Doppelgängers and Lightning Talks: Medical Library Association meets in Toronto, ON

Tuesday night, May 17, 2016

0518_1Here’s my confession: I am an introvert librarian. I need to retreat from the crowd, to sit alone with a cup of tea, to close my eyes to stimulation, or to shift gears entirely through the arts. This means that I am lousy at attending social events at conferences. My socializing is in chatting to the person seated next to me, introducing myself to presenters, and pitching my own work in presentations. And, then… I’m done. In M.J. Tooey’s speech on Sunday, she used the word “ambivert” to describe her introvert/extrovert self. This word raised laughter in the room. She basically told us, look it up! And, some did.  Even with this non-binary option, I still identify as introvert. While many attendees headed to the Presidents’ Awards Dinner at the Fairmont Royal York on Tuesday night, I sought out jazz.

I’m not a late night person, so the Rex is the perfect venue for me–live jazz seven days a week, with afternoon and early evening shows. Ed and I enjoyed dim sum at the Pearl King before heading over to the Rex. The Ethan Ardelli Quartet, at times rough sounding, would slip into magical places. Jazz. Here’s a sample:


During the break, Ethan walked the room with a tip jar. I smiled as he approached, and he said “don’t I know you?” Ed and I laughed, and told him that we live in Massachusetts. He said, “you have a doppelgänger in Toronto.” Good to know.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

My last conference day. I love lightning talks–5 minute presentations–and each day of the conference offered a session. Finally, on Wednesday morning, I was able to attend. Thirteen librarians presented. Here’s a summary of six.

Partnering to Present Publishing. Heather Brown, Librarian at University of Nebraska Medical Center (Nebraska), invited Elsevier, Springer and Biomed Central to their medical center as co-presenters for a “how to publish” seminar for faculty. These publishers gave an insider’s look at publishing. Their participation came at no cost to the institution (except lunch).

Supporting Compassionate Practice. Charlotte Sievert, Librarian at Summa Health Systems (Ohio), participates in Schwartz Center Rounds  by attending, taking notes, identifying and pushing out related reading material. She selects 2-4 articles that are shared with all employees through the intranet, and documents her selection in a LibGuide.

Magnet Hospital Increasing Scholarly Output. Caroline Marshall, Librarian at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center (California), supports nurses in creating scholarly output. Many nurses thought that developing a poster was as far as they would go. To explore publishing, the librarians provide instruction in literature searching, citation management, and the publishing process (such as  selecting the best journals for submission).

eSRAP: Monitoring Trends in Research. Vera Granikov, Information Specialist at McGill University (Quebec), spoke about using eSRAP for tracking trends in patient-oriented research. eSRAP, developed on open access software, runs through SCOPUS and tracks grant opportunities as well. (Note to self: contact Vera for more information about this! Researchers at Baystate Health will be interested).

Celebrating Fair Use Week. Ginny Pannabecker, Librarian at Virginia Polytechnic University Libraries (Virginia), described how her library celebrated Fair Use Week using a current local case involving a tattoo artist and a local pub. The case was an intriguing and handy way to explain copyright laws. Ginny encouraged us to check out the Fair Use Week toolkit available from Virginia Tech.

Sharing Value of the Library. Susan Baer, Library Director at Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region (Saskatchewan), enlisted the CEO of her institution to promote library usage. He sent out messaging throughout the institution, indicating that he expected employees to utilize the library in order to deliver evidence-based care. After this messaging was distributed, the library saw a 26% increase in literature search requests. The CEO was impressed by the impact of his messaging.

Farewell, Toronto!

After the lightning talks ended, I walked into the auditorium where Ellen Jorgensen was scheduled to deliver the last speech. I was restless, and needed to check out of my hotel by noon. I left the conference center before the speech, pushing my last $20.00 Canadian into the donation box for the purchase of books for children in First Nations communities. Ed and I packed up the car, and headed out of Toronto toward Syracuse. Several hours later, after listening to more exploits of Crosby, Stills, Nash (and sometimes Young) on Graham Nash’s audiobook Wild Tales, we checked into the Super 8. We indulged ourselves with dinner at Dinosaur BBQ–ribs, cornbread, mac & cheese, collards, the works.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

0517_3We arrived home on Thursday afternoon, weary of being in the car. Our lilacs were in full bloom, and our refrigerator was empty. I was happy to be home, tackling my laundry and starting a grocery list. I checked my bank and credit card balances (!) and watered my plants. I vowed to capture my notes in these blog posts.

I am inspired by meeting all those medical librarians from the United States and Canada. Next year’s MLA Conference will meet in Seattle, WA. The theme is “Dream, Dare, Do.” Abstracts for papers, posters and lightning talks are due in August; abstracts for special content sessions are due in October. Acceptance notices will be sent in December. My ideas are already percolating. I am grateful for the opportunity to share my experiences, to learn from others, and to explore the sights, sounds and tastes of other places. Cheers!

P.S. After I got home, I was able to watch Ellen Jorgensen’s speech by logging into MLA’s online program with my email and conference badge number!  Perfect solution for overwhelmed, introverted librarians.