One kind word can warm three winter months [Japanese Proverb]

December 2, 2016 at 12:38 pm | Posted in Awards and Recognition, Professional Development | Leave a comment

Nancy Bianchi, Health Sciences Librarian and Associate Professor at the Dana Medical Library at the University of Vermont shares her experiences at the NAHSL 2016 meeting.  Nancy is another winner of NAHSL’s Professional Development award.   Congratulations, Nancy and thank you for a very uplifting and positive narrative.


I wish to thank the NAHSL Professional Development Award Committee for the generous scholarship to attend the NAHSL annual meeting in New Haven, CT. It allowed me to hear three very fine plenary speakers as well as to share my research and creative work in Lightning Round and Poster presentations. Thank you!

One kind word can warm three winter months [Japanese Proverb]

 As I was preparing to write this blog post, I witnessed a random act of kindness. This act was prompted by the sudden arrival of winter in New England. However, the cold icy Monday morning quickly melted under a work colleague’s warm words. We had just learned from a phone call that another librarian’s car had gone off the road on her way to work. Without hesitation, the librarian’s supervisor reassured her that all was well in the library, and she should take the day off and go home to a nice cup of tea after getting her car situation back on the road.

Wow! A split-second kindness … a wonderfully kind gesture that could have come straight out of Susan Keane Baker’s book with the same title.

Although all of the plenary speakers at this year’s NAHSL Conference were engaging and informative, it was Susan Keane Baker’s presentation that left me wanting to pull out my notes from her talk and share them through this blog post.

So, I hope you enjoy my posting, Random Reflections on ‘Speed Stuns’ by Susan Keane Baker.

Susan’s presentation was excellent! She moved quickly through her customer service tactics but in a very organized way. Her handout for Speed Stuns provided an active learning template with many ideas that can be used on a daily basis at work or even at home.

Her handout also included tables listing credibility behaviors and likeability behaviors. All this practical information not only spoke to creating an atmosphere of quality service in the library but also to managing and mentoring staff. At this point in her presentation, Susan shared a beautiful quote from Mr. Rogers that he carried in his pocket, 11lf you know someone’s story, it’s impossible not to like them!”

At the end of Susan’s presentation, she distributed a limited number of her pocket-size book, Split-Second Kindness: making a difference when time is limited. I am so glad that I had an opportunity to take one. This small book includes many kindness techniques to use and to practice.

Although Split-Second Kindness addresses primarily situations and relationships in the health care field, its messages can transcend all organizations and groups. For example, take this thought from the book’s introduction: “What would it be like if every patient thought he or she was your favorite patient? Even the smallest kindness can accomplish this.” It’s so easy to just substitute the word “patron” for “patient” to make this beautiful thought work in all of our libraries!

In fact, on a recent appointment for my annual PE, I happened to be browsing through Split­ Second Kindness as I was waiting for my primary care physician to enter the exam room. Almost immediately, she asked me what Iwas reading and Ishared with her this thought from Leo Buscaglia, “Do you know the wonder of walking into a room and having people happy because you are there? That’s the greatest thing.”

She paused, shared a soft smile, and asked where she could get a copy of that little book. I think kind words are infectious!

Nancy Bianchi, MSLIS

Health Sciences Librarian, Library Associate Professor Dana Medical Library, University of Vermont

Making Connections at NAHSL 2016

November 29, 2016 at 8:38 am | Posted in Awards and Recognition, Professional Development | Leave a comment

goodmanKaren Goodman from the Dorothy M. Breene Memorial Library at New Hampshire Hospital wrote the following blog post.  She serves on the NAHSL Continuing Education Committee and is another winner of NAHSL’s Professional Development award.  Congratulations, Karen and thank you for sharing your NAHSL 2016 experience with the our membership.


Once again, through the generosity of the NAHSL Professional Development Committee, I had the pleasure of attending the 2016 annual conference. These conferences provide such a great opportunity to not only connect and learn so much from our colleagues, but we also get to listen to a number of superb presentations.

Each of the plenary speakers provided us with very informative sessions, and Dr. Jack Hughes presentation on “Access, Costs & Quality: The Iron Triangle of Healthcare” really captured my attention, as I know so very little about why the costs of the U.S. healthcare system continue to rapidly increase despite the implementation of the Affordable Healthcare Act.

Using the visual of the “ Iron Triangle” (costs-access-quality) to illustrate the inherent trade-offs in the healthcare system, Dr. Hughes very eloquently explained why we can’t do everything for everyone without controlling costs and utilization. So while he indicated that “…the first obligation of a country is to avoid extreme suffering…” and that there is a need to expand affordable healthcare access to all, stabilize funding sources and find more ways to contain costs, a decision must be made by society as to whether to pay for healthcare for all…a very tough discussion indeed.  Now, I finally could make the connection between the cost of care, the rise in insurance rates and the perception or in many cases the reality of diminished services.  I can only hope that my summarization did justice to this very complicated subject.

On a lighter note, our next plenary speaker, Ms. Susan Keane Baker, kept us entertained with a lively and dynamic presentation on how you can use customer service tactics to differentiate your library. I can attest to the fact that yes,” Speed Stuns,” as I do try in earnest to fulfill ILL requests as rapidly as possible.  And when you do, it really is quite the Wow factor.  It not only impresses your patrons, but they in turn extoll your virtues to others, helping to create additional connections and keeping your library in the forefront of their minds when the next research task comes about.   Susan left us with a great piece of advice called the Two-Minute Rule:  if you can take care of something in 2 minutes—do it.  It will lower your stress, and impress others with your customer service prowess.  I tried it.  It works!

Our third plenary speaker, William Powers, provided us with a great discussion entitled “Data for Humans: A Healthier Revolution” explaining MIT’s Electome Project and how Data and Science together equals better journalism and eventually better elections.  A prime example is how his group analyzes Twitter conversations about the election.  He is also conducting research on how humans are forgotten in the rise of technology and whether it is a healthy revolution that is taking society to a better place.  I was intrigued by his use of the phrase “Internet Sabbath” that means we should take some time to go off line in order to reconnect with family and friends.  Everything in moderation, right?  I have added his book Hamlet’s Blackberry: Building a Good Life in the Digital Age to my list of must-reads.

But perhaps the key takeaway for me as a solo librarian was the opportunity to just network, and to spend time socializing with fellow medical and health sciences librarians, learning from them while at the same time building stronger professional connections.  A big “Thank You” to Jeannine Gluck and the entire NAHSL 2016 team for creating such a fun and informative conference!

Karen Goodman, MSLIS, MA

Medical Librarian

Dorothy M. Breene Memorial Library

New Hampshire Hospital


NAHSL’s Amazing Millennials

November 22, 2016 at 7:59 pm | Posted in Awards and Recognition, Professional Development | 1 Comment

chelseaChelsea Delnero wrote this blog post.  Chelsea won a Professional Development award to attend NAHSL’s annual meeting.  She also served on the 2016 NAHSL meeting planning committee, creating our lovely  conference webpage. Chelsea is truly an amazing millennial!  Thank you, Chelsea!


I’m not ashamed to admit it: I’m a millennial. I was born in the 80’s, but I remember the 90’s and early 2000’s best. I took computer classes in elementary school. I got my first cell phone when I was 17. Computer savviness and a short attention span? Talkin’ bout my g-g-generation. Some other criticisms of millennials are that we are lazy, entitled, and obsessed with technology, and when it comes to libraries? Well, we are obviously working with Google and Apple to destroy them all. Can you sense my sarcasm? Good. That’s another millennial area of expertise.

I’m not the only NAHSL millennial. In fact, I was sitting with a group of other millennials when William Powers started talking about us in his keynote speech. By his second or third comment, I started to get nervous but thankfully, I had nothing to worry about. He had a lot to say about our accomplishments and ended with a fun fact: millennials prefer print (Ha! We are not destroying books or libraries!). Despite our flaws, I must tell you that we younger folk make awesome librarians. And NAHSL has proof! Here are just a few examples of NAHSL’s up-and-comers:

Rachel Lerner of Quinnipiac University was named a 2016-2017 MLA Rising Star and was the hospitality co-chair for the 2016 CPC; Heather Johnson of Dartmouth College is the Chair of the 2017 NAHSL CPC and has an article coming out in the January 2017 issue of JMLA; Marissa Gauthier of UCONN Health co-authored two (two!) systematic reviews last year and was the marketing chair for the 2016 CPC. Julie Goldman of NNLM/NER is the managing editor of The Journal of eScience Librarianship. These amazing people all presented or contributed to our conference and they are the future of NAHSL!

At one point in the conference the lovely Nancy Goodwin, who is retiring in the spring, approached me with an awesome observation. She wanted to share with me how excited she is about the future of health science libraries because of the people that will be leading the field. And to brag a bit, Nancy is right to be excited; the list above is of just a few examples of the great work being done by newer librarians. You can feel confident that the 2026 NAHSL Conference is going to be just as awesome as 2016!

The future looks bright, but it is important to know this: that our success is shaped by those who came before us. As we will all soon see with the NAHSL Narratives project, NAHSL is a group made up of incredible people who are not only ambitious and intelligent, but they are willing to share their stories –successes and failures—with all of us so that we can grow and learn. As Isaac Newton said, “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”

Thank you all for coming this year, for sharing your ideas and lifting each other up. You are truly an inspiring group of people!

By Chelsea Delnero, MLIS, AHIP

Reference Librarian

Springfield Technical Community College




Musings from the Mezzanine

November 18, 2016 at 9:36 am | Posted in Advocacy and Gov't Relations, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Patricia Brennan, the new Director of the NLM, has just launched her new blog called Musings from the Mezzanine. She plans on using the blog as a platform to distribute “new information about NLM programs, services, people, and places.” She is encouraging people to comment on her posts as a way to dialog about specific issues.

You can also follow her on Twitter!

[Submitted by Gary Atwood, Chair, NAHSL Govt. Relations Comm.]

NAHSL Highlights

November 17, 2016 at 2:18 pm | Posted in Awards and Recognition, Professional Development | Leave a comment

Lisa Adriani, Public Service Librarian at Quinnipiac University,  is another winner of NAHSL’s Professional Development award.  Below, Lisa shares her takeaways from the 2016 NAHSL conference, both in writing and with a very cool Piktochart!

Thank you, Lisa.


I enjoyed the opportunity to attend NAHSL 2016 conference. It was great to see participation by librarians from all over the region. There were many amazing posters, lightning rounds, plenary speakers and spotlight speakers. The diversity of topics and depth was intriguing. I narrowed down my favorites and picked three things to share.

First, I spent several minutes with Kathleen Crea, Teri Shiel and Rich McIntyre from the UConn Health Center at their poster entitled, “Social Media Tools for Marketing Your Brand.” They talked about Piktochart which they have been using for library promotion. Later on, I checked it out on my own. I decided I try it out and use it for this blog post. I used the free version available at I thought it was easy to navigate and had lots of helpful templates to get you started. I can see using this in the future for creating graphically interesting handouts. Hopefully, you like the one I created. It was fun!


My favorite plenary speaker was Susan Keane Baker. It was good to have a review on basic customer service. She gave some really great tips. Here are some of them:

  1. Be nice first.
  2. Speak with the person on the same physical level. Stand up and greet people.
  3. Let people know what happens next. Tell the person right before you do something what you are going to do.
  4. When you answer the phone listen for the caller’s name. Then use it quickly in the conversation.

Lastly, seeing and spending time with my librarian colleagues was a blast. I enjoyed all the spotlights and lightning rounds from our colleagues. For example, watching Anne Romano from Silver Hill Hospital present on mental health to-go kits that are circulating in the hospital and local libraries community was awesome. At the banquet, the circus theme provided some fun. It was definitely memorable to “juggle” with Nancy Goodwin. I also thought the NAHSL Achievement Award going to Kathy Stemmer-Frumento was well deserved. Over my years of being involved in NAHSL, Kathy has shown dedication and commitment with a sense of humor and a smile.

Thank you for the grant money to help me attend the conference. Thank you to all who planned the conference. It was very well done. Looking forward to next year!

Lisa Adriani

Public Services/Health Sciences Librarian

Quinnipiac University, CT

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