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
dpearson@mchs.com | library.mchs.com

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!