MLA Behind the Scenes: Search for New MLA Executive Director

As you all know, Carla Funk, the Executive Director of MLA is retiring.  So we must search for a new person for the position.  I thought I would provide an update on the search for those of you who didn’t see the update published in the September 25 MLA Focus. (Click here for update as of 10/6/14)

(Completed)
The search committee first worked on selecting an executive search firm to help us with the process for filling the position. The search committee sent out several request for proposals (RFPs) to reputable search firms who specialize in the area of finding executive directors for associations.  We reviewed the completed and returned proposals and selected Tuft & Associates as our search firm.  Tuft & Associates has experience working with other medical and library associations finding executive directors.

(On going)
Tufts & Associates has been interviewing MLA Board memebers, MLA staff members, and diverse group of MLA members to try and determine the opportunities and challenges for MLA so that they can compile a profile as well as traits desired for the position.  Once the profile is complete, the position will be advertised.

(Near future)
MLA members have an opportunity to participate in the process by suggesting questions for candidates. Stay tuned for how to suggestion questions. MLA is looking at away to do compile the suggestions online.  The search committee and Tufts anticipate interviews of top candidates will begin in late fall.

(Other details)
The search committee includes Dixie A. Jones, AHIP, chair; Linda Walton; Michelle Kraft, AHIP; Chris Shaffer, AHIP; Sandra G. Franklin, AHIP; and staff member Kate Corcoran.
The diverse group of MLA members were made up of librarians in academic, hospital libraries, living in different areas of the U.S, representing different ages and ethnic backgrounds.

I will write another update when the profile has been completed and the position has been posted. I will also provide more information on how to suggestion questions for the executive director search as soon as the technical details have been worked out.

Call for applications for the Louise Darling Medal

Please consider nominating a colleague for the Louise Darling Medal for Distinguished Achievement in Collection Development in the Health Sciences!

The Louise Darling Medal is presented annually to recognize distinguished achievement in collection development in the health sciences. The award was established in 1987 and first awarded in 1988, with a contribution by Ballen Booksellers International, Inc. The recipient receives an engraved medal, a certificate, and a $1,000 cash award.

If you want to nominate a deserving colleague, please go to www.mlanet.org/awards/honors/ for more information and online nomination forms. The deadline for applications is November 1. Please contact jury chair Virginia Carden at virginia.carden[atsign]duke[dot]edu with any questions.

Don’t forget there are a whole bunch of other awards https://www.mlanet.org/about/awards-and-honors recognizing MLA members hard work.  So if you are drawing a blank on somebody for the Darling Medal, perhaps there is somebody you know who totally deserves another award like the Beatty Volunteer award, the Colaianni award, Murray Gottlieb prize (no winner in 2014), or any other from the list.

These awards are not automatic.  They rely on you to nominate people for them.  IF nobody qualified is nominated then the award/prize goes unawarded that year.  I hate seeing awards go unawarded because I know there is somebody deserving of it, they just weren’t nominated and missed out.  So if you know somebody or you think you deserve an award, go for it.

Catch the Leiter Lecture Live Online Thursday

The Joseph Leiter NLM/MLA Lecture will be on Thursday June 12, 2014 at 1:00pm ET online http://videocast.nih.gov and on the campus of the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland.

Terrence Sejnowski, PhD, will discuss “The BRAIN Initiative: Connecting the Dots.”
Dr. Sejnowski is a pioneer in computational neuroscience and his goal is to understand the principles that link brain to behavior. He is interested in the hippocampus, believed to play a major role in learning and memory; and the cerebral cortex, which holds our knowledge of the world and how to interact with it. His laboratory uses both experimental and modeling techniques to study the biophysical properties of synapses and neurons and the population dynamics of large networks of neurons. New computational models and new analytical tools have been developed to understand how the brain represents the world and how new representations are formed through learning algorithms for changing the synaptic strengths of connections between neurons. By studying how the resulting computer simulations can perform operations that resemble the activities of the hippocampus, Dr. Sejnowski hopes to gain new knowledge of how the human brain is capable of learning and storing memories. This knowledge ultimately may provide medical specialists with critical clues to combating Alzheimer’s disease and other disorders that rob people of the critical ability to remember faces, names, places and events.
(from NIH website)

If you are in or nearby Bethesda, I highly recommend going because it is always interesting to hear the lecturer speak in person. But if you are in Cleveland or some other place that makes it impossible for you to physically be at the lecture, then you can watch it online. If for some reason you can’t watch it live then don’t worry the lecture will be recorded and available at http://videocast.nih.gov.

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

Presidential Priorities

I am starting very early on my priorities as President. I am not yet officially President elect (that happens at this MLA) and the current President elect (soon to be President) Linda Walton has not officially released her priorities. But, ever since I was nominated I have been thinking about my priorities.

As I mentioned I am early to the Presidential priority party, but I want to start early because I think it will take me a while to refine them.

Here is very unofficial rough timeline of the Presidential priorities.

  • President Elect year – Attend MLA Board meetings to get familiar with current issues happening within MLA. Work with the rest of the Board to help the current President and with his/her priorities.  Start thinking of and create my own Presidential priorities and present them to the Board.
  • Presidential year – Present the priorities to the membership and create task forces or have committees assigned to help achieve the priorities.
  • Past Presidential year – The priorities work from the task forces, committees, etc. either wind down or evolve.  With the help of the rest of the Board, work with the task forces or committees as they wind down or evolve.

In a nutshell I have one year to think of my priorities, one year to get them started and see them to their completion or evolution.  In reality not every Presidential priority is able to finish in that timeline.  It would be difficult and unwise to abandon unfinished priorities from previous Presidents. Some priorities can be finished within a year, but others require several years to finish, or they evolve into regular, ongoing MLA activities (committee charges, HQ staff assignments, etc.)

While I am looking at my predecessors’ Presidential priorities I want to also take into account the MLA membership’s thoughts on what my priorities should be.

I am asking MLA members to think about what my Presidential priorities should be as they relate to MLA’s mission.  Please keep in mind, I will also be working on previous priorities AND there is a bit of time crunch unless I go mad with Presidential power and throw the bylaws out the window and declare myself the Monarch of MLA. (Just kidding…but it is a catchy name)

Rome was not built in a day. My ultimate goal, independent of any priority, is to help others and inspire them to be active and work to better MLA and medical librarianship.  I think of it a bit like this…. One snow flake is small and easily melts by itself, but when it is packed in a snowball with other snow flakes as it rolls down a hill, it becomes a stronger force to be dealt with.  I cannot do it alone.

 

CE Stipends for Midwest Librarians

The Midwest Chapter’s latest membership survey indicated a need for better access to continuing education.  What could  help with better access than a stipend for CE?!  The Board of the Midwest Chapter has announced that two $125 stipends are availalbe for 2014 to help fund library skills and CE attendance.

How do you get this stipend!?

  1. Be a Midwest MLA member.
  2. Send email to nreedx[atsign]midwestern[dot]edu to be entered in the drawing for it.
  3. The email must have your name, postal address, and whether you are a solo librarian or not.  (Indication of solo librarian is not used for determining the winner, just for statistics and to help determine the need for future funding.)

EASY PEASY!

All names will be put in a hat and one lucky winner will be drawn and announced Feb 3, 2014.  A call for a new drawing will happen in June and that winner will be selected July 1, 2014.

An individual will only be eligible to win once/year.

 

Congratulations to All

MLA Focus just emailed the election results and I want to congratulate the new Board Members and Nominating Committee.  But I want to steal a quote from Nikki Dettmar which summarizes my thoughts completely.

Nikki was on the Nominating Committee that help select the people on the ballot this year.  As she mentions below she is on her NomCom13 Soapbox.

“<Spontaneous Me-on-NomCom13 Soapbox>Yes, a very hearty congrats to those who were elected to Medical Library Association positions! HOWEVER, I would like to offer an even warmer expression of gratitude to all those who were NOT elected: Both those who were actually on the ballot, and those who responded in the affirmative to our initial inquires about willingness to BE on the ballot. For as often as I have heard so many in our field bitch & moan about how ‘MLA needs to do something about…’ YOU WERE WILLING TO! And I hope you don’t stop just because it didn’t work out this time. Now join in the #medlibs chat at the top of the hour about our future. Peace out. </Spontaneous Me-on-NomCom13 Soapbox>”

Nikki you said it perfectly that I have no better way to express it other than to re-post it on my blog (for those of you wondering, yes I did ask her permission).

The greatest way to get MLA to do more or to change is for you to volunteer and do something.  Don’t sit on the sidelines or be a back seat driver!  Get out take charge and shape the organization.  For all the medical librarians who aren’t members of MLA but also complain that MLA doesn’t help them and that is the reason they aren’t members…..  I have one thing to say…. PTTHBBBBBBB! What have you done to change that?! What have you done to shape MLA?!

That is why I want to join Nikki and thank EVERYBODY who was on the ballot or who agreed to be nominated to be on the ballot, because they were willing to step up and take action. Keep it up!

Needed: Projects for MLA Rising Stars

While the official deadline has past, MLA is still looking for projects to match with Rising Stars.  If you have ideas or would like to mentor a Rising Star for a project you are working on please contact MLA.

Rising Star Host/Mentor Application Information and Form

The MLA Rising Star program has been developed for MLA members who are interested in attaining leadership roles in MLA but who have not yet become active at a national level. The one-year leadership development program matches each Rising Star with a mentor in a curriculum that includes:

  • learning how MLA succeeds through the volunteer efforts of its members;
  • the roles of the MLA Board and staff; and
  • project management skills applied to an actual MLA project.

To get an idea of the kind of projects Rising Stars do, here is a list of the most recent Stars, Menors and their projects.

  • Rising Star: Heather L. Brown
    Mentor: Julia Shaw-Kokot, AHIP
    Project: Work with a Chapter Council team to implement recommendations for interactive web features in the communications plan drafted by 2010 Rising Star Karen L. Hanus, AHIP.
  • Rising Star: Elizabeth V. Fine
    Mentor: Diane G. Cooper, AHIP
    Project: Work with the Federal Libraries Section web committee to evaluate the section’s website.
  • Rising Star: Rolando Garcia-Milian
    Mentor: Mary Riordan, AHIP
    Project: Work with the Awards Committee to increase the number of nominations for MLA awards.
  • Rising Star: Kristi L. Holmes
    Mentor: Jerry Perry, AHIP
    Project: Serve on and work with the Task Force on MATE.
  • Rising Star: Annabelle Nunez
    Mentor: Nancy Allee, AHIP
    Project: Work with the Leadership and Management Section’s New Members/Emerging Leaders Survey Project

For more information on past projects and Stars go here to see a longer list.

So if you are a Section or Chapter leader and you have something you have been working on and would like to have a Star work on the project with you, contact MLA ASAP!

#Medlibs Killing Cows

Join us tomorrow for what is sure to be a lively discussion on killing sacred library cows on #medlibs this Thursday at 9pm Eastern.

As I mentioned in my post on the #medlibs blog

The library environment has changed drastically and is continuing to do so.  The library of 5 years ago is different from the library today.  For example, the iPhone had just been released, there were no iPads and the idea of a “downloadable” ebook had just been introduced by Amazon Kindle.  There were a very limited number of Kindle and certainly not intended for medicine. Yet many of us are doing the same things we did as librarians 5, 10, 15, 20 yrs ago.  We were stretched thin back then, so there is no way we can now add things to our repertoire without giving up something in return.  We must look at what we do in our own libraries and evaluate whether it is necessary, whether it helps our patrons or helps us.  To really evaluate our services we need to look at EVERYTHING including the sacred cows of the library.  We need to ask ourselves, do we need to check in journals, catalog books, make copies, eliminate the reference desk, fuss with circulation, etc.  The right answers will depend on the library. A large academic library might need to still do cataloging but does a small solo hospital library with 4 shelves (not ranges) really need a catalog system much less spend time cataloging books?  Some of these ideas are dangerous and even somewhat heretical librarian thinking, but I feel we need to discuss them.  For more background on sacred cows and heretical librarian thoughts check out my summary of my keynote address I gave at the Midwest Chapter annual meeting.

 

We need to look at, evaluate and slaughter some sacred library cows.  IT makes no sense for us to spend our time doing things that are no longer relevant or used by our patrons.  That isn’t to say that we should have never done them. Everything has its time and place.  It might be hard to give up, but we can’t just do things because we always have.  We need to think like our patrons and for many of us that means completely taking off our librarian hat and looking at ourselves from a patrons view point.  That may mean we come up with answers that are uncomfortable, that borderline on librarian heresy.  But that is what is needed.

This Thursday’s #medlibs discussion at 9pm Eastern will discuss the idea of thinning the herd of library services so that we can grow healthy new opportunities.

Molly Knapp (@dial_m), Amy Blevins (@blevinsa) and I (@krafty) will be moderating the discussion.  As always we will be using the hashtag #medlibs but if you want to further the discussion before/during/or after the regular Thursday night time use the hashtag #moo.