TO:     MEDLIB-L Readers
FROM:   Jim Shedlock, Northwestern University
RE:     Apologies for the heat!

While I am still upset at the comments made about MLA not listening to its
members, I reviewed the statements below for which an apology is warranted.

1.  "And don't let me see you state that NLM means nothing to Canadians.
NLM is international in its perspective.  It serves the world as the
greatest collection of biomedical and health information resources, and
don't forget where MEDLINE comes from!"

Yes, this was a stupid way of expressing the criticism from Canadians that
MLA dues for lobbying support for NLM doesn't mean anything to them.  I
heard these comments second hand at MLA'99.  My point is that supporting
NLM is important to all the libraries of the world.  If NLM stays strong in
its collections and services, then all of us win.  It seems reasonable to
use the portion of international dues to support lobbying efforts so NLM
can continue to provide resources like MEDLINE and DOCLINE which we all use
no matter where we are.  I apologize for the crass wording.

2.  "Probably too seriously, which is why I am fighting back!!!  I
can testify to the dedication of all MLA HQ staff and their good work to
address all of the membership's concerns!  Doreen, you owe "MLA" and this
list an apology!"  There is no need to use the word "fight".

I apologize.  However, in the context of the statement, MLA bashing
deserves an apology.

3.  "And what do you want the associations to do for you -- ask your boss for
your raise?!  Let's get real here!"

The sarcasm here is not warranted.  A better way of stating the problem
would be better.  I apologize, and sincerely hope that with the heat out of
the way, someone will start the discussion as to what associations can do
to influence salaries.  I am still of the opinion that the associations'
role in educating members -- to improve skills -- is the critical activity.

4.  "You're damn right!  I am making myself heard loud and clear: this use of
the public lists to bash MLA is not very smart! ... We know who you are and
we will continue to watch for opportunities to counterpoint your false
statements when it gets out of hand!"

Well, the last sentence was really stupid.  No one should imply being Big
Brother.  The statement was definitely made in anger, and I do apoligize
for this.  I was privately told of being oversensitive re: MLA.  Maybe so,
though I don't think so.  Not in the case of MLA not responding to the
specifics of the original message.

I also apologize to the MLA membership if you infer, as some did, that I
reflect poorly on the MLA Board and its leaders.  I find this inference the
hardest to understand.  My words are my own.  Right now I have no formal
commitment to MLA activities, so what I say I say as a member.

I believe it important that the discussion focus on the original points:
bylaws changes for a Presidential single slate and for total membership
vote on dues increases.  These are both very important issues.  I urge
members to think about them and share your comments.

I also believe it important to move MLA forward.  Tearing it apart with
clever word bashing won't get us anywhere.


James Shedlock, AMLS, AHIP
Director, Galter Health Sciences Library
Northwestern University
303 E. Chicago Avenue
Chicago, IL  60611

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