Happy hump day everyone! The sun is shining and it is a beautiful day to highlight an awesome Library Association. For May we are featuring The Maritimes Health Libraries Association/Association des bibliothèques de la santé des Maritimes (MHLA/ABSC). Happy Reading!
1) Who are you and what is your mission?
The Maritimes Health Libraries Association/Association des bibliothèques de la santé des Maritimes (MHLA/ABSC) is an association of health library specialists that includes librarians, library technicians and library assistants from hospital and educational settings throughout the Maritimes. We are a regional chapter of the larger Canadian Health Libraries Association, and we have members in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island. We meet twice a year, formerly in person with some videoconferencing arrangements, but now completely virtual due to Covid-19. Our mission is to support the professional lives of our members and to advocate for excellent service provision in the health librarianship field.
2) Tell us about any current or big projects you have going on
Supporting our members through advocacy, outreach, and continuing education is our major focus right now, and one thing we have been working on is amendments to our constitution and by-laws. This is to ensure our operating structure continues to evolve with the needs of our members and is in line with our overarching organization, the Canadian Health Libraries Association. We’ve also been focusing more on outreach recently, and have increased our presence on Instagram to encourage members to share what’s happening in their work life. Our main goal is to foster relationships between members, and our projects often revolve around making sure members feel represented and in touch with their colleagues. We are also gearing up to plan the Canadian Health Libraries Association national conference in 2023, which will take place in Halifax where many of our members are located.
3) Tell us about something interesting you have accomplished.
A few years ago, our association’s branding needed a makeover. A member had a fantastic idea of crowdsourcing this initiative, by asking a design professor at the Nova Scotia Community College to create an assignment where students got to work with us (i.e. the client) and create some designs. We reviewed all submissions and our members chose a winner by voting for their favorite one. The student who designed it received a letter from us for their portfolio, and we received rights to use their work for our branding. The entire class also got a pizza party, which we paid for as a thank you for their efforts. It was a low-cost way to revamp our association’s look, while also supporting the career of a budding designer!
4) If someone gave your association a million dollars, what would you do with it?
Wow! As part of our support for our members’ continuing education, we offer a small grant each year that was created in 2006 and named after a retired health sciences librarian who had a great impact on the community during her career. It would be really fun to increase our financial support for members who want to pursue continuing education, so some of this money could be set up as a scholarship fund for professional development. It would also be fun to sponsor library school students through a scholarship, and also buy more desserts for our meetings (we love eating cake when someone retires)!
5) Is there anything else you want to tell us?
We are always happy to welcome new members, including students or those who are interested in learning more about the health libraries profession. You can learn more about us at our website: https://library.nshealth.ca/MHLA or see what we’re up to on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mhla.absm/. Please feel free to reach out to us – we’d love to meet you!