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.

Congrats MLA Nominees

The special edition MLA Focus has just released the Slate for 2015 (to be voted on Nov 3 through Dec 5, 2014).

Congratulations and good luck to the people on the slate for the MLA 2015 Election.  Now it is up to the voting members to look at the people on the slate and determine who they feel would best represent the MLA membership.

  • Teresa L. Knott, AHIP, Tompkins-McCaw Library for the Health Sciences, Virginia Commonwealth University–Richmond
  • Chris Shaffer, AHIP, Library, Oregon Health & Science University–Portland

Board of Directors

  • Lisa K. Traditi, AHIP, Health Sciences Library, University of Colorado–Denver Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, CO
  • Melissa Rethlefsen, AHIP, Spencer S. Eccles Health Sciences Library, University of Utah–Salt Lake City
  • James Dale Prince, AHIP, National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NN/LM), Southeastern Atlantic Region, University of Maryland–Baltimore
  • Janna Lawrence, AHIP, Hardin Library for the Health Sciences, University of Iowa–Iowa City

Nominating Committee

  • Latrina Keith
  • David A. Nolfi, AHIP
  • Julie K. Kwan, AHIP
  • Stephanie Fulton, AHIP
  • Michael S. Fitts
  • Brandi D. Tuttle, AHIP
  • Brenda Marisol Linares, AHIP
  • Gary Kaplan, AHIP
  • Marie T. Ascher
  • Darlene Parker-Kelly
  • Len Levin, AHIP
  • John C. Bramble
  • Donna R. Berryman
  • Sandra De Groote, AHIP
  • Rebecca Birr, AHIP
  • Patricia Baldwin Regenberg, AHIP
  • Terri Ottosen, AHIP
  • Emily J. Hurst, AHIP

In the next few weeks, MLA News will send out bios and information about the candidates.  Make sure you read them and then vote for the people based on the information within MLA News and who you think will be best for MLA membership.

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)

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 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 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.

Shake it Up: Volunteer for MLA Committee

When MLA asked me to write the call for MLA Committee volunteers, the first thing that went through my mind was the Cars “Shake it Up.”  Perhaps it is because I am child of the 80’s or my brain was just in a mood to shake things up.  Whatever it was, I couldn’t get the song out of my head so I made it my inspiration for the call.

You can read the entire call here on MLA’s website

While doing research to make sure I had the correct lyrics while I blended them into the call, I read on Wikipedia (so it has to be true) that bassist Benjamin Orr stated the song “tells the story of how important it is to make a mark in life, to “let them know what you really mean.”  The citation in Wikipedia goes to MTV’s page about the Cars however I couldn’t verify the quote.  So, I didn’t quite feel comfortable quoting him in the call.

Regardless of whether Orr really made that statement, I think it is still a pretty good statement and one that MLA members might want to think about.  One of the easiest ways to make a mark is join an MLA Committee.

Go to:

Do it before October 31, 2014.

Words of advice:
Pick a committee you have an interest in by reviewing the list.
Do not leave your experience for the committee choices blank. Provide whatever experience you have even if it is non-library related.



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 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

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

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.)


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.