Save the date: Opioid Epidemic Symposium for Librarians

Communities in Crisis:  Libraries Responding to the Opioid Epidemic

Friday, November 15, 2019
Devens Conference Center

Devens, Massachusetts

The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners and the Massachusetts Library System invite you to attend a symposium on the library response to the opioid epidemic.  Our keynote speakers include Dr. Scott Lukas, a Director at McLean Hospital and a Harvard University Professor, and Felice J. Freyer, a Boston Globe Reporter who covers health policy and public health.  We’ll have lightning presentations presented by public, school, and academic librarians highlighting the librarians’ experience with topics ranging from developing a plan to respond, Narcan training, occupational safety and health, and self-care.  Stay tuned for an open call.  

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Pro-tips for Planning Library Program Series

Cotuit LibraryOn a recent site visit to the Cotuit Library on Cape Cod, I learned from Antonia Stephens, the library’s director, about several interesting program series. In this interview, you’ll hear directly from Antonia about these interesting programs. She will also share pro-tips for planning program series at your library.

Please tell us about the recent series that your library has hosted on a wide range of topics including music appreciation, end of life care, and Peru.

Royston Nash Music Appreciation SeriesAntonia Stephens: The spring after I arrived at Cotuit, the former, well-loved, conductor of the Cape Cod Symphony—Royston Nash—passed away, and the Library received a lot of donations in his memory. Since we were in the habit of putting on music concerts a few times a year anyway, I decided to leverage those donations and apply for grants to host a two-year music appreciation series in the conductor’s honor. The idea was to present live music, workshops, lectures, films and book discussions throughout the year, featuring different genres and having some didactic element, so that the audience would learn something new, rather than just passively enjoy a concert. We ended up getting funding from two agencies—the Mid-Cape Cultural Council and the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod—for two years, which meant we were able to pay a reasonable amount to our performers. We even attracted some outside interest, with individuals and organizations collaborating with us for no cost, such as the Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival. Although the two years have passed, we still put our music programs under the Royston Nash Music Appreciation Series heading, and it’s likely we’ll look for more grant opportunities in the future.

The Importance of Spiritual Support in End of Life CareLiving Until the End started as just a talk about facing a life-threatening illness, but my Program Coordinator, who at age 24 suffered such an illness, decided to go further with it, eventually including a Death Café, a discussion of end-of-life spirituality, green burial options, a book discussion on Atul Gawande’s book, Being Mortal, and a documentary viewing, among other events. It was compressed into one summer, and was attended by people who were very interested in the topics—not a lot of mildly curious folks for this one—but definitely appreciated by those who came.

Pathways of Peru was the latest version of our Wintertide Read and Ramble series, which is also a small fundraiser for the Library. It started four years ago when the former director and a Board member decided to do a variation on what the Boy Scouts in Alaska do and challenge patrons to walk a certain number of miles or read a certain number of books in anticipation of the Iditarod—they called it the Iditawalk/Iditaread. The challenge began at the beginning of January and ended in March when the official Iditarod banquet is held. Participants pledged to walk or read and were given a log to track their progress, a map of the route of the Iditarod, some reading suggestions for books about Alaska and dog sledding and an invitation to a banquet at the end of the series. We also held thematic programs throughout the weeks of the series about Alaska, dog training and even a Facetime interview with a reporter on the trail. As participants covered the miles of finished books, they would move a personalized pin along the large trail map posted in our main room. There were prizes for the first reader and the first walker to reach Anchorage, and a draw for a raffle prize for those who paid to participate (the events were open to everyone, but they didn’t get to go to the feast or participate in the raffle). Continue reading

Climate Preparedness Week

The Massachusetts Library System in partnership with Communities Responding to Extreme Weather  and a core team of librarians is offering a webinar to inspire our members to host a program for Climate Preparedness Week.  In this interview, team member Madeleine Charney, Research Services Librarian at the University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries will tell you about this opportunity.

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Strategic Planning Vignettes

Are you embarking on your strategic planning process?  Or, would you like to brush up on your strategic planning skillset?  I’m thrilled to announce three Strategic Planning Vignette videos featuring library directors sharing insights about their strategic plans.  In the vignettes, the directors share lessons learned, helpful tools and resources, and how they plan to monitor their progress.  Thank you to Jessi Finnie, Kristin Smith, and Lisa Downing for sharing their stories!

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Medical Librarians Support Clinical Research and Improve the Patient Experience

The Massachusetts Library System received an inquiry in our continuing education survey about what hospital and medical librarians do. In response, I’m pleased to bring you an interview with Sarah Carnes, the Clinical Librarian at the Bedford VA Medical Center. In this interview, she will share the numerous ways she supports clinical research and contributes to improving the patient experience.

Sarah Carnes

Sarah Carnes, Clinical Librarian

What services do you provide to support the wide-ranging needs of Bedford VA Medical Center’s staff?

As the Clinical Librarian at the Bedford VA Medical Center, I provide support to staff working in a wide variety of disciplines. Clinical and research staff must be current on information in order to conduct evidence-based care and impactful research. The majority of our resources are available online in our Knowledge Library, our user-friendly online medical library platform. Staff also have access to these materials when offsite as many will conduct their in-depth reading outside of normal working hours.

Research shows that for all the convenience of electronic health records, telemedicine, and online medical libraries, there is not enough time in the day for providers to keep up with all the information they wish to access. Clinical librarians possess the expertise to mitigate the barriers between staff and the information they need. Staff request information or assistance via email, phone or in-person. Some of the requests are fulfilled relatively quickly, such as a request for the full-text of an article or information on how to set up a literature alert or offsite account. Others take a great deal more time, such as complex literature searches for differential diagnoses or for systematic reviews–which might take anywhere between three to nine hours. Over the course of the last year and a half, I have completed over 600 searches and reference questions and I estimate that saved staff approximately 450 hours.

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