O, Canada! Medical Library Association meets in Toronto, ON

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Thursday, May 12, 2016

Ed and I drove to Toronto for the Medical Library Association Annual meeting.  I’ve attended the East Coast MLA meetings since 2010:  Washington, DC and Boston. Now, I am upping my game as the Chair-Elect of the Consumer & Patient Health Information Section (CAPHIS). This places me in planning sessions for the next MLA meeting in Seattle, WA. But, I am getting ahead of myself…

Driving allowed us to tack on some vacation time and activities. Our first stop was Syracuse, NY, where I received my Master of Library Science degree from Syracuse University in 2003. After receiving my degree, I continued to work in public libraries until 2008. I stepped into the medical world with a strong background in serving the public, and that is where my heart lies.

0512_2Our drive to Syracuse was easy. We brought an audiobook with us–Graham Nash’s Wild Tales. What a choice! Lighthearted and revealing, we were completely drawn into the tale (read aloud by the author). After checking into the Super 8 off of I-81, we headed to the Blue Tusk for good beer and mediocre paninis. The evening was warm for May. Perfect night for a ballgame. We got back in the car for a short drive across town. We watched the Syracuse Sky Chiefs in a competitive game against the Indianapolis Indians. Dollar hot dogs and $2.00 beers made for a raucous crowd.

Friday, May 13, 2016

In the morning, we slipped Graham Nash back into the CD player and headed for Niagara Falls. Gossipy details about David Crosby, Stephen Stills, Neil Young and Joni Mitchell entertained us as we drove the length of the New York Thruway. We crossed the border at the Rainbow Bridge, waiting for at least 30 minutes to enter Canada. Today’s fun plan was to see Niagara Falls from the Hornblower. We were not disappointed.

0513_4Our guidebook warned us that, no matter the free rain poncho, you will get WET. And, we did. Laughing, eyes closed, water finding its way down my shirt and battering the bottom of my jeans. We had so much fun! Fortunately, this was another sunny, warm day. We dried off fairly quickly during the walk back to our car. We took a right out of the parking lot, away from the tourist madness, and followed the signs for Toronto. Along the way, Ed spotted the Boat House, a place for fish ‘n’ chips.

Thus nourished, we headed toward Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW) and Toronto. There was a surprising amount of traffic. We found our hotel, the Marriott Residence Inn, easily enough. We were caught off-guard by needing to unload our car at the curb and hand the keys to a valet. We are not city dwellers, and we use our car for handy storage. Our stuff was carelessly tossed about. Ah, well. We grabbed our intact luggage and headed up to our room.

After settling in, we walk two blocks to the Metro Toronto Convention Centre so that I could register for the conference and put up my poster “Piecing It Together with Outreach Evaluation Center (OERC)’s Planning and Evaluating Health Information Outreach Projects Booklets”. We picked up a restaurant guide developed by the local medical librarians. This guide proved to be very useful–tasty food at good prices. That night, we grabbed delicious banh mi sandwiches at Banh Mi Boys.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Now, my conference-going began in earnest. These conferences are chock-full of concurrent sessions, exhibits and meetings. I needed to be prepared for information overload and thousands of “steps” (for those with pedometers). One of my survival tips is to eat as healthy as possible. Ed and I headed to St. Lawrence Market  to purchase fruits, veggies, cheeses, and whole grain bread. I was able to put together lunches for myself for all five conference days. Another tip is to carve out an hour to head back to the hotel for a 20-minute nap. I managed that on the two longest days.

Saturday’s 2017 Program Planners Meeting answered a lot of questions for me. As the incoming Chair-Elect of CAPHIS, I will take the lead in proposing Special Content Sessions that address the interests of librarians serving patients and caregivers. Chair-Elects are encouraged to use MLA’s newly established community forum to explore topics. The forum facilitates collaboration between Sections, Special Interest Groups (SIGs) and Chapters to develop Special Content Sessions. The theme of next year’s conference is “Dream, Dare, Do”.

The Program Planners Meeting allowed time for networking before we all dispersed for the evening. I was feeling a mixture of apprehension and excitement in my new role. I love my work as the community outreach librarian for Baystate Health, and my ideas for next year’s conference were percolating as I met with librarians involved with the Public Health/Health Administration Section and the Health Disparities SIG. They were likewise enthusiastic–lots of loose concepts rooted in actual work experience.

After the meeting, I joined Ed at the Bar Hop for mussels, frites and delicious beer.  I chose Herbe à Détournea Tripel style beer brewed by Brasserie Dieu du Ciel! in Montréal, QC. The vibe in Bar Hop was loud, close and lively. Perfect match for my mood. I slept fairly well that night, but awoke at 4:30am with my brain whirling with program planning ideas.