NNLM PSR Community Engagement Librarian Kelli Ham has announced her retirement on July 1! Her last day of work will be Monday, June 29. Kelli joined the NNLM PSR staff in 2005 as Consumer Health Librarian. In September, 2017, she transitioned to the new role of Community Engagement Librarian in support of the NNLM All of Us program. During her fifteen-year tenure, Kelli’s determination and dedication have led to an outstanding career of numerous accomplishments. Kelli has excelled at virtually every task she has undertaken.
Kelli’s passions include health literacy, digital literacy, and awareness and skill building of digital accessibility. Over the years she has conducted many library training sessions, conference presentations for librarians and health professionals, and in-person sessions for members of the public. Kelli has had an extremely successful track record as a course developer and author. As Community Engagement Librarian, she conducted outreach to improve health literacy and awareness of the NIH All of Us Research Program through exhibits, presentations, promotion of citizen science projects, and supporting libraries through programs such as the NNLM Reading Club.
Kelli’s adeptness in building regional partnerships has led to many successful collaborations. Partners have included the Institute for HealthCare Advancement (IHA), which sponsors an annual health literacy conference, and InfoPeople, a training arm of the California State Library. With the rollout of the Affordable Care Act in 2013, Kelli spearheaded the outreach effort in our region by leveraging her relationships with all state libraries in the region. She also created an ACA LibGuide and co-authored two chapters in the MLA monograph The Affordable Care Act: A Librarian’s Practical Guide. For her remarkable accomplishments related to ACA outreach, Kelli was nominated for and received the 2015 UCLA Librarian of the Year Award! More recently, Kelli worked with the SciStarter team at Arizona State University on a project culminating in a nationwide event on Citizen Science Day 2019. This successful endeavor served as a springboard for a national NLM-sponsored effort for 2020 Citizen Science Month.
Kelli also spearheaded a multi-year partnership with the California State Library to improve the capacity of public librarians to provide mental health information and services to their communities. As part of this effort, she attended 16 hours of training and received certifications in Mental Health First Aid; developed a four-hour class and trained over 150 librarians in ten locations in California and Arizona; and served as an advisor on the Mental Health Advisory Committee. Kelli was invited as a Featured Speaker at the 2016 California Library Association Conference to deliver the inaugural training.
Another example of Kelli’s great impact on consumer health outreach involved her consultative role in a broadband and telemedicine grant received by the University of California, Davis. In April, 2013, Kelli conducted an extensive “train-the-trainer” session about consumer health resources for two grant representatives. Then that summer a team of eight Library Field Trainers was hired to conduct training sessions in numerous public library branches in rural areas of California about consumer health resources, based on the initial training provided by Kelli. During the course of three months, 356 people received training, illustrating Kelli’s effectiveness in leveraging her efforts to reach a substantial audience!
As a course developer, Kelli created the 12-unit continuing education course, Health and Wellness @ the Library: The Essentials of Providing Consumer Health Services, particularly noteworthy because hundreds of participants successfully completing it achieved MLA Consumer Health Information Specialization (CHIS) certification with one comprehensive class. It has been an ever-successful course offering that remains in high demand today. The course also served as the basis and model for another highly popular and valuable NNLM class for public library staff, Stand Up for Health. In conjunction with the Health & Wellness class, Kelli was the principal author and editor of the resource, Finding Health and Wellness @ the Library: A Consumer Health Toolkit for Library Staff. This comprehensive professional development resource enabled public library staff to build competencies in providing excellent consumer health services to users. The Toolkit was used as a course textbook in several library school courses and as a benchmark for consumer health services in some library systems. While the Toolkit is no longer in print, the core competencies therein were adopted by the Medical Library Association in 2018 as the educational criteria for attaining CHIS certification.
Kelli has been very active in professional associations, particularly the American Library Association (ALA) and the Medical Library Association (MLA). A highlight was an invitation in 2012 to join the ALA Reference and User Services Association Reference Services Section (RUSA RSS) Guidelines subcommittee. This working group developed new Health and Medical Reference Guidelines, which replaced the Guidelines for Medical, Legal, and Business Responses published ten years earlier. She was originally appointed for a 2-year commitment, but agreed to continue for an additional two years to see the process through to completion. Kelli also served as the chair of the MLA Education Annual Program Committee (formally the Continuing Education Committee) in 2017-2018, after serving as a committee member for the three previous years.
And finally, look for Kelli’s article “Wayfinding along the Caregiving Journey: Resources for Informal Caregivers,” on the verge of appearing in the Journal of Consumer Health on the Internet, volume 24, issue 2!
Join us in congratulating Kelli on this occasion of her well-deserved retirement!