Health Science Librarians of Ilinois

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2014 HSLI Conference November 13-14, Champaign Illinois

Mark your calendars for November 13-14, 2014 for the HSLI annual conference.  The 2014 meeting will be held in at the Hilton Garden Inn in Champaign, Illinios.  The theme for the meeting is Communicate and Advocate.

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Conference Report – Carmen Howard

The 2013 Midwest Chapter/MLA and HSLI conference was a new experience for me, and I would like to thank the Syed Maghrabi Scholarship committee and all of HSLI for giving me the opportunity to attend.  Although I have been a librarian for many years, I am relatively new to the health sciences and this was my first medical library conference.  I was definitely impressed!


I started my conference experience by taking two continuing education classes on Saturday.  Samanthi Hewakapuge’s health literacy course included the basics of easy-to-read literature design and up-to-date information on current topics like the Affordable Care Act.  The discussion was lively and everyone shared their experience with the group.  In the afternoon, I was able to attend the Emerging Technologies course, which was taught by Gabe Rios and Melissa DeSantis.  The survey format of this course was terrific.  They introduced us to several new technologies – summarizing what they did and how they could be used.  Now I can take this knowledge and explore those technologies that I’m interested in further.


Sunday and Monday were filled with many terrific sessions.  The Greater Midwest Region/NNLM’s Technology Forum, the Health Information Practice Summit, the contributed papers, and the posters all provided a wealth of information from a wide variety of librarians in an assortment of settings.  Thanks to all who shared their experience and research.  I was impressed by the quality and the breadth of the topics covered.


As you might expect, the keynote and plenary speakers were highlights of the conference.  Both Michelle Kraft ( and Sarah Houghton ( gave inspiring speeches reminding us about the importance of thinking in new ways, trying new things, and knowing that some failure is inevitable.  They encouraged us to embrace our passion for what we do and to make that work for us in our ever-changing environment.


I ended my conference with another continuing education course, Jan Glover’s Supporting Systematic Reviews: The Basics.  Jan gave us lots of practical advice and pointed us to some resources to help us in the future.  I have already had a chance to use one of her pieces of advice – if possible have more than one librarian on the team.


Finally, I would just like to say that this conference was a great opportunity to meet with several people that I work with by phone or e-mail but never see, to meet librarians from my city that I have not had a chance to work with yet, and to make entirely new connections that I would only have a chance to make at a conference like this one.  And by the way, the food was fabulous too!


Carmen Howard, MSLS

Visiting Assistant Regional Librarian & Visiting Assistant Professor

Library of the Health Sciences – Peoria

University of Illinois at Chicago

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Conference Report – Daneen Richardson

I want to thank the committee for awarding me one of the Syed Maghrabi Scholarships for the 2013 Joint Midwest Chapter MLA/HSLI Conference. This assistance allowed me to attend the conference as a participant as well as a member of the planning committee.

I attended the Saturday morning CE Planning, Conducting, & Publishing Research.
Our instructors, Nancy Allee & Jo Dorsch guided us through the steps in preparing oneself to enter the world of research. In the beginning the steps resembled a murky river our fears were diminished with their guidance, hands on activities and assuredness that we could navigate the path on our own. They also sincerely offered to coach us along the path if we have questions.

As the Chair of the Exhibits and Welcome reception, I spend the remainder of Saturday working with the Exhibitors as they registered and prepared for the Welcome & Exhibit reception.  I hope all conference registrants were able to attend and enjoy the time with their colleagues and talking with the exhibitors.

Sunday arrived with a bit of sun but a bit chilly. Amongst Sunday’s activities I attended Michelle Kraft presentation, there were also two more exhibit times. We combined the posters with the exhibit times on Sunday to allow the posters to be viewed for a longer period of time. Many interesting topics were covered throughout the 20+ posters. I left with contact information for follow-up questions and discussion concerning a couple of the posters.

Sarah Houghton was very inspiring. She encouraged us to walk outside of our comfort zones to be partners with our local public libraries, introduce ourselves and ask how can we help you. Assist them by educating their staff in how to best retrieve free medical information. Even though a majority of us are under financial constraints we can create spaces & services in new ways without a lot of money being spent.

I found the lightening rounds very interesting. Hearing what others are doing right now in their libraries. The South Dakota conference appears to be shaping up to be beneficial to all that attend.

I appreciate the scholarship which allowed me to attend this regional conference without a huge out of pocket expense.  Thank you and I look forward to serving HSLI as the President – Elect for this upcoming year.


Daneen Richardson

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Conference Report – Michael Wold

The Practice of Medicine is an art, not a trade, not a business, but a calling in which your heart will be exercised equally with your head.”-William Osler, MD, 1849-1919. I think this quote could read “The Practice of Medical Librarianship is an art.” This conference, Navigating a River of Information, reflected so many talented, innovative, progressive, and enthusiastic medical librarians in so many areas. We also face many challenges, healthcare changes, budget cuts, new technology, and stress.

However, we will and must face these challenges. I was inspired by the conference. I was enthused!! However, now I am back, I see the reality of my small medical library. But wait, Sarah Houghton, the Librarian in Black, stated to be realistic and find ways to do something new. It may be something small, but new to you and your patrons. Demonstrate and teach, you can examine what you have and what you need. Find a way, to improve and be a value to your institution—don’t feel sorry for yourself or your situation—do what you can. Yes, we all what those new and improved items but find a way to plan for them and over time it might happen. If not, go on!

Michelle Kraft, Keynote speaker, gave a useful presentation on how we can build partners. We need to extend our scope and get out there more. You can make your own library app. The library can partner with others in the community or in the hospital setting. We can be problem solvers and not part of the problem!!

The CE course, Emerging Technologies for Librarians, by Gabriel Rios and Melissa De Santis, was very interesting. It covered smartphones, tablets, iPad, phablets, ereaders, etc. I was impressed by the Garnter Group Emerging Technologies chart. It was a graphic presentation of expected and projected technologies. Some of these are being implemented now like 3D printers. Other like 3D bioprinting is down the line, but very possible. Gabe and Melissa gave a useful presentation on Apps. This will be a great help when I add to my library iPad. An overview of social media platforms was also discussed for personal or library related applications.

The CE course, Promoting Health Literacy through Easy to Read Materials, presented by Samathi Hewakapugue, was very useful in identifying sources for patient information. The range of health literacy was discussed from low reading skills to lack of understanding. It was important to realize that many highly educated people do not understand the medical language. Material should be printed in plain language. This class examined examples of different types of material and the reading levels giving to patients. Is the material in our hospital setting confusing or easy to understand, we will have to review all of our material. This class provided various tools that can be used in helping to develop useful material for our patients in all healthcare areas.

I attended six Concurrent Papers. These included: Library instruction and the first-year medical student by Ryan Rafferty; Building EBP skills in medical students with a longitudinal curriculum integrated plan by Amy Blevins; Navigating the social media stream: smooth sailing on twitter for medical librarians  by Mary Jordan; At the beginning of an odyssey with bioinformatics and the NCBI databases by Edith Starbuck; Replicating Rochester: developing a feasible multi-institution study of users information needs in the health sciences by Jeanne Link and Jonna Peterson; and From beached to re-launch while charting a new course: digitization of a retrospective thesis collection by Jan Cox.

Each presentation gave me new insight into these projects and the research involved. New terms like “ethnographic” and identifying new resources in NCBI were very useful. Also, I have already contacted Amy Blevins from the University of Iowa on her EBP graph and presentation.

In conclusion, “That which is painful instructs.”—Benjamin Franklin, each new technology comes with a learning curve. We are frustrated at the start, but soon we can master the program or tool. Keeping current is very, very relevant in our medical library world; this conference provided us with many ways to do this. It presented free Apps to tools. We gained knowledge that all of us are involved with being a major part of our institutions and how to improve patient care!!!

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All for One Conference, 2015

ALSOM_LogoThe dates have been set for October 21-24, 2015 at the Peoria Civic Center for the All for One conference. This will be a joint meeting of academic, public, school and special library associations.



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Submit Nominations for 2013 Starfish-Thrower Award Deadline Oct 3rd.

Do you know someone who has made an important contribution of time and/or talent to our organization? Would you like to recognize a fellow member for their participation in HSLI?  Nominate them for the  2013 Starfish-Thrower Award!

This award is based on the story of the child who “makes a difference” by throwing stranded star fish back into the ocean one at a time. Thus, the award recognizes the efforts and contributions of an individual HSLI member toward the good of the organization.

If you would like to nominate a colleague for the award, please download the Star-Thrower Award nomination form from the HSLI website.


Submitted by Fran Kovach, SIUSM Library

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Call for Papers and Posters Midwest Chapter MLA and HSLI Conference

Call for Papers and Posters 

The Program Committee invites proposals for contributed papers and posters for the joint Midwest Chapter MLA and HSLI Conference to be held October 5-8, 2013 in East Peoria, Illinois.  The conference theme is “Navigating a River of Information”.   We encourage you to take a literal or figurative (use your fertile imagination) approach to our theme.  You can highlight various topics such as teaching or education, administration, practical problem-solving, document collaborative efforts or outreach activities, describe innovative programs, or report on research in librarianship, resources or services. 

Concurrent contributed papers will be presented on Sunday October 6, 2013 from 11am-12pm and on Monday October 7, 2013 from 10:30am-11:30am. 

The posters will be presented Sunday October 6, 2013.  They will be available for viewing from 10am – 5pm with presenters present from 4pm-5pm. 

For contributed paper proposals and poster proposals submit an abstract no longer than 250 words describing your paper or poster.  

Include your name, position title, address, phone number and email address on all submissions.

Email your abstracts to Linda Feinberg (  

  • The deadline for abstract submission is Friday May 24thbefore the Memorial Day weekend.
  • Notifications of paper and poster acceptance will be made by early-mid June.

 The Midwest Chapter Professional Practice Committee is again awarding monetary prizes to the best RESEARCH papers and posters.  Look for more information soon about applying.

 For more information on the Midwest Chapter meeting, see the conference web site:  Plese refer to the Papers and Posters sections for more information as it becomes available.

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HSLI is pleased to be hosting the Midwest Chapter MLA Annual Chapter Meeting will be held in East Peoria, IL from October 4 – 8, 2013. HSL.

At Midwest 2013, participants will focus on “Navigating a River of Information”, appropriately accompanied by the scenic Illinois River that the East Peoria Embassy Suites East Peoria – Hotel & River Front Conference Center overlooks. 

The conference keynote speaker will be  Michelle Kraft, Senior Medical Librarian at the Cleveland Clinic Alumni Library and author of the popular blog “The Krafty Librarian.” Michelle will present Emerging Technologies and the Evolving Library. Our plenary speaker will be Sarah Houghton, Director for the San Rafael Public Library.  Sarah writes “The Librarian in Black,” a blog covering library web and digital services.  Sarah will present The Future of the Digital Library.

For registration information, check the conference website at

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Clare Bonnema, M.L.I.S., Medical Librarian at Ingalls Memorial Hospital in Harvey, Illinois

Elissa M. Cochran, B.A., M.L.S., Medical Librarian at Presence Covenant in Urbana and Presence United Samaritan in Danville, Illinois. She is also a teaching assistant at the UI-Chicago College of Medicine.

Sarah Isaacs, M.L.I.S., Head Librarian at the Illinois Early Intervention Clearinghouse in Champaign, Illinois


Bonnema, Clare

Clare Bonnema, MLIS   

Thank you to the HSLI Conference Scholarship Committee for awarding me one of the scholarships to attend this year’s conference. Once again, the conference offered practical information, a chance to catch up with colleagues, and good food! Here are a few highlights:

Nancy’s Reception on Thursday night provided an opportunity to chat with vendors, learn about the Joanna Briggs Institute from Ovid representatives, and chow down on a prepackaged ice cream scoop (a first for me), covered with every available topping (except sprinkles). Good thing the scholarship allowed me to stay overnight at the conference hotel so I could work off all those toppings with a swim in the warm pool afterwards!

I was grateful for Holly Ann Burt’s PubMed session on Friday morning; regular refreshers on how to use it to its full potential are always valuable. Although I knew about and had used a handful of the government-provided health resources discussed during the afternoon session, Jocelyn Tipton presented many more I was not familiar with. I appreciated the emphasis on practical information in Friday’s courses.

Although it is difficult for many hospital and other health-science librarians to take a day or two away from work to attend the HSLI conference, each one I’ve attended has been worth my time and I encourage anyone, especially those whose institutions are not able to sponsor their attendance, to apply for the Syed Maghrabi Scholarship.

My thanks to the conference committee for the scholarship and for their hard work in planning the conference!

Elissa Cochran, MLS [no picture available]

I would like to begin by thanking the Syed Magrabi Scholarship committee for awarding me the opportunity to attend.    The HSLI conference, “Shaping the Future”, is the highlight of my meeting experience in any given year because it most closely matches my needs and interests as a medical librarian.

Since the conference was held at Resurrection Medical Center, it gave me the opportunity to network with my new co-workers.  [You may have heard that Provena and Resurrection Health have merged, becoming Presence Health, the largest Catholic healthcare system in the state of Illinois.]  It is always fun to see other facilities, particularly the Medical Library, and meet up with Laura Wimmer who graciously welcomed us to the conference site.  

The conference had a new format this year; we were treated to Nancy’s reception on the opening night.  Before dinner, we visited with vendors such as Ebsco, Rittenhouse, [Elsevier’s] Clinical Key, and others.  This is a great chance to find out “what’s new” even if you are a long time customer.   Then we enjoyed a wonderful buffet where we could enjoy each other’s company in a relaxed setting. I must tell you it was sheer coincidence that as we introduced ourselves, we discovered that all 3 of the scholarship winners just happened to be seated at the same table.  What are the odds?  After dinner, Chris Pesce presented  an OVID update and Ruth Holst and Jacqueline Leskovec did the “always popular” NNLM/GMR Update.  This is your chance to find out about upcoming meetings, webinars, grants, etc.  In sum[mary], I enjoyed the new structure of a networking evening and felt ready to tackle the more intense classes the following day.

As any of you know who have taken CE classes from Holly Ann Burt, she never disappoints with her knowledge and energy level.  The PubMed Clinics offered Friday morning was aimed at intermediate/ advanced searchers and, even after 10 years of using PubMed, I learned ways to become a more efficient searcher.  Don’t overlook the importance of the “detail box” was Holly’s main takeaway.  We met in small groups to do “challenging” searches by applying advanced strategies, did a scavenger hunt, and after reading an assigned article, became a MESH indexer!   That was an eye-opener!  The class was a huge success and a great way to earn contact hours.

After the morning session, we recharged at lunch. More great food and an abundance of fun raffle prizes.  The business meeting is the opportunity to express your thoughts on “shaping the future” and meet our new officers who will lead us over the next year.   I am already looking forward to HSLI 2013 in Peoria.  

Sarah Isaacs, M.L.I.S 

The Health Science Librarians of Illinois is an organization that has not only provided me with outstanding professional experiences, but invaluable connections to other professionals in the field.  When I joined HSLI I had no idea how helpful the members and events would turn out to be.  Shortly after joining I was informed about the upcoming conference and I was pretty sure it would be too great an expense for my current budget.  After learning of the Syed Maghrabi Scholarship, I eagerly applied for the scholarship and was thrilled when I was announced as one of the recipients of the award.   I was excited at the opportunity to meet the members of HSLI in person as well as participate the continuing education sessions.

This year’s HSLI annual conference was November 1-2 in Chicago.  Nancy’s Reception on Thursday evening provided an opportunity to talk with some of the vendors and network with fellow HSLI members.  I really enjoyed the presentation from Ovid demonstrating the expanded resources available with the addition of the Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI) content.  As the evening continued, there were presentations by the National Library of Medicine about upcoming GMR continuing education opportunities and by the 2013 HSLI Conference committee with a sneak peak at what to expect next year.  Wrapping up the fun on Thursday night, we had an ice cream sundae bar thanks to some of the vendors.

Friday morning, began with a chance to explore the vendor exhibits and enjoy breakfast with colleagues.  Elsevier provided a hands-on demonstration of their new online tool, Clinical Key.  This dynamic database has a wealth of information in a variety of formats for use in the hospital setting and beyond.  This was only the beginning of the valuable information to be learned on this day.  There were three opportunities to earn CE credit on Friday.  The first class was titled PubMed Clinics of North America: A Problem-based Approach to PubMed Searching which involved a 4-hr interactive presentation accessing the NLM website and its many resources.  This was an excellent chance to explore the functionality of this powerful tool with assistance from an expert.  Holly Ann Burt provided an outstanding presentation which included a collection of real-life activities and search strategies.  I found this session to be of great value because I am relatively new to the health science library field.  We worked together in teams and I was lucky enough to team up with Rebecca Raszewski from the University of Illinois at Chicago who has a lot of experience searching PubMed.  After the morning session, we got to relax with a nice meal and lots of opportunities to win some raffle prizes.  The HSLI fall meeting concluded the lunch and offered a chance to get up to speed on some of the current HSLI issues.  The afternoon session (3-hr) was on Government Health Resources.  This presentation was helpful in demonstrating the diversity of information available from a long list of government resources.  I was introduced to some great websites that I never knew existed.  This will help in my daily interaction with patrons back at my own library.  I am always on the lookout for “family-friendly” explanations of some very complex medical topics.  Following this presentation, there was a one-hour long discussion on the popularity and value of Open Access journals.

Overall, I found this conference a very valuable event.  Not only did I have an opportunity to learn useful information about current trends and practices in the health science library field but I had a chance to meet and reunite with other health science librarians.

I owe a great deal of thanks to The Syed Maghrabi Scholarship committee.  Thank you for continuing to offer this valuable service to the members of HSLI.  This scholarship provided me the opportunity to grow as a professional and develop essential skills to assist me in my work as a health science librarian.


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HSLI 2012 Annual Conference: Syed Maghrabi Scholarship Winners

The HSLI Awards Committee is pleased to announce three winners of the Syed Maghrabi Scholarship 2012. The Scholarship was created in honor of dedicated HSLI member Syed Maghrabi , and it supports HSLI members’ participation in the HSLI Annual Conference.  Please join in congratulating the winners and welcoming them at the conference.  

Clare Bonnema, M.L.I.S., Medical Librarian at Ingalls Memorial Hospital in Harvey, Illinois

Elissa M. Cochran, B.A., M.L.S., Medical Librarian at Presence Covenant in Urbana and Presence United Samaritan in Danville, Illinois. She is also a teaching assistant at the UI-Chicago College of Medicine.

Sarah Isaacs, M.L.I.S., Head Librarian at the Illinois Early Intervention Clearinghouse in Champaign, Illinois


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