Conference Memories

Your intrepid blog editor has made her way back to her humble abode in the Buckeye State. It was a great trip! I so enjoyed my time with my fellow Midwest Chapter members. And, of course, I learned a lot.

Some of the interesting and useful things I learned:

  • From Dr. Navsaria – the similarities between the reference interview and the medical patient interview.
  • From Ruth Holst – how the library can act as a “neutral” partner, without a “political agenda” within the organization, effectively spearheading cross-disciplinary endeavors.
  • From Alexandra Dimitroff – the importance of writing survey questions that will meet survey objectives.
  • From Kelly Thormodson – practical tips for improving the delivery of library instruction through teamwork.
  • From Liz Fine – how librarians are and could be engaged with nursing faculty in DNP programs.
  • From Robert Shapiro – shared advice from Dr. Lindberg: “Get out of the library!”
  • During Xiaomei Gu’s presentation – that “Dental librarians rock!” 

Memorable conference moments:

  • The rapt audience listening to Dr. Dipesh Navsaria reading The Three Questions.
  • During the “Ruthapalooza” keynote presentation – remembering how it was “in the old days” when doing it digitally meant using your fingers.
  • Enjoying the company of once-a-year friends – eating breakfast together every morning, swapping stories about the worst cars we’ve ever owned over beer and appetizers, buying jewelry from street vendors, sharing the colorful atmosphere of the farmers market.
  • Mentoring a first-time attendee and attending her excellent paper presentation.
  • The Executive Board working productively as a team during their meeting.
  • Waiting in the Madison airport with two Michigan librarians watching for Air Force One.
  • Barbara Gushrowski screencasting “on the fly.”
  • Having fun with Pete and Carl.
  • Taking photos, photos, and more photos.
  • Did I mention eating, eating, eating, and eating some more?


Of course, for me the most memorable moment was receiving the gavel from outgoing Midwest Chapter President Elaine Skopelja! Ready to go to work for the Midwest Chapter!

HeLP MN Seniors

Session 6

HeLP MN Seniors: an evidence-based health literacy program for seniors

Anne Beschnett, Outreach Librarian, University of Minnesota Health Science Libraries

Anne presented on experiences with the HeLP MN Seniors (“Health Literacy Program for Minnesota Seniors”), a project done through a partnership between the University of Minnesota Health Sciences Libraries and the Minnesota Health Literacy Partnership and funded through an NLM NN/LM subcontract.  Community partners, including Boutwell Landing Senior Living (where the project was pilot tested) were also key to the project’s success.

Anne presenting
Apologies for the low light!

Anne first gave some basic health literacy information, e.g., that low health literacy is associated with poor health outcomes.  She also shared some of the motivation behind this particular project: seniors have lower health literacy than all other age groups, while in 2009, studies showed that 38% of seniors are using the Internet to find health information.  While that number seems low, it was 18% in an earlier year (maybe 2005?), so it’s certainly a growing part of the population.

The purpose of the HeLP MN Seniors project was to create and pilot test health literacy workshops, creating resources and a curriculum that could be used by other health literacy educators throughout the state and beyond.  They created 2 workshops, each 1.5 hours long.  The first workshop focuses on communicating with providers and teaches seniors how to go into medical appointments well-informed and able to ask questions.  It incorporates the idea of “Ask Me 3,” which encourages the patient to leave an appointment with the answers to “What is my main problem? What do I need to do?  Why is it important for me to do this?”  The second workshop is designed to teach seniors how to search for health information on the Internet, and Anne personally became convinced of the need for this course when one of her pupils asked her “why would would anyone put anything bad on the Internet?”

After talking about the workshops that were the end product of the project, Anne talked a little about the whole process with the intent of providing some info for those who are interested in doing something similar.  The project began with a needs assessment using focus groups.  One of the interesting things that came up was that the seniors often felt worried about their friends’ health literacy skills rather than their own; why that might be is an interesting question.  Anne also noted that a side lesson learned at this point was the importance of good facilitators for keeping the conversation on track!  As a result of the needs assessment, current health topics and drug info were added to the curriculum.

The workshops, piloted at Boutwell, had both pre- and post-evaluation questionnaires.  Originally, they had hoped to do multiple choice in order to also measure health literacy levels, but when those took more than 1/2 hour, they switched to a Likert scale.  Questionnaires were given before and after each workshop.  The project team also hoped to have a post-pilot focus group, but when no one attended (the scheduled time competed with some important social activities!), they sent out a survey which had a 55% response rate.  The survey results, mostly positive, led to some changes in the curriculum, including removal of redundant information & unused tips as well as a lot of background info (which was deemed important for the motivation driving the project, but not as important for the seniors themselves to know).  They also made the materials prettier.

The end result is a curriculum, with the full workshop presentations and scripts, along with support materials that provide information on how to customize the content (for instance, making the workshops shorter, which was also helped, for better or worse, with the ending of Minnesota GoLocal).  The team is now in the process of marketing the materials around Minnesota and beyond.

So if you want to step up, step forward, and try HeLP MN Seniors for yourself and your patrons, check out!

Highlights from the Midwest Chapter Meeting

Becca Canton: Membership stands at 400 members, 57 of which are new and 32 student members.

Sue London: Current financial state shows a beginning balance of $50,092.43 and an ending balance of $50,228.07 for a net increase of $135.64

Pam Rees: MLA Chapter Council Report (Each chapter elects 2 representatives every 3 years and they meet annually at MLA) Reminder of deadlines on the MLA awards & scholarship (log onto the MLA website for more details).

Donna Barbour-Talley Annual Meeting Report: 137 registered attendees for this year’s conference.

Future conference locations: 2013 Illinois and 2014 North Dakota.

Liz Fine-Awards & Scholarships

Deborah Lauseng-Nominations and Elections

  • Janna Lawrence, President Elect
  • Katherine Chew, Membership Secretary
  • Stephanie Schulte, representative-at-Large
  • Mary Markland, Potential Candidate for MLA Nominating Committee

Old Business: Effectiveness of the Virtual Board Meeting (worked but had standard technical issues) and plans for future use with different technology.

New Business: New Advocacy Committee started last Friday, Time=Money campaign unveiled (downloadable available through the GMR website in the advocacy section).

AHIP renewal for displaced health sciences librarians is currently not available and of concern to the board. The board is reviewing what to do about this

New Committee Chairs announced and recognition of outgoing officers & chairs.

2011 Indiana Invitation:

Welcome Clare Leibfarth, new president elect.

Coming soon: Session Posts!

I apologize for my lack of posts so far!  My lame excuses include apparently misplacing my camera and phone, trying to use my new (to me) iPod Touch, and living in the conference city, which means I had to go home and feed the cats and do the dishes and didn’t have a nice quiet hotel room like last year.  I think I wasn’t ready for that.  But enough whining.

This is mostly just a quick FYI post, to let you know what will be coming, and to give major kudos to the other posters!  I really enjoyed reading about some of the sessions I didn’t get to go to.  In general, Sunday was a great day, filled with meeting people, saying hi to distant friends and colleagues, some crazy and interesting art, and interesting sessions.

I’ll be posting my notes from the following over the next couple days:

Session 6- HeLP MN Seniors: an evidence-based health literacy program for seniors

Session 9- The Resource Library as HOst for an eResources Consortium

Session 11-Dyslexia: health, literacy, and libraries

Session 14-The Level of Evidence Utilized to Answer General Practitioners’ Questions

Session 17-Library Advocacy: a Wisconsin example

If you have specific questions/thoughts about any of the above sessions, feel free to leave them in the comments below and I’ll note them in my posts!  And be sure to follow the tweets with the #midwestmla10 tag for live updates!

Hope everyone is enjoying the lovely city of Madison.  🙂

Current Patterns on Engagement between Librarians and Faculty in Doctor of Nursing Practice Programs

Liz Fine is the liaison librarian for the Health Sciences Libraries at the University of Minnesota and has been involved with the School of Nursing since 2005. Her theory is that the engagement of the librarian makes a difference. After all, if the faculty know about the library and use the library, they will value the library. By applying for a 3 month research leave, she was able to pursue this project (taken in two parts, December 2009 and Spring 2010)

Some background: the Doctor of Nursing Program began appearing in 2007 and is a professional doctorate in nursing practice. It is recognized as the new terminal degree for advanced practice nurses (replacing the Master of Science in Nursing). This proved as a convenient emerging population to research

Why this population? This is especially relevant for librarian involvement because of the focus on evidence-based practice. Also, this population is exploding–in December 2009, there were about 90 active programs. By September 2010, there are 129 active programs.

Goals were to get a picture of what’s actually happening in current engagement between DNP and libraries, collect the data to support the hypothesis, pilot for gathering this type of information, and perhaps even affecting the AACN

Research Questions:

  • How are DNP faculty currently working with their library/librarians
  • How do DNP faculty perceive/value collaboration with librarians?
  • Many secondary questions/correlations: survey was designed so that the dataset could be analyzed to look at those things

The Method

  • Created a survey in UMSurvey
  • Sent request for participation to program directors of all currently active DNP programs
  • Survey was open from May 5 – June 1 201 (designed to take less than 20 minutes to complete)

There was a 90% completion rate of people responding. (Complete responses were 114). This was through 53 different schools represented, plus 15 respondents who did not specify a school (approximately a 50% program response rate)

Some of the questions:

Is there a librarian specifically assigned to the nursing programs at your institution?

  • Yes: 61%
  • No: 25%
  • Not Sure: 12%

Have you ever interacted with a librarian?

  • Yes: 70%
  • No: 27%
  • Not Sure: 2%

How often do you seek advice from a librarian?

  • Often: 12%
  • Occasionally:52%
  • Rarely: 18%

How often do you refer students to a librarian?

  • Often 39%
  • Occasionally 38%
  • Rarely 18%

Librarians are useful in assisting with DNP teaching activities

  • Agree-57%
  • Neutral-14%
  • Disagree-13%

Awareness comments: completing the survey made Liz more aware of the resources librarians could offer in developing courses an research.

Words of advice given: “Don’t drink too much punch and make friends with the librarian”-one response from the survey

Liz notes that even with the limitations of the study, there is evidence that librarians are making an impact with the DNP population, whether through teaching classes or interacting with the students.

She plans on further data analysis and creating case reports at individual institutions.

Any questions or comments, email Liz at

–as always, reporting to you live