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Library and Information Science


Objective:This poster will demonstrate how partnering with civic and community organizations to host a traveling exhibit helps the library reach beyond its primary clientele to: 1) heighten awareness of the historical roles of women physicians, 2) encourage young women to enter the medical fields, 3) promote medical librarians and library services, and 4) increase visibility of the medical school.

Method:In the summer of 2004, a core group of library staff gathered to prepare the application to host the ALA/NLM traveling exhibit, “Changing the Face of Medicine: Celebrating America’s Women Physicians.” Once selected as a host site, the group reached out to a diverse mix of academic and administrative staff from across the Medical School, as well as members of the local community. This group became the formal steering committee to plan programming to accompany the exhibit, helping meet the educational and promotional goals set forth in the initial application. Some outreach events included movie nights at the public library, an essay contest for grade school students, a career day with Girl Scouts, a review of research in women’s health (WHI), etc. Promotional methods/vehicles included “save the date” postcards, flyers, posters, and coverage through area radio, television, and newspapers.

Results:Seventeen events were held in conjunction with the Library’s hosting of the exhibit. During the six-week period, approximately 60,000 individuals visited the Library, more than 750 specifically devoted to viewing the display. Two hundred people from the medical school community and the public at large attended the opening ceremony, 100 area Girl Scout members participated in multiple educational events, local middle and high school students took part in an essay contest, and more than 100 people attended book signings, film screenings, and a dramatic performance about Elizabeth Blackwell. Six groups provided financial support of the exhibit, totaling more than $7,000.

Conclusion:The exhibit encouraged new experiences for Library staff including collaboration, marketing and outreach to a wider audience. It introduced many first-time Library visitors to a valued local resource, helped develop relationships between medical school students and the public, and introduced a different and important historical perspective on medicine to all.

Presented at the Medical Library Association Annual Meeting on May 20, 2007, in Philadelphia, PA.

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2007 Medical Library Association Annual Meeting