April was a busy month for the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, Middle Atlantic Region (NN/LM MAR) as we hosted our first in-person advisory committee meetings. As a new regional medical library, the HSLS has created an advisory structure that includes health sciences and public librarians, unaffiliated health professionals, and representatives from community and health consumer groups, representing the diversity of Network members within our four-state region of Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.
The advisory structure consists of a Regional Advisory Committee, which serves as an oversight committee, and four Special Advisory Groups: (1) Outreach to Health Professionals and Public Health Workers, (2) Consumer Health, (3) Hospital Libraries, and (4) Resource and Academic Libraries. Committee members are geographically dispersed and come from varied backgrounds and areas of expertise, such as resource and academic libraries, hospital libraries, mental health professions, public health leaders, public libraries, patient educators, and community based organizations.
Collectively, these groups will assist the NN/LM MAR in planning, coordinating, and implementing a variety of network and outreach programs. Committee members serve as ambassadors throughout the region and help identify target audiences for outreach programs in order to improve access to biomedical information for health professionals and the public; promote active participation by health professionals, consumer groups, health sciences and public librarians; advise on regional priorities; and recommend communication and training strategies to reach those within the region.
Participants in this first round of meetings were very enthusiastic, and gave the NN/LM MAR staff useful feedback and recommendations for the next contract year. Future quarterly committee meetings will be conducted virtually. Minutes from each of these meetings will be posted on the NN/LM MAR Web site.
~ Renae Barger, NN/LM MAR Executive Director