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.

Privacy is Dying Fast, Are We Slow to Respond

Privacy is dying or already dead. People (myself included) freely tell the world about our activities through Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.  But we have given up our privacy in even more subtle ways than social media.  I currently have 3 loyalty cards on my key chain, my grocer, pharmacy, and pet store.  That doesn’t include the several loyalty cards I have in my wallet, hardware store, shoe store, sports store, and sandwich chain.  Additionally I have 2-3 apps that are loyalty cards like Shopkick and Cartwheel.  All of these cards and apps give me discounts (some very substantial).  In exchange these stores know exactly what I buy, how often, whether I use coupons, and probably a bunch of other things.

I know there are a lot privacy advocates in the library world.  Along with finding information and connecting people to resources, privacy is important to our profession, especially in the medical world.  Of my friend and colleagues make statements that they would never give out information to people or companies yet the post on social media and they shop at Costco.  We as society have been gradually giving up our privacy in return for convenience or money (discounts and cost savings).

This type of behavior is not going to change any time soon, in fact the next generation is even more willing to give up their privacy.  What is interesting (disturbing?) is that they don’t even think of it as privacy.  A few months ago I saw the Frontline report, “Generation Like.”  The report primarily looked teenagers and the complicated relationship between themselves and the big-name brands they like and actively promote on social media. Not only are the brands are constantly working to target them but the teenagers are actively trying to target their own peer group in the form of likes and comments to gain popularity and fame.  The teens told FRONTLINE that social media makes them feel empowered. The most successful or most popular social media teens are rewarded with all sorts of free products to the point a few have been able to make a living off of their social media posts just from the brands they mention.

I am by no means new to social media, and this was a huge eye opener to me. While I realized the brands mined the data and rewarded those who mentioned them on social media, I had no idea how extensive and deep the rewards went.  But the biggest eye opening moment wasn’t specifically a moment but the repeated sight of these teenagers who so completely bought into it all and didn’t think twice.  In fact after the Frontlined aired the show, most of the teenagers reportedly were excited about getting even more popularity online because of their presence on the show. None of the teenagers blinked twice about the fact that they were giving so much of their privacy away. One interviewer asked the kids about whether they felt like “sell outs” by promoting everything, and the kids didn’t even understand the question.  One even mentioned they didn’t know what a sell out was.

As disturbing and fascinating as this Frontline report was, it made me realize that the concept of privacy is either dead or it will be by the time the teenagers of today are in the workforce tomorrow.  So why is this important? Aren’t we librarians the champions of privacy?  Yes but should we?

I am not talking about disclosing financial data, medical information, or blabbing to the next patron about another’s circulation record.  I am talking about our own information systems working with data to provide a more customized and convenient experience.  Our ILS immediately clears the record of a book from a patron’s record once it has been returned.  That protects our patrons privacy.  But how many of our patrons want a record of what they borrowed for their own purposes?  I have been asked many times in my library career if I could “just look up the last book they checked out because they forgot the title” or a variant of that question.  Personally I love how Amazon knows what I was buying, looking at, and can link my purchases to what others have bought.

My question for librarians is whether our own information system’s restrictions on privacy will ultimately hurt us as the next generation comes to expect more connectivity and convenience.  Like the current teenagers now, will they be fine with giving up a certain amount of privacy so that their experience is better?  If so what kind of systems do we design (or should we) that can balance the privacy line of information that people are willing to give up (or no longer consider private) vs what we still consider private.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not advocating libraries drop their privacy stance, but I am wondering as society’s views on privacy change, how are we going to change.  Obviously education is key.  People don’t always know what they information they are giving up and how it is being used.  However, there things are changing where people don’t care about certain once private things.  So how are we to respond in the future and will that response help us or hurt us?

I’m just thinking out loud, what are your thoughts? (BTW if you leave a comment think about how you are relinquishing some of your privacy and how you are ok doing that now and whether there was a time when you weren’t….you don’t have to put that in your comment, just something to ponder.)  As I tell my kids anything you put online is there forever. Sometimes that is good, sometimes not.

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.

I Think I Can

Over the past couple of weeks helpful people have been telling my that my site was running slow, the search box took forever, and various other wonky things.  Last week everything just went kaput.  My site went offline and it definitely was server issue.

Thankfully, Blake at LISHost was quick to figure out the problem and got me up and running.  I think everything is back to normal so I think I can resume posting and my site will not go off the deep end again.  If you start to notice some weirdness let me know and I will try and get on it. (BTW weirdness with the site, not me.)

Wanted: Librarians With Good IT Relationships and Knowledge

The Southeastern/Atlantic (SE/A) Technology Program Advisory Committee (PAC) has been outlining their goals for the coming year to try and best to meet the needs of their members. One of the Tech PAC’s multi-year goals (based on the results of the survey given in 2012), is to address technology issues some librarians face daily professional lives.  They are planning a series of webinars on the topic and they need your help.

The first webinar will address relationship-building between libraries and the technology departments which support them.They would like to feature the partnerships of one or more librarians and their tech people on the webinar.  So if you are BFF’s with your tech people or just merely have a good working relationship then they would like to use you to serve as models for the medical library community.  **Krafty Note** HOSPITAL LIBRARIANS….You are especially important in this area. Many hospital IT department have vastly different and considerably more strict policies than academic institutions which sometime make being a librarian’s job more difficult. So if you are a hospital librarian with a good working relationship with your IT people, then please, please, please consider contacting the Tech PAC.

The second webinar in the series is tentatively titled, “How to speak IT,” and will focus on defining and contextualizing basic IT terms. We know librarians have our own geek speak; ILL, PDA (not kissing), MeSH, etc. Well, IT has their own geek speak as well and if you two aren’t speaking the same geek it can make communicating a bit difficult at times. For example (not library related): A woman today told me my face look BEAT!  I was bummed. I was well rested (unusual when you have 3 kids) and I actually looked in the mirror and put on make up before I went to work. I thought I looked good.  The woman seeing my confusion said, “That’s a compliment. You look really good.”  She said that makeup artists and others use it to mean on how stunning somebody looks, especially their makeup.  I felt very happy…that is until I realized I am now so old that I don’t know what “kids” are saying these days.

The Tech PAC is looking for a good IT geek speak “explainer” who would be willing to participate as a speaker to help librarians out there speak a little IT geek speak. If your IT guy says to you, “A VLAN configuration issue has surfaced between our new Web app and the SQL back end,” and your brain translates it to, “The network configuration needs adjusting before we go live,” then Tech PAC wants you.

Finally, Tech Pac is also asking for ideas for future webinars and other programs based on librarian technology needs. So contact them via Twitter (@KR_Barker) or email (Grumpy_Cat [atsign] virginia.edu) if you have ideas or can help them with one of their two webinars.

Discussion About #Medlibs Discussion

Last week’s #medlibs chat was about conference codes of conduct and it was co-hosted with officers from the MLA Relevant Issues Sections.  http://bit.ly/1mkgcnB

I was on vacation when I participated in the chat so forgive me for the tardiness of this post.

Increasingly, professional and tech conferences are adopting anti-harassment policies and codes of conduct. The Relevant Issues Section of MLA would like to explore having one for MLA meetings.

 

For background, check out:

The discussion centered around previous incidents at library meetings (including MLA) where attendees felt harassed (by fellow librarians and/or vendors). The moderators asked the #medlibs participants about having a code of conduct at MLA meetings.  It was noted that some speakers no longer will speak at meeting without a code of conduct policy and that those who have been harassed need to know they can report problems.

For some reason the code of conduct discussion slid into a discussion about breast feeding at meetings and the need for child care at meetings.  I can kind of see how the topic of breast feeding sort of made it in the discussion because that could be something is harassed about.  However the issue of child care at the meetings was kind of out of left field for me given the pre-determined code of conduct topic.

There was a group of people who thought that MLA need to provide child care at the meetings for working single parents.  I did note that MLA usually includes information from the hotel on finding a sitter during the meeting. But, this was not what they meant, they wanted to child care.  While I am not a single parent, I do have three kids and those three kids were all in child care at one time and I can tell you first hand that it is flipping crazy expensive and I am living in Cleveland where our cost of living is pretty reasonable.  I can’t imagine the costs of providing child care at an annual meeting.  When I brought up the cost barrier there were some who thought we could get a vendor to sponsor it or that we could add it to the cost of registration. (The registration aspect confused me, I wasn’t sure if they meant the person who selected it paid or if it was spread across the entire registrants to supplement those who needed it.) After being on two NPCs and fundraising for one of them, I personally don’t see a vendor paying for it.  It took a lot of work to get the conference wide wifi to get paid for.

So my questions for you, readers…..

  • What are your thoughts on a code of conduct policy for MLA meetings?
  • What happens if somebody violates the code of conduct? (Are there teeth to the policy?)
  • Is child care needed at MLA’s annual meeting and how should it be paid for?
  • Instead of having official MLA child care, is there a better child care option for single parents to attend meeting other than the hotel babysitter info that is provided?
  • What about the MLA online annual meeting conference package? Would that help single parents who couldn’t travel to the meeting?

I look forward to your thoughts and comments and don’t forget to join tonight’s #medlibs chat.  The chat will be open mic (meaning no moderator?) on whether existing CE meets what we need for research http://bit.ly/1lzS8h3.

Behind the Scenes: What does the President Elect Do?

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

Friday Fun: A Little Editing and Anything Can Be Said or Sung

I am stretching the focus of my blog today.  While this has nothing to do with libraries or medicine, it makes me giggle.  I think it is funny, so it loosely fits into the blog through a Friday Fun post.

The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon has been having a little fun with Brian Williams and his news casts. Through the use of editing, they have gotten Brian Williams to perform various rap songs.  Here are my two favorites.


Brian Williams rapping “Baby Got Back”

Brian Williams and Lester Holt rapping “Rapper’s Delight”

 

According to Jimmy there is some poor guy who is very good at editing who sits in the back room searching for all of the words and piecing them together.

If you are like me and can’t get enough of Brian’s rapping check him out rapping these other tunes.  NOt only are the funny to me but I am in awe at how much time and effort it probably took to do it.

Have a good weekend and thanks for letting me take a break from the medical and library stuff to some Friday Fun.

 

Newbie Medlibs: Experiences

One of the reasons I like Twitter is that I can follow or read about new people with interesting ideas.  On Monday, Steven Chang tweeted a link to his blog post about his experiences and reflections on his first month of being a hospital librarian.

Steven Chang's tweet about being a new hospital librarian

His blog post had me thinking about newbie medical librarians and the support (or lack of support) they have as they start their new jobs. Steven is a medical librarian in Australia, so his library school experience might be a bit different than those of us who got the MLS (or equivalent) in the United States.  I can only speak of my experiences of when I was in library school.  That was many many years ago, I have been a professional medical librarian for over 15 years. My first job out of library school was in a hospital library. While it was a eye opening experience, I feel that I was more prepared than other newbie librarians entering the medical library workforce. I was lucky because the University of Missouri’s School of Information Science & Learning Technologies had several courses for those interested in medical librarianship. Unfortunately, now they only have a course on Consumer Health :(  My course work wasn’t the only thing that helped me.  The wonderful librarians at the J. Otto Lottes Health Sciences Library at the University of Missouri were the people who helped connect the crucial dots in my medical librarianship training.  I did a practicum there and quite frankly that experience helped me out tremendously.

Reflecting on my time in library school got me thinking about things I wouldn’t have known had I not had course and practicum work focused on medical librarianship.

Things that I wouldn’t have known about:

Docline – Medical librarians use a totally different Interlibrary Loan system than every other librarian I know of.  While we do use OCLC for books, almost all of our ILL requests are journal articles and the National Library of Medicine has its own unique ILL system (Docline) that deals with this and this is what every other medical library uses to get articles.

Controlled vocabulary – Oh I learned about it sort of while taking the required cataloging class and my optional indexing and abstracting class. While some databases use subject terms, very few library databases have the structure and the type of control over search terms that MEDLINE does. I did not fully “get” the idea of controlled vocabulary for searching until I started really working a lot with MEDLINE.

The IRB – The institutional review board is the ethical review board that is used to officially approve, monitor, review research involving humans.  Almost any study or survey done within Hospitals and academic medical centers needs to be run by the IRB. This also means your library surveys might need to be run by the IRB.  Since librarians are not studying drugs, therapies, or treatments on patients, it is usually is a pretty straight forward approval process or they simply give you a letter saying you don’t need IRB approval.  However, it is always best to check before you do your own survey or study. This was never ever mentioned in library school. I don’t know of public librarians needing board approval for a study.

Resources – Ok this is sort of a catch all. My library school’s reference class provided a sort of “fly by” of all types of resources that one would in encounter in a general academic or public library. I found that to be a very helpful class as it gave me a sampling of what I need to know to learn the basics of reference and to understand the concept of the reference interview.  However, there are WAY more medical resources out there.  It wasn’t until I did a medical resources class and my practicum did I begin to scratch the surface of medical resources.  BTW my library school life was way before UpToDate, MDConsult (now ClinicalKey), Scopus, Web of Science, etc.  Journals were just starting to go electronic and there were no ebooks.  The Internet and online publishing and multi-media have exploded the amount of and type of medical resources available online compared to when I was in library school.

Carla Funk mentioned at a meeting (I want to say Section Council) at 2013 MLA.  She said that MLA has an interesting generational shift.  She said MLA has lots of librarians with lots of experience (and close to retirement) and lots of librarians just starting off and relatively new to the profession.  There are fewer librarians in the middle of their career.  Both Carla’s unofficial reporting of the MLA demographics and Steven’s blog post has me more wondering more about fostering and mentoring librarians to be medical librarians.  I know we have all heard of the “great retirement” when all of these so called older librarians will all suddenly retire creating massive employment opportunities for new librarians and librarian advancement.  I know because “they” were spouting this theory even when I was in library school over 15 years ago.  Honestly I think we are starting to see it happen.  It isn’t a mass exodus as “they” predicted, but I have seen a lot of directorship and assistant directorship positions posted recently.  I am noticing a large group of new librarians at MLA that are eager to get involved.

I know MLA has several mentorship opportunities:

  • You can find/be a mentor according certain expertise areas of medical librarianship such as administration, continuing education, research, etc.
  • You can also decide to get your provisional AHIP membership in which case you would need an AHIP mentor.

Several posters were presented at the 2014 annual meeting on mentorship or new medical librarianship learning opportunities.

I have found the #medlibs Twitter group and MEDLIB-L to be very helpful too.

I have several questions that I want to bounce off of readers.

  • What are the things that weren’t taught in library school that are unique to medical libraries that new medical librarians need to know?
  • What are other ways we can help or mentor new librarians?
  • Do you think there should be some sort of mentoring to MLA? Similar in spirit to the New Members/Attendees Breakfast that is done at the annual meeting.  But instead of it being about the annual meeting it is about MLA as whole, how it works, what groups are what, the ins and outs of Sections, etc.  If so what is a good way to do that?

I look forward to hearing back from people. Either comment on this blog or my Facebook page or tweet me @krafty.

Splitting My Personality

Long ago when I started playing with Twitter, I was really just testing things out to see how they worked and how I might use it in my day to day personal and professional life.  Well we have long since passed the tipping point.  My little endeavor has moved beyond experimental, more professional people are contacting me through Twitter. More people are following me for information about libraries, information resources, and general biomedical information.  So I have decided to split my Twitter personalities.

@Krafty will focus primarily on libraries, medicine, healthsci, and more professional type of things.  Don’t worry, I will not be a robot. My personality will still come through. I will still participate on #medlibs chats and library conference tweets as @krafty.  I will still send out posts from the Krafty Librarian blog and Facebook page via the @Krafty account.

@Michelle_Kraft (Don’t forget the underscore, there are a lot of Michelle Kraft’s out there) is now my personal account.  Many #medlibs may still want to follow me at this account b/c I will still be tweeting library stuff, but this account will have more personal stuff.  For example: Based off of the successful silent auction bidding on the zombie doll made by @blevinsa I am willing to be there are some #medlibs out there who are interested in discussing Walking Dead on Twitter with me.  However, there are probably a few people following @Krafty who could care less about Walking Dead and don’t know the difference between Sanctuary and sanctuary.  These people might find my Walking Dead posts to be clutter.  Likewise with my posts about the Browns…of course you could probably convince me that my own posts about the Browns are clutter to me.

So if you are a follower of @Krafty please know I am going to be more “professional” and if you don’t mind my personal tweets then you probably want to start following @Michelle_Kraft.

It might be a bumpy transition because I know many friends are used to following @Krafty.  I will try and follow everybody through @Michelle_Kraft but the easiest way for me to do that is just follow the people who follow me…so it might take some time.