In late July 2017, 66 science librarians gathered together from across the United States at Michigan State University for a 2.5-day science boot camp. Organized around session themes of Sports Research & Kinesiology, Biogeochemistry & Ecology, and Agriculture and Natural Resources the Boot Camp featured MSU faculty members discussing their research in engaging and understandable terms. Boot Camps are designed to keep costs low by utilizing existing campus facilities such as dining and residence halls help science librarians develop their understanding of current scientific research and provide a low cost learning and networking opportunity.
The Boot Camp kicked off with a series of optional pre-camp facility tours. Attendees were able to select two tours from five options: The National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory, the BEACON Center for the Study of Evolution in Action, the MSU Surplus Store and Recycling Center, the School of Packaging Laboratory, and the W.J. Beal Botanical Garden. The tours not only allowed participants to see and explore the MSU campus, but also highlighted some of our nationally top ranked programs, such as packaging and nuclear physics.
The heart of the Boot Camp experience, however, were the session presentations. Spread over the course of the entire Boot Camp, the sessions featured cutting edge research that not only advance scholarship, but also help to provide solutions to real world problems. Whether it is helping stroke sufferers regain their mobility, developing a method to detect concussions, restoring a river ecosystem after an oil spill, or compiling a data set for inland lakes our speakers have conducted research with useful and practical applications. This is especially true of Dr. Susan Masten’s (College of Engineering) keynote address “Flint Water Crisis: The Road to Hell is Paved with Good Intentions.” Dr. Masten’s address, which was generously supported by a GMR Express Outreach Award, was a sobering dispelling of some of the common misconceptions of the ongoing humanitarian crisis affecting the people of Flint.
Another highlight was the daylong trip to the MSU Kellogg Biological Station. Our group participated in several tours including the Bird Sanctuary, the dairy center, and the Long-Term Ecological Research site where MSU has been conducting agricultural research since 1987. The dairy center was especially popular with its robotic milking station and automated cow milking, complete with electronic udder mapping with lasers!
The Great Lakes Science Boot Camp for Librarians continues to successfully provide science librarians with a low cost opportunity to improve scientific understanding while also developing a peer network of science librarians. Boot Camp attendance has increased substantially since starting in 2015, with attendees traveling from across the country to participate. The 2018 Great Lakes Science Boot Camp for Librarians will be July 24-27, 2018 at Purdue University.
Posted by Helen Spielbauer on behalf of Eric Tans.