As a 2022-23 Medical Library Association (MLA) Research Training Institute (RTI) Fellow, I had the opportunity to present at this year’s MLA / SLA Hybrid conference in Detroit, MI from May 16 – 19. This opportunity was special for a number of reasons.

The Research Training Institute

First, my poster and presentation at this conference was the culmination of my research facilitated since May 2022 as a part of the RTI Fellowship. This program comprehensively follows and supports health science librarians through the research process of a self-selected question by combining instruction, mentoring, and peer coach group support for 12-months. My project explored how librarian-facilitated health literacy instruction can impact information seeking behaviors and attitudes as a part of the WFU Health & Exercise Science department’s HELPS Employee Wellness Programs. I had the chance to meet 15 of the 34 2022 fellows in Detroit as well as see the efforts made during their research experiences over the last year. More to come on the RTI at the 65th Biennial Conference of the NCLA later this year.

Happy 125th Anniversary MLA (and in Detroit)!

Second, my first-timer status at the conference took place during a celebratory and commemorative time for the MLA. 2023 marks the MLA’s 125th anniversary as an organization providing evidence-based health information to professionals and practitioners through the advancement of accessible, ethical, and inclusive research. Furthermore, during this momentous occasion, I got the chance to see and learn about the beautiful city of Detroit. Although its architectural design presents a stunning skyline of art deco structures, Detroit is also the hub of history and diversity. The city and the Detroit River served as the Gateway to Freedom and one of the largest terminals of the Underground Railroad aiding thousands of enslaved people on their way to Canadian refuge in the 1830’s.

Lastly, *BONUS* Conference Content

Traditional MLA conferences support health science librarians in medical, hospital, and academic settings. I enjoyed several sessions and conversations covering:

Additionally, as this year’s conference included the SLA (Special Libraries Association) in a hybrid format, attendees could enjoy bonus content for and networking with librarians from the Library of Congress and the National Transportation Library, as well as those from research and development, geological, law, engineering, military, and prison libraries.

MLA Portland 2024

Portland, OR will host the 2024 MLA Conference where I intend to present follow up and ongoing efforts on my health literacy research journey (…and finally get to visit Powell’s Books and experience the Springwater Corridor – I mean, why not if I’m going to be there anyway?).

Many thanks ZSR for making this opportunity and experience possible!