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Members' Memories

Page history last edited by ldemczuk 10 years, 10 months ago

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I became a member of the MHLA in 1990 when I began working at the J. W. Crane Memorial Library at Deer Lodge Centre, and over these 20 years, held  various positions on the executive including: Secretary, Vice President, President, and Program Chair.


Being a member of MHLA/MAHIP played a significant factor in my professional development as a health librarian, and allowed me to develop organizational and leadership skills such as chairing meetings, event planning, and strategic planning.


I remember that my initial impression of MHLA members was that their tremendous spirit of cooperation allowed them to accomplish important work to improve health libraries and facilitate resource sharing among Manitoba health libraries, such as their Union list projects.


Many of the MHLA members I met in 1990 are still colleagues and friends, and both they and members who have joined since still feel like an important community to me.


During my time in MHLA I have attended two CHLA conferences in Winnipeg. The first in 1992 was also my first CHLA Conference, and again I was impressed by the professionalism of CHLA members.  The second Winnipeg CHLA conference in 2009 is, of course,  a distinct memory, and I was honoured to play a role in the planning of the conference as Program Chair. Working with all the other committee members will always be a highlight of my involvement with MAHIP.


A significant turning point for MHLA occurred was in 1998 during one of my terms as President. A number of factors converged which led some health librarians to question the need for a separate health library association. During that time, professional associations were declining, due in part to the emergence of information technology which allowed professionals to network without needing to meet in-person, and at the same time, many of the hospital libraries were becoming part of the UMHSLs.  The executive decided to hold a strategic visioning exercise to explore our viability and purpose. We decided to continue on, and changed our name to the Manitoba Association of Health Information Providers in the hope of bringing in other health professionals. While that wasn’t entirely successful, we did keep our association alive, and I’m glad we still have a unique library association for health librarians.   


MHLA and MAHIP have also played a significant role in keeping health libraries and librarians in touch with emerging health technologies. I vividly remember Michael Tennenhouse presenting at a MHLA workshop on the Internet in the early 1990s and thinking: this is going to change everything.  When the Manitoba Health Organizations still held their annual conference in Winnipeg, we held a panel in ????? where we asked rural health professionals to discuss their emerging use of the internet  In 2004, MHLA brought Tom Flemming to Winnipeg for an extremely successful workshop on the internet for health professionals. These events hopefully helped establish health librarians as leaders in the new emerging information technology.

Although MHLA and MAHIP are small organizations, I believe they have played a large role in bringing health information to our clients: the health professionals of Manitoba, and to the professional development of health librarians in Winnipeg and Canada.


Laurie Blanchard



What is your most significant memory MAHIP/MHLA?


On the big picture front, and as a new librarian who had just moved to Manitoba, think the most signifcant memory is the sense of community, support and collaboration that MAHIP/MHLA provided.  The chapter then was composed of a wide range of people working in diverse settings, resourced at various levels, but their willingness to share and collaborate was



On the small pciture front and with today's perspective, maintaining a Union List of Serials on 3x5 index cards (and having nightmares about the card file being knocked over), sticks in my mind!



What is the most significant accomplishment(s) of the association?


Historically, the resource sharing activities - implementation of Docline, the Union List of Serials, were significant - currently the training and development opportunities including hosting a national conference are impressive, particularly given that we are not a large chapter.


What challenges has the association faced?


Adapting to changing times/needs/technologies, maintaining viability as an organization as services and resources become more centralized - developing strategies for complementing and articulating with the work of other associations/organizations while maintaining relevance to the health library sector.


What was the most significant issue during your term of office on the executive?



Additional anecdotes, thoughts, memories or reflections of your work with MAHIP/MHLA


Whether it is true or not still remember Audrey Kerr telling me that the very first minutes read something to the effect of "twenty-odd librarians met..........."!


Judy Inglis





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