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History of the Hawaii Pacific Chapter

The Hawaii Regional Medical Library Group, Inc. first formed in October, 1969 after five librarians petitioned the Medical Library Association to form a regional group. In September, 1971 we became the Medical Library Group of Hawaii, and in April 1995 we incorporated and became the Hawaii Pacific Chapter (HPC). The Chapter expanded its regional coverage to include island states and nations across the Pacific Ocean. We invited all MLA members to Hawaii in 2009 when we hosted the 109th MLA Annual Meeting – 30 years after MLA’s previous (and first) meeting in Hawaii. In 2019 our chapter celebrated its 50th year with a brunch and talk story with emeritus members Ginny Tanji and John Breinich.

Due to our geographic location, travel costs have historically hindered HPC member’s ability to keep up with changes in health science librarianship. We developed a close relationship with the former NNLM Pacific Southwest Regional Medical Library (PSRML) at the University of California Los Angeles, and its director Judy Consales and associate director Julie Kwan. When PSRML staff visited the HPC they provided continuing education courses and forged connections that allowed them to extend NLM services to the Pacific. Members are grateful for the over 50 years of support that they received from the PSRML.

Recent improvements in technology, especially virtual meeting tools like Zoom, have made meetings, networking and training more accessible. Twenty-five years ago in the MLA 100-Year Retrospective, our chapter accurately predicted a future of telemedicine, teleconferencing and wireless communications. Our chapter was an early adapter of hybrid annual meetings, holding our first in 2012, with one member attended virtually from the island of Hawaii, while everyone else attended in-person on Oahu.

Despite the virtues of virtual meetings, we enjoy bonding over food. We often bring foods like almond float, quiche, chocolate peanut butter crunch cake, pumpkin bread and malasadas to share. Members maintain a flickr photo stream of goodies and gatherings. During the holidays, we gather for lunch or tea with no agenda, so that members can reconnect and share stories about the past year. 

In the next 25 years we expect to see more changes in technology, evolving roles for health science librarians, and growing needs for metadata and linked data in finding and accessing health information.

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