Jane Blumenthal, MLA President, has chosen a theme of positive energy and wants MLA to be more nimble, responsive, and up-to-date in its approach. I would like to follow up on Betsy Mueth’s theme for her chairmanship of “Make membership a benefit” with the theme of “Let’s be nimble.”
We live in a time of rapidly accelerating change in librarianship, medicine, health care delivery, scholarly communication, and technology. All of this has had an impact on us as individuals and as institutions in MCMLA. Ours is a member-driven organization, and we need to help our membership (ourselves) to be nimble in our responses to the opportunities and challenges of our work as medical librarians.
How can we help our members be nimble?
Engage our newer members and encourage interaction with our more experienced members. This will help our newer members learn the skills they don’t teach in library school that will help them thrive in health care organizations and academic health sciences environments, while invigorating experienced members with the energy and insight that newer members can bring.
Provide and promote educational opportunities. In the face of so much rapid change, learning what one needs to know when one needs to know it is crucial to continued success. Developing and teaching or taking CE classes and taking full advantage of the RML’s Breezing Along sessions and the Technology Sandbox sessions are just some of the ways we can acquire the new skills we need to be nimble in today’s job market while bringing the best possible library services to our clientele.
Librarian advocacy and collaboration. We have seen the closure of some libraries and the down-sizing of others, while some libraries have grown or re-structured and some librarians have assumed new roles that may have them working outside the traditional library structure altogether. MCMLA is run by librarians for librarians, and wherever and however they provide librarian services we must find a way to work together.
With so much rapid change, not always in the direction we would prefer, it sometimes feels as though we are rushing to put out fires or that we must jump over candlesticks with unfortunate consequences if we lose our footing. We need to have the resources to be nimble to succeed in our present jobs and to find the next one when the present one no longer suits us or no longer exists. Networking and collaborating with our colleagues in MCMLA can help. Sharing skills, knowledge and experience can help. Advocating for our own best interests as medical librarians and collaborating to make our talents known, appreciated, respected, and valued within and far beyond our individual institutions can help.
Let’s be nimble!