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2021 NAHSL Virtual Meeting: Starting from Scratch, Taking Charge of Change

North Atlantic Health Sciences Libraries (NAHSL) leadership made the decision to stay virtual in 2021, based on a successful virtual 2020 meeting and the continued uncertainty of travel during COVID-19. The conference was again hosted on the Whova platform over two days, October 25–26, 2021. While there were some features we wished were different, the success of the previous year on the platform and the lessons learned led us to the decision to stay with Whova. Also, it was a very affordable option, and that was very important to our decision.

Our first keynote speaker was Mary Mahoney, a historian who specializes in history of bibliotherapy in the United States. Her talk was titled “Prescribing from the shelf: Bibliotherapy yesterday and today.” It was a fascinating dive into therapeutic reading using in nineteenth-century asylums and the trenches of World War I. Mary is also known as the host of the excellent American Girls podcast that focuses on the American Girl Series book by book.

Our keynote on day two was MLA’s own Peace Ossom-Williamson, who spoke on “Principles of data visualization and telling data stories.” Peace really brought this topic to life with stories and was so well received—even by members that do not work directly with data!

The rest of the meeting included member contributions with papers, lightening rounds, and posters, with a highlight being a panel on “Communicating value to your organization,” featuring academic and hospital librarians sharing their successes. Of course, there was the obligatory business meeting and the announcement of our two awards. NAHSL acknowledged the long-standing work and enormous contributions of Jeannine Gluck, retired director of library & knowledge services at Middlesex Health in Middletown, CT, bestowing her with the NAHSL Appreciation Award. The NAHSL Achievement Award went to the lovely Maureen Dunn, director of library services at Concord Hospital in Concord, NH. Vendor presentations and time to meet virtually with them rounded out the two-day schedule.

Many thanks go out to our wonderful and hard-working planning committee. While the reviews for NAHSL 2021 were excellent, we all agree we are more than ready to meet in person in Portland, ME, from November 6 to 8, 2022, for “Turning the Tide.

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