What I Learned Thanks to a MAC Grant

Does the word “copyright” make your patrons cringe, roll their eyes, sigh melodramatically or simply shrug their shoulders and murmur “who cares?” 

Does the thought of spending four weeks studying copyright concepts <online> make you question your commitment to the concept of continuing education?

Well, thanks to a generous grant from MAC and the timely offering of an online class by Simmons GLIS Continuing Education program, I took a deep breath, signed on to Moodle and jumped in to a lively and interesting class of librarians and information professionals from public, medical, corporate and academic institutions.  The online class was entitled Digital Copyright and was taught by Mary Minow, a Library Law consultant.

I’m the solo medical librarian in a pediatric rehabilitation facility who supports the information needs of clinicians, staff, families, patients and teachers.  Other than posting copyright signs by copiers, reinforcing policies during training sessions and orientation and diligently (and rather forcefully) stamping copyright disclaimers on ILL documents and copies, I didn’t know how else I could expand my influence and integrate copyright, IP and fair use “messages” throughout our institution. 

While many of the class modules reinforced concepts I already knew, some of the exercises (registering our own copyright at copyright.gov, licensing our work using Creative Commons, obtaining permission to use other works informally as well as using standard forms) helped me to develop different ways that I could reinforce a “copyright message” at work.  I also welcomed the feedback from classmates and our instructor about “real-life” scenarios and challenges.

After I completed the class, I created a series of unique 15 minute (“Got a Quarter”) sessions for individual departments and focused on a copyright or intellectual property concept that affected that user group (how staff used images in presentations and handouts, how our researchers shared articles between institutions, whether we should designate a permissions expert or should we rely on outside counsel, etc.).  I also facilitated follow-up roundtable discussions and debates.  And finally, I created copyright fact cards that I passed out as icebreakers before meetings. 

I want to thank Simmons and MAC for awarding me this grant.  I can honestly say that I feel more confident and creative (but still kind of queasy) in my expanding role as “copyright queen.”

Karen Liljequist, MLIS, AHIP
Medical Librarian
The Children’s Institute of Pittsburgh
1405 Shady Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA  15217
p) 412.420-2247
f) 412.420-2510

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