Today marks one year since we launched Musings on the Mezzanine.
Surprisingly, I’ve found that writing for it has often been the high point of my week.
I like having a way to communicate important happenings here at NLM. I also like using the blog as a way to wrestle with ideas. Many times I have been puzzling about how to approach a managerial challenge or make some headway with a project only to find that writing a blog post reveals a fresh perspective or new direction. Sometimes I write directly about what I’m mulling over; other times it’s as if my brain is working in parallel, focused in part on the story I am telling and in part elsewhere, sifting and winnowing through that vexing work issue.
Do you have a favorite post? I have many. Indeed, I probably like all of them, but sometimes one or another holds special meaning. We announced the re-design of the BD2K data science program through this blog back in January. In June, I shared reminiscences of my good friend, Judith Caruthers, and for a bit, this long-gone friend came back to life for me. I introduced you to the great civil rights leaders during Black History Month, and later took you on my vacation pilgrimage through some of the civil rights shrines in the South. We said goodbye to Betsy Humphreys and honored the great Joe Leiter through this blog. And I introduced you to my family, my colleagues, and the important work here at the National Library of Medicine.
I have been delighted to offer the “bully pulpit” of Musings, as we call it, to others who have something important to say to our community. Whether it is about the journey through the Associates Fellowship program, the significant role of hospital libraries, the next generation of clinical decision support, or confirming the Internet in space, these guest bloggers have brought their unique voices and perspectives, and for this I am grateful. Insights about our NLM resources are best conveyed by those closest to them, and I am immensely thankful to NLM colleagues Joyce Backus, Dina Demner-Fushman, Kathel Dunn, Ashley Hintz, Jeff Reznick, Fred Wood, and others who took the time to tell our story.
Sometimes I re-read old blog posts. They’ve helped me track the trajectory of my first year, and I love looking at the pictures and reading the comments. I sometimes wonder what prompted me to delve in to a particular theme, often reminiscing on the spark—a conversation with a staff member, a painting at an exhibition—that led to a specific post.
This blog would not be possible without the energy, vision, and skills of my colleague Mary Ann Leonard. Mary Ann, a librarian-turned-communications specialist, encourages me, cajoles me, and even inspires me to use this blog to increase your engagement with NLM. She helps me find my voice, and, many times, translates that voice into understandable prose, accompanied by informative and interesting pictures. Thanks, Mary Ann!
At one point over the summer we considered changing the pace of the blog, maybe posting only every other week, but the urge to connect, to persuade, to tell our story, runs too strong, so every Tuesday morning at 9 AM I hold fast to my sacred time and write the next blog post.
So next Tuesday, or the Tuesday after that, what would you like to see me address in this blog? Or just as importantly, who out there needs a “bully pulpit” to share your ideas or concerns about medical libraries, health information, open access, health disparities, or anything else of interest to the NLM community? I invite you to propose an idea, draft a post, and tell the world.
I get to do this every week, and it’s wonderful, so join the party! I can’t promise cake, but the conversations are excellent.