Blog Post by Greg Farr

December 7, 2015 at 10:01 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Gregory Farr is a new NAHSL member and a first time attendee at NAHSL’s 2015 conference.  He also won a Professional Development award.  Welcome, Greg!

Blog Post by

Greg Farr

Librarian at the Austen Riggs Center, Stockbridge, MA

As a first-time attendee at this year’s NAHSL conference, “Anchored in Excellence” in Providence, R.I., I found myself coming away from the event inspired by the plenary presentations, by the thoughtful organization of the conference proceedings, and by the opportunity to be among colleagues with whom I could share and discuss similar professional concerns. On this note, I would like to offer my gratitude and thanks for the NAHSL organizers, for their successful work in planning and producing this annual meeting, and for the generosity of the Professional Development Committee and Melanie Norton for the grant support enabling my attendence.

While I experienced all of the NAHSL presentations as thought-provoking and informative, and also particularly innovative, as in the case of Lei Wang’s introduction of Yale’s MeSH Analyzer (very cool!), I was particularly struck by the significance of Dr. Navsaria’s plenary discussion which caused me to think more deeply and broadly then I have before in the past about the nature of literacy. Further, in considering libraries as agents of change across the education continuum I was afforded the opportunity to consider how the notion of literacy might be perceived, or is operational, in the distinct community my own library serves – namely, in a psychiatric therapeutic community consisting of clinicians, professional research affiliates, and patients. In this context there appears to exist a range of literacy gap issues to address, some of which are characterized by the more typical challenges associated with overcoming illiteracy at a fundamental level and others that are potentially more subtle and complex in that they scale developmentally in the process of lifelong learning. Thus, as users experience intellectual growth through reading fluency and comprehension, and as they interact with their world as changes occur in areas such as those indicated by Dr. Navsaria – namely, education, policy, public health, clinical medicine, and translational science — the continuum of literacy tends toward expansion … and, so too, I’m imagining, must libraries.

Considering the matter of literacy at multiple levels of learning and understanding has opened for me a fresh sense of how to think about collection management for my library and ways in which improvements might be made to better serve users with various levels of literacy competancy. And, of course, I am encouraged to read more and to continue to keep growing within the literacy continuum. Thus, I am very glad to have been in Providence and look forward to participating more within NAHSL in the future.




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