Submitted by Mindwell Egeland, Patients’ Library, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Iowa City, Iowa
As a grant recipient, I was able to travel to Louisville, KY for the Midwest MLA Chapter meeting. I enjoyed traveling there with colleagues which provided me with a great frame of mind to absorb as much as I could at The Midwest Medical Library Association meeting. When we arrived, it was time for the opening reception, which had been planned as an outdoor activity, but the weather was not cooperating. The opening reception was transformed into a unique opportunity to mingle with colleagues and vendors without having exhibits in the way. Drawing for prizes was a highlight!
The keynote speaker was Dr. Lawrence K. Altman and he spoke about how medical journalism is journalism. Most of us thought they were two different entities.
He raised some interesting questions:
- What is peer review really?
- Do scientist use the right amount of skepticism when reading journal articles?
- How much profit does each journal make?
Each journal may have different criteria for article selection and interpreting these issues.
I was further energized to see what else there was to learn. My goal was to attend everything. I had a great time in the exhibit hall. I met with lots of vendors. I did have an ulterior motive as I am working on the meeting planning for next year.
We all ate lunch in the Fountain Room – this was where awards were presented and the business meeting was held. The Dean of Libraries from the University of Louisville (U of L) welcomed us and and was very entertaining.
Later on, in true Kentucky form, we had sweet tea on the veranda though it was inside owing to cooler than expected temperatures. There was a choice of discussion groups. I joined a group where we discussed future meetings – including the where and when.
I had so many great discussions with colleagues and absorbed new knowledge from presenters. There was an interesting evening event -we learned all about bourbon. There was a great session about Big Data with an overview by Scott Plutachak. I had never heard about data from this perspective and found it very enlightening. I also sat in on a session called “Clinical Librarianship meets Patient Safety.” This session discussed ways librarians are combating patient adverse events and addressing the estimated 400,000 lethal events every year.
The entire event allowed me to focus on catching up on new trends, learning many new things, and connecting with colleagues. I encourage everyone to attend the Midwest Chapter/MLA meetings and apply for a grant if needed. It was an amazing experience.
The grant made it all possible and I really appreciate this opportunity.
Submitted by Dawn Hackman of the Harley E. French Library of the Health Sciences, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, North Dakota
This October, I was fortunate to be able to attend the Midwest Chapter/MLA 2015 Annual Meeting in Louisville, Kentucky. My participation was made possible by two generous grants: the Midwest Chapter/MLA Annual Meeting Grant and the North Dakota Library Association Health Science Information Section’s Professional Development Grant.
My conference activities began with a continuing education class called “Embedded and Empowered: Making an Impact with Embedded Librarianship.” This class explored what it means to be an “embedded” librarian. The instructor also covered how you can identify opportunities a librarian to become embedded, as well as how you can advocate to stakeholders. The instructor identified the following potential roles for a medical/health sciences librarian to explore: fellow researcher; content manager for research data; co-teacher; patient advocate; and big data wrangler (involving the organization, archiving, and retrieving of datasets). The instructor pointed out that libraries provide multiple access points to information, so too should they provide multiple access points to the librarians! Lastly, the instructor broke us into groups and had us work together on SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analyses to identify the opportunities and challenges to us and our organizations regarding establishing an embedded librarian program. Despite being a bit too long (5.5 hours without coffee!), this CE was nevertheless very valuable to me as my library prepares to redefine its role within its medical school.
I also thoroughly enjoyed the panel presentation on “Big Data” hosted by T. Scott Plutchak and which included panelists from the University of Illinois at Chicago, the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, and Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis. During this session, the panelists shared the ways in which their libraries have been involved with research and data management. For example, the librarian from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities talked about her library’s Data Management Curation Initiative. Researchers are invited to upload data to an in-house repository, called the Data Repository for U of M (or DRUM). To encourage researchers to participate, they are able to offer them many value-added services, such as the minting of DOIs (Digital Object Identifiers), suggesting appropriate citations, converting data files to preservation-quality files, and providing study-level metadata. Their library also offers training on best practices for data management. The panelist invited attendees to take a look at their instructor’s guide for inspiration on how they can teach data management at their own institutions (z.umn.edu/teachdatamgmt/).
As a member of the previous year’s conference planning committee, it was fun to see the adoption of a few features that we had created for the 2014 chapter meeting that we hosted in Bismarck, ND. Our “Campfire Conversations” feature may have been renamed to “Sweet Tea on the Veranda,” but the concept remained the same– informal small-group conversations. Out of the four topics to choose from, two were related to collection development and a third was related to planning outreach. I attended the fourth one, which discussed the future of the Chapter’s annual meetings. That must have been a popular topic, since we ran out of chairs! Participants included conference veterans and newbies alike. We were asked to brainstorm about what we look for in a successful conference and what makes a conference less successful in our eyes. Some of our newer members were able to share how other chapters plan their annual meetings. That was particularly interesting for me to hear, as an early career professional whose conference attendance has been mostly limited to the Midwest region.
Probably the most valuable part of the conference was the chance to network with other medical librarians from around the region. North Dakota is home to a relatively small number of medical and health sciences librarians. I feel incredibly lucky to be part of the Midwest Chapter and thus expand my professional network beyond my state’s borders. Thank you again for this wonderful opportunity!