October 2023, No.163


We recently met for our annual CAHSLA Executive Committee transition meeting at Dusmesh restaurant in Clifton, which has become a fun tradition.
  We haves several new faces on the Executive Committee, which leaves me feeling very confident about the future of our little stalwart organization. With the new faces, come lots of new and exciting ideas as well.

For our kickoff membership meeting, we’re going to tour the Rubenstein Library at Cincinnati Children’s on November 1st. If you’ve not yet been there, it’s such a fun, unique medical library – you’re in for a treat! And, of course, we will enjoy good food and great community, as well.

We typically talk about the benefits of “networking” as a reason for joining CAHSLA, but I think I’m going to start referring to the benefit of our community. CAHSLA is more than just “networking.” One of my first roles in CAHSLA was on the program committee with Val Purvis, who recently passed away. I was young and nervous to step out of my comfort zone volunteering for something new. Those of you who knew Val know that I had absolutely nothing to be nervous about. She was so welcoming and gave me a tour of one of the iterations of the Children’s Library space. Val served so many roles over the decades for CAHSLA, and she will be deeply missed.

The people and the CAHSLA community are what keep me coming back year after year. Whether you are a new or a returning member, I hope that you consider joining us at an upcoming meeting.

Emily Kean, President

Treasurer's Report



as of 06/16/2023:



1 Membership









as of 10/23/2023:



as of 06/16/2023:







as of 10/23/2023:



as of 10/23/2023:



Regular (Paid)


Students (Paid)


Life Members





Respectfully submitted,
Emily Kean, Treasurer

CAHSLA Membership Meeting

Please join your CAHSLA colleagues on Wednesday, November 1st for our annual membership kick-off meeting for the 2023-2024 Association year. Dinner will be courtesy of CAHSLA! Our host will be Matthew Cooper, MLIS, Library Director, The Rubinstein Library at Cincinnati Children’s. If you did no receive your invitation, please contact Emily Kean.

WHEN: November 1st, 2023 at 5:30 PM
WHERE: The Rubinstein Library
3430 Burnet Ave., 3rd Floor Cincinnati, OH 45229 Phone: 513-636-4626

Midwest Data Librarian Symposium 2023 Hosted at University of Cincinnati

Amy Koshoffer, Assistant Director, Research and Data Services, UC Libraries

Together with The Ohio State University Libraries and Miami University Libraries, UC Libraries hosted the Midwest Data Librarian Symposium from October 9 to October 11, 2023.  The symposium is an unconference focused on practical approaches and knowledge sharing.  The attendees (54 total represented by 46 information professionals and 8 students) came from coast to coast with the majority of people coming from the Midwest and Plains states.

1- MDLS 2023 Attendance by State – map credit – Amy Koshoffer

The conference featured many short presentations, lightning talks, lessons learned discussion, and a keynote talk entitled “When Data Is People: Ethics and Ownership in Research and AI Uses of Public Data” presented by Casey Fiesler, Associate Professor at University of Colorado Boulder.  The conference featured so many sessions that Day 2 had two concurrent tracks held in two separate spaces. Many of the talks including the keynote were live streamed so that colleagues who could not travel to Cincinnati could also participate. 

The joint sponsorship of the conference made it possible for the conference to be free and many of the meals were provided as well as swag such as stickers and heat activated pencils.

2 - MDLS 2023 sticker – design credit- Ana Munandar

Our visiting colleagues had much praise to offer our city, the UC campus and library spaces, and the conference itself.  Many presentations from the conference are in the OSF for Meeting instance. I personally presented the workshop “A Crowd-Sourcing Examination of Challenging Data Management Use Cases “where I highlighted some of my own difficult data management consultations as well as resources for new data services librarians to connect into the knowledge and experiences of our regional colleagues. 

The conference also saw the return of Jamene Brooks Kieffer and her insightful conference closing.  This year’s closing was entitled “Mentorship is a verb” where mentorship is defined as “professional working alliance, supporting partners through career and psychosocial support”.  Jamene took attendees on a deep dive into their mentorship practices and the network that supports their work. 

It was so great to have our colleagues come in person.  Every attendee was fully engaged, making for great conversation, networking and new friendships forged.  The MDLS 2024 will be hosted by the University of Kansas libraries. 

3-Presentation in Visualization Space - GMP Library – photo credit – Marcia Johnson

4-Student Presentation to MDLS 2023 - photo credit- Amy Koshoffer

Reflections on a Library Survey
Jennifer Pettigrew, MLIS, AHIP and Lisa A. Raney, MSLS

In 2022, The Christ Hospital Health Network’s James N. Gamble Library staff noticed low engagement from The Christ College of Nursing & Health Sciences (TCCNHS)1 students, faculty, and staff.,2. Usage of the Library’s services and resources had not returned to pre-pandemic levels. Library staff decided to create a survey to measure students, faculty and staff’s awareness and usage of the Library’s services and resources; perceived and actual barriers to accessing the Library’s space and services; and learn what we could do that would be most useful to users (for e.g., create a library app to help users more easily access Library resources, increase our presence at the college, etc.). Additionally, we wanted to know whether the survey data would support the purchase of a single sign-on solution to replace IP-authentication, a known barrier to accessing electronic resources.

To start, our Library Manager reached out to TCCNHS’s Associate Dean of Institutional Effectiveness to ask for assistance with designing a survey. Before our initial meeting with the Associate Dean, library staff conducted a literature review to get an idea of what questions to include in the survey. It was helpful to work with someone with more experience creating surveys and a non-Library staff member who provided a slightly different perspective. The Associate Dean created the survey using SurveyMonkey and emailed the surveys to the appropriate groups.

The surveys developed for students and faculty/staff were identical aside from the demographic questions and two different open-ended questions. The open-ended questions for students asked what they would change about the Library and what additional services they would like the Library to provide, while the open-ended questions for faculty/staff asked how library resources have supported teaching and/or student learning, and what additional services would be helpful to support teaching and/or student learning.

In November 2022, the surveys were sent to each respective user group with a two-week submission window. Students who completed the student survey had the option to submit their e-mail address to be entered into a drawing to win a gift card.

Follow-up surveys were sent in April 2023 to gauge the impact of our Library interventions following the results of our initial survey.

In October 2023, we sent out both surveys again with only minor changes, with plans to send out follow-up surveys again in spring 2024. The only changes we made to the survey were adding two additional proposed interventions.

If your library is thinking about making a library survey, here are some lessons that we have learned along the way. We hope that they help you avoid some of the same issues that we experienced.

SurveyMonkey is not completely anonymous because it records IP addresses. Our first two Library surveys were created by the TCCNHS Associate Dean of Institutional Effectiveness in SurveyMonkey. When we received the data, it included the information for each response including IP address, time stamp, and survey answers on the same line. Because students submitted their email addresses to be entered into the prize drawing, we could have matched responses with email addresses. We did not do that because we did not want to infringe on their privacy. If we were to use SurveyMonkey again, we would have worked to find a creative solution to separate email addresses from survey data – such as having a link to an external form where participants could enter their e-mail address.

Send out the survey during the middle of the semester. We were delayed in sending out the survey as early as we would have liked due to time constraints following our long-time manager’s retirement. We believe that we did not have as many student responses in April 2023 because the survey was sent out at the end of the semester. Ideally, the survey would have been sent out in the beginning or middle of the semester to capture more responses, because that is a time when students, faculty, and staff are more regularly checking their e-mail.

An understaffed library cannot implement as many interventions. After the first survey results were collected, our long-time Library Manager retired. As a result, we did not have the capacity to do as much classroom instruction or webinars and we could not be as present at TCCNHS as we had planned. What we were able to do was create and post flyers advertising the Library’s resources and services in the College and Commons3 and host a Library Open House during National Library Week in April 2022. We also found that the Library survey itself served as an intervention. By listing all of the Library resources and services, the survey raised awareness of our offerings to students, faculty, and staff who may not have known what the Library offered or that the Library services and resources were available to them.

Timing can foil the best laid plans. We came so close to purchasing Open Athens, a single sign-on solution in the beginning of 2023, but did not receive final approval due to uncertainty about the Library’s future following our Library Manager’s retirement. Administration asked us to put the project on hold while they pursued all available options. We were given permission to resume our pursuit of Open Athens in fall 2023; our argument for purchasing the product was strengthened by the results of the Spring 2023 survey.

Make sure that you have administrative access to the survey. After the Associate Dean who initially helped us create the survey found a new job outside of TCCNHS, we no longer had access to the backend of the survey. For the third survey, Library staff took ownership of creation of the survey. We decided to use Microsoft Forms to more easily update the survey questions and have immediate access to the data.

Another set of eyes catches survey mistakes and omissions. Triple-check the survey questions before sending it out.

We hope our experience helps your library create a well-thought-out survey. We are happy to talk more about it you have any questions! 

1. For most of 2022, the Library Staff consisted of one full-time Library Manager and two Electronic Resources Librarians (one full-time and one part-time). Beginning mid-December 2022, the Library Staff consisted of two Electronic Resources Librarians (one full-time and one part-time).

2. The Christ Hospital and The Christ College of Nursing & Health Sciences are part of The Christ Hospital Network in Cincinnati, Ohio.

3. The Christ College Commons is an additional location of The Christ College of Nursing & Health Sciences, located approximately one mile from The Christ Hospital and The Christ College of Nursing & Health Science’s main campus. It consists of classrooms, faculty offices, a kitchenette, and a gathering space. 

In Memoriam


Val Purvis

CASHLA Picnic, Daniel Drake Park. Val is in the back row, third from the right

It is with deep sadness that we share the news of the passing of long-time CAHSLA member Val Purvis. Val most recently was the Circulation Desk Supervisor at the Donald C. Harrison Health Sciences Library of the University of Cincinnati.

Val had a long history of working in medical libraries having spent time at the Deaconess Hospital Library and Cincinnati Children’s Medical Center Library. Additionally, she was a most welcome volunteer at The Jewish Hospital Mercy Health Sciences Library for a time as she was transitioning between jobs.

Val had many interests including being a well-respected dog trainer in Cincinnati and Hamilton dog clubs. She also showed her dogs and had trained several of them for agility competitions. She also enjoyed horses and was always up for a trail ride. She loved skiing with friends at Perfect North Slopes. For many years, Val was involved with the local community theater group, Footlighters.

We will miss Val’s quick and quirky sense of humor, her warm and welcoming smile, and her kind and generous spirit. We extend our sincere condolences to her family and her many friends. No services are planned at this time.

In Other News

According to the UC News website  “ Elizabeth Kiscaden, MLIS, AHIP, has been named dean and university librarian of the University of Cincinnati Libraries, effective Aug. 14, pending approval by the UC Board of Trustees.”

Kiscaden may sound familiar to some active in the Midwest Chapter of the Medical Library Association. She was associate director of the Greater Midwest Regional Office of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine.  She also served as the Library Director of the Luise V. Hanson Library at Waldorf College and was Medical Librarian at Mercy Medical Center – North Iowa.

Prior to her appointment at UC, Kiscaden was the university librarian and assistant vice provost of library services at Creighton University.

NLM’s LitVar 2.0 Provides More Accurate & Comprehensive Way to Search for Genetic Variants in Biomedical Literature

June 07, 2023

A team of researchers from the National Library of Medicine (NLM) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Broad Institute developed an improved web-based system, LitVar 2.0, to help researchers and clinicians search for genetic variants and related information in the biomedical literature. A paper about this powerful LitVar 2.0 system was published in Nature Genetics.

... In addition to improved variant recognition accuracy and the inclusion of variant information from article supplementary data, LitVar 2.0 features more powerful search capabilities, and a redesigned user interface for more convenient results navigation compared with its original system. As of May 2023, LitVar 2.0 indexes approximately 15million unique variants found in the entire biomedical literature and is linked in resources such as dbSNP, ClinVar, and ClinGen.

To learn more about LitVar 2.0 and its features, watch this video.