Volume 12, no. 2 Summer 2000



Having spent four wonderful days at the Medical Library Association conference in Vancouver, I would like to share a few of my thoughts and experiences with you. Even though I have never traveled to Holland, I cannot imagine that their tulips are any more spectacular than Vancouver's. The city's architecture is attractive and unique. During our ride to the hotel, I caught sight of a portion of a structure that resembled the Roman Coliseum. In a gift shop later that day, I noticed a post card of the Coliseum, which turned out to be the Vancouver Public Library. This institution is incredible both externally and internally. Their annual statistics are overwhelming. In 1999, their average daily circulation was over 6,000, they enrolled over 100 new patrons daily, and their staff answered over 2,300 reference/day.

Since this was my first MLA annual conference, I chose to focus on attending continuing education courses. Although the days were busy, the courses were chock-full of practical information. Judith Siess was the instructor for the course entitled "Management for Solo Librarians." An energetic and enthusiastic teacher, she emphasized the importance of marketing library services, particularly in the one-person library. In an excerpt from Judy's text entitled The SOLO Librarian's Sourcebook, she states that we are all in the marketing business - marketing our institutions, marketing our services, marketing ourselves. All the time. Particularly in these days when downsizing and cutbacks are not uncommon, senior management may decide to slash the librarian's hours if it determines that the department is not productive.

"Making a Difference Through Outreach" was just as worthwhile as the previous day's course. The presenters were from the Pacific Northwest NN/LM office at the University of Washington in Seattle, and the stories about dealing with the Native American tribes throughout their territory were captivating. In addition to planning and evaluating, an essential element of successful outreach programs is having the buy-in of one who is highly respected by the group. This is not necessarily a person with expertise in the area; it is the person who will be able to convince his/her community that the outreach program is necessary and worthwhile. One of the presenters related colorful tales of working with the tribal elders on the reservations in Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho, so was creating the foundation for bringing health care information to the Native Americans in these regions.

On another note, I would like to extend a sincere thank you to Marion Graney for her diligent work the past several years as treasurer of the Health Science Libraries of New Hampshire and Vermont. She has been an asset to the Executive Board as well as the association. Also, I would like to welcome Cindy Sloan of St. Joseph Hospital in Nashua, NH, as our new treasurer. Thanks to all who signed up to work on committees. It is refreshing to have new involvement in our association.

-- Anne Conner NE Vermont Regional Hospital St. Johnsbury, VT


With so many new programs coming at us these days-hopefully not hurtling by us without our ever having the opportunity to explore them-I'm always happy to see advice on how to tame the new systems. Directions on how to control them before they get so far beyond me that I'll never use them are always welcome. Sometimes I even get to try them before they're updated by newer, sleeker directions or outdated by the next generation of the software. For example, I've been using the "related articles" feature of PubMed for some time now. Previously, in doing PubMed searches as usual with precise MESH headings, I haven't always produced what I would have expected to see had I been using ELHILL or OVID. That bothers me. What bothers me more is that I don't understand why this happens; even more, I'm bothered that I don't have the time or patience to analyze all this. (Does this sound obsessive/compulsive to you?) Fear not! I no longer have to worry about it! As long as I can find one article which is on target, I can click on "related articles" and get others which are similar, as long as they exist. What's been the problem with the feature has been that while the articles are wonderfully organized in order of their relevancy to the article selected, they could be in any language and in no chronological order. But, then, you know all this. What's new is a means to control the related article output by means of the "limit" function. Nancy Putnam describes this technique in the January-February, 2000, issue of New England Sounding Line, page 7 (which you can read online at: Unfortunately, Nancy ends her directions by advising that the newly limited set of articles "will still be displayed in relevancy order rather than the reverse chronological order" of the original set. Would that this were so! I followed the directions carefully, but the new set appeared with the most recent articles first, followed by succeedingly older ones. The article I had selected as being "on target" from my original search was listed fifth in the new search results. In a second trial I found my "on target" article listed twenty-fourth in the new search results. The relevancy aspect was totally lost from both searches. Hopefully, this is an aberration; maybe the Love Bug has corrupted the NLM. (I know it doesn't work that way, but I want there to be an easy solution and I want the new feature to work the way Nancy described it!) (OK, I am obsessing here.) This is not an indictment of Nancy; I'm sure PubMed was working just the way she said it would when she wrote her column. Her instructions have always been clear and helpful, for which I am ever grateful. However, today, as I write this on May 5, 2000, it doesn't work. With updates and outdates occurring even as I write, maybe tomorrow it will.

-- Jan Silver, MA, AHIP Editor Health Sciences Library Southern NH Medical Ctr. 8 Prospect St./PO Box 2014 Nashua, NH 03061-2014


We have several fortunate members who attended the MLA Annual Conference in Vancouver, BC. They invite you to share their impressions:

Vancouver was a wonderful experience. The continuing education was excellent, the vendor displays extensive and the city itself exciting to visit.

An added benefit for me was the opportunity to visit with my daughter, who's graduating from the University of Washington-Seattle's School of Library and Information Science next month. (She was able to attend the Conference at the student rate, which made it a "must" for her.) It was a pleasure to compare notes with her on our activities.

I took two CE classes and thought they were both very informative: Nursing Information Access, with Peg Allen (a familiar name from MEDLIB-L and just as helpful in a formal instructor mode as she is informally on the listserv), and Planning and Managing the Consumer Health Library, with Michelle Spatz, Director of the Planetree Health Resource Center in The Dalles, OR. Planetree's approach to consumer health information, especially alternative and complementary therapy information, seemed to be in the vanguard of where we will all eventually be heading, perhaps. The instructor's library seemed like a gold-standard operation; it was a pleasure to take a virtual tour, and then to learn about the administrative details behind the collections and services and how they were developed.

We took a "field trip" to the Vancouver Public Library, which made a big impression on me. It was distinctive in many ways. It looks like a near-relation of the Coliseum, which makes it interesting architecturally. From an informational point of view, it is interesting for its consumer health collection in a variety of media. We explored all seven floors and then returned for another visit. Most heartening sight: 6 or more check-out lines, all occupied, just like the supermarket! (Plus, 2 self-service units, for periodical and video check-outs.) Most impressive.

-- Linda Ford Gale Medical Library Littleton Reg. Hospital Littleton, NH

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Vancouver is a great location for a conference (if only one didn't have to pass through the Toronto airport!) Service and food were excellent at the conference center, and I was also happy with my hotel. The content of the Symposium, some of the CE classes, and the section presentations were very timely for my institution (alternative and complementary medicine, and consumer health information centers). The Exhibits were good and I really appreciated the opportunity to meet some sales-folk I have been negotiating contracts with. On a personal note, it was wonderful to re-connect with colleagues from UNC Chapel Hill Health Sciences Library, where I served a student internship in 96-97.

-- Claire LaForce Rutland Regional Health Services Rutland, VT

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I've been back from the MLA meeting for two weeks now, and I still have lively visions floating in my mind. Vancouver seems to revel in water from all sources. Waterfalls, fountains, and of course, the Pacific Ocean feature big. At the entrance to stores, you will usually find an umbrella stand. When the sprinkles come, moms just snap up the clear plastic over the baby carriages. Flowers and foliage are more lush than we see in the East. High, snow-capped mountains can be viewed from downtown; modern skyscrapers mirror one another in ever-changing reflections. This is a city in touch with the beauties of nature. It's David Suzuki's city, and in his talk, he again rang the alarm that had somehow been silenced in recent decades - we must take care of our planet.

Polite Canadians wait for the green light - even when there is no oncoming traffic. Canadians don't go in much for "blowing their own horn". I was amazed to find out that the Vancouver Public Library is the largest public library in the world! Yet the diversity of cultures is evident here in the totem poles proudly exhibited and in the variety of ethnic restaurants as it is in the features of the residents. And everywhere, some of the 2,432 MLA attendees from both Canada and the U.S., scurry to the next activity, carrying the tell-tale canvas tote bag with red straps, given at registration.

I was very glad my taxi driver got me from the airport to the Conference site on time for the class on consumer health libraries. The class emphasized how very different the issues are when dealing with the public. As usual, it was difficult to choose from the many Conference offerings. Which of the simultaneous programs should we attend, or, should we finish viewing the exhibits now? My roommate, Beverly Greene, said she recorded a host of ideas and will follow Ellen Hall's recommendation to choose one to implement. At the closing reception, the person at the coat check booth inquired who our group was. When I told her, she commented, "Ah, very smart people".

-- Alice Reed Exeter Hospital, NH


Please update your copy of the HSL-NH/VT Membership List 2000 with the following bolded changes:

Brenda Birck Tel: 603-897-8255 Fax: 603-897-8889 Email:

Linda McCracken Tel: 603-526-5226 Fax: 603-526-7156

Katie McDonough Tel: 603-271-8520 (direct line)

Add: Linda Bonnett Document Delivery Dartmouth College 6168 Dana Biomedical Library Hanover, NH 03755-3880 Tel: 603-650-1656

Pamela Goude EBSCO Subscription Services 1163 Shrewsbury Ave., Ste. E Shrewsbury, NJ 07702 Tel: 800-526-2337

Gage David Hansen Health Information Services Parkland Medical Center One Parkland Drive Derry, NH 03038 Tel: 603-432-1500

Sam King Health Sciences Library Elliot Hospital 1 Elliot Way Manchester, NH 03103-3599 Tel: 603-628-4208

-- Nancy Bianchi Dana Medical Library, UVM


June 12-18, 2000 National Men's Health Week * * * * * * * * July 8-11, 2000 American Library Association "Libraries Build Communities" McCormick Place, Chicago, IL Online registration: * * * * * * * * August 1 - 7, 2000 World Breastfeeding Week * * * * * * * * September 2000 Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month Healthy Aging Month Leukemia Awareness Month National Cholesterol Education Month Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month Sept. 17th - 23rd National Rehabilitation Week

October 1 - 3, 2000 National Medical Librarians Month

October 21 - 24, 2000 NAHSL 2000 - "Portals to Partnership" Newport, RI