Life as the President of MLA: Part 2

So now it is down to the nitty gritty, what does the MLA President do all year?

I will do my best to describe my activities for the year, but for more specific details MLA members can look through the position description for President in the Board Job Descriptions document.

May 2015
Wednesday “after” the MLA meeting when everyone is going home, taking some extra vacation, or finishing up some MLA conference activities like CE or final meetings, the MLA Board meets to do a sort of post conference meeting.  This is where we discuss the meeting as a whole and anything that came out during the meeting from MLA groups (Sections, SIGs, committees, etc.). In general the Board does not make heavy lifting decisions at this meeting because we are just as worn out from the meeting as the rest of the members.

June 2015
The President attends the MLA/AAHSL Legislative Task Force in Washington DC and meets with Senate and House staff to advocate on behalf of NLM and other legislative issues happening within the Senate or House that are important to health science librarians. I can’t remember specifically the specific issues from 2015 but in 2016 some of the issues we discussed were NIH and NLM funding increase, approve the appointment of the Librarian of Congress, and issues pertaining to copyright.

In the past the President is invited and has gone to the ALA Annual Conference. This isn’t a requirement and as I understand, things have changed at the ALA meeting and the there isn’t as much for the presidents of other library associations as there was in years past.  I was also invited to the CHLA/ABSC annual meeting in Vancouver.  The MLA President doesn’t always go to this meeting but I felt it was important to attend because we were co-hosting the 2016 annual meeting in Toronto.  So I opted to go to the Vancouver meeting and one of the Board Members who lives in California and was planning to go to ALA attended on behalf of me and MLA.

BTW I totally loved the CHLA/ABSC meeting and if you can get to go to one of their meetings it is totally worth it (and they are so nice).

August 2015
The Board meets virtually in August and the President prepares the agenda and runs the meeting.  While this is our first official meeting after the annual meeting the Board often discusses things via email.  So this virtual meeting provides the opportunity for all of us to meet and discuss things in real time as well as approve any motions that have been presented.

I also attended IFLA.  In the past the MLA President would attend IFLA.  Currently this is not something the President will attend.  I know some MLA members are unhappy with this and I understand where they are coming from.  However, at this time IFLA is not a good fit for MLA given its current goals.  IF this changes and MLA re-joins IFLA, August is the time the President would go to IFLA.

September 2015
In the past the President would visit the next (their) MLA meeting city and facility.  As I mentioned, the meeting was a joint meeting with CHLA/ABSC so I did not go to Toronto, as much was already being taken care of.

October 2015
October is the Chapter meeting scramble.  There are only 4 weeks in October and it seems every MLA Chapter has their meeting in these 4 weeks.  Sure there might be a few renegades who hold their meeting the last week of September or the first week of November.  In general, everybody has a mad craze to always hold their meetings at the same time.  It makes it impossible for the President to attend every Chapter meeting.  As a result the Board has to figure out who will attend which meeting so that there is at least one person from the Board attending each meeting.

While I was President I really wanted to attend every Chapter meeting, unfortunately cloning wasn’t (and still isn’t) possible.  I personally wish Chapters could spread their meetings out over the year.  My personal goal is to attend every Chapters’ meeting at least once in my library career. I love the Chapter meetings.  You learn so much and meet so many people in a nice bite size environment.

November 2015
The Board meets in person in Chicago every November.  Over the years I have been a Board Member and President it seems that this meeting is held on or touching my birthday every time.  I think there is a hidden passage in the Board manual that dictates this.  The President meets with the Treasurer, President Elect, Past President, and the Executive Director a day before the rest of the Board meet.  The Board meets usually for 1 1/2 days discussing in person things we have been working on (via email) and items brought forth by the MLA groups.

By the way this is the best meeting to see your warm weather Board Members deal with just the very beginnings of winter in Chicago.  *giggle*

This November I also attended the MLA Historical Marker ceremony in Philadelphia.  Obviously this doesn’t happen every year but there are events that “pop up” that the MLA President attends.  For example, last week (September 12, 2016) Teresa attended the swearing in of the new NLM director Dr Patti Brennan.

December 2015
The President doesn’t usually travel this month but this is an important month for MLA.  This is the month that the MLA election results are available and the President notifies the candidates.  These were some of the best and worst calls I had to make.  I worked with many of the people who were on the slate and all of them were wonderful librarians doing great things and each and every one of them deserved to be elected.  It sucks that they couldn’t all be elected.

February 2016
Instead of traveling to Chicago in the dead of winter (thankfully) we have another virtual Board Meeting.  Much like the August meeting, this allows the Board to meet online and discuss things that we have been working via email.

The President also must do some writing.  They write the Welcome letter for the Annual Meeting program and the MLA priorities or goals for the MLA News.

March and April 2016
While there isn’t any traveling the President is increasingly eyeball deep into the Annual Meeting preparation as it gets closer to May.

May 2016
The President travels to the annual meeting a few days before the meeting starts to attend Board meetings.  Similar to the Chicago meeting the President, President Elect, Past President, Treasurer and Executive Director meet the day before the entire Board meets.  Then the entire Board meets for 2 days before the start of the annual meeting.  Once the annual meeting starts, the President is   attending and speaking at MLA group meetings and events.  Hopefully, not many future Presidents have to preside over a change in the bylaws.  That was not my strength and I am forever grateful to those who helped me through it.

Every day of the Annual Meeting is super busy for the President. IMHO the President can call it a successful day if they had time to go to the bathroom.  As busy as I was during the Toronto meeting, I enjoyed the time I spent in the hallways chatting with members and meeting new people.  I know I have said this before, but it is totally true…. You learn the most from the meeting by talking and engaging with your colleagues and meeting new people.

At the end of the Annual Meeting, the President becomes the Past President and has come full circle to pass the gavel to the President Elect who is the new President and runs the post Annual Meeting Board Meeting.

Other things that don’t fall in a timeline:

Email, email, email.  A lot of work with the Board, MLA groups,  MLA staff and MLA members is done via email.  Prior to becoming President my inbox was under control.  While I was President I had to develop all sorts of files in my saved email folders or else my inbox would have been a nightmare.

Pop up events. It probably isn’t really correct to call them pop up events because usually the events the MLA President attends aren’t sudden.  I just call them pop up events because they are predictable yearly events.  For example: my trip to Philadelphia for the Historical Marker and Teresa’s trip this September to the new Director of NLM’s induction.

Phone calls. The President has a phone call every other week with the Executive Director.  Every other week the President has a phone call with the Past President, President Elect, Treasurer, and the Executive Director.  So the President has a scheduled phone call every week regarding MLA.  Of course those are the scheduled phone calls, there are always phone calls from MLA staff and members that are about different items.

The job descriptions document says the average time commitment for the President (not including travel) is about a day per week.  I would say that is pretty accurate but it isn’t like a whole day at one time.  It is an hour here and there so it wasn’t as noticeable to me as a whole day would have been.  What was noticeable was how much of my thoughts occupied MLA activities.  Perhaps this is because I was “in touch” with MLA stuff for a little bit each day (via email or phone).

So there you have it…what I did as MLA President for an entire year.  I am sure I missed something.  I hope this is helpful for anyone who is contemplating running for President.  It was one of the best things I did in my career.  It was tiring and yes some things I used to do in my free time suffered (this blog and my swimming) but my family was super awesome and according to my husband my family didn’t suffer.  With his support I was still able to have a pretty good work/life balance.

My hope is to get back to this blog and swimming more. However, I have had a recent career change that will probably fill the spot that MLA President once had.  I have accepted and will be the Director of my library in October.  The first few months are going to be busy as I learn my new role but I think I can still squeeze in a post or two a month instead of watching Real Housewives.

Yes? Or No? Or HOW? Catching a Predator at Birth (Maybe)

Catching a Predator at Birth

I almost called this post: “Create attention for your article; write a layman’s summary,” which was the subject line from the e-mail we are discussing locally in trying to decide if it is a predatory publisher or not. (Short version of what we did for those who don’t have time to read the whole story: Identity, Authority, Credibility, Language, Editing, Timing, Licensing, Accessibility, Openness, Sources, Resources. Basically, defining a chain of trust.) I’ve blogged here before about the idea of layman’s summaries, a.k.a. plain language abstracts. They have a great tagline. It’s a great idea. My first reaction was, “How can we help?” Obviously, I think the idea is awesome, and I’ve thought so for a very long time, many years. I am far from the only person to think so. Just take a quick look at these few selected quotes.

DC Girasek: Would society pay more attention to injuries if the injury control community paid more attention to risk communication science?
“We also need to call attention to the injuries that continue to take lives, despite the fact that solid solutions for them have been published in our scientific journals. We need research on translating study findings into public action. Epidemiology and engineering remain central to the field of injury control. We must look to the social and behavioral sciences, however, if we hope to overcome the political and cognitive barriers that impede our advancement.”

Alan Betts: A Proposal for Communicating Science
“Given that the future of the Earth depends on the public have a clearer understanding of Earth science, it seems to me there is something unethical in our insular behavior as scientists.”

Jason Samenow: Should technical science journals have plain language translation?
“Some scientists might resist the onus of having to write a lay-person friendly version of their articles. However, I agree with Betts, it’s well past time they do so”

Chris Buddle: Science outreach: plain-language summaries for all research papers
“1) Scientists do really interesting things.
2) Scientists have a responsibility to disseminate their results.
3) Scientists do not publish in an accessible format.
This is a really, really big problem.”

Chris Buddle: A guide for writing plain language summaries of research papers
“A plain language summary is different because it focuses more broadly, is without jargon, and aims to provide a clear picture about ‘why’ the research was done in additional to ‘how’ the work was done, and the main findings.”

Lauren M. Kuehne and Julian D. Olden: Opinion: Lay summaries needed to enhance science communication. PNAS 112(12):3585. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1500882112
“But rather than an unrewarding burden, scientists (and journal publishers) should consider widespread adoption of lay summaries—accompanying online publications and made publicly available with traditional abstracts—as a way to increase the visibility, impact, and transparency of scientific research. This is a particularly important undertaking given the changing science media landscape.”

This is seen as SUCH an important idea that multiple grants were provided to create a tool to assist scientists in doing this well!

Center on Knowledge Translation for Disability and Rehabilitation Research (KTDRR): Plain Language Summary Tool ((science OR research) (attention OR “plain language” OR “clear language” OR layman OR journalist) (summary OR abstract)

Imagine my excitement when a colleague (many thanks to Kate MacDougall-Saylor) alerted me to a new online publication specifically for this purpose! How PERFECT for Health Literacy Month! A faculty member had asked her if it was a legitimate enterprise. So we looked at the email she’d received, and at the web site.

Dear Dr. XXX,

We are interested to publish the layman’s summary of your research article: ‘ABC ABC ABC.’ on our website.

The new project ‘Atlas of Science‘ started from 1st October 2015. It is made by scientists for scientists and the aim of the project will be publishing layman’s abstracts of research articles to highlight research to a broader audience.
Scientific articles are often difficult to fathom for journalists, due to the scientific jargon.
Although journalists like to assess the news value quickly, that is by no means simple with most research articles. Writing a short, understandable layman’s summary is a good means to reach this goal.

This makes sense, has a good message, and is accurate about the potential impact so far, but the English doesn’t read as having been written or edited by a native speaker of English, and the formatting is inconsistent. It doesn’t look as if a professional editor did a final review before promoting to the world. Warning Sign #1.

The name of the web site (Atlas of Science) is identical to the highly regarded book from MIT Press and authored by Katy Börner of the Indiana University Cyberinfrastructure for Network Science Center. At first, I thought perhaps they were connected, but quickly realized this was a separate group, simply using the same name. Warning Sign #2.

Most of the rest of the message came directly from the “For Authors” page on the web site (Why, What, Use), except for the instructions.

∙ Send your summary to [email protected], not later than ##/#/2015.

What do we do with your layman’s summary?
∙ We check the text, and in consultation with you we dot the i’s and cross the t’s.
∙ Your text will be available on the Atlas of Science website, .
We will actively promote this site to the press.

Please, let us know if you are interested and do not hesitate to contact us if you have any question (simply reply to this email).

This was less worrisome, except … the phrase “not later than” (combined with a date of just over a week to respond) seems to be pressuring the faculty member to respond quickly, without thinking it through carefully, and without time to actually create a well-done plain language summary. Warning Sign #3.

Speaking of a well-done plain language summary, do they explain how to do what they say they want? We checked on the web site. Not really. They tell you what they want, but not how to do it, and they don’t point people to any resources to help them understand what a plain language summary is, what this means, or how to do it. They define no standards, set no guidelines, make only the barest and simplest recommendations (such as word count — 600 words with 2 figures), and do not even mention appropriate reading level. Warning Sign #4.

Does the posted content on the site actually appear to match the stated goals of the site? Not remotely. The pieces posted don’t even match the minimal guidelines they stated in their own criteria. I tested a few of the newest posts. The titles alone (“Regulation of mediator’s expression and chemotaxis in mast cells”, “Minute exocrine glands in the compound eyes of water strider”, “Gene therapy not just counseling for your denim obsession”, tell you these are not plain language, but just to be fair and unbiased, I ran them through a Simple Measure of Gobbledygook (SMOG) Tool, which is only one of several tools and resources available for assessing readability.

Regulation of mediator’s expression and chemotaxis in mast cells
The SMOG index: 20.1
Total words: 766
Total number of polysyllabic words: 180
Total number of sentences: 41

Over 150 words more than the defined limit for the abstract (Warning Sign #5), and written for an audience with a reading level matching those with multiple graduate degrees. The SMOG Index, you see, displays the reading level by number of years of education. 12 is a high school diploma, 16 is a college degree, 18 is a masters, and 20 is well into PhD territory. The average reading level for adults in the United States is roughly 8th grade, meaning that a really well done plain language summary would be written to a SMOG level of 8, at most 12. 20 is a long ways from 12.

Minute exocrine glands in the compound eyes of water strider
The SMOG index: 16.2
Total words: 461
Total number of polysyllabic words: 70
Total number of sentences: 35

Gene therapy not just counseling for your denim obsession
The SMOG index: 18.7
Total words: 573
Total number of polysyllabic words: 79
Total number of sentences: 23

Save your pancreas from diabetes! Your beta cell reserve is critical for prevention and treatment of diabetes.”
The SMOG index: 19.6
Total words: 455
Total number of polysyllabic words: 100
Total number of sentences: 25

It’s easy to see that most of the authors take the word count seriously, and that some of them genuinely tried to reduce the reading level and had an idea of where to start with this. None of them came anywhere close to an 8th grade reading level, and none of them were below college graduate reading level. Warning Sign #6. The writing in the abstracts was highly variable, some included grammatical errors, and there was no sign of editorial oversight. Warning Sign #7.

You get the idea of how the checking is being done. I don’t want to walk you through the excruciating details for every piece, but here are a few more criteria, and then ending with a surprise reveal.

“About Us”: Can’t tell who they are, either individuals or institution. Improper grammar & punctuation. No contact information. Contact form has email address hidden. Warning Signs 8, 9, 10.

Content Sources: Most links are to RSS feeds from major science news services, not unique or locally produced content. For the unique content, authorship is unclear (is author of the plain language abstract the same as the author of the original article?), buried deep in the page, no editor mentioned, and no contact information given for the presumed authors. The links for the original articles go back to PUBMED, not to the original publisher, and nont of them give the DOI number for the articles. Warning Signs 11, 12, 13, 14, 15.

Licensing: For a project of this sort to have the impact it is supposed to on journalists and the public, it would need to have a Creative Commons licensing structure, presumably with attribution. Instead it has
copyright, all rights reserved,” but gives no information on how to get permission to use the content. It appears that the intellectual property rights are held by the website, not by the actual authors. This is (in my opinion) terrible. Warning Signs 16, 17, 18.

Accessibility: Problems using the site on my phone. Tested desktop view, and there are a number of fatal errors, missing ALT tags, empty links, duplicated links, etc. Sloppy, sloppy coding. Nobody’s perfect, but MEDLINEplus has zero fatal errors, just for comparison. If this is from a reputable organization, I’d expect better. Warning Signs 19, 20, 21.

Now, the big surprise! While I was digging around online, I found some of the content, almost verbatim, from an authoritative site! Virtually all of the “For Authors” page is from the Technishe Universiteit, Eindhoven (TU/e). Evidently, they have or had a requirement for graduate students to write a plain language summary of their research prior to graduation. Brilliant concept! The submitted content was reviewed, edited, and selected for possible inclusion in their university research magazine, Cursor. They also had a campus website to host the content. The link for this was broken when I checked today, but the Wayback Machine has several examples over the past several years, including just a few months ago.

The big question now is whether this project is taking the Technische Universiteit model and making it bigger for the world, or was the content stolen from TU/e? There is no way to tell by looking. If this is a genuine project from TU/e, there are some changes they could make to improve the project. If the project is not theirs, I would really love to see the National Library of Medicine recreate a project like this, but done properly. They’ve proven they can. And there is a genuine need.

Section Programming Changes at MLA Meetings

The MLA Futures Task Force investigated things members within MLA should/would/want to change going forward.  One of the big things that members wanted to see change was the annual meeting, specifically section programming.  Members expressed frustration that section program themes were too narrow or the program themes were too closely married to the overall annual meeting theme (which was sometimes very narrow). Members wanted an abstract submission process that was responsive to the current topics and trends of librarianship, not dependent on any theme.

In an effort to address members concerns the NPC for the 2016 has changed the submission practice for section programming.  Starting in 2016, the NPC will send a call out for papers and posters and they will not be asked to submit to any specific section driven theme.  Once submission deadline has passed members of section programming will select the best overall abstracts then base the themes and categories off of the approved abstracts.

This is a big change for section programming.  As result, the section planners for 2016 will be meeting in 2015 to discuss the changes going forward with programming planning because it will be a completely different process.  2016 section planners should be aware these changes will be happening, Amy Chatfield sent an email to all sections describing things.

Basically instead of forcing a square abstract peg into a round section programming hole, the section programming hole will be shaped around the shape of the abstract peg. This type of responsive programming is often found at biomedical conferences.  The intention is for this type of responsive programming to continue in 2017 and beyond.  Will it be perfect in 2016, no but we can learn from our mistakes and make tweaks to the process so that we can have the type of programming that our members and the Futures Task Force said we need.

There will be a #medlibs tweet chat discussing the upcoming section programming for 2016 on May 7, 2015. Check for more information as time gets closer.

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.

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 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  (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:


Board members

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  (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:


Board members

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