The UNYOC/MLA meeting in Saratoga Springs was an action packed couple of days. Nationally recognized librarians spoke about the work that they do and other UNYOC members talked about initiatives that they spearheaded in their libraries. The creation of an e-library for allied health workers in Bangladesh, writing retreats that coincided with chapter meetings, the consolidation of two service desks at an academic health sciences library, and the concept of “rapid onboarding” were all explored in a diverse set of project briefings. Posters and lightning talks rounded out the conference, which touched on many current issues in medical and health science librarianship.
As the librarian and liaison to the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences the University at Buffalo, I was particularly interested in the content that related to medical education. Assessment and evaluation of instruction sessions given to medical students and residents were addressed. There is a reason that students sometimes perform better in a pre-test than in a post-test! There was also a demonstration and discussion about how to set up an audience response system to teach evidence based medicine (EBM). Audience Response System Jeopardy seems like a fun way to introduce EBM concepts and engage learners. In addition to those topics, a couple of the talks centered on the Millennial generation as social media users, up and coming librarians or physicians, and as library patrons. Being a part of this generation made me think about what we can do as librarians to accommodate the needs and habits of Millennials in our library.
Towards the end of the conference, I gave my first professional presentation, a five minute lightning talk. Public speaking is consistently listed as one of the top things people fear, and it can still be intimidating for me even though I teach in front of groups regularly. Before the conference and in light of this new intra-professional context, there was some added pressure! As I got to know other members of the organization, this pressure subsided. Getting more acquainted with members of the group during the welcome reception, the dinner, and throughout the conference gave me a greater sense of belonging and helped calm my nerves. The new pressure was to keep to my five minute time frame! I nearly accomplished this feat, but ah well; there’ll be a next time!