Vote for Your MLA Leaders
Candidate Responses: President-Elect Candidate Forum
The Nominating Committee asked each candidate for a response to this question:
he Medical Library Association is at its best when supporting its members to adapt to changes in our practice environment. Examples of challenges facing health sciences librarians today are diversity of the population, not just locally but globally; new health care alliances; new technologies; and supporting data needs for our institutions. MLA’s strengths lie in educating, networking, and advocating for our profession, and we must continue to develop these strengths to support our membership.
Preparing health sciences librarians for the future includes continuing to expand and update our continuing education offerings in areas such as data management planning and curating, cultural sensitivity, and new technology. Two examples of successful MLA continuing education efforts are the consumer health certification program and the variety of formats used for educational programs. MLA must continue to move in these directions by offering certification in areas such as data management and information technology and continuing to explore new platforms for delivering health information continuing education.
A very big challenge facing everyone in the sciences is e-research and its impact on scholarship. Researchers are moving from bench-based practices to computationally driven models of research using big datasets; electronic health records are creating new data for hospitals. All types of libraries in the sciences are grappling with the role we are to play in this new era of data. Networking with our peers in other organizations such as the Association of Research Libraries, the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions, and the Special Libraries Association will be critical in developing best practices for libraries and data management.
The current emphasis in research on collaborating across disciplines and institutions reinforces our need to network, educate ourselves on new trends, and advocate for the skills we bring to the table in education, research, and clinical care.
MLA can help to prepare librarians to adapt to the changes in our practice environment by providing awareness of the expanding boundaries, continuing education, training, and networking opportunities that will allow librarians to be flexible, nimble, and innovative in their adjustment.
Knowledge of how the provision of health information services is changing is a key component for preparation. The practice environment itself is in flux, as is any field that heavily incorporates technology.
I believe that MLA should continue to make strides in using technology to further association priorities. MLA offers continuing education in a number of areas and in a variety of formats. These offerings could be expanded and deepened where possible.
Members network with each other readily; MLA should leverage opportunities to interact with other groups and individuals dealing with similar issues, i.e. associations, faculty, researchers, students, the community around librarians, and vendors.
New ideas could be cultivated and tried out. Settings that encourage librarians to share their resourcefulness should be sought out and used.
No one has a reliable crystal ball for telling the future of health information provision; however, there are a few constants. New partnerships and collaborations will continue to accelerate. Technology will continue to play an expanded and expansive role in the provision of health care. People will become more active participants in their own wellness and as such will seek out health information knowledge with increasing regularity, and MLA and its members must continue to “provide quality information for improved health” in whatever environment they practice in.
Medical Library Association
Last Updated: 2012 November 02