Shake, Rattle, and Roll!

Event planning is hard, especially when unexpected things happen.  It is also fun and rewarding when things go right.  Either way it is definitely worth all the work because it is still, even in our iGeneration, the best way to learn, connect with colleagues, and have fun.

One of the main purposes for me to attend #MidwestMHSLA17 was to observe the details of planning a professional conference.  I am on the Planning Committee for the next Midwest MLA Conference in Cleveland in October 2018.  I am a member of the Publicity Committee, and the Webmaster for the conference site.  The Publicity Committee is responsible for getting the word out to the Midwest MLA membership about the conference and promoting the host city and state. We have already been working hard since the spring and the 2017 meeting was our first big milestone in planning.  Besides observing and meeting our counterparts at the 2017 meeting, the 2018 Planning Committee sponsored a table with promotional materials, and announced the conference at the MHSLA Business Meeting and the Midwest Chapter Business Meeting.

The 2018 Publicity Committee (consisting of Margaret Hoogland, Theresa Kline, and me) planned out our table and decided to give out buckeyes (chocolate and peanut butter truffles for those non-Ohioans), Cleveland pins, and chances to win a $50 coupon towards the registration cost of the next meeting. We made a banner and decorated our table with rock-n-roll paraphernalia.  We encouraged visitors to take selfies and tag them with the official meeting hasthtag, #MidwestMLA18.  We benefited from the 2017 Special Karaoke Event which got people thinking in a rock-and-roll mode.  The video featuring our 2018 conference chairs Mary Pat Harnegie and Mary Schleicher, and the music of real life rock star librarian Cathy Murch put an exclamation point on our marketing efforts.  In a happy coincidence, the NLM in Focus blog has been focusing on “rock-star” medical librarians all month – a gift of free marketing for us!

I am sure that all the 2018 Conference Planning Committee members were watching carefully and learning from the 2017 meeting.  Stephanie Swanberg, the chair of the 2017 Publicity Committee, met with us and shared some pointers and volunteered to be available for questions.  I spoke with Emily Ginier, the chair of the CE committee, when my CE instructor suddenly cancelled.  Probably the most important thing I learned from observing this meeting is how to land on one’s feet when that inevitable something doesn’t go as planned. Switching gracefully to Plan B is a conference planner’s biggest challenge.  But the 2017 conference planning committee did an excellent job of moving forward and rolling with the stormy waves.  I told Emily that I actually enjoyed the substituted CE class very much as it ended up giving me a full day crash course on Research Data Management. Although I was disappointed at not getting to hear Curt Guyette speak, I did not mind the gap in the schedule as things just moved on gracefully.

In reflecting on my 2017 conference experience, I am very thankful for this opportunity.  I am thankful to have received an NN/LM GMR Professional Development Award to attend the conference.  I had hoped to take some CEs, and learn from the vendors, paper and poster presenters, and the keynote speaker, but what I learned most is how important personal interaction still is and how valuable physical attendance at a conference is.  Even the “fun” sessions like the welcome party, karaoke night, and down-time are not just icing on the cake, but opportunities to really build relationships among colleagues, have some great discussions, and even establish some mentor and mentee relationships.

All in all I was very pleased with my conference experience – and that is the goal, after all, isn’t it?  I realized that a tight schedule is important, but that just being with and learning from one’s peers is what is most important about conferences.  If I want to learn about a topic I can just search for an article, or watch a video online.  But there is no replacement for meeting people in person.  Even with scheduling snafus, an annual conference still provides that in-person networking and fellowship time that is growing increasingly rare in our society.  I will take this realization back to my 2018 planning work.  I want to keep in mind that building collegial relationships is the most important thing in a conference, not the production of a perfectly smooth, clockwork event.  In that spirit, we can almost guarantee that the Cleveland conference next year will Shake, Rattle, and Roll!!

Donald Pearson, MBA/MIS, MLIS, AHIP
Library Technology Specialist, Mount Carmel Health Sciences Library
Columbus, Ohio |

Getting Started with Health Information Outreach

On the first day of Midwest/MHSLA 2017, I attended Getting Started with Community Health Information Outreach, taught by Darlene Kaskie. In this course, attendees learned how to examine specific populations for targeted outreach initiatives.

To do this, we first discussed the various resources available for getting a clearer picture of the populations in certain communities. By utilizing census data and other government health resources, it is possible to develop a better understanding of the demographic makeup of specific communities, as well as the health needs in those areas.

Throughout the course, there was an emphasis on learning and asking questions. For example, if you wanted to speak to a demographic that was culturally different from groups you had worked with previously, it’s important to develop an understanding of that group before trying to start an outreach project. So, if you were working with senior citizens who had limited understanding of mobile technologies, you may not want to lead with the cutting edge mobile apps available to them. However, by communicating with your targeted group and asking questions, you could learn what their particular struggles and health issues might be and how you as an information professional may be able to address them.

One way to learn more about a community is to seek out a community health assessment for that particular region. If an agency or institution has already conducted a community health assessment, you can easily determine what the health needs are for that particular area. Examining a community health assessment also allows you to easily target potential partners for your outreach efforts.

In addition to learning how to target and explore specific communities for outreach efforts, we also discussed NLM and other government resources that are freely available, including MedlinePlus, HealthReach, Genetics Home Reference, and the Disaster Information Management Resource Center.

I have always enjoyed attending conferences for the educational opportunities that help me keep abreast of advancements in our field. These courses teach us how other librarians are problem solving, expanding their roles, and developing new strategies to best utilize their skills in an ever-changing environment. Both continuing education courses I attended at Midwest/MHSLA 2017 gave me the chance to learn about new (or new to me) resources and how librarians are harnessing these tools to create new roles for themselves.

Meet the Midwest Chapter 2015 Meeting Grant Winners

Leah Osterhaus Trzasko, Chair of the Midwest Chapter Awards & Scholarships Committee sends along this news!

Greetings Midwest Chapter meeting attendees! Take a few minutes at the meeting and congratulate this year’s recipients of the attendance grants:

Annual Meeting Grant: Supports the attendance of librarians and library staff at the Chapter’s Annual Meeting — $500 with free full conference registration.

Mindwell Egeland,University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics
Dawn Hackman, University of North Dakota

First-Time Attendee Annual Meeting Grant: Supports the first-time attendance of Midwest Chapter members at the Chapter’s Annual Meeting — $500 with free full conference registration.

Mary O’Connell, Northwest Community Hospital
Laura Menard, Butler University

Student Annual Meeting Grant: Supports the attendance of library science students at the Chapter’s Annual Meeting — $500 with free full conference registration.

Kimberly Kelly, Wayne State University
Donald Pearson, Kent State University

If you don’t run into them Sunday morning, you’ll have a chance to congratulate them after the noon Business Meeting when all of the awards will be presented. In addition to the attendance grants, the winner of the Jean Williams Sayre Innovation Award will be announced during the awards presentation at the Business Meeting.

Have a great time in Kentucky!

Something New at Midwest Chapter

Who’s excited about the Midwest Chapter meeting? It is only 10 days away!

This year, we are trying something new at Midwest Chapter. Along the same lies as the Roundtable Luncheon at MLA annual meetings, we are going to have Campfire Conversations! From 4-5pm on Sunday Oct 12th (immediately following the paper presentations) we will offer the chance for you to join a campfire and talk with your colleagues on a designated topic. Each campfire will have a moderator to get the conversation going and keep it on topic. Listed below are the topics and moderators for the event.

Join us for the Campfire Conversations and talk about “hot” topics and enjoy “s’more” networking with your peers. (Puns totally and completely intended.)

TOPIC: AHIP –  Moderated by Jolene Miller

TOPIC: New and emerging roles for medical librarians  – Moderated by Doreen Roberts

TOPIC: Advocacy and promotion – Moderated by Kelly Thormodson

TOPIC: Future of libraries and embedded librarianship – Moderated by Michel Atlas

TOPIC: Working with nurses and nursing students – Moderated by Liz Weinfurter

TOPIC: New to the profession / Resume recommendations – Moderated by Janna Lawrence

Midwest Chapter Annual Meeting is Eco-friendly

The Planning Committee for the Midwest chapter meeting has decided to GO GREEN!

What does this mean for you?  It means we will have a one sheet printed/abbreviated program on-hand in Bismarck for everyone, but the full program is online only.  Signage on all the doors, you can’t possibly get lost.  A list of stupendous restaurants at the registration table.  And of course ALL of this information on our conference website!  But we are keeping the paper distribution to a minimum.  Your name tag and 1 piece of paper.  That is all you get!

Midwest Conference Website

What else does this mean?  It means no conference bag.  However, there is the incentive to bring your own bag!  In fact…we will be giving a prize to the person brings the oldest MLA or Midwest Chapter conference bag to use in Bismarck.  Make sure if you think you have the oldest bag you find Mary Markland, Ann Pederson or Kelly Thormodson so they can take your picture with your bag.  The winner will be announced at lunch on Monday, October 13th.

Finally, just a reminder, casual dress for this conference.  We are having a western theme party on Saturday night for the opening reception so feel free to wear your boots or your hat or your custom square-dancing attire just be ready to swing your partner if need be.

See you soon!

MLA ’13 From the Field: Day 1, Part 1

This set of posts details to some extent my experiences at the 2013 MLA annual meeting in Boston, a joint meeting, with the overarching theme of One Health, with the International Congress on Medical Librarianship (ICML), the International Conference of Animal Health Information Specialists (ICAHIS), and the International Clinical Librarian Conference (ICLC).

This set of posts details to some extent my experiences at the 2013 MLA annual meeting in Boston, a joint meeting, with the overarching theme of One Health, with the International Congress on Medical Librarianship (ICML), the International Conference of Animal Health Information Specialists (ICAHIS), and the International Clinical Librarian Conference (ICLC).  The majority of the content from the sessions, lectures, and posters are available through the virtual MLA conference (registration required).  Another great resource is the 2013 Conference Blog from the National Program Committee.  You may also be able to find specific content in the presenters’ own spaces.

To try to keep to the spirit of Dr. Richard Besser, this year’s McGovern lecturer (more on that later), I’ve decided to try a story telling format for my blog posts (live from Boston!). Complete with pictures. In fact, I’m going to need to rely on my pictures, because there’s so much going on here that I’ve already forgotten some of the things I’ve done!

So my Day 1 was actually Sunday. I got in late Saturday night, after some public transit adventures (mostly consisting of me waiting for the shuttle that I was thinking never came, but was actually the shiny blue thing that went past me 6 times) and pretty much went straight to bed.

New Members/First Time Attendees Breakfast

Listening to MLA Membership Committee Chair Cindy Logan at the New Members Breakfast

The New Members’/First Time Attendees’ Breakfast has been a tradition at MLA for a number of years.  If’ you’re a new member or a first time attendee at your next MLA meeting, here are the reasons to attend:

  • Free food!  There is no extra cost if you’re registering as a new member/first time attendee, and there’s bacon.
  • Colleague Connection – the breakfast is commonly used as the initial meeting place for “Colleague Connection” mentors and mentees.  Colleague Connection connects new comers with more experienced people to help answer questions about the conference and anything else!  I was a mentor this year (2nd time), and was a mentee at my first meeting.  It’s a great program to take advantage of, as the meeting can be overwhelming.
  • Good overview of the conference & how MLA works – over the course of the 2 hour breakfast, attendees learn about the MLA conference and the MLA organization, are encouraged to attend Section and SIG meetings, and receive Pearls of Wisdom from Lucretia McClure.

MLA ’13 Welcome

Sally Gore Presenting the MLA '13 Welcome
Sally Gore Presenting the MLA ’13 Welcome
  • Sunday morning officially starts with the Welcome plenary session.  The president and members of the National Planning Committee recognize the hard work it took to put the conference together and thank the volunteers.  This year, the official welcome message was delivered by Sally Gore in her role as current chair of  North Atlantic Health Sciences Libraries, Inc. (NAHSL), the local chapter of MLA.  She delivered her welcome as a highly entertaining (and educational!) poem, and was kind enough to post the full version for posterity on her blog!

McGovern Lecture

Dr. Besser Presents the McGovern Lecture
Dr. Besser presents the McGovern Lecture, PowerPoint not included.

The theme of Dr. Besser’s talk was communication, with a focus on story telling.  He had no slides, and simply stood at the podium to deliver his message.  He started off with a quick anecdote that garnered “awwws” from the audience: Boston is rather romantic for him because his worked his first outbreak in the city, and discovered his love for the field… He also revealed that he had gotten married in Boston.  He went on to share his experience becoming the acting director of the CDC (for longer than originally intended).  His stories covered the flu pandemic, going to Africa with a pneumonia vaccine, and ended with children with ACL tears.  For these last two, he shared his ABC coverage of the stories on the screen, and talked about the difficulty of covering very complicated issues with a very short amount of air time.  At the end of his lecture, he thanked the medical librarians who had helped him in his career.  He also invited us to the table, telling us to join his Twitter chats (conversations on Twitter at a set time that use a single hashtag), which are held weekly on Tuesdays at 1pm Eastern, using the hashtag #abcDrBchat.

MLA Business Meeting

MLA Business Meeting
Carla Funk on stage, during the MLA 2013 Business Meeting

The MLA Business Meeting isn’t the most exciting part of the conference, but I personally think it’s pretty important.  Being an active member through following the organization’s issues, voting on changes and leadership, and being aware of MLA’s financial status help us all make sure the organization is meeting our needs.  If you aren’t active, you really shouldn’t complain.  😉  The meeting opened with remembrances of the members we have lost in the past year, with too many great and familiar faces that are dearly missed.  We almost didn’t reach the quorum needed to conduct the actual business of the meeting, but thanks to institutional members, the required 250 was reached.  MLA secretary Michelle Kraft read through the various measures to vote on, and everything passed without a hitch.  We then learned MLA’s finances are slightly into the black again this year after some rough deficits.  Finally, Jane Blumenthal officially stepped down and became the Immediate Past President as Dixie Jones stepped in to the Presidency.  Linda Walton then became President Elect.  Between Michelle, Jane, and Linda, the Midwest Chapter is doing a great job of producing national medical librarian leaders!

Stay tuned for Day 1, Part 2, and all the rest of my adventures!

Want to go to Istanbul? Present at the European Conference on Information Literacy!

Even if you’re not an academic health sciences librarian, information literacy is important to your patrons!  It’s about the learning process, not just searching in a database.  An information literate person will have the  ability to recognize a problem or question, find information, appraise the information, understand ethical/legal implications, and use it to accomplish something.  Sound familiar?  Yes, it’s basically the same steps as evidence-based practice.  EBP is information literacy in a new setting- in the hospital, in the doctor’s office, in a laboratory, in a dentist’s office.  So take a chance, submit a proposal!  You have till December!

European Conference on Information Literacy (ECIL)<>

October 22-25, 2013, Istanbul, Turkey

ECIL is Organized by the Department of Information Management of Hacettepe University and Department of Information and Communication Sciences of Zagreb University. It is an international conference supported by Turkish National Commission for UNESCO, Information Literacy Section of IFLA and many other prestigious universities, associations, and organizations actively involved in media and information literacy.

Aim & Scope

Information Literacy, Media Literacy and Lifelong Learning being the main theme, ECIL aims to bring together researchers, information professionals, media specialists, educators, policy makers, employers and all other related parties from around the world to exchange knowledge and experience and discuss current issues, recent developments, challenges, theories, and good practices.

Important Dates

First Call: July 2012
Second Call: October 2012
Third Call: December 2012

Submission deadline for contributions: 1 February 2013
Notification of acceptance: 5 April 2013
Deadline for submitting final versions: 15 May 2013
Conference sessions: 22-24 October 2013
Conference tour: 25 October 2013

Abstract & Paper Submission

The conference will be composed of several types of contributions, such as full papers, posters, PechaKucha, best practices, workshops, panels, special sessions, doctoral forum, each has different requirements and restrictions regarding the length, time allocation and content. Contributions should be prepared using the templates available through the Conference web site and submitted electronically via the conference management system by February 1, 2013. Contributions will be peer-reviewed and the authors will be notified of the outcome by April 5, 2013. Final copies of the accepted contributions should be sent in by May 15, 2013, in order for them to be included in the book of abstracts. Selected papers will be published in proceedings book and refereed journals. At least one of the authors should register online via Conference web site and take part at the conference.

About Conference Photos

Have you noticed the Flickr photos in the badge over there on the right? I had great fun taking them. I’ve taken photos at Midwest Chapter/MLA conferences since 2004 in Springfield, Illinois, my first year as the editor of MIDLINE. It is a great way to meet people!

You also can see all the photos posted to Flickr for this and our previous three conferences on this ConnectMidwest page.

Every year, I try to get a photo of each of the poster presenters with their poster. One thing that I did with my conference photos on Flickr of the poster presenters this year was to key the photo caption to the number of the poster on the conference program. Some of the poster presenters have shared pdf copies of their posters on that program page. So if you are interested in seeing the details of a poster that you see in a photo, click to see! Additionally, the abstracts for all of the posters are included in the full conference program beginning on page 22.

I think that this photo from this year’s conference is probably my favorite. I have had the privilege of serving on the Midwest Chapter/MLA Executive Board for most of the last eight years. I am going to miss working with this really great group of people!

Reporting from Indianapolis

Eleven members of your Midwest Chapter/MLA Executive Board met for a very productive meeting last Friday, March 30 in Indianapolis. Here is my personal take from the proceedings! Be sure to watch for stories in the upcoming mid-May issue of our official chapter newsletter MIDLINE about these items of interest and MORE!

It is worth noting first that chapter finances are in good shape. The chapter has retained the services of a professional accountant, Michelle Dixon, C.P.A. Chapter Treasurer Amy Donahue has been working hard all winter with Michelle to review and re-structure the files and spreadsheets used to keep track of chapter finances and to audit the books for 2010 and 2011.  The books for the 2010 Annual Conference in Madison are “closed” and the conference showed a nice profit, half of which was shared with our co-sponsor, WSHLA. The books for the 2011 Annual Conference in Indianapolis are nearly squared away as well. The chapter will still be using the Acteva services in the short term for online membership payment and conference registration. In the meantime, the Finance Committee is investigating alternatives.

The Professional Practice Committee has been hard at work on the details of the chapter’s new Research Presentation and Poster Awards. These monetary awards recognizing presentation of exemplary research by our members will be given for the first time at the 2012 Annual Conference. Watch upcoming MIDLINE issues for award announcements!

One thread that ran through almost all of the discussion at the board meeting was communication. We considered some concrete measures that the chapter’s Representative at Large Stephanie Schulte and the chapter’s State Liaisons Committee members could pursue to better serve as conduits of information in both directions between the chapter and our sister state health sciences library associations in the Midwest. We talked about how to better use different chapter communications vehicles for keeping our members up-to-date. The chapter website will be getting an extensive informal review and some additions were suggested.

As part of a continuing improvement project, Archivist Mary Hitchcock has been busy working on a draft “policies and procedures” document which was reviewed by the board. The document provides guidance for officers and others working on chapter business on what to keep (and send to the archives) and what not to keep. Work will continue on a better way to archive photographs, particularly digital photos taken at conferences. Anyone interested in helping yours truly with collecting all those photos into a single Flickr account? Seriously, let me know if you want to help! I’ve been procrastinating on this for YEARS.

The board spent a big chunk of meeting time reviewing the answers to the open-ended questions from last year’s Membership Survey. The Membership Committee under the leadership of Membership Secretary Katherine Chew mined your comments, categorizing the comments and suggestions. The board particularly focused at this meeting on continuing education, the annual conferences, and other professional practice issues. The Chair Natalie Reed and the Professional Practice Committee will be working on ideas particularly in the area of continuing education.

And here is one last “heads up” for you! We still indeed are planning to bring revised chapter bylaws up for a vote by the assembled membership at the next Annual Business Meeting in October in Minnesota. Our bylaws need to be brought into “compliance” with the MLA Model Bylaws and need some other various tweaking.