Medical Library Association (MLA)

The Medical Library Association works to promote the importance of quality information for improved health to the global health care community and the public. This year's meeting was held in Minneapolis in mid-May, with a theme of "Rethink."

For many years APA has also sent staff to the MLA Annual Meeting and Exhibition. MLA currently has more than 4,000 health sciences information professional members and partners worldwide and works to promote the importance of quality information for improved health to the global health care community and the public. What's most important for us is that attending the conference gives us access to a major segment of our content users, and the feedback MLA members provide is useful to us in everything from new Thesaurus of Psychological Index Terms®, to new book and journal topics, to reactions to our newest mobile products.

This year's meeting was held in Minneapolis in mid-May, with a theme of "Rethink." Attendees chose from sessions on embedded librarianship, evidenced-based medicine, and working with researchers conducting systematic reviews, as well as sessions on assessing library services, delivering information literacy instruction, and developing print and electronic collections. The meeting also provides librarians with an opportunity to take continuing education courses in health information sciences. Topics for these included addressing the information needs of nurses, data analysis for health information, and managing electronic resources.

"It's not just hospital librarians attending this conference anymore," noted Susan Hillson, PsycINFO® Customer Relations Manager. "We've seen an increase in the number of people from HMOs and other managed care organizations."

This conference also attracts librarians from Veteran's Administration hospitals, government health agencies, and even veterinary schools. "Our content is so useful for this group," noted Lisa Sick, PsycINFO Vendor Relations Specialist, who attended the conference for several years in her former role as a Training Specialist and is working on an advanced degree of her own in Global Health. She went on to note that many of these librarians are interested in finding information that highlights the psychological characteristics of particular medical conditions, or the impact therapeutic approaches can have on particular treatments and procedures.

At this conference in particular we are able to gain a sense of the changing role of the librarian. "More and more, health sciences librarians are becoming key members of multidisciplinary care teams," Hillson noted. "We need to know what it means for a librarian to be embedded in these teams, and how that impacts how we deliver our services — not to mention how they're put to use."

On the exhibit floor and in the Sunrise Seminar we sponsor each year, there's a special focus on new content and any new fields or limiters that have been added to the databases that are particularly relevant to the medical library community. "These are all expert searchers," Sick noted. They want to know what new content we have in their areas of interest, or any new advanced search techniques that can save them time and improve their results.

For this year's Sunrise Seminar, Training Specialist Michael Miyazaki met with about 35 librarians and highlighted new health titles added to PsycINFO and PsycARTICLES® in 2010, new content in PsycBOOKS®, expansions to PsycEXTRA®, and information about our two newest additions, PsycTESTS® and PsycTHERAPY®. He also demonstrated some sample searches using APA's indexing within these databases, as well as the use of value-added fields such as funding source.

Michael also demonstrated how to use PsycEXTRA to find patient education handouts, something this group finds particularly useful. "There's a wide range in terms of the level of patient interaction that this group has on a day-to-day basis," Miyazaki said. "But many of them do have a need to find information geared for the public, not for health care professionals. PsycEXTRA contains brochures and fact sheets about health issues, many of them produced by government agencies. These are a reliable source of information to provide to patients, and with PsycEXTRA they're at your fingertips."