Midwest Chapter Scholarship Winner Conference Report

Submitted by Bethany R. Harris
Taubman Health Sciences Library, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

As a library science student with an established interest in health sciences librarianship, the 2010 Midwest Chapter/MLA conference was a fine way to begin my involvement in professional associations. All participants, and certainly the scholarship recipients, received a warm welcome from the Midwest Chapter members in the fabulous setting of Madison, Wisconsin. The conference was a nice size for a newcomer, with plenty of activities and diverse presentations to attend while mingling with long-time members, fellow graduate students, academic and hospital librarians, and the occasional library science professor.

Between events such as Dipesh Navsaria’s stimulating keynote address about his unique experience of completing library school during his medical education and attending the timely presentation sessions, I was happy to be provided opportunities to meet professionals with varied backgrounds from all over the region. I even had the chance to talk with current MLA President, Ruth Holst, and several GMR Coordinators, such as Holly Burt. The openness and genuine interest I recognized throughout the conference was not unexpected at a convention full of librarians, but was encouraging to students and new professionals nonetheless!

I was pleased with the turnout at the poster session at which my colleagues Merle Rosenzweig, Anna Ercoli Schnitzer, and I presented our Women’s Health and Fitness Day poster. We were subsequently surrounded by friendly and curious colleagues who happily shared their experiences in medical librarianship. Aside from listening to engaging talks on issues ranging from health literacy to website redesign and usability testing, to Karen Davies’ research on the information-seeking issues involved in the practice of EBM in the UK, I appreciated the audiences’ enthusiasm and readiness to ask questions. Of course, there were amusing moments like the conference invitation to Midwest Chapter/MLA 2011 in Indianapolis and valued moments with my fellow Taubman Health Sciences Library coworkers, but it was the complete experience that I found refreshing and was motivated to share with friends and fellow students back at the University of Michigan.

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