Meet Student Attendee: Sam Watson

I had a mentor at my first Midwest conference: Clare Leibfarth at Kent State University. Five years later, I became a mentor, too. So I’m excited to introduce my mentee, Samuel Watson. Sam is a library school student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a GMR Student Awardee. I missed the official mentor-mentee meetup on Saturday evening, but Sam and I got to chat on several occasions later. I’m happy to learn that he is very interested in health sciences librarianship especially in Pharmacy because of his experience of working as a pharmacy technician.
Going along with my theme of 3-2-1 questions, I asked Sam these questions via emails. Below are his responses. Thank you, Sam, for sharing your thoughts!

Three things I learned from this conference:
1) I learned about the existence of Embase. An important resource to know about considering my pharmacy interest.
2) I learned that poster publishing isn’t all that intimidating. I’ll have to participate in one myself soon.
3) I learned the many concepts and issues important in medical librarianship coincide with my current SLIS education, which is highly reassuring as I near graduation.
Things that surprised me:
1) It would appear that everyone in the medical librarianship field in the Midwest knows everyone else. There were no strangers at this conference.
2) I was surprised by the variety of career paths that revolve around the medical librarianship field.
One thing I’ll never forget is that Bourbon isn’t that bad. In small doses.

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Networking at Midwest

I happened to sit with Tiffney Gipson during Sunday’s lunch session. Tiffney is the Clinical Library Intern at the Kornhauser Health Sciences Library, which is right here in Louisville, KY. She kindly provided me with directions to the Big Four Bridge. We chatted again during an afternoon break. I talked about my intent to blog for those who were not able to attend the conference. Tiffney said she liked the networking opportunities most, which is especially important for students who are looking fore jobs. She also added that the meeting allowed her to meet people outside her immediate work environment. This is my 3rd Midwest conference, and I could not agree with her more. Reconnecting with friends and colleagues and getting to know new faces has always been the highlight of each of my conferences. For many of us, it seems face-to-face interactions is something that just cannot be replaced with virtual interactions.
Hope to see you all at Iowa in 2016.

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One Thing that You’ll Never Forget about this Conference

I teach drug information in our College of Pharmacy at Iowa, where active learning is widely used in the curriculum . One of the strategies I use to kick off discussions is to ask the following 3-2-1 questions: 1) three things you learned, 2) two things that surprised you, and 3) one thing that you’ll never forget.

So I asked some of my friends/colleagues to answer Question #3. Kelly Thormodson, who is the Assistant Director at the Harley E. French Library of the Health Sciences in the University of North Dakota, told me during a break that it would be the panel discussion on Tobacco, Meth and Mountain Dew: Oral Health in Appalachia. It made her wonder how North Dakota is meeting the oral health care needs of the Native American population there especially considering the fact that there are no dental schools in the state. Coincidentally, this panel discussion is also what stuck with my roommate, Amy Blevins, also at the University of Iowa. Amy felt when we talk about health care gaps, we need to take into account the huge amount of debts many health care professionals have after receiving their education and training and think about what can be done.

I feel the 3-2-1 questions worked well in starting conversations at conferences just as well as starting classroom discussions among my pharmacy students. Thank you, Kelly and Amy, for sharing your thoughts!

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From a LIS Student Perspective

Hello, I’m Don Pearson from Columbus, Ohio. I am currently working at Mount Carmel Health Sciences Library which serves the Mount Carmel Health System as well as Mount Carmel College of Nursing. I’m working as a Library Technology Specialist because of my years of experience in computers, dating back to the 1980s, but I am also about halfway done with a library degree at Kent State University.

I’ve been to a few medical and academic library conferences over the the last three years, and I’ve been tasked with writing a little about the Midwest MLA 2015 Conference, which is ongoing as I write this.

As I’m finding, conferences such as this one are invaluable resources for networking, learning, exploring a new city and making new friends of people who had only been an email exchange or a web presence before. Midwest MLA 2015 is no exception to this rule. In a twenty four hour period, I have already attended a class on Technology Trends given by Melissa De Santis and Gabe Rios, made the acquaintance of many new and fascinating medical librarians and explored a few square blocks of Looeyville!


(Melissa and Gabe demonstrating Google Cardboard an example of affordable virtual reality)

I’ll be making a series of posts about the individual sessions and impressions they’ve made on me.  I hope everyone is having as great an experience as I’m having. I’m also taking some snapshots to post for the conference (with Claire’s enthusiastic suggestions factored in!) They’ll be posted on the conference flickr site, and here:

Enjoy Louisville, everyone!

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Welcome to Louisville!

The weather may not be the best but the welcome is warm!


Medical Librarians have invaded Louisville!



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Just a few more days to go…

The 2015 MWMLA Conference is quickly approaching.  Keep up with the latest news, hotel information, directions, program schedule, and all things conference related by visiting today!

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Visit the St. James Court Art Show while you’re in town!

Visiting the St. James Court Art Show is a bit of a local tradition here in the city of Louisville.  The St. James Court Art Show is held annually in Old Louisville, a historic preservation district and neighborhood in central Louisville.  This year’s event will be held October 2nd – 4th.  Visit their website to find out more information on hours, directions, and additional visitor information.

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We are just one week away from the 2015 MWMLA Conference in Louisville, KY.  Are you ready?  Here are a few things you may want to check off your to-do list before next Friday.

  • Double check your conference registration
  • Have you made transportation arrangements?
  • Have you made hotel reservations?
  • Do you still need a roommate?

Here are a few tips to remember about Louisville.

Finally, we want to thank all those who responded to the call for bloggers.  Want to keep up with the conference on social media?  Use the hashtag #MidwestMLA15 on Facebook and Twitter!

See you next week!

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Meet the Midwest Chapter 2015 Meeting Grant Winners

Leah Osterhaus Trzasko, Chair of the Midwest Chapter Awards & Scholarships Committee sends along this news!

Greetings Midwest Chapter meeting attendees! Take a few minutes at the meeting and congratulate this year’s recipients of the attendance grants:

Annual Meeting Grant: Supports the attendance of librarians and library staff at the Chapter’s Annual Meeting — $500 with free full conference registration.

Mindwell Egeland,University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics
Dawn Hackman, University of North Dakota

First-Time Attendee Annual Meeting Grant: Supports the first-time attendance of Midwest Chapter members at the Chapter’s Annual Meeting — $500 with free full conference registration.

Mary O’Connell, Northwest Community Hospital
Laura Menard, Butler University

Student Annual Meeting Grant: Supports the attendance of library science students at the Chapter’s Annual Meeting — $500 with free full conference registration.

Kimberly Kelly, Wayne State University
Donald Pearson, Kent State University

If you don’t run into them Sunday morning, you’ll have a chance to congratulate them after the noon Business Meeting when all of the awards will be presented. In addition to the attendance grants, the winner of the Jean Williams Sayre Innovation Award will be announced during the awards presentation at the Business Meeting.

Have a great time in Kentucky!

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Call for Bloggers and Photographers!

We’re less than a month away from the Midwest MLA Conference in Louisville, Kentucky! Lots of folks have taken advantage of early bird registration and will be heading down to our chapter’s southernmost state.  Please join us and consider sharing the sights, sounds and events of the Louisville conference through a blog or photo stream.

This is our call for Bloggers and Photographers

·         3 AHIP points available for completing 3 short blog posts about the conference.

·         1-3 AHIP points also available for photography (Dependent on quality and quantity—25 photos minimum).

·         No experience necessary!

·         Great way to network.

·         See examples from past conferences:


Please contact Vida Vaughn at if you are interested or would like further information. We look forward to seeing you and your blog/photo contributions at the Midwest MLA Conference 2014!”


Still haven’t registered for the conference yet?  Curious about what there is to do in the city?  Take a few minutes and watch this short video, all you need to know about Louisville in 4 minutes or less!

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