*This post is shared on behalf of Molly K. Maloney, one of the 2022 Professional Development Award Winner*
MLA '22 Reconnect, Renew, Reflect
As a recipient of the UNYOC 2022 Professional Development Award, I was able to attend, present and serve as a paper judge at the Medical Library Association's Annual Meeting, MLA '22, in person in New Orleans, LA. I am a relatively new pharmacy librarian and had only had the opportunity to attend MLA virtually in 2021. While it was an eye-opening experience, it could not compare to attending this year in person.
Events such as the New Members' Breakfast, Gathering of Caucuses and Domain Hubs, and the Opening of the Hall of Exhibits allowed me to connect with colleagues from across the country whom I had only ever interacted with virtually. These discussions are invaluable and inspiring to me as we discussed current projects, trends, and new ideas. Through MLA's Colleague Connect, I was also able to meet up with mentors who offered their insights into the field of health sciences librarianship and our organizations. I look forward to continuing to build these relationships and growing them into collaboration.
At the same time, these conversations paired with updates from vendors provided vital input for services and planning at my own institution and for my individual practice. Engaging with sessions and posters from other pharmacy librarians have had a direct impact on my planning for the next academic year, including employing active learning strategies for Evidence Based Practice instruction.
Together with my colleague Nell Aronoff, we presented "Health Sciences Library Workshops in the COVID Era: Librarian Perceptions and Decision-Making" based on the survey we conducted earlier this year. While time was short, the audience had great questions for us and responded positively during the discussion. The photo I included is of Nell (left) and myself (right) at the podium just after our session.
Other education sessions such as the lightning talks "Flipping Z Switch: Adapting Educational Practices for the New Generation" (Rebecca Arriola and Colleen Bannon) and "Telling Stories: Health Information Literacy Through Media Coverage" (Karen Heskett and Korey Brunetti) were great ways to learn and grow.
I would like to share my profound gratitude to UNYOC and the Awards Committee for this opportunity.
*This post is shared on behalf of Jamia Williams, one of the 2022 Professional Development Award Winner*
Attending the 2022 Medical Library Association (MLA) Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana, was an incredible experience. This was the first time attending an MLA conference in person since in 2020, the pandemic stopped my chance of attending the conference in person, and we had to pivot to hosting the conference virtually. 2020 was my first time attending an MLA Conference, so I was delighted to participate in person this year. I participated in various ways like committee work, co-presenting, and moderating a session. Since 2019, I have been involved with MLA by being a student member of the membership committee. We host the new members' breakfast at each conference as a committee. This event is a way for new members to connect with long-time members. It was great to attend the breakfast and help with checking in attendees. Also, I was able to network with other medical librarians, and I was happy to be of service in an in-person manner.
I was able to be a panelist for the African American Librarians Alliance(AAMLA) Immersion Session, which was titled “Mentor-Mentee Relationships: Building Collaborative Partnerships for Career Success.” Our interactive panel discussion was informative and exciting. We were able to engage the audience by using Mentimeter. Also, we had a fellow AAMLA member engage with people on Twitter who could not attend the conference. We hoped that this felt inclusive for people. I was happy to talk about my mentor and mentee experience within and outside of librarianship. Truly mentorship is one of the ways that I was able to remain in this profession.
Lastly, I was able to moderate the Information Management 1 session. This was my first time being a moderator at an in-person national conference. I have served as a moderator virtually, and at our local UNYOC Conference, so it was great to use my experience in this way. In addition, I was so impressed by the presenters in this session, who were knowledgeable and innovative. Hopefully, this won’t be my last time helping in this way. Thank you to UNYOC. I was part of my first in-person MLA conference since we started this global pandemic.
*This post is shared on behalf of Amy Slutzky, one of the 2021 Professional Development Award Winners*
Thanks to UNYOC’s Professional Development Award, I was able to participate in MLA’s online course “Journey to the Outer Limits of Evidence-Based Practice (EBP) Instruction”. The course included two virtual instruction sessions, with “pre-work” for each meeting. Pre-work and breakout sessions involved developing/improving a lesson plan for one of the classes we teach.
The fact that the course met online instead of in-person meant that: (1) it was a little harder to interact with other participants, and (2) I don’t have any fun photos to show you from our work sessions. (I thought of taking a screen shot of our little Zoom boxes, but I decided that we’re all probably tired of those by now.) On the positive side, however, the all-virtual format allowed participation from librarians across the country. And, as a “people person”, I very much enjoyed meeting, sharing experiences, and brainstorming with colleagues tackling similar challenges at a variety of far-away institutions.
The use of our own projects as examples during these sessions was very helpful. Like many of us, I’ve been teaching a few courses the same way for several years. And, though I know that improvements can (and should!) be made, time is limited and other things usually take priority. It was great having the opportunity to (and being “pushed” to) focus on instruction development.
The assigned readings were also helpful. One article – “Alphabet Soup of Active Learning: Comparison of PBL, CBL, and TBL” by Mari K. Hopper – was particularly interesting to me. We all hear and read a lot of active learning jargon being thrown around – sometimes with no definitions provided and sometimes used interchangeably. Dr. Hopper’s article very clearly describes, compares, and contrasts three common types of active learning.
While I was already familiar with basic principles of instructional design, I enjoyed this course and it empowered me with some new techniques that I can use to improve the design of the classes I teach.
Thank you again, UNYOC, for your support!
2021 UNYOC Professional Development Award Winner
*This post is shared on behalf of Elizabeth Yates, one of the 2020 Professional Development Award Winners*
I am profoundly grateful to UNYOC for professional development funding which I used to help cover my tuition for a postgraduate certificate program in Research Methods for Health via the University of Aberdeen. While sadly I did not get to visit the 525-year-old Aberdeen campus in person or sample any Scottish whiskey, I did greatly enrich my understanding of how research into health should be conducted and disseminated. I took four courses as part of the program, which has always been offered entirely online:
- Fundamentals of Research Design: this course covered the development of research questions, identifying appropriate study designs and relevant outcomes and how to collect data. Critical appraisal, research ethics and scientific communication were also covered. Our major assignment was a research proposal worth 80% of our course grade, which was quite daunting! I feel much more confident about conducting my own research, supporting students and understanding others’ research after taking this course.
- Evidence-Based Health: understanding how to conduct evidence syntheses was the main focus of this course, so it was highly relevant to my work as a health sciences librarian – especially the chance to use RevMan systematic review software. In addition to working through the stages of conducting a systematic review and meta-analysis, we also studied how evidence is used to shape health policy and practices e.g. via clinical practice guidelines.
- Qualitative Health Research: we explored the value of qualitative research in a health context and learned about a wide variety of qualitative methods. I really enjoyed this course, which solidified my personal preference for, and appreciation of, qualitative research.
- Applied Statistics: the bane of my existence! This course concentrated on applying and interpret statistical analysis for health research, with a particular focus on using SPSS statistical software. While I found the material extremely challenging (I was reduced to tears of incomprehension on more than one occasion), I actually ended up doing quite well overall.
I appreciated many things about the University of Aberdeen programming, including the extensive support provided for students. The program director and most instructors were very helpful and kind. University policies were clearly stated and easily available from within our learning management system (LMS) – no need to hunt through layers of webpages to find the info you need. The LMS itself was well-designed and easy to use, and the course synopses (aka syllabi) provided clear details about course content and learning outcomes for students. It was really interesting to be part of a community of learners from all over the world.
However, there were several challenging aspects. Most courses were taught by several different instructors, who delivered their content with marked variations in style and substance (the worst was an instructor who simply assigned a massively dense reading and expected us to learn everything we needed to know about their topic that way.) I found learning completely online to be a rather lonely experience, although there were live tutorials for some courses which provided opportunities for personal connection. For some courses, students started WhatsApp chat groups which were a lifesaver – it was so helpful to talk about our struggles with the material and share tips with each other. I also struggled to keep on top of the timing for synchronous class sessions, which varied week to week. It seemed like as soon as I finally mastered converting Aberdeen time to my home time zone, there was a time change in either Scotland or Canada and I had to figure things out all over again!
Experiencing student life myself has heightened my empathy for students. Now that I’m heading back to work, I look forward to continuing to support our learners with compassion and to implementing my new knowledge to help advance research creation and dissemination at my institution.
2020 UNYOC Professional Development Award Winner
The UNYOC virtual conference kicks off with the CE: Antiracism in Libraries: Allyship Starts with You, facilitated by Kelsa Bartley, Shannon Jones, and Jamia Williams.
Thank you LibLynx for sponsoring this meaningful event.
The Upstate New York and Ontario Chapter of the Medical Library Association is a 501(c)6 non-profit organization.