My job is to help preserve the integrity of civilisation. It's a dirty job but someone has to do it. One of my duties in PTIOC is to read MLA news e-bulletins. As such things go, they are not too bad - short and to the point so it is easy to pick out any useful bits of information. Keep up the good work John.
Recently the bulletin contained an item from Katie Pekacar on gathering information about libraries' role in health. The MLA is gathering information about health and wellbeing activities undertaken by museums, libraries and archives to gain a full picture of the sector’s contribution in this area. They would like to find out which museums, libraries and archives have health and wellbeing projects or programmes at present and any information the sector has collected about their impact. This information will inform the MLA’s future policy and best practice guidance for the sector on health and wellbeing activities. If you would like to share information about health and/or wellbeing projects and programmes that you are involved in or know about, please contact Katie Pekacar, Policy Advisor at MLA at Katie.firstname.lastname@example.org or call her on 020 7273 1405.
I was able to send Katie information about the 2007 winner of the SINTO Bob Usherwood student prize, Elizabeth Brewster and her dissertation Medicine for the Soul: bibliotherapy and the public library. I will also draw her attention to the Sheffield Libraries Hillsborough Disaster Research Guide as it contains some health related references.
How does the MLA meet its own information needs? It has an active research programme but the web site makes no mention of a MLA library to support this research. I don't want to make a cheap point. These is no need for an organisation like MLA to have its own library but it does need an information policy which covers how staff get access to the resources they need. I assume there is an agreement with local public and academic libraries to cover this. The MLA staff list has an impressive range of posts concerned with research and IT: Senior Research Manager; Head of Research and Evidence; Research Database Manager; Web Manager; ICT Manager and IT Infrastructure Consultant.* There is no mention of an Information Manager (let alone Librarian), but this may not be significant as this function is surely included in the job description of at least one of these posts :-). Anyway, the library profession is always happy to help the MLA.
*There is also a post of National Security Adviser. Clearly the MLA also helps preserves the integrity of civilisation!