Hello New England,
In light of the buzz around the launch of NLM’s new exhibit, Graphic Medicine: Ill-Conceived & Well-Drawn, it seems like a good time to revisit our own Graphic Medicine Initiative here in the NER! Note that the traveling portion of the exhibit will make its way to our region this year, first from July 16th to August 25th in White River Junction, VT and second from September 10th to October 20th in Worcester, MA.
Our work in this exciting area began in late Fall 2016 by bringing me on as the Graphic Medicine Specialist and with outreach to other libraries doing work with comics and medicine, which continues to this day. This outreach led to the hosting of our Introduction to Graphic Medicine webinar, which provides a much needed introduction to the field and why it matters to use as librarians. More than 100 people from around the US attended live and it has been viewed more than 300 times as a recording since.
The webinar also served as a launch point for our highly successful Graphic Medicine Book Club Kit program. These kits are designed as a full-program – just add facilitator – that can be used in any environment, from public library to medical school classroom. Each kit includes six copies of a graphic novel on a particular medical topic, such as Sobriety: A Graphic Novel by Daniel Maurer, a discussion guide with adaptable questions, an explainer-comic on just what graphic novels are, and a selection of relevant health information from MedlinePlus. As of this posting, nearly 40 kits have been requested since launching the program in March 2017. You can request yours at the link above!
Other parts of the initiative have included visiting Philadelphia to talk about the role graphic medicine can play in activism, organizing the Comics and Medicine Panel at MICE 2017, and hosting a listserv to facilitate keeping up-to-date on the field. In addition, we are currently partnering with local independent cartoonist Cathy Leamy to develop comics-based informational materials on precision medicine – keep a lookout for more on this, and other developments, soon!
I also want to take the time here to announce my departure from my role with the NNLM NER, with my final day being Friday, February 9th. Moving forward, the graphic medicine initiative will be headed by our Associate Director, Martha Meacham. Don’t hesitate to contact her – or any of the NER Staff!
I have been incredibly luck to work with the wonderful NER team and all of you throughout the region in building this innovative initiative. I’ll be joining the Harvard Medical School, Countway Library as a Collection Outreach Librarian. I’ll be working with the community at Harvard Medical to evaluate, promote, and shape the future of the library’s collections – which will, of course, include innovative directions like graphic medicine.
All the best!