Submitted by Noreen Mulcahy, Health Sciences Librarian – Technical Services, Mount Carmel Health Sciences Library, Columbus, OH
It was an honor to represent my institution at Merge & Converge, the Midwest/Midcontinental Chapters/MLA Annual Meeting in Des Moines, IA in October 22-24, 2016. The Midwest Chapter Annual Meeting Grant made it possible for me to attend. Stevo Roksandic, Regional Director of Mount Carmel Health System Library Services (my boss) was my traveling partner. As we were checking into the Marriott, Stevo and I had the pleasure of meeting Derek Johnson, the Greater Midwest Region Representative to Ohio. Linda Walton and Darlene Kaskie were also there to greet us.
Arriving on Saturday afternoon, Stevo and I had enough time to take a walk to Des Moines’ East Village, a quaint little arts district. We enjoyed a quick lunch at The Continental, a friendly pub with a tasty menu, before heading back to the hotel.
This being only my second Midwest Chapter Annual Conference, I felt it was appropriate to sign up to be a mentee. At the Mentor-Mentee Meetup, I met Elizabeth Fine Weinfurter, my mentor. She is Liaison and Instruction Librarian at the Bio-Medical Library, University of Minnesota and a very active member of the Midwest Chapter. It was nice to put a face with a familiar name from the Midwest Chapter – Liz has sent out many correspondence about events and opportunities offered through the Midwest Chapter. We shared our work histories and what we hoped to gain from attendance at the conference. She was planning to participate in the GMR Tech Forum scheduled for Monday afternoon.
Following the meetup, I attended the Welcome Party and Exhibit Opening and caught up with many of our vendors from EBSCO, Matthews, McGraw Hill, Rittenhouse, and STAT!Ref. Stevo and I picked up some information and swag to bring home for our colleagues who could not attend. Later that evening, I had the opportunity to talk with my roommate, Jennifer Herron, Emerging Technologies Librarian at the Ruth Lilly Medical Library, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. She and I first met at the New Member Breakfast during the MLA 2015 Annual Meeting in Austin, TX.
Roger Altizer, the conference keynote speaker, energized the group on Sunday with his interactive presentation, Playing with Innovation and Scholarship, a Gamer’s Approach to Scholarship, which included an extensive of Q&A discussion with the audience during which Mr. Altizer provided great examples of games that he and his students created at the GApp Lab at the University of Utah. He was a true innovator and demonstrated how technology can make positive change to the lives of patients in a variety of dynamic ways.
There were many paper presentations, and I had to make some tough choices on which ones to attend. Of course, I wanted to support my institution and our director Stevo Roksandic. His presentation, Merging Past & Present through Library Space Redesign: Converging New Library Identity, showed how our library is proactive in meeting customer service needs and changes in technology.
Edith Starbuck discussed the pros and cons of offering 3D printing in a Library setting in her presentation, Planning a 3D Printer Pilot: How Hard Can it Be? Jennifer Herron gave two insightful presentations. The first, Bad Apps: There’s One in Every Bunch, gave us some excellent guidance on evaluating health apps. This is How We Do It: Picking from a Plethora of Programs for Producing Streaming and Instructional Materials was a great overview of the many software programs that can do streaming audio/video. Kelly Thormodson discussed an innovative case study on music therapy, Active Learning: A Case Study in Music Therapy; Merging Music and Medicine.
As with most conferences, the most beneficial part to be the networking opportunities it provided. It was great speaking with my Mentor Liz Fine Weinfurter about her involvement in the Midwest Chapter. Jennifer Herron and I really connected and found that we have a lot of things in common. Thanks to the Midwest Chapter for giving me the opportunity to experience Merge & Converge.