evelyn also had a two inch pile of business cards to mail brochures and DVDs to those who arrived late. Having the update before the exhibits close really works to drive traffic to the booth.
The final speaker on Tuesday was probably the highlight of the meeting. Richard Sweeney is the University Librarian at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. He has been studying the behavior and demographics of the Millennials (those born between 1979 and 1994). After giving a brief summary of his findings, he brought in 10 Millennials (I think they were paid volunteers) to ask them questions on their information seeking and learning behaviors. This exchange was fresh, entertaining, and very revealing. Mr. Sweeney has done over 30 of these panels, and does it very well. See his Website for more info on Millennials.This is very useful information about our users and our new librarians.
A poster from the NN/LM of the New England Region explained their "intervention" tactics to help hospital librarians threatened with closing or downgrading. This is a project that Vital Pathways should look at. In addition, the new NN/LM staff from the Middle Atlantic Region are very interested in my priorities, and want to collaborate on a possible pilot project.
How can a meeting that starts with wise words from a magic genie be anything but fun? That describes my first attendance at a South Central Chapter meeting; this one being held in College Station, Texas. And after 26 years of waiting, I finally have an armadillo pin to sport on my badges from now on!!! I soon learned that there would be many themes to this meeting besides the obvious football one. The program was cleverly aligned to represent a football game with pre-game lineups of a disaster symposium and continuing education courses. The meeting days represented the different quarters of the ball game with some time outs and some downs being made along the way. With the final closing celebration held in the Zone Club at Kyle Field at Texas A&M University (TAMU), the game was complete as the school color of maroon was everywhere! Thus the meeting’s theme– “Marooned in College Station: How do we get there from here?”
The Program and Local Arrangements Committees did a fantastic job of entertaining us with many wonderful meeting sessions and excellent parties. This group does like to have fun!!! I was immediately impressed with the tight knit friendships I saw among the members and I was reminded by one member that these bonds were strengthened by the recent hurricane experiences. When you have to rely on each other; a bond soon forms. This was the second theme of the meeting – preparing for disasters as they know there will be more in this area. I can say that this group is helping all of us to sort out the strategies and preparations that will be needed. And it was great to see how truly blessed they felt about having each other to assist when the times get tough!
And while I'm on meeting threads, I'll go ahead and explain the last one that was more informal in nature but none the less seemed to surface repeatedly throughout the meeting – and that was the albino alligator! What started as a simple bar discussion, spread to the next morning’s breakfast conversation (unaided by knowledge of the previous evening’s dialog) and then to an exhibit hall discovery that there is a movie about such a beast directed by Kevin Spacey (http://movies.aol.com/movie/albino-alligator/3005/main). And I can report that while I was only part of the breakfast conversation, Regina Lee seems to be the six degrees of separation in this theme as she was the person connecting all three discussions. "Be on the alert for more albino alligators" I think is the take home message!!
But seriously, this chapter presents an excellent meeting and extremely enjoyable entertainment. I was picked up at the airport and ushered to my hotel which was a brand new suite hotel with beautifully comfortable rooms. From there I met Dixie Jones and Carla Funk and the three of us toured a Southern Living idea home. After drooling over the decked out facility, we made our way back to the opening session where the genie appeared. We were charmed then by the keynote speaker, Dr. Susan Fiechtner from TAMU who gave us many laughs as well as “keepers” to keep our lives balanced and with making smart choices as we lead our way through life. Buses then whisked us away to the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum where a delicious reception and tour awaited us. Some of us never left the food and drink to visit the center but I won’t mention any names!
The following day started with a Majors Walk and many contributed papers. This chapter is very serious about their papers and posters dedicating a lot of time to their presentation and via the South Central Academic Medical Libraries (SCAMeL) organization, the awarding of many lucrative prizes to promote research. A hospital library section business meeting followed with a great lecture by Dr. John Lienhard on “Fast Presses, Cheap Books and Ghosts of Old Readers.” He claimed that most of his ideas were taken from his new book entitled How Invention Begins: Echoes of Old Voices in the Rise of New Machines.
After lunch, I had the extreme pleasure to meet with several library school students of Dr. Ana Cleveland. I thoroughly enjoyed this session and learned a lot from the students who shared their backgrounds and why they were attracted to the field. I hope that the students continue to stay in touch as they progress through their studies and wish them all the best!!
The next event was the MLA Update which was followed by SCAMeL and RML updates. Roundtable discussions occurred prior to a half-time happy hour at the hotel.
The next day kicked off with several technology expos and then posters – very impression ones may I add. A business lunch included a very special invitation to next year’s meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Many exhibitors were visited during the day as the posters were part of the exhibit hall. And a very exciting prize drawing occurred over the afternoon break with my favorite – soft pretzels!!!
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The next general session was given by Dr. Richard Adams, regarding how the Veterinary Clinic at TAMU became a human hospital during Hurricane Rita. What a very enlightening and touching talk! And then research awards were issued to some very proud recipients. And last but not least was the closing celebration at the Zone Club which featured a full course dinner, Aggie Wrangler dancers and a very entertaining band to which many danced. An armadillo ice structure added brightness to the event as well! And my very special impromptu Sound of Music rendition of “So Long, Farewell” was deeply appreciated—thank you for the very special send-off!!!
What a great meeting and a wonderful way to end my chapter journeys for the fall. I truly appreciated being invited to this meeting and thank all who made my stay very pleasant and enjoyable!!!!! Now about those albino alligators…
Note: the slide show presented at chapter meetings this year is available on MLANET (PowerPoint, 33MB). You can view in "Normal View" mode to see full notes.
Thanks to United Airlines, I found myself in one of my past residences, Seattle, WA, to attend the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) annual meeting and to attend many sessions targeted to the AAHSL group of the AAMC; the Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries. Today, I also had the pleasure to attend the 2nd annual meeting of the CHILI IMLS Partners as an advisor to this group of hard working individuals coordinated by Charles Greenberg. This group works with the “High School to Health Sciences Librarianship and Informatics” grant received by the Welch Medical Library from the IMLS to encourage health sciences librarians to interact with their academic institutions’ diversity recruitment programs and personnel. Eight libraries are working together to provide opportunities for high school students to learn more about health sciences librarianship through various means including internships, fellowships, tours, health career days, etc. The meeting was full of reports from the eight institutions on their progress to date and their plans for the following year. It was encouraging to see how several of these institutions are working very closely with their diversity offices to ensure that health sciences librarianship is one of the career choices promoted to high school students. In fact, many diversity officers were also present at the meeting. Congratulations to this team for making a difference!
This day was dedicated to AAHSL members learning more about how to assess and measure our value to our organizations and to the health care professionals we serve. Steve Hiller, from University of Washington and the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), provided a keynote address about how he and others have been informing institutions of the need to assess their value. He has visited over 23 institutions to date and expects to continue to offer assistance in this area to many others. There were also presentations by AAHSL members who had attended an ARL evaluation workshop recently held in Charlottesville, Virginia. Several other AAHSL members provided guidance on how they have applied the AAHSL statistics, how they implemented and assessed the LibQual+ survey, and lessons they learned by applying these tools to understanding their libraries' progress. Another duo illustrated how they retooled past statistics and survey results to analyze their support of life sciences personnel served by both a health sciences and an academic library. Several educational outcomes standards and guidelines derived by AAHSL's Outcomes Assessment Committee were presented to the members and discussion about their applicability occurred during a working lunch. The day encouraged many of us to really think about how we can measure our value and demonstrate us to our institutions.
With the assistance of Marie Potter, MLIS Academic Advisor of the Information School, University of Washington, I was able to meet with several current I-school students to discuss what the Medical Library Association offers to them and to encourage them to consider health sciences librarianship. I also had an opportunity to share the same ideas with Marie, and left many MLA recruitment brochures and our new recruitment DVD for future students to view. It was a great chance to talk directly with potential health sciences librarians of tomorrow!
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Aren’t vacations wonderful? I had the chance to take a couple of days at the end of the AAMC/AAHSL meeting to play in Seattle with my good friend Cathy Burroughs. I started by visiting many colleagues at the Health Sciences Libraries, University of Washington. It was great to catch up with everyone that I was able to see!
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Cathy and I then enjoyed a Halloween dinner at Piatti, an Italian restaurant in University Village as well as lunch the following day at the Village’s Zao Noodle Bar; an afternoon at a spa in Bellevue; a dinner of cheese and Mediterranean spread flights at the Purple Café and Wine Bar in Kirkland, WA; brunch at the Maltby Café (until the lights went out seriously), an old rural school redone into a restaurant and a favorite of bicyclists; and antique and gift shopping in Snohomish, WA.
I was pleased to see that Snohomish had not really changed unlike other parts of Seattle and Edmonds which have really grown. Terry Jankowski and I had escaped to Edmonds for an evening to check out the scenic waterfront, the shops and eat dinner at Anthony’s Home Port Restaurant, the first restaurant I ate at when I moved to Seattle in 1993.
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Carla Funk and I met with several members of the National Library of Medicine staff to review our various organizations’ efforts and to discuss potential partnerships. We had a great morning discussing a lot of relevant issues for medical librarians. Thanks to Dr. Lindberg and others for their time given to this beneficial meeting! It was also a pleasure to briefly meet with the first year NLM Associate Fellows.
Today being election day, on the way to work I stopped and voted at a nearby elementary school and got to see several of my neighbors. Then when I got to work, I voted again; this time for the MLA elections! What a great day of empowerment! I encourage all to embrace one of your most valued MLA benefits—to vote for your leaders. If you did not get an email notifying you of voting procedures, please notify MLA Headquarters staff. Your vote counts!
This was my first complete weekend at home since the end of September. I vowed to make it a work-free weekend and am happy to report that I was successful! That’s not to say I didn’t think about work, but such thoughts mainly centered on the division of labor. Why this topic? Well, as I’m sure happens in many households, there are certain chores of daily living that members of the household routinely assume. In ours, leaf raking usually falls to Mark due to the timing of the AAMC/AAHSL annual meeting. This year however, due to this meeting occurring at the end of October, I was able to assist with the first efforts at least to clean our yard of its colored carpet of leaves.
We started Saturday rejoicing in the summer-like weather of mid-70s by playing several sets of tennis which I managed to win, and then we started attacking the leaves. Our house has the most mature trees in our neighborhood and as a result, our neighbors really like it when we manage to clean our fallen leaves in a timely manner as this prevents their needing to join in the fun of raking! So, after 5 hours of raking and accumulating over 20 bags of leaves, we hit sundown before we even got to the front yard. But at least the back yard was green again.
I have to say I really enjoy this chore—it brings back fond memories of my small town where my friends and I would rake and then jump in the many piles of leaves throughout the neighborhood. In small towns, you often have to create your own entertainment and jumping in piles of leaves didn't harm anyone! We followed this activity with hot chocolate at someone's home! So, while raking, I was remembering these moments but found myself wishing for an iced latte instead of hot chocolate due to the temperature!!
In the evening, Mark and I attended a reception and dinner at the Omni Hotel in Richmond that served as warm-ups for a presentation by Burt Rutan, of world-flight Voyager aircraft and SpaceShipOne fame. SpaceShipOne is already hanging in the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum right next to the “Spirit of St. Louis”. Rutan was the first in a series of speakers for this year’s Richmond Forum. His presentation was delightful as he revealed many of his observations about the retarding of space exploration by the government and the need for private industry to take over for progress to be made. He also discussed his hiring of staff and how he no longer cares about credentials or past accomplishments, but about seeing the passion in eyes for the kind of work he needs to have done. His direct delivery style and sense of humor made for an interesting evening. After being bused back to the Omni for a post-presentation reception, Mark was thrilled to have the opportunity to get Rutan's autograph and a photo of the two of them together. It was a very special evening!!
Early Sunday morning, I was awaken by the sound of rain which meant only one thing – I could sleep in as the front yard leaves were just going to have to wait for another day. After arising, I proceeded to make some phone calls to my family and neighbors to catch up on their lives. I managed to spend most of the day working on the computer on one thing or another, and was able to finally store my luggage in the attic until at least the holidays when we will probably go to Pennsylvania to be with my family. The day was finished with a dinner of a new Thai dish of my own creation and some late-night brain candy television. What a great weekend!
A quick update on a couple of conferences that MLA Board members have attended or participated in during the last several weeks: first of all, catch T. Scott Plutchak’s comments on the Charleston Conference held November 8-11, 2006 in Charleston, SC. Scott was a conference speaker this year.
Along with several other VCU librarians, I attended the Inaugural Central Virginia Latino Health Summit: Latino Cultures and Beliefs in Health Care that was hosted by Virginia Commonwealth University’s Center on Health Disparities and School of World Studies. This conference was held November 16-17, 2006 right in VCU’s backyard at the Greater Richmond Convention Center. It was a wonderful conference full of practical approaches to working with the growing Latino population. VCU Libraries is going to host a Website of the conference presentations in the near future. Some key speakers at this conference were Dr. Joseph Betancourt, Harvard Medical School and Dr. Jane Delgado, The National Alliance for Hispanic Health. The Summit sought “to equip health care providers, community leaders and individuals involved in the provision of health services with information, knowledge and resources to better serve the growing Latino population in Central Virginia.” Over 250 people attended this very lively summit as well as many exhibitors from local agencies and organizations.
For fun, my community book club members and I went out to dinner last night to the CanCan Brasserie in Carytown, a shoppers’ paradise in Richmond, VA. I really enjoy this group of women from my neighborhood—although I have to admit we really only talked about the book that we had read (Madame Bovary) for about 10 minutes and talked about everything else under the sun the rest of the evening. Oh well…girls will be girls.
This month includes no MLA-related travel for me but that doesn’t mean things have slowed down. I am busy getting ready for the holidays as I’m sure many of you are and also getting ready for many events scheduled for the new year, including the February MLA Board of Directors meeting. We always play the odds with traveling to Chicago in February, but honestly, I enjoy the brisk weather and seeing the city sometimes in snow!
I’ve also had a chance this month to do some more local sightseeing. Mark and I flew to Suffolk, VA, a couple weekends ago to eat at their renowned airport restaurant. We also got to meet the owner of the skydiving company located there. Trust me, I would not want to get on his bad side! There was a beautiful blue sunset which I was able to weakly capture with my camera.
Then last Sunday, we decided to visit Maymont Park (http://www.maymont.org/) again which is located right in Richmond. This is a 100-acre estate that was owned by the Dooleys around the late 1800s. There is a beautiful Victorian stone mansion, a child’s petting zoo, Japanese and Italian gardens and an exhibit that features the James River and its wildlife in their natural habitats. There is also a small café, carriage rides, a tram, etc., so something for everyone.
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Besides these day-trips, Mark and I have been attending holiday events for work and play. We will be going to Pennsylvania late December to see my family, and I will be off work as VCU celebrates its winter closure between Dec. 22nd and January 2nd. No doubt I will still be on email and madly getting ready for all the MLA activities happening in the new year.
Hope you all are also enjoying the holiday season! Be safe and happy!
It’s New Year's Eve, a time when most are contemplating what resolutions they wish to make for the upcoming year, or should I say, for the following month, as often the best intentions are short-lived. I’ve been thinking lately about "incentives" versus "resolutions." This is due to recent observations of my husband Mark. Over a year ago, the Virginia Department of Aviation decided to encourage local pilots to fly into airports located throughout the state of Virginia through their Virginia Aviation Ambassadors Program. In return for every airport visited (or aviation museum or safety program attended), pilots get to stamp a special passport. After 25 airport stamps, one gets a baseball cap, after 50 stamps, a flight bag, and after 67 stamps, a leather flight jacket. Not bad incentives!! Mark is on stamp 38 and counting and is eagerly trying new airports as a result of these terrific prize incentives. Consequently, I’ve been sharing photos with you from airports and towns I have never even heard of before.
The most recent discovery is the Accomack County Airport. There is a huge airstrip there due to its past military use and a brand new beautiful airport terminal. The airport is not close to anything within walking distance, but the people who staff the airport couldn’t be friendlier. The one gentleman offered to loan us his personal car to go into town! But we had just dropped in to get airplane fuel at very reasonable prices and of course, the treasured passport stamp. I lucked out with beautiful sunsets and making the acquaintance of another member of the airport staff—Maggie, a four-legged fuzzy and friendly resident cat. She and I spent many minutes under the terminal’s Christmas tree as she shared her need for affection, attention, and goodwill. Now isn’t that what we all want in the coming year as I write this piece with my cat asleep on my lap?
May the coming year bring you much peace and happiness and may it be full of incentives! All the best for 2007!
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Medical Library Association
Last Updated: 2007 May 14