Midwest Chapter 2012 Professional Development Award Winners

Submitted by Liz Fine Weinfurter, Chair, Awards and Scholarships Committee
Bio-Medical Library, University of Minnesota

Marcia Francis, University of North Dakota Southwest Clinical Campus Librarian

When starting a new job in the Midwest, I decided I needed to start connecting with other regional colleagues as soon as possible. On a lucky Monday in August, I was pleased to learn I had received a 2012 Professional Development Award to help me start making those connections. My most recent work experience was in the Pacific Northwest Chapter of MLA, a chapter that covers the largest land mass (thanks to Alaska!) in the United States but has the lowest membership. Although medical librarians were few and far between, the lessons learned and the support I enjoyed from those colleagues was invaluable. I was pleased to become acquainted with another group of dedicated, knowledgeable, librarians at this year’s Midwest Chapter Annual Meeting.

At every session in Rochester, I tried to sit down at a table of new faces, and as always, was impressed to learn the breadth and depth of work librarians contribute in their workplaces. As they spoke of their work, I was reminded of the reasons librarians are drawn to the work they do — an enthusiasm for learning, a desire to be helpful, and a wish to make a difference in healthcare. Being reminded of these shared values always recharges my batteries and encourages me to think beyond my weekly to-do list. I also was reminded what a small world it is as I ran into a colleague I first met in the Pacific Northwest and talked to another librarian whose father taught at the same institution I just left.

Here are a few of my conference take away thoughts in no particular order (common for me after post-conference information overload):

– Gather data to evaluate work. It may help justify the time-consuming work tasks that are beneficial to patrons (Mark Wentz’ paper).

– Teach with multiple modes of instruction (auditory, visual, discussion, hands-on practice) whenever possible, and “stop talking so students can learn.” Failure is O.K.; modify instruction and try again (Barbara Gushrowski‘s paper).

– Offer options for reference services to remote students; Jennifer DeBerg learned from her survey that patrons valued  customized tutorials, in-person meetings, email, and general handouts and tutorials (listed in order of perceived usefulness).

– Consistency in providing patient education information is important, and librarians have the needed expertise to step outside the walls of the library and assist in this effort (Ruti Volk‘s paper).

– Beautiful physical library spaces still exist; visit Mayo’s libraries if you have a chance. Thanks for the informative tour on Monday, Dottie Hawthorne!

– “E-patient families need information coaches,” and librarians are well-suited for that role (E-Patient Dave’s presentation).

Research results from Open Notes recently showed both patients and physicians were positively impacted when patients were allowed to review their own medical records (E-Patient Dave’s Presentation).

– Make the effort to attend vendor sunrise sessions at conferences and talk to vendors at the exhibits. There is always a new or updated product to hear about.

– “You must leave the parking lot to do outreach.” (Jacqueline Leskovec‘s CE course on outreach to minority communities)

– NN/LM’s Outreach Evaluation Resource Center has resources to help with planning and completing outreach projects.

– When working on research projects, collaborate with others, plan carefully, and keep your sense of humor (Xiaomei Gu’s winning research paper).

– Ask publishers/vendors for COUNTER usage statistics as electronic resource management software often cannot track all usage data you may need (GMR Licensing Technology Forum).

Thank you again for honoring me with the Professional Development Award that made it possible to attend this year’s Midwest Chapter Meeting! Plan to attend the next Midwest Chapter Annual Meeting if you can and make time to apply for awards if you qualify. You will not regret it!






Erin Kerby, Taubman Health Sciences Library, University of Michigan

As my friend was driving me to the airport Saturday morning so I could catch my plane to Minnesota, she said, “I always see the strangest things when I’m driving around. Is it just me?” Immediately after she said this, we saw a man driving a jeep and holding one tail light out the driver side window. Then we saw a hippie dancing on the street corner like it was Woodstock all over again. Then we saw a semi-truck complete with car carrier do a U turn on a busy Ann Arbor street. By that point, I was really hoping it was my friend and not an indication of how my conference was going to go!

Thankfully, I made it to Rochester without further incident and settled in for a great time. Sunday was a very full day, starting with breakfast and the EBSCO Sunrise Session. It looked as though most of the attendees were present to hear ePatient Dave speak about participatory medicine, and I very much appreciated hearing the patient perspective. Many of us librarians do not have much contact with patients, but they are certainly and extremely important part of the equation! The day continued with paper presentations, including mine with co-worker Merle Rosenzweig which sparked an interesting conversation with another presenter about customization of service. The day ended with an excellent dinner in the Art Center, during which Shari Gieseke and I were inspired by Holly Burt’s obvious passion for her job.

Monday was poster session day, and I really enjoyed wandering around the room and taking in the wide variety of projects and research. And what a variety! All the way from a collection of cake pans to hospital noise reduction to Buddhism and medical manuscripts. The business meeting had a very full agenda, and I was especially interested to participate in the passing of the new bylaws. I had not experienced this process before, and it made me think about just how many people it takes to keep such an organization thriving and moving forward. All in all, I was very appreciative of the laid back atmosphere and how approachable and friendly everyone was. I left for the airport to head home feeling very satisfied indeed.

This entry was posted in Awards, Grants, Scholarships and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.