At the start of this year, the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM) began ramping up our outreach to Library and Information Science (LIS) students and increase diversity in the LIS pipeline. The efforts align with National Library of Medicine (NLM) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) priority areas for the network, and include outreach to this population as well as identifying, producing, and highlighting health sciences library champions. This marks the first focus on increasing diversity to LIS students and programs. One great aspect of this initiative is that it allows the network the chance to MeSH these two concepts together (an NLM pun for the day)!
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) are hot topics and buzzwords right now, as you are probably aware. These notions often produce committees or working groups tasked to explore and generate steps to address these challenges. Before launching into these endeavors, it is important for any organization, including the NNLM, to focus on how to truly incorporate these goals into the core of their work. How do we/you define diversity? What does outreach mean to individuals within the group? To offer support to these types of questions, the NNLM, Medical Library Association (MLA), and the Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries (AAHSL) recently collaborated on a nine-part webinar series titled Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Nine Conversations that Matter to Health Sciences Librarians with Jessica Pettitt. Additionally, at the national level, the NLM runs a long-standing Association Fellowship Program, where participants complete real-life projects and gain a broad overview of the variety of issues affecting libraries across the country.
As a coordinated program of the NLM, NNLM is known for its outreach to many people – including health science librarians, public and school librarians, health professionals, and students. Many of our eight Regional Medical Libraries (RMLs) across the U.S. already conduct outreach to LIS students and recruitment of future medical librarians. Several regions offer Library and Information Science Student Awards, including the South Central Region (SCR), the MidContinental Region (MCR), and the MidAtlantic Region (MAR)to name a few. The NNLM is excited to bring to light many different voices, perspectives, and outreach opportunities in the coming months. Do you have ideas or LIS engagement activities you would like the NNLM to spotlight? Feel free to reach out to one of your network librarians!
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