Last Chance to Try and Win $400 Towards MLA 2012

Tick Tock, Tick Tock….. You hear that?  That is time running out for you to try and win $400 toward the annual meeting in Seattle.

The National Program Committee for the 2012 meeting in Seattle, WA are looking for the best methods people used to justify their attendance at a meeting to receive funding from their institution. There will be two $400 prizes to be used toward either registration or travel expenses to the 2012 meeting. The two prizes will be awarded to one hospital librarian and one academic medical librarian for the most original, funny, interesting, and best method for acquiring funding from their institution.

You must submit your story online by 11:59pm November 1, 2011. Winners will be notified by November 25, 2011 and there stories will be listed in the January 2012 MLA News. All submissions will be displayed online and available at for your fellow librarians to read and learn from. By participating in this contest, not only do you have the chance to win money to help pay for next year’s meeting, but you are sharing your successful funding strategies which can serve as a resource to other librarians who may need a little help getting institutional support.

To enter the contest go to:
You must be an MLA member to win.
Nervous about seeing your name in lights about how you got your institution to support your attendance? That is fine. We have set it up so that you can participate in the contest but your name will be withheld from the online public site and will only be known to contest judges.

What are you waiting for? Get online and submit your story! 

The wiki listing the stories is current as of 10/28/11 6:30pm est, so look through them and submit your story at  If you are looking for ideas on how to get money to attend MLA ’12 read the stories, maybe one of them will work for you!

MLA 2012/2013 Election Candidates Announced

The candidates for the upcoming 2012/2013 MLA election have been announced.  MLA members will be able to cast their vote online from November 2–December 6, 2011. Members without email addresses on file at MLA headquarters will receive paper ballots in the mail during the first week in November. Election results will be announced in December.

Not a member of MLA because the organization isn’t relevant to you and what you are facing in the profession?  Well if you aren’t a member, you can’t vote for MLA to change to become more relevant to you and others in the future.  Become a member so that you have a voice in the organization to see that it changes and evolves in the future to be relevant to you and other librarians.

Congratulations candidates and good luck!

MLA President Elect

  • Dixie A. Jones, AHIP, Medical Library, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center–Shreveport
  • Cynthia L. Henderson, AHIP, Louis Stokes Health Sciences Library, Howard University, Washington, DC

MLA Board of Directors (two open positions)

  • Debra Rand, AHIP, Health Sciences Libraries, Hofstra University North Shore-Long Island Jewish School of Medicine, Hempstead, NY
  • Chris Shaffer, AHIP, OHSU Library, Oregon Health & Science University–Portland
  • Brian P. Bunnett, AHIP, Health Sciences Library and Informatics Center, University of New Mexico–Albuquerque
  • Julia M. Esparza, AHIP, Medical Library, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center–Shreveport

MLA Nominating Committee (nine open positions)

  • Neville D. Prendergast
  • Priscilla L. Stephenson
  • Max Anderson
  • Jane Bridges, AHIP
  • Sherrilynne S. Fuller, FMLA
  • Mindy Robinson-Paquette
  • Keith W. Cogdill, AHIP
  • Patricia E. Gallagher, AHIP
  • Paula G. Raimondo, AHIP
  • Melissa L. Just, AHIP
  • Lynne M. Fox, AHIP
  • Ana D. Cleveland, AHIP
  • Brenda Faye Green
  • Diana J. Cunningham, AHIP
  • Jo Dorsch, AHIP
  • Joy C. Kennedy
  • Lisa K. Traditi, AHIP
  • Heidi Heilemann, AHIP

Friday Fun: Get $400 To Go To Seattle, NOW!

Yesterday I posted asking people about what kind of things they want to see at the Seattle meeting.  PLEASE keep the suggestions coming!

In one of the comments Halyna mentioned that some librarians do not get any funding or partial funding so having discounts, coupons available for restaurants, attractions would be very helpful.  I am all about coupons and I like the idea…and I will pass it on to the LAC who would be in the best position to find coupons or discounts as the meeting draws near.  But Halyna’s comment also served as the perfect reminder that librarians facing travel money issues have various opportunities to help pay to attend the meeting. 

There is still time to enter to the contest sponsored by the NPC to win $400 toward the meeting.  How do you win?  Simply submit the best method you used to justify your attendance at an MLA annual meeting to receive funding from their institutions or employers.  Two people with the best stories will win $400 towards either travel expenses or registration for the Seattle meeting.  So far there aren’t a lot of submissions so your odds of winning are VERY good if you submit.  You must enter by November 1, 2011! So get to your computer and type something out and submit it!

You also might want to check out if the MLA Section you belong to is providing scholarships to attend the meeting.  As a member and current Chair of the Medical Informatics Section, I know that we have recently been offering a travel grant each year to an MIS member to help with traveling to the MLA annual meeting.  Perhaps your one of the sections you belong to is doing something similar.

As the dollar gets tighter we have to get more creative about finding ways to be able to attend the meeting.  The travel grants are out there for this meeting, it is up to you to try and get them.  If you don’t apply you certainly won’t get them.  If you do apply and for some unlucky reason you don’t get a travel grant and can’t afford to go, don’t forget about attending as an e-conference participant!

Docs Can Do Social Media, Just Ask Dr Ves

Perhaps it is just my perception, but a lot of articles directed at doctors seem to stress the negative side of social media and physicians.  I would be Polyanna if I didn’t say there aren’t risks to social media, but everything in life carries risks.  Living a life without risks isn’t living.  That isn’t to say somebody should throw caution to the wind either.  Life is about managing and risk vs. reward balance. 

Dr. Ves Dimov has a very good post about a how a doctor can easily participate in social media and benefit greatly from that participation.   In his post, “For doctors: How to be a Twitter star in two easy steps,” he address the issue of time (lack of time, more specifically) and Twitter.  Specifically he says Twitter should take no more than 30 min. per day.  I have to agree with him.  I spend more time on email than I do on Twitter.  I have Twitter up and running in the background and when an interesting tweet comes across I read it or comment on it.  Takes me a total of 10-20 seconds total, perhaps a little more if they link out to an interesting article that I read.

For me Twitter at work is very similar to MEDLIB-L (the medical librarian listserv), medical librarians with questions or seeking to share quick bits of info send out tweets just like they send out emails on MEDLIB-L.  The difference between the two for me is the content.  Medical librarians on Twitter who post in general or using the hashtag #medlibs tend to post more tech related things, time sensitive things, or share good articles quickly.  MEDLIB-L tends to have more in depth questions and discussions (naturally since it isn’t restricted to 140 characters). 

For example, when the government was threatening to shut down, I received a question from a patron asking me about whether PubMed would remain running.  I have to say the first thing I did was tweet the question.  Why?  More than just medical librarians are on Twitter.  If my librarian friends don’t know the answer they can quickly RT and it goes out to another layer of people.  Think of it as an information network onion.  Your friends are one layer, their friends are another, and their friends friends are another. 

April 18th, the same day the MLA online program planner came out, there was already a discussion on Twitter about how to add things on the program and import it into a calendar.  The online program planner (and the difficulties encountered adding programs or importing it to a calendar) weren’t discussed on MEDLIB-L until May 2nd.  This is example is not to point out that Twitter is faster or better than MEDLIB-L, on the contrary I have seen things break  MEDLIB-L before Twitter.  I just use this example of how Twitter is used professionally to get short answers quickly.

I highly recommend Dr. Ves’s post for people (especially physicians) interested in Twitter.  Even those who think they aren’t interested in Twitter might like to read how easy it is to get started.  As Dr Ves says, Twitter is a good place to start if you want to get involved in social media.  It doesn’t require a lot of time to do or maintain and if you “have common sense, and never share the 18 HIPAA identifiers online or offline with unauthorized parties,” then you can minimize your risks and maximize your rewards for participating in social media.

News Breaking on Twitter

By now everybody knows that Obama went on national TV at 11:00pm last night announcing that US forces killed Osama bin Laden.  Sunday evening I was watching TV, like many Americans, waiting for the weather report to tell me that there will be even more rain this week.  All of a sudden the local anchorman reported President Obama would be addressing the media at 10:30 and the subject of his speech had not been released but it was news that would affect not just the United States but the whole world. 

My husband and I looked at each other, I said Libya and he said immenent terrorist attack (ala the series 24).  Both of us went to the web to see if we could find out what was going on.  I have to admit my first stop was checking out traditional news outlets such as MSNBC and CNN.  Neither even mentioned the President’s upcoming speech, let alone any hints about what news was so important that the President would address the nation on a Sunday night.  It wasn’t until I clicked on Facebook (for totally different reasons than Obama’s speech) did I see a post from a friend on Facebook from Twitter indicating that bin Laden was dead.

RT @SecondFront: Twitter says Osama bin Laden’s dead. President to address nation in minutes.

That tweet was posted a good half hour before President Obama addressed the nation confirming the death of bin Laden.  About 15 minutes after reading that tweet, the regular media were reporting the President’s speech was most likely about the death of bin Laden.  As one friend on Twitter said, Obama “better start soon or his entire message is going to be irrelevant.”  Twitter scooped the President and the news media by a good 1/2 hour.  Actually there was one person who scooped everybody by 7 hours by unknowingly tweeting about the operation

On his blog, Daniel Hooker, has an interesting post on how Twitter is his primary news channel. 

Twitter doesn’t break news for me often in the sense that hours before an event is reported I know about it. It is my central channel for news, though, so what I like about social media is its ability to provide me with things that are easy to miss through all the pundit and questionable-expert-commentator babble.

Twitter has become a news and information sharing mechanism, often getting information out to the public before official channels can do it.  Now I realize the events at MLA are nowhere near as serious or have as much significance as the death of bin Laden or the tornados in Alabama, but news about the convention is being discussed. 

Just browsing the hashtag #mlanet11 you will see people discussing various events, vendors inviting people to their booths/events, discussions on local restaurants, SIG activities, etc. 

I know there are people there who aren’t sure how Twitter fits into medical libraries or the convention.  Heck I was that person a few years ago.  I stated in various webinars and speeches that Twitter was interesting but I wasn’t sure how it fit into medicine and libraries.  I still don’t know of all the ways it can fit, but I see it fitting in a lot more than I did then.  I use Twitter to discuss library issues with colleagues almost as much as I use MEDLIB-L.  Both are tools I find extremely important for staying up to date on information.  Using Twitter at the conference will just be another example of its use in providing rapid information to people. 

I encourage everyone to sign up on Twitter and see how it works for them, especially if they are attending MLA.  If you are hesitant, you can always search the hashtag #mlanet11 to see what is going on.  But doing that is like talking on the phone with laryngitis.  You can hear what people are saying but you can’t speak up and join in the discussion.

Congratulations Library Journal’s 2011 Movers and Shakers

Library Journal’s 2011 Movers and Shakers have been announced and congratulations to all of these people.  I want to specifically congratulate two librarians doing medical and health information services, Healther Holmes  and Rosalind Lett  

Heather, who is listed as a “Change Agent,” is an information services librarian for the Summa Health System in Akron, OH.  She developed a clinical medical librarian program at the Akron City Hospital with a general internal medicine team providing point-of-care reference service.

Rosalind, listed as “Advocate,” is the associate director of Public Services at the Huntsville-Madison County Public Library.  Saw a need to increase health information literacy in north Alabama and got a grant from the  National Networks of Libraries of Medicine to bring health literacy skills to all 12 branches of her library.

The MLA Guide to Managing Health Care Libraries has been published

My book is out!  Ok truth be told it isn’t my book, I just co-wrote a chapter.  A lot of people (especially the editors) could call it their book too since they worked hard on it as well.  So I really should be saying…. Our book is out!

The MLA Guide to Managing Health Care Libraries is available.  If you are interested in purchasing the book (hint, hint) Neal-Schuman has a new promotion linked to the video produced by Charles Bandy (who I suspect might have secret life as a DJ in techno clubs).

Go to the link to view the video and get a $15 discount coupon code.
On a personal note, I want to thank the editors Maraget and Roz for editing the book, also the co-authors on our chapter.  While I have written several journal articles, this is the first time I have ever co-authored a book chapter.  It was difficult but interesting and I am glad I got the opportunity to do it.

Thoughts About Journals at 2am

At 2am while feeding a newborn, a lot of random thoughts pop in and out of my head, including one about the cost of online journals and usage. 

Have we gotten to a time in libraries where the print version of a title is worthless?  Ok worthless is probably too strong of a word.  How about forgotten?  Have we gotten to a point in time where users forget about printed journals and use only online titles.  This is not to say that they don’t know that there are printed titles. When they do a search or are given search results what do they do first?  They scroll through and print off or save all of the articles that are available online.  The ones that aren’t available online are left to the end only to be retrieved if they need a few more articles to answer their question or do research.  If they feel they have enough articles already from the ones they downloaded online, they don’t bother with the ones that are available in print only.  Those articles become the forgotten articles.  I am not saying this is the best or most comprehensive way to do research, but it happens all the time. 

Librarians rely on usage stats to make decisions on what journals they intend to keep our purchase (ILL request stats).  So have we gotten to a point where a printed journal automatically gets less use (despite quality of articles) because it is not online?  Would going online make that journal more useful?  What if the online version of the journal is too expensive for your library, do you hold on to the print because it is one of those titles that you feel you should keep?  Or do you dump the title?

If you dump the title in print and you don’t get it online, the publisher is losing your money.  Do you think there should be a trial year online subscription (let’s say for twice the cost of print) allowing you online access to the title? This way both you and the publisher can determine a “fair” online price based on a year of usage data? 

Determining what a “fair” price after that year may be sticky, and the pricing details/levels should be worked out a head of time before you embark on a year trial.  That way as the year progresses you can tell your supervisors that you currently have a year trial subscription to the Journal of Big Toe Science and it is getting X amount of usage and if that usage trend continues that means next year it will cost approximately $Y to have.  Everybody can plan ahead of time.

I am not entirely sure how well this would work, like I said a lot of things float through my head at 2am.

Friday Fun: Nominate a Librarian Superhero, Winners Featured on Collectible Lunchbox

Gale is running a “Are You a Librarian Superhero” contest on their Facebook Fan Page from Feb 1st-Feb 28 2011. 

In 250 words or less tell why you or somebody you know is a librarian superhero.  The Fantastic Four librarian winners will join the ranks of Wonder Woman, Superman, the Hulk and be featured on a collectible lunch box as cartoon superheroes by the Unshelved guys. 

In the nomination please include what kind of superhero traits are most apparent to the library user and the superhero’s “normal” identity such as their name, day job, name of library/institution.  Every nominator will also receive a special prize.

So maybe it is just me, but I gotta think that we at least one medical librarian out there that qualifies as a Librarian Superhero.  So medical librarians start picking your brains because it would be really neat if we could get somebody as animated librarian superhero.