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ROI: Region One Insights May 22nd, 2024
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NLM Traveling Exhibit: Surviving and Thriving

Posted by on April 9th, 2024 Posted in: Uncategorized

Have you ever wondered what it is like to host an NLM Traveling Exhibit? Keep reading and get the scoop!

Kornhauser Health Sciences Library at the University of Louisville has participated in the National Library of Medicine’s (NLM) traveling exhibitions program for at least a decade now. Since the program resumed after a hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our library has consistently hosted NLM traveling exhibits to encourage visits to the library, generate interest in the historical and social topics covered by the exhibits, and increase awareness of the NLM and its resources on campus.

The first exhibit we hosted when the program resumed was AIDS, Posters & Stories of Public Health: A People’s History of a Pandemic. In addition to advertising the exhibition via campus newsletters and our monthly library email blast, we hosted a lunch-and-learn session to introduce attendees to go-to online resources and literature searching strategies on HIV/AIDS. The session included NLM resources PubMed and MedlinePlus.gov, as well as other useful resources, such as the hiv.gov guidelines. An administrator at the University of Louisville’s School of Public Health and Information Sciences (SPHIS) came to see the exhibit, and she expressed interest in the traveling exhibits program and hosting something similar at the SPHIS.

When the next call for requests for traveling exhibits came out, the administrator expressed an interest in another available HIV/AIDS-related exhibit, Surviving & Thriving: AIDS, Politics, and Culture. We were able to book Surviving & Thriving at the University of Louisville for September 11, 2023 – October 21, 2023, with plans to split the exhibition time between Kornhauser Library and the SPHIS.

Co-hosting the exhibit was a success. Coordination and transport went smoothly, and the exhibit received modest but consistent foot traffic at both locations.

Importantly, co-hosting Surviving & Thriving was an excellent opportunity to build on-campus partnerships. The School of Public Health and Information Sciences was the last of the four schools at the University of Louisville’s Health Sciences Center to receive clinical librarian services (starting roughly two years ago), and SPHIS students use the physical library space less often than medical, dental, or nursing students. Partnering on a project like this helped us to grow connections within SPHIS, and we hope that jointly advertising the exhibit helped to increase SPHIS student awareness of the library.

Developing our relationship with the SPHIS is also a way for Kornhauser Library to further our outreach and community engagement efforts, since School of Public Health and Information Science faculty and students are active with various health-related efforts in the Louisville area. Kornhauser Library has already partnered with the SPHIS-organized Grey Street Farmers Market for consumer health information outreach, and there may be other opportunities for collaboration in the future.

The National Library of Medicine’s Exhibition Program is an excellent way for libraries to engage their patrons with both medical humanities and history of medicine topics and to promote NLM resources. Exhibits highlight items from the National Library of Medicine’s collections and cover topics ranging from graphic medicine to the history of mind-altering drugs to the 1964 rubella epidemic to women physicians to artificial intelligence.

Most exhibits consist of six graphic banners measuring seven by three feet (English-Spanish bilingual editions, available for some titles, are larger), and all are free to host.  (However, host venues must make arrangements to cover shipping charges to the next venue on the exhibit’s itinerary.) Many exhibitions, including AIDS, Posters & Stories of Public Health and Surviving & Thriving, are available online, often with tools for classes and NLM resource promotion. You can learn more about the process for requesting and hosting traveling exhibits at your library from the NNLM website.

This post was written by Gina Genova, Clinical Librarian and Assistant Professor, Kornhauser Health Sciences Library, University of Louisville

Image of the author ABOUT fsteele
Faith Steele, MLS, is the Outreach and Education Librarian for Region 1 for the Network of the National Library of Medicine at the University of Maryland Baltimore. She connects libraries to community health partners, provides training and funding to help communities access quality health information.

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