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.