When the Health Sciences and Human Services Library (HSHSL) at the University of Maryland, Baltimore was renewed as a Regional Medical Library (RML) site in May 2021, the news came with a promise.
“Given the state of the country when we were writing our proposal, we felt it necessary to include social justice as related to mental, physical and community health,” says Nancy Patterson, MLS, outreach librarian at HSHSL. “So, we proposed a series of webinars covering a wide range of issues related to social justice.
In launching the webinar series, the Region 1 team partnered with community-based organizations and social activists/advocates for perspectives expanding beyond the library. Topics included Elder Justice (partnering with Elder Justice Coalition), Yoga and Social Justice (partnering with Dianne Bondy Yoga), and Black Mental Health (partnering with Black Emotional and Mental Health Collective).
As the RML for Region 1, HSHSL provides programs, services, and dedicated support for NNLM members in Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia.
For each planning year through 2026, the RML for Region 1 team will assess the demand for and feasibility of including more social justice topics in its webinar/training schedule. Factors to be evaluated include the continued interest in offerings on topics related to social justice, regional initiatives, and the library’s capacity to offer high quality webinars/trainings in any given year.
“That said, social and healing justice have a place in all of our content, and we are considering ways to consistently incorporate them as subtopics within larger topic areas,” says Patterson.
Recordings of the webinar series are available on the NNLM YouTube channel. Region 1 webinar sessions included:
“The sessions have been interesting and very powerful with much more interactivity than many other webinars I’ve facilitated,” says Patterson. “People are very passionate about these issues and appreciative of any guidance and resources to help them with the work they do in their communities. Discussions were personal, sometimes heart-wrenchingly so, and our presenters/trainers were well-versed in creating safe-space for all opinions, experiences, and points of view and in guiding conversations with grace.”