Come West and Explore! 2014 Annual Meeting of the Midwest Chapter-MLA
The 2014 annual meeting of the Midwest Chapter of the Medical Library Association was held in Bismarck, North Dakota with a theme of Come West and Explore! There were three excellent speakers and a discussion panel. Betsy Humphreys, Deputy Director of the National Library of Medicine (NLM) started the conference with an overview of how librarians are expanding their spheres of influence and highlighting projects the NLM is currently involved with. Sally Gore, an embedded research librarian and informationist at the Lamar Soutter Library, discussed emerging roles for librarians and how she plans for the future using her “Backpacking Strategic Planning Model”. A leader in patient safety, Dr. Mark Graber, talked about diagnostic errors and how the involvement of medical librarians could both help empower patients to find information when they think their diagnosis may be wrong and help the medical community understand and learn from diagnostic errors. The final speaker session was a discussion panel on the oil boom in North Dakota and its impact on healthcare. The panel covered environmental and public health implications of the boom. They also discussed how lucrative jobs in the oil industry are causing turnover in all other industries, including health care. A final impact that was discussed was the surge in trauma cases and uninsured patients.
The Midwest Chapter meeting always has a good variety of contributed papers and it proved to be difficult to decide which contributed paper sessions to attend. The highlights for me were a session on using active learning to teach searching skills to pharmacy students and the University of Iowa Hardin Library’s discussion on their survey and plan to create a formalized systematic review program.
This year, for the first time, the Midwest Chapter meeting offered something similar to MLA’s roundtable lunch discussions. It was called Campfire Conversations and took place after the contributed papers. The conversation I participated in was on marketing and emerging roles — it was supposed to be two separate conversations but our groups ended up combining. I really enjoyed this hour long session as it was a lively discussion on what librarians are doing to market and the new responsibilities they are taking on. I hope that the Midwest Chapter continues to have Campfire Conversations at future annual meetings.
I presented a poster on the Mayo Libraries’ discovery tools project at the poster session. I was busy talking with people for the entire hour. It was fun to talk with other librarians about their thoughts and experiences with discovery tools. Most of the people I spoke with had similar thoughts as our workgroup about discovery tools. A number of people commented that is was good to see a poster on a project where the outcome was not to implement a discovery tool as it is more common that presentations discuss the implementation of a discovery tool.
The Midwest Chapter meeting is always a quality conference. It is a great venue for learning and sharing ideas and offers a fantastic opportunity to get to know other librarians in our region. Having a presence at the Midwest Chapter meeting is important for Mayo Libraries as it keeps us connected and allows us to share what we are doing with others.
Leah Osterhaus Trzasko
Librarian, Learning Resource Center