Each year, SIM awards up to two $500 prizes to current MLIS students to fund conference travel. The Alberta Letts Conference Travel award is named for past Provincial Librarian, and Past President of CLA (1957/1958), Alberta Letts. Ms. Letts was a strong supporter of the foundation of the School and was very engaged during its early years. After her untimely death in 1973, Dalhousie University established this award to recognize Ms Letts’ contribution.
Our most recent recipient is Kristy Hancock. Read on to learn more about her conference experience:
I am delighted to have attended and presented at the Canadian Health Libraries Association (CHLA) annual conference that took place in Ottawa from June 4-7, 2019. As a Research Assistant for librarians Robin Parker and Melissa Helwig from the W.K. Kellogg Health Sciences Library, I have been helping to evaluate the impact of individual research consultations in academic libraries using a web-based survey tool that we created. I presented the preliminary findings of this research in the form of a lightning talk, and it was a very positive experience. Given it was my first time both attending and presenting at a professional conference, I was nervous about speaking in front of such a large group of people (about 150), but everyone was very supportive and encouraging.
A wide range of topics related to health librarianship were presented upon, but I most enjoyed the sessions related to systematic reviews and open educational resources. I was able to network with health librarians from across North America, and to learn about their research and the types of programs they are implementing at their places of work. Attendees also came from a range of health information settings, including academic and hospital libraries, research institutes, professional associations, and vendors. A key theme that I took away from the conference was the importance of knowledge sharing with colleagues in your field. By sharing your research in a safe space, you can obtain constructive feedback and develop collaborations with others who have similar research interests.
My interest in health librarianship began while working as a Reference Intern at the W.K. Kellogg Health Sciences Library, and attending the CHLA conference has further fueled my drive to become a health sciences librarian. For current MLIS students interested in exploring this area of librarianship, the Maritimes Health Libraries Association offers a free student membership! I am also grateful to the School of Information Management (SIM) for granting me the Alberta Letts Conference Travel Award, and I recommend that other SIM students take advantage of the stellar opportunity that is this award.
For more information about the research that was presented at CHLA, see the abstract and presentation slides on DalSpace: http://hdl.handle.net/10222/75720