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April Goals Update: Health and Medical Reference Committee

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The goals for the 2015-16 year of the Health and Medical Reference Committee are as follows:

  • Promote the newly accepted RUSA Health and Medical Reference Guidelines through communications, marketing, scholarship and professional development programming.

Update, April 2016:

The focus of late has been on promoting the Guidelines through an ALA Discussion Forum in Orlando in June 2016. HMRC has teamed up with ACRL’s HSIG to run this Discussion Forum. The program description of the Discussion Forum is as follows: “The RUSA Health and Medical Reference Guidelines were revised in 2015, and present a major revision to the previous guiding documents on the best practices for medical reference service. These guidelines were designed for use in libraries regardless of type and cover a broad range of possible reference interactions. This program will highlight how these guides can best be implemented in your library, including how to train professional as well as non-professional staff regarding what are often sensitive reference questions. This forum is co-sponsored by ACRL’s Heath Sciences Interest Group (HSIG).” Members from each committee are currently planning the curriculum.

  • Promote and develop the Medref listserv in order to provide a discussion space for workers in all libraries who provide health or medical reference to talk about the special issues arising from those types of reference questions.

Update, April 2015:

The Committee has made descriptive changes to the listserv directory information and is continuing to work on promotion. One committee member wrote a “press release” describing the listserv and encouraging its use. In the last few months this release has been sent to many listservs including RUSA, RSS, ACRL, ALA, MLA and CAPHIS. Subscription to the listserv has increased from around 100 members in October to 265 members in April. MEDREF can be found here: http://lists.ala.org/sympa/info/medref.

  • Develop a web page to communicate helpful resources for those in the field providing health or medical reference.

Completed, October 2015:

The HMRC is pleased to have completed a web page with a list of resources. It can be found on the Committee’s site at http://www.ala.org/rusa/contact/rosters/rss/rus-rsshmr. The page is meant to provide a wide range of library workers a short list of free web resources to seek answers to health-related questions.

  • Programming: contribute a Webinar, discussion forum or program for ALA Annual Meeting 2016 and/or other venues.

Update, April 2015:

The Committee is collaborating with ACRL’s Health Sciences Interest Group to prepare a discussion forum for Annual 2016. See above for description. This Discussion Forum will take place on Saturday, June 25th at the Hyatt Regency Orlando in Barrel Springs II from 1-2:30 pm. We hope all interested in learning more about providing excellent health reference will join us. It promises to be an engaging conversation!

Respectfully submitted,

Laura Haines, Chair