HSLI Newsletter

Serving Illinois Health Information Professionals

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 (http://kraftylibrarian.com/?p=2480) and Sarah Houghton (http://librarianinblack.net/librarianinblack/) 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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