The theme of this year's annual meeting seems obvious but the terms have a kaleidoscope of meanings. Does the term "information" mean a piece of clinically significant data from a carefully crafted research study, a patient's medicine reconciliation or maybe the title of the journal that is most likely to publish a patron's article? The term "unbound" may conjure up thoughts of exuberant release, unchained potential, exploding possibilities, and infinite realities. It can also mean amorphous, ill-defined, unruly, loose, or even promiscuous.
Our profession once brought order out of epistemological chaos. We developed specialized vocabularies that channeled the ever burgeoning torrent of information. Our catalogs and classifications created utility out of futility. Users came to us for the perfect sip of information. They avoided the cascade of data spewing at them like water from a fire hose.
Today patrons have a variety of ways to “sip” from the rushing streams of data. The library and the librarian are just one of a myriad of possibilities. So let us build on the themes given to us by past Chapter Presidents Betsy Mueth and Brenda Pfannenstiel. Let us make our membership in this Chapter a valuable asset and use our combined strengths to figure out ways to nimbly navigate the increasingly competitive information provider market.
As we look toward new opportunities this year I would like to focus on these points:
- Library Advocacy: We need to build relationships and partnerships with external organizations; to define common goals and to demonstrate how our professional skill set can create solutions to those goals. We need to identify the barriers to health information in the community and seek out solutions using our unique set of skills. How are we going to those things? Research is the foundation, the key to library advocacy. We need to find out what’s going on around us.
- Education and Mentorship: Leadership is taught, actively and passively. Let’s be proactive and project positive leadership skills by participating in the Chapter’s mentor program. The promotion of the profession is the key reason we exist. We need to model behavior that makes medical librarianship seem like a great use of time. We need to welcome new library students. The time and attention we pay to them surely has a proportional response in their future support of our Chapter. We need to reach out to health science librarians who are not members of the Chapter. Their abilities and vision could be the very thing that rejuvenates and reinvigorates us.
- History: Honoring our Chapter’s history provides a basis for convincing those that work hard today that their work will remembered and held in high esteem tomorrow. What good is working hard to join a nameless Pantheon? When we take our Chapter awards seriously, review Chapter accomplishments of the past and contemplate the vision of past Chapter leaders holding them up as examples to be emulated we build a vision of the future.