Thanks to the help of a Mid-Atlantic Chapter (MAC) Special Professional Development Award, I recently had the opportunity to attend the MAC/MLA Annual Meeting in Richmond, Virginia. The conference was a fantastic opportunity to learn new information, listen to inspiring lectures, connect with colleagues, and explore historic Richmond.
We began with a Welcome Reception, an evening of food and fellowship at the Virginia State Capitol. In addition to the opportunity to meet and reconnect with colleagues, tours of the State House and a brief history of Virginia were offered. I learned about the MAC tradition of the ‘Pearl Girls’, and was even leant a strand of pearls for the night. It was a fun way to connect with librarians who live and work in my geographic region.
Tuesday was a flutter of activity, below is a summary:
Keynote Address by Lisa Gualtieri: In her lecture “The Future of Consumer Health”, Gualtieri addressed the advantages information professionals have in assisting healthcare professionals find and use online resources. She started with basic principles of connecting with information professionals, a reiteration of what I’ve learned in my year of professional librarianship, the built a case from there. I found her summary of the growth and flexibility of electronic and mobile resources quite useful.
Poster Presentation by Bethany McGowan: After eighteen months of research and a presentation at the National Medical Library Association Conference, I presented a poster titled “The Embedded Librarianship Model: Risks, Rewards, and Lessons Learned” which evaluated best practices for implementing an embedded librarianship model. The poster was met with much interest; I connected with a number of colleagues, and perhaps most exciting, a senior librarian proposed a merger to help facilitate further research.
Round-Table Luncheon: Because of my interest in research, I joined the ‘Research for Librarians’ table for a round-table luncheon. In addition to sharing my own research experiences, I heard about my colleagues’ experiences, learned about the MAC Research and Assessment Committee (RAC), and of available research and assessment grants.
General Topic Program – Pat Wagner: Prior to this event, I often heard Pat Wagner’s name mentioned, but had yet to experience her in person. I was quite impressed by her lecture, ‘Your Leadership Inventory’. Wagner’s instruction led me to take a frank look at my leadership ability, recognize my strengths, and critique my weaknesses. Her tips for planning for the future were also timely and useful, especially for a new professional.
AHIP Counseling: Membership to the Academy of Health Information Professionals (AHIP) is encouraged at my institution. To learn more about my options as a librarian with less than five years of experience, I attended a counseling session and discovered that I’m eligible for Provisional Membership.
NLM, MLA, and RML Updates: The updates from the National Library of Medicine, the Medical Library Association, and the Regional Medical Libraries proved to be a good way to keep up with available resources at NLM and the Middle Atlantic Region of the National Networks of Libraries of Medicine, and to begin planning for the 2012 National Medical Library Association Conference. My interest in the topic of MLA public policy was also peaked.
Dine Arounds: I ended the night by joining the MAC Research and Assessment Committee (RAC) for gourmet pizza at Bottoms Up Pizza. As a deep-dish pizza lover, I can honestly say it was some of the best I’ve tasted. The dinner provided a casual setting to network with the RAC.
On Wednesday, the last day of the conference, I attended the business meeting and awards breakfast, reviewed Chapter and Committee Reports, and was recognized for receiving the Special Professional Development Award.
I was pleased with my overall MAC/MLA experience; it was a welcome change from my daily routine. Prior to the conference, I was unsure of how to proceed with my research and found that things were stalling a bit. During MAC I discovered numerous ways to further my research, connected with colleagues who shared my interests, and learned about funding opportunities. I picked up techniques and strategies from guest speakers, was reminded of the importance of remaining active in the profession, and was updated on opportunities offered by MAC/MLA and MLA.
Bethany S. McGowan, MLIS,
Health CAS: Health Sciences Librarianship Allied Health Sciences Librarian
Louis Stokes Health Sciences Library
p: 202-884-1507 email: firstname.lastname@example.org://libguides.howard.edu/alliedhealth