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Midwest Matters January 17th, 2021
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NNLM Professional Development Awardee, Rachael Lebo attends Adapting | Transforming | Leading, the 2018 MLA Conference

Posted by on June 8th, 2018 Posted in: Blog, Conferences and Meetings, Funding, Success Stories

The theme to this year’s MLA conference was Adapting. Transforming. Leading.  These three words make up many of the definitions of librarianship.  I saw this theme time and again throughout the conference and I took away knowledge and ideas which will guide me in adapting, transforming, and leading at my own institution.

Thanks to the support from the NNLM/GMR’s Professional Development Award, I attended the Medical Library Association (MLA) Conference for the first time this past May 18th – 23rd.  Due to this funding, I was able to attend one of the many CE courses offered at this year’s conference.

I attended CE300 Not Just Numbers: Teaching Students to Think Using Practical Curriculum Exercises.  This CE course focused on educating medical school students with engaging evidence-based medicine (EBM) exercises.  I originally signed up for this CE course, because I believed it would build on my knowledge and generate ideas that I could use for my school’s EBM case in their objective structured clinical examinations (OSCE).  However, I took away a great deal more.  The exercises and ideas taught during this CE course were geared toward all levels of learning, from first-year medical students through residents.  In fact, one of the exercises would probably be entertaining to use in faculty training as well.  The instructors of this course had us doing the exercises as if we were the medical students.  By doing this, we were able to see things as the students would – see the challenges, fun, understanding, and complications involved.  While all of the exercises were implemented and used with the medical school at the Louisiana State University Health – Shreveport, I saw how easily I can adapt these exercises to my own medical school or other health sciences departments.  I have divided many of the exercises into different groups such as, exercises I want to use for our lunch-n-learn sessions, possible small group exercises, and ideas I want to propose for the future.  Thanks to the generosity and creativity of the LSU Health – Shreveport librarians, I was able to take away a lot of ideas and possible opportunities from this CE course.

The lightening talks and poster sessions gave me a greater respect for our profession, because while we may all fall under the health sciences librarian umbrella – all of our jobs are so very different!  I took home a lot of information and a long “to-do” list of things into which I want to delve deeper or new tools I want to explore and utilize.

The Silver and Gold theme of the networking dinner was one that really hit me throughout the entire conference.  The idea of silver and gold friends comes from an old song that I learned at Girl Scout camp, Make new friends but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold.  I started in my current position in October 2017 after completing an internship for the past year at another institution.  I took the time to meet up with my past colleagues who have become such blessed friends and other friends whom I’ve met in various ways.  There were many times throughout the conference that I found myself surrounded by old and new friends, whether it was during educational sessions or impromptu lunches and dinners.

Everybody I met, whether I knew them previously or just met them, introduced me to somebody else.  Our job duties are growing exponentially and having this amazing network allows us to grow stronger and bolder in our careers.  We challenge each other and learn from each other.  Getting the chance to attend MLA ’18 and taking the CE300 course taught me new ideas and challenged me to become a stronger librarian.  Thanks to the GMR’s Professional Development Award, I’m ready to adapt, transform, and lead so that I can give rise to my ideas, both successes and failures, and watch our profession continue to get stronger.

Image of the author ABOUT Sam Watson
Sam is the Academic Outreach Specialist at the National Network of Libraries of Medicine-Greater Midwest Region. He coordinates the yearly funding with regional organizations and helps to create and instruct online courses for the NNLM. When not at work, he fritters away his time with fountain pens, cross-stitching, videogames, and family.

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This project has been funded in whole or in part with Federal funds from the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, under Grant Number 1UG4LM012346 with The University of Iowa.

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