Submitted by Karlene Campbell, Genesis Health System, Davenport, IA
I had the pleasure of attending the Midwest/MidContinental MLA Chapter Meeting in October as a First Time Attendee Grant winner. As a new medical librarian, I felt it was a great way to learn more about the profession and engage in conversations with other medical librarians. I was able to interact with other colleagues when Edith Starbuck twisted my arm (just kidding) to help sell raffle tickets. I felt it would be a great opportunity, to not only get out of my comfort zone, but also interact with others. So without batting an eye, I volunteered. I enjoyed interacting with other participants and would like to thank Edith for having the grant winners participate in this fashion.
Each day’s events were filled with information about what other medical libraries are doing to make a difference in the profession. As a solo medical librarian, this was the most instructive part of the weekend. I attended a continuing ed course on Saturday afternoon called “Building Partnerships with Faculty, Clinicians, and Other Stakeholders.” The presenters, Gwen Wilson and Kristen Desanto, did a fabulous job offering their expertise on this topic. I was able to take away a great deal of information, which I’ll be able to utilize within my health system. Gwen and Kristen had us participate together in groups, which allowed us to hear the various struggles and successes each medical library deals with on a daily basis. Because I am new to medical librarianship, it was somewhat refreshing to hear that other libraries also struggle to communicate that we can do more than just search and retrieve articles for all the entities we serve. One of the biggest takeaways from the CE course was during the “Elevator Speech” suggestions. I realized that I could apply my health system’s mission statement specifically to the library’s mission and services. It was an aha moment!
Overall, I found the meeting to be informative, engaging, fun, and rewarding. I am very grateful to the Midwest Chapter for awarding the grant to me and to my employer for allowing me to experience this educational event. The chapter meetings offer a real opportunity for growth and I look forward to attending more conferences in the future.