I attended my first Upstate New York and Ontario Chapter(UNYOC) of the Medical Library Association(MLA) Conference in 2018. The conference occurred from November 14th to the 16th at Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. Driving to the hotel was peaceful and serene I felt like I was in a holiday movie. The smell of the chimneys from the homes that I was passing by was breathtaking. Even though it was snowing, this moment was worth the drive.
It was great to be at a conference where the librarians all worked in health sciences libraries. As a result, I was able to make connections to librarians that understood my role. Most of all I was able to learn so much from more experienced medical librarians.
My favorite session was about suicide prevention. The speaker was Karen Heisig who is the Board Chair at the Western NY Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. This discussion was so informative because we were taught by the speaker to say death by suicide, not a person committed suicide. I felt that it was necessary to bring some suicide prevention cards to our library so that students have access to that information. Also, it just solidified the need to be more aware of those that struggle with suicidal ideation. Death by suicide affects teenagers from the age of 12 to 19 years old so when Karen spoke about this and said that she gives workshops I knew that I had to get her contact information. Personally, I was able to connect Karen with the social worker at my nephew’s school so that Hakeem Rahim can speak there. I am proud to say that he spoke at the school last month. This solidified for me the importance of networking.
One of the librarians that I connected with after the conference was able to give me a tour of the health sciences library that she works at. This experience was tremendous because I did not know that such a library existed in my own city.
In a later blog entry, I will give tips about networking in this profession as an introvert.