Hi, all. Below is a post I wrote for today for the PNC blog. Here the link to the actual post:

Hope Leman, MLIS
Research Information Technologist
Center for Health Research and Quality
Samaritan Health Services
815 NW 9th Street
Corvallis, OR 97330
(541) 768-5712

Show Your Stuff: The Joys of Writing for Medical Library Association Section Newsletters
May 6th, 2011

Author: Hope Leman

Quick questions. Ever have to explain what you do as a medical librarian to someone new to the field or new to your institution? Ever needed a nice write-up of some of your favorite services in your medical library to link to in an email or to have in ever handy PDF? Want to hone your writing skills and to think deeply about how to best present your services to new audiences and your patrons? Then think about writing for one of the many Medical Library Association section newsletters. It is certainly a timesaver to have an archive of your articles in the cloud when you are on the go.

Imagine you are at a conference say and to be able to say, “I’ll send you my article on that!” and be able to do so right then with your computing device of choice or later in the day in your hotel room.

Here is example from my own life (my favorite topic!) this week.

I am trying to get an article placed in a prestigious medical journal about the services I work on, ResearchRaven and ScanGrants. The editor of the journal asked for some background on them–and I was able to send him an article within a few minutes that I had written about them for the MLA’s Nursing and Allied Health Resources Section newsletter (see a list of issues here) and one I had in the Spring 2011 issue of The Incipit, the newsletter of the History of the Health Sciences Section of the MLA. The editor thanked me for getting back to him so quickly–and was it convenient to have so accessible on the Web articles so nicely edited and formatted by the editors of each of those newsletters.

You too can be made to look so good by the skillful, dedicated editors of MLA section newsletters! And it never hurts to let your own marketing department know of such articles. Get the name of your institution on the Web–showcase your library with the free help of the MLA. And help increase the visibility of our profession on the Web and help us educate library school students who may not have been exposed to it so far in their studies.

Writing for MLA section newsletters not only provides you with an archive in the cloud of your professional writing, it also helps you network in the profession and follow more closely the doings of your section(s).  I have gotten to know quite a few of the editors of newsletters and have come to admire them for the editorial acumen, subject matter mastery and tact in dealing with stubborn or somewhat inept first-time authors (um, like I can be and once was). I have learned a huge amount about concision and writing for professional peers from the patient tutelage I have received from these editors.

Here are some of the newsletters, in addition to the two already mentioned. There is The National Network, official newsletter of the Hospital Libraries Section of the Medical Library Association. And check out the richness of Hypothesis, the official journal of the Research Section of MLA.

By writing for the section newsletters you not only bulk up your CV, you learn how to leverage what you have already done by harnessing the Web and social media to the best advantage. You can tweet about your newsletter contribution or blog about it (as I have done, to some extent here, in this very post). And by writing for section newsletters you help highlight the contributions of medical librarians to scholarship and technological innovation.

Is that cool or what?

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