What is Going on at MLA?

If you haven’t had a chance to check out MLA’s new blog, Full Speed Ahead, then you are missing out on all the latest changes that will be happening within MLA as we move into the future.

In the post, MLA’s Culture Revolution, Linda Walton describes  how the MLA has board and staff have spent the past month dreaming big and thinking about what’s possible for the organization. We are looking at the organization as a whole to determine what we are currently doing, what we should be doing and what we shouldn’t be doing.  MLA was founded in 1898, it’s time to take a closer look at how our process and how things have changed and how MLA has to change as a result.

Action is the Secret Sauce, is a post from our new Executive Director, Kevin Baliozian describing how the achilles heel for strategic plans is execution phase. Have you ever noticed how s-l-o-w-l-y things get done at MLA?  Action is the secret sauce for the execution of the strategic plans.  Kevin talks about how have moved away from MLA’s previous strategic plan (which was heavily focused on static words like “maintain” and “continue”) and created a new living and evolving action plan.

I know as MLA begins to change and evolve Kevin and the staff along with the rest of the Board will be posting on Full Speed Ahead to keep you up to date on things.  This is your organization too and this blog will be our way of keeping you in the loop on things.

Who knows maybe there may no longer be a need for my Behind the Scenes posts.

MLA Executive Director Search: Update

I mentioned in my earlier Behind the Scenes MLA Executive Director Search that I would provide updates as they were available.

I wanted to let you know that Tuft & Associates interviews with MLA Board members, MLA Staff memebers, and a diverse group MLA members to try and determine the opportunities and challenges for MLA have been completed.  Tufts has created a profile as well as traits desired for the position.  The position currently being advertised on Tufts website as well as at various other websites and groups in libraries and association management. The position will also go out to various listservs such as MEDLIB-L, AAHSL, Chapter lists, etc.
View the position profile and job opening at Tufts. http://www.tuftassoc.com/searches/executive-director-3/

Still in the near future….MLA members have an opportunity to participate in the process by suggesting questions for candidates. The search committee and Tufts anticipate interviews of top candidates will begin in late fall 2014.

Behind the Scenes: What does the President Elect Do?

During this year, the majority of my “Behind the MLA Scenes” posts will be focused on what I am doing as the president elect of MLA. There are several reasons why I am doing this.

First, I think it is always helpful to bring more transparency to the organization. As I have said several times, MLA doesn’t try to hide anything but even when you are trying to be transparent it still can be difficult to make sure the message gets out to everyone.

Second, I think it is important to detail what I am doing so that others have an idea of the day to day (month to month?) job duties of the president elect.   I hope this helps inspire others to become involved in greater leadership positions once they realize what is really involved.

Third, I want to be able to look back and see what I have done over the course of the year. I think this will be a good way to document my activities.

 

So what have I been up to as president elect since MLA in May?

  • The Wednesday after MLA, I met with the rest of the Board and we did a post MLA wrap up kind of meeting. Where we discussed things and business that happened at MLA. This could be anything from the meeting itself to action items brought up by committees, Sections, etc. We also then kind of create our to-do list of things that we need to do before we meet again in September. We then take a break and only Board Members and the past president meet to discuss our nominations for the Nominating Committee. I previously blogged about the Nominating Committee and how individuals are nominated, for more information go to http://kraftylibrarian.com/?p=2340. Essentially, Section Council (based on input from the Sections) has a list of nominees, Chapter Council (based on input from the Chapters) has a list of nominees, and the Board has a list of nominees. After the Board is done nominating people, then we are done meeting.
  •  Following the MLA meeting I meet virtually once a month with the Technology Advisory Committee (TAC). Each Board member has a committee or task force of which they are a liaison. I am the liaison for the TAC and the Leiter Lecture. The TAC is a very active committee. Other committees like the Leiter Lecture are not as active all the time. Your time commitment depends on your committee/task force activity levels. The TAC is one of the more active groups, most don’t meet virtually once a month. 
  • In June I wrote the “Call to Volunteer on an MLA Committee” column. That was due in July and it should be coming out soon. The MLA staff are great at telling me when I need to write or do something as the president elect for MLA.
  • This isn’t a typical activity but these last 2 months I have been participating on the search committee for the new CEO of MLA. Our first duty is to select a search firm to help us find perspective people. The past president and the current president of MLA have been did a lot of work creating the RFP to send to prospective search firms.
  • I am also marking my calendar with the 2015 Chapter meetings. I realize 2014 Chapter meetings haven’t happened yet, but some Chapters have already contacted me about my 2015 schedule. I also find it is better to get it on the calendar ASAP because it makes my personal life scheduling easier and it is very helpful to my library and it and my co-workers schedule.
  • Finally, I am mentally figuring out and finalizing my priorities. That of course can be done anywhere and often does.

Going forward….I will continue meet virtually with the TAC and participate on the search committee. The Board will meet in Chicago in November to have our first meeting since MLA.

I hope to have another “What does the president elect do” post in the next several months. I hope this was helpful.

Searching for MLA’s Next Executive Director

We will be sad to see Carla Funk leave as MLA’s executive director. Carla has given us many years of her guidance and wisdom.  Carla will be staying on with us while we search for the next executive director, and the process to select that person has begun.

Linda Walton, MLA’s current President, posted on her Facebook page that the search committee has been formed and we will first be looking at and identifying a search firm to help us find the right candidate.  We will also be review the current job description for the MLA executive director.

We are in the very very beginning of the process (we haven’t even had our first conference call) but as a member of the search committee I would like to ask MLA members if they had any thoughts about what they would like to see in the next executive director.  Feel free to comment on blog.  If you would like your thoughts to be more private you can email me (use the email you find within the MLA membership directory).

Last Chance to Nominate for the Board or President

The last day to submit a name to nominate for the Board or President is May 12th.

I always hear on various discussion groups or from people personally that they are fed up with MLA.

  • MLA isn’t going in the right direction.
  • What has MLA done for me lately?
  • What is MLA doing to help hospital librarians, academic librarians, etc.?
  • MLA is just an “old boys club” unless you have a name you don’t get on any committees.
  • MLA is unresponsive to the needs of the real medical librarian.

You get the idea.  My response is: “What have you done to help shape MLA and change things you find to be a problem?”

Well now is the perfect opportunity for you to help shape the future of MLA.  The 2014 Nominating Committee is asking YOU, the members, to submit the names of fellow members who you think would be good to serve as a Board member or President and who will lead us for the next three years.

Please read through the process for selecting candidates and electing the MLA president-elect and members of the MLA Board http://www.mlanet.org/members/pdf/2009_bylaws.pdf  (pages 2–3  MUST be MLA member and logged in to MLANET to read this document).

The slate will contain at least two candidates for president-elect (president during 2016/17) and at least four candidates for the two vacant board positions (2015–2018).

Job descriptions:

President http://www.mlanet.org/pdf/mla_officer_jobdesc_201002.pdf

Board members http://www.mlanet.org/pdf/mla_bod_jobdesc_200905.pdf

You are responsible for the direction and shape of MLA. You can either actively shape it or you can indirectly shape it through inaction.

Submit your candidates to the MLA 2014/2015 Nominating Committee:

  •  Jane Blumenthal, Chair – janeblum[at sign] umich [dot]edu
  •  Amy Blevins – blevinsamy[at sign] gmail [dot] com
  •  Jonathan Eldredge – jeldredge [at sign] salud.unm [dot] edu
  •  Susan Fowler – susanfowler.library [at sign] gmail [dot] com
  •  Mark E. Funk – mefunk [at sign] med.cornell [dot] edu
  •  Sally Gore – Sally.Gore [at sign] umassmed [dot] edu
  •  Heather N. Holmes – holmesh [at sign] summahealth [dot] org
  •  T. Scott Plutchak – tscott [at sign] uab [dot] edu
  •  James Shedlock –  jshedlock [at sign] rcn [dot] com
  •  Laurie L. Thompson – lauriethompson [at sign] ymail [dot] com

Learn More About MLA Sections and Chapters in Chicago

Every other year at the annual meeting MLA used to hold the Section Shuffle where each of the sections would man a table and talk to members about their section.  Often there were themes and the sections would dress up or have candy and little prizes at the their table to try and entice members over to their table so that they could talk about everything the section is doing and encourage the member to join their section.

Section Council and Chapter Council decided to conduct a survey to determine what members were getting out of Section Shuffle, why people became a member of a Section or Chapter, why they continued (or didn’t) to be a member, and whether there could be alternatives to the Section Shuffle.

To sum the survey up….

  • Members found the Shuffle to be too crowded
  • Some did not like the food at the Shuffle or there wasn’t enough of it
  • Members weren’t always able to get in depth information they about the Sections due to the crowded and chaotic nature of the Shuffle
  • While members may have signed up during the Shuffle…Section engagement was the driving factor for renewal

So the Section and Chapter Council decide to change things up this year.  Instead of a Shuffle, Section and Chapter will be staffing posters during Poster Session 1 on Sunday May 18th highlighting their activities and unique characteristics at MLA ’14 in Chicago. Posters for participating Sections and Chapters will be on display at the MLA Registration Center. While the posters will be staffed during Poster Session 1 they will remain on display throughout MLA ’14 so members can drop by and learn more about the Sections and Chapters any time during the conference.

I have found Sections and Chapters to be a great way to get involved in MLA and my participation in my Sections and Chapters has significantly enriched my MLA membership experience.  So I encourage everyone to stop by a poster and join a Section and/or Chapter.

 

Help Choose the MLA Leadership

Do you know somebody who is innovative, inspiring, and basically would make a great leader within MLA?  Well time to step up and take action. The MLA Nominating Committee is identifying potential candidates for the 2014/15 election.  That means if you know of somebody you think would be good as a Board Member or President, then you need to submit their name (or yours), current current curriculum vitae and a paragraph outlining why the recommended person (or you) would be a good candidate.

This information must be sent to one of the members of the Nominating Committee (see below) by May 12th.

This is the perfect opportunity for you to help shape the future of MLA.

The 2014 Nominating Committee members have reviewed the job descriptions for President Elect/President/Past President and Board members, and have discussed key qualifications needed for candidates, including a person who has *broad experience within MLA, significant professional achievements,  a great capacity for leadership, a vision of the future of health sciences libraries, and an infectious enthusiasm for the excitement of librarianship at the present time*.  The Nominating Committee also discussed the importance of diversity in selecting the slate – key issues to consider are geographic region, library or information service type, and amount of experience.

Please read through the process for selecting candidates and electing the MLA president-elect and members of the MLA Board http://www.mlanet.org/members/pdf/2009_bylaws.pdf  (pages 2–3  MUST be MLA member and logged in to MLANET to read this document).

The slate will contain at least two candidates for president-elect (president during 2016/17) and at least four candidates for the two vacant board positions (2015–2018).

Job descriptions:

President http://www.mlanet.org/pdf/mla_officer_jobdesc_201002.pdf

Board members http://www.mlanet.org/pdf/mla_bod_jobdesc_200905.pdf

Remember, you need to submit by 12th because the Nominating Committee will meet at MLA ’14 to finalize the list of potential candidates.

Submit your candidates to the MLA 2014/2015 Nominating Committee:

  •  Jane Blumenthal, Chair – janeblum[at sign] umich [dot]edu
  •  Amy Blevins – blevinsamy[at sign] gmail [dot] com
  •  Jonathan Eldredge – jeldredge [at sign] salud.unm [dot] edu
  •  Susan Fowler – susanfowler.library [at sign] gmail [dot] com
  •  Mark E. Funk – mefunk [at sign] med.cornell [dot] edu
  •  Sally Gore – Sally.Gore [at sign] umassmed [dot] edu
  •  Heather N. Holmes – holmesh [at sign] summahealth [dot] org
  •  T. Scott Plutchak – tscott [at sign] uab [dot] edu
  •  James Shedlock –  jshedlock [at sign] rcn [dot] com
  •  Laurie L. Thompson – lauriethompson [at sign] ymail [dot] com

Behind the MLA Scenes: MLA and Government Relations Committee

Many have been wondering what MLA has done for them regarding government lobbying and trying to advocate for the profession.

IF you are a member of MLA, it isn’t hard to find out what MLA is doing in this area.  Simply go to the Annual Reports and look for the Government Relations Committee (GRC) report. I have posted edited versions of their full report (edited due to space) here.  Check out their entire report, which shows how much more they are doing.

In the 2009/2010 report they…

  • Published public policy updates in MLA Focus (lots of Focus issues listed) including NIH funding, patient safety, health information technology, etc.
  • Distributed three action alerts urging support for NIGH funding and FRPAA.
  • Planned a legislative update day for the 2010 meeting. Where MLA’s Washington representatives and Health Medicine Counsel of Washington provide key issues and information to members participating in MLA’s Capitol Hill Day.
  • Planned Capitol Hill Day for 2010 Annual Meeing. MLA members were given briefing packets, fact sheets and other information resources to use in their Hill visits.
  • Connie Shardt wrote Senators John Cornyn and Joe Lieberman expressing support for S. 1373
  • Requested opportunity to present testimony in Washington DC on behalf of MLA in support of NLM’s Fiscal Year 2011 appropriation
  • Hope Barton co‐chaired, along with J. Michael Homan, a working group of the task force to develop the statement, “Health Sciences Libraries and Health Care Reform: Providing Quality
    Information for Improved Health.” http://www.mlanet.org/government/gov_pdf/2009_july_hlthcarerefrm.pdf
  • Educated Congress and relevant federal and international agencies about importance of maintaining fair use in digital environment in support of health care, education and research

In 2010/2011 they some of the things they did were…

  • Published public policy updates in MLA Focus (lots of Focus issues listed) including NIH Public Access Policy, America COMPETES, meaningful use of electronic health records.
  • MLA and AAHSL prepared testimony in support of NLM’s appropriation which was submitted to the House and Senate L-HHS Appropriations Subcommittees
  • Requested opportunity to present testimony Washington, DC on behalf of MLA in support of NLM’s Fiscal Year 2012 appropriation
  • Educated Congress about the role that funding for the National Library Medicine plays in support of our nation’s health care, education and research and the role health sciences librarians play
  • MLA sent a joint letter to the chairs and ranking members of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation and the House Committee on Science and Technology expressing concern about the public access provision section 123 of the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010.
  • In response to GAO September 2010 report (GAO-10-947) MLA, AALL and SLA wrote a to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Protection Agency (EPA) library network.

In 2011/2012 the GRC reported they…

 

  • More than 30 public policy updates have been distributed through the GRC and Legislative Task Force listservs
  • Published public policy updates in MLA Focus (lots of Focus issues listed) including NIH and NLM funding, EPA’s Strategic Plan for its library network, Rederal Research PUblic Access Acts
  • An Action Alert was distributed on the Research Works Act
  • Submitted House testimony in March and Senate testimony in April on NLM Fiscal Year appropriation
  • Developed of the association’s annual testimony to the House Labor -HHS-Education Appropriation Subcommittee  and distributed current fact sheets, statistics, and anecdotal information with Congressional staff during Legislative Task Force Capitol Hill meetings each year.

In 2012/2013 the GRC reported they…

 

  • Published public policy updates in MLA Focus (lots of Focus issues listed) including NLM funding, impact of sequestration, Orphan Works, Meaningful use of Electronic Health Records.
  • Provided updates on FRPAA legislation, the Research Works Act, and OSTP initiatives related to public access policies
  • MLA and AAHSL submitted a joint statement to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies in March and to testimony to the Senate in April supporting NLM funding
  • Signed two group letters to Congress expressing concern about the impact of continued cuts on the NIH, urging Congress to support a balanced approach to deficit reduction that avoids further cuts.
  • MLA and AAHSL wrote to the chairs and ranking members of the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations; Labor -HHS-Education and Related Agencies Submicommittees, etc. over concerns about the sequestration.
  • MLA signed onto an Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research letter expressing the research community’s concerns with several provisions related to the NIH appropriations bill
  • MLA signed onto a Coalition for Health Funding letter to Congress

 

As I mentioned this is just a snap shot of their submitted reports.  My fingers could not type everything and this blog is too small for the reports in their entirety.  To read the GRC’s complete annual reports, detailing their activities go to MLA’s Annual Reports page, click on a year then click on Committees and look for the Government Relations Committee.  Also click on Add Hoc Committees  and Task Forces to see what the Joint MLA/AAHSL Legislative Task Force is also doing in this area as well. To get a better idea of what MLA had done in ways of advocacy and policy check out their Information Issues and Policy page.

All of the MLA staff work to help advocate for medical libraries and librarianship, but they do have one staff person who is responsible for government relations and she works with the Government Relations Committee and MLA/AAHSL Legislative Task Force.  If you are concerned about medical libraries and librarians and would like advocate for them to the government and other political agencies then I am sure the Government Relations Committee would love to have your help.  Although the deadline to officially join a committee has past (October 31st), perhaps you can contact somebody on the committee for more information on how you can be of help advocating for the profession.

 

 

 

 

 

Behind the Scenes: MLA Board

Tuesday and Wednesday I will be flying in and out of Chicago for the MLA Fall Board meeting.  So who is the Board and what happens when they all meet together?

First off, here is a list of all the current and previous Board Members.  The Nominating Committee selects people they think would be good candidates for the Board of Directors.  They list them on the ballot for the membership to vote on.  An elected Board Member serves for a period of 3 years. Each Board Member is appointed as liaison to MLA committees and task forces.  Chapters and Sections are represented by the Chapter Council liaison and the Section Council liaison on the Board.  The Board meets 3 times a year. They meet in May at the Annual Meeting (before and after the conference), in the Fall in Chicago, and in Jan/Feb online.

So what does the Board do?!

The Board does its best to represent the interests of the MLA membership through their liaison roles and through their participation in MLA.  Not only do they discuss issues and trends within organization and work to address them but they also meet discuss the general operating needs of the organization.

While each meeting is a little different, the Board always discusses the operating needs of the organization such as financial health of MLA.  In the May meeting the Board discusses a lot of what will or has happened at the Annual Meeting.  The Board also gets to meet the newly elected Board Members and the new President elect. The Board members report on the committees or task forces to which they are liaisons.  This Fall the Board will discuss the Presidential priorities and the President elect’s priority ideas.  They will also discuss the results from the previous Annual Meeting’s survey (the results of which are not available until well after the meeting).  Then they discuss action items and reports from the various MLA committees and task forces.  Other items that are also discussed, planning and updates of the future Annual Meetings, MLANet, and liaison appointments for the next year.  The Jan/Feb online meeting is relatively short (compared to in person all day meetings) where the Board discusses the preparations for the Annual Meeting and any updates to items discussed in the Fall.

You can read about what the Board discusses in each year’s annual report.  The annual report summarizes what the Board and the rest of MLA has done for the year.

My work on the Nominating Committee gave me a interesting glimpse into the way our leadership is nominated and elected.  My work on the Board as given me wonderful insight on how the organization runs and moves forward each year.  The combination of the two has shown me how important it is for us as members to be active participants in the organization and for us to vote on our leaders.  Serving as an MLA Board Member has been an awesome experience.  I hope others who have served or will serve in the future feel the same way.

As always this Behind the Scenes post was created from information on MLA’s website.  Understanding the various groups within MLA can get confusing and I hope by compiling the information into a series of posts it can help shed some light on the association.  I invite anyone with more information about the MLA Board of Directors to comment.

 

MLA Behind the Scenes: How to Join a Committee

**Update** I forgot to mention that President-elect Linda Walton wrote a nice article in August 2013 issue of MLA News on tips for joining an MLA committee (members only).

Usually I try and wait a little bit between my Behind the Scenes posts to give people a chance to read about other things than just MLA stuff.  However, the deadline to join a committee is October 31st so that means I better write about it now to rather than later.

In past posts I have mentioned that Sections, Chapters, and SIGs are a great way to get involved within MLA and to meet, discuss, and just share knowledge with other librarians.  Committees are also another great way to get involved.  Committee are also a component of the engine that helps run MLA.  Without people’s committee work, there are many things that wouldn’t get done.  There are approximately 15 staff members of MLA for an organization of 2,500-3,000 librarians and there is no way those people can do everything.  Much relies on the MLA members to keep their organization moving forward.

One way to help keep the organization moving forward is to volunteer to be on a committee.  Each year MLA members must apply to join a committee or  committees. An online committee application is available in the members-only area (active June through October 31). The form also appears in the August and September issues of MLA News and is available through headquarters. As I mentioned, the deadline for committee applications is October 31.

According to MLA’s website: “In making appointments, the association considers the background and skills of the applicants, as well as the responsibilities and needs of the committees. A history of active participation in committee work on the local, regional, or national level is an important qualification. Recommendations are sought from current committee chairs, members of the board of directors, and program staff. Some MLA committees require combinations of skills and knowledge found among few health sciences librarians. Therefore, it is sometimes necessary to recruit certain members with unique experience and expertise to serve on specific committees. The president-elect makes final committee selections. During the president’s term, he or she names members to committees as vacancies occur.”

I have been on a couple of committees and basically the above paragraph is a really long way to say the following:

  • Current committee members looks at those apply for committee spots
    • Therefore list your whatever credentials, activities, experience you have even if it isn’t national experience.  The committee members just want to make sure you are somebody who is willing to be an active participant.
    • If you want to join a committee where your experience might helpful towards committee work. For example: people wanting to join the Technology Advisory Committee will want to list their technology experience.
  • While the paragraph states the president elect makes final committee decisions, in my experience they usually go with the committee’s picks.
  • Chairs are selected from the current committee members and usually serve for a slightly longer term than the rest of the committee members.
  • In the event that certain expertise is needed for a committee, sometimes people are recruited to serve on a committee.  The best example I can give where this happens continually is the National Program Committees.  Once the chair for the NPC is chosen by the Board, the chair works with the president elect to a local assistance chair. The LAC chair is often chosen based on the host city location.  That person has certain expertise (living in/near that city) that is required.

There are a lot of opportunities to join a committee because there are a lot of committees to choose from:

Clicking on each link will give you more information about each committee (MLA members only).

Although the Administrative and Board Committees, Executive Committee, and the Nominating Committee are listed on the committee web page, these three committees are different and don’t follow the same application and appointment process.  (See my post on the Nominating Committee.)  So that brings me to the next important bit about committees….

Members are pretty much applying to be on standing committees (as list above).  Executive and Nominating Committees are mandated by the bylaws and are different.

Ad hoc committees and task forces are appointed for a special purpose or specific study and are discharged when their tasks are completed.  So these committees are not ones that you can apply for annually, the members are appointed.  BUT…(and this is only my personal opinion) you would probably have a greater chance of being appointed if you are already active within MLA through your committee, Section, SIG or Chapter work.  Just saying.

Juries are constituted for the purpose of recommending recipients of awards, prizes, grants, and scholarships. Panels are appointed to serve as peer-review and evaluation boards for MLA’s publication and credentialing programs.  These groups are found within awards committees and other committees such as the JMLA Editorial Board.

Browse through the above list of committees and check out their annual reports to learn more about them.  Find a couple that you are interested in and apply for them.  The reason I say a couple…is because on the application you are asked to list your first, second, and third committee choices.  There are some committees (NPC comes to mind) that are very popular, so it is a good idea to have backups that you are interested in.

If you are interested in joining a committee the biggest advice I can give is to provide information in the boxes about your participation and special expertise or qualifications.  In the past I have seen some applications where people haven’t listed any information in those areas and it is very hard to choose people based on limited information.