NLM and MLA: Working Together to Build on Our Vision and Roadmap at MLA | SLA ’23

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Guest post by Dianne Babski, Associate Director for Library Operations, and Amanda J. Wilson, Deputy Associate Director for Library Operations, National Library of Medicine (NLM).

It is May again, and spring is here to remind us to balance learning from the past and looking to the future. It’s also time for the Medical Library Association’s (MLA) Annual Meeting this week in Detroit, Michigan. While each annual meeting is special, this year is even more so because not only is MLA partnering with the Special Libraries Association (SLA) to expand its offerings beyond health sciences librarianship, it’s also MLA’s 125th anniversary!

Together, MLA and NLM leverage each other’s roles and strengths to collaborate in committees and working groups on multiple initiatives for the benefit of health information professionals and their institutions, stakeholders, and communities. The most significant way we collaborate is through the Network of the National Library of Medicine (NNLM) with initiatives such as NNLM’s training programs, which serve as the backbone of MLA’s consumer health and data services specializations.

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The theme for the MLA | SLA ‘23 meeting is Looking Back, Forging Ahead. On March 22, NLM Associate Director for Library Operations Dianne Babski, MLA President-Elect Amy Blevins, and current MLA President Dr. Shannon Jones built on this theme by participating in an NLM/MLA Fireside chat, where they discussed NLM’s and MLA’s roles, common objectives, and collaboration over the years—they were looking back to learn from our history, and they planned how to collectively forging ahead to anticipate the future information needs of anyone who relies on quality health resources. For example, MLA’s Vision 2048 Task Force will identify what future practice in libraries will look like. As an NIH institute and a national library, NLM is evolving to meet future demands in biomedical research, health data standards, scientific developments, and technological advancements like generative artificial intelligence.

The MLA | SLA ‘23 conference is providing NLM with a platform to introduce new products and initiatives, obtain feedback to inform future updates, and explore ways to better collaborate across the medical library community. In case you missed it, we suggest you check out the link to the Virtual NNLM Day at MLA, held on May 11, which featured updates from NNLM Project Director Martha Meacham and from regions, offices, and centers, followed by a session with NLM Director Dr. Patti Brennan. Also, check out guest speaker Craig Robertson at the annual Joseph Leiter NLM/MLA Lectureship, which was held the morning of May 17.

During the conference itself, meeting attendees will be able to interact with NLM staff in-person and online, and if you’ll be in Detroit, we encourage you to visit the NLM booth in the exhibit hall where NLM staff will be available to answer your questions or to just catch up since last year. On May 17, we’ll also share updates made to PubMed over the last year. Finally, on May 19, we’ll share an NLM Update with the theme of “Building on our Vision and Roadmap for the 3rd Century” to showcase how NLM is leading change in the field and continuing to innovate to meet our users’ expectations.

Working together to advance the discipline of health sciences librarianship supports our common vision to make quality health information available and improve the public’s health. How do you see yourself in our vision and roadmap for NLM’s third century?

Dianne Babski

 Associate Director, Library Operations, NLM

Ms. Babski is responsible for the management of one of NLM’s largest divisions with more than 450 staff who provide health information services to a global audience of health care professionals, researchers, administrators, students, historians, patients, and the public.

Amanda J. Wilson

Deputy Associate Director, Library Operations, NLM

Ms. Wilson is responsible for the division’s budget and administrative operations and for contributing to the implementation of the Library Operations 2036 Long-Range Plan. Ms. Wilson is co-editor of the book Combating Online Health Misinformation: A Professional’s Guide to Helping the Public, published by the Medical Library Association.

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