Archives for February 2014

Spring in Chicago!


by JoeyBLS Photography via Flickr

The average temperatures range from 50 to 70. After a cold winter throughout the US, spring weather will be arriving in Chicago just in time for the MLA conference. However, when it comes to deciding what to pack for your Chicago adventure, we have some tips. The hotel is incredibly close to Lake Michigan so make sure to bring a warm coat for the wind off the lake. Layers are the perfect solution for embracing Chicago throughout the day: refreshing mornings, warm afternoons and cool evenings. Finally, add your favorite pair of walking shoes to your “must bring” list. Regardless of weather or your transportation plans, a good pair of weather friendly walking shoes are life-savers in Chicago. With these tips in mind, you will have a great time in Chicago this spring.


Guest Blog Post by Ramune Kubilius

I’m happy to have a number of guest blogs in the coming weeks and months as we move closer to MLA 2014. My first guest poster is Ramune Kubilius of Northwestern University Galter Health Sciences Library with a “What’s New” blog. Thanks Ramune! 

What’s new in Chicago since the last time the MLA conference was in town?

by Ramune K. Kubilius (Northwestern University, Galter Health Sciences Library)

Chicago area MLA members are pleased to again welcome the annual MLA conference to Chicago. The last annual meeting of the Medical Library Association held in Chicago was the 108th, convened May 16-21, 2008. The meeting theme was “Connections: Bridging the Gaps.” Total attendance was 2,436. See: J Med Libr Assoc. 2009 January; 97(1): E1–E41. [PMC2605030]

So, what is new since MLA conference goers last visited Chicago? As mentioned in the 2014 annual meeting blog,, Chicago has a new public transit card, VENTRA, the Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup in 2013, and there are many new and improved sites to see. Chicago has long been known for its architecture. This is a sampling of a few newer buildings, structures, and additions that certainly make an impression to anyone interested in Chicago’s architectural scene. Information snippets about them were gleaned primarily from their websites. All of these gems are located in Chicago, primarily in the vicinity of the conference hotel. Note: Visits to some of these sites may require advance or special arrangements.


McCormick Place’s rooftop garden
Location: 2301 South Lake Shore Drive

Although 2014 MLA annual meeting attendees won’t be gathering at McCormick Place, the large Chicago convention center, located south of the city’s Museum campus, has a new claim to fame. Launched in June 2013, McCormick Place’s brand new rooftop garden is said to be the largest rooftop garden in the entire Midwest. (At 20,000 square feet, it’s expected to yield 4,000 pounds of produce this year, and more in years to come). The garden’s crew comes from VRIC (the Cook County Sheriff’s Vocational Rehabilitation Impact Center, formerly known as Cook County Boot Camp) and Windy City Harvest, a training program operated by the Chicago Botanic Garden. (The director of urban agriculture at the Chicago Botanic Garden is in charge of the garden). The vegetables grown go directly downstairs from the rooftop to Savor, McCormick’s catering company. McCormick Place prides itself on these facts: the garden is an experiment in sustainability, with no middle man, no carbon emissions from shipping or delivering, and it also helps cool the building below. (No information has been found that this garden is open to the public).


Trump International Hotel and Tower
(also known as Trump Tower Chicago and Trump Tower)
Location: 401 N Wabash Ave

When topped out in 2009, the Trump Tower became the second-tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, after the Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower). Trump Tower Chicago surpassed the city’s John Hancock Center as the building with the highest residence (apartment or condo) in the world, and held this title until the completion of the Burj Khalifa in November 2012. Now, the twelfth-tallest building in the world, the building design includes, from the ground up, retail space, a parking garage, a hotel, and condominiums. The 339-room hotel opened for business with limited accommodations and services the year that MLA was in town, on January 30, 2008 and construction was completed in 2008. The building received publicity when the winner of the first season of The Apprentice reality television show, Bill Rancic, chose to manage the construction of the tower in his native Chicago.


Willis Tower
Location: 233 South Wacker Drive

There have been several developments related to this building. Named the Sears Tower throughout its history, in 2009 the Willis Group obtained the right to rename the building, as part of their lease on a portion of its offices and on July 16, 2009, the building was officially renamed Willis Tower. More recently, in November 2013,the Willis Tower was knocked off its perch on the lists as the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat decreed that the needle on top of the new World Trade Center in New York counts in the calculation of the building’s height, which pushed the Willis Tower out of the top spot. But, do not despair, a trip to Willis Tower and “The Ledge” is still worth a visit. The Sears Tower observation deck, called the Skydeck, opened on June 22, 1974 but more recently, the new addition, TheLedge, opened to the public on July 2, 2009. It is a glass balcony experience offering a view, two boxes extending four feet outside the 103rd floor of Willis and able to bear five short tons of weight (about 4.5 metric tons).


Art Institute’s Modern Wing
Location: 111 South Michigan Avenue

Founded 1879, The Art Instituteof Chicago, with its signature lion statues out front, has been a popular tourist destination for many years. On May 16, 2009, a new wing was opened, designed by Pritzker Prize–winning architect Renzo Piano. The Modern Wing is the new home for the museum’s collection of 20th and 21st-century art. This 264,000 square-foot building makes the Art Institute the second-largest art museum in the United States. The Nichols Bridgeway connects the Modern Wing’s third level to the southwest corner of Millenium Park’s Pritzker Great Lawn. It should also be noted that the Art Institute’s  galleries of European modern art have been closed for renovation and will reopen just before the MLA annual meeting, in April 2014.


Joe and Rika Mansueto Library – University of Chicago
Location: 1100 East 57th Street
see also:

In May 2011, University of Chicago opened the Joe and Rika Mansueto Library, a structure that includes a domed area for research and study, a preservation laboratory, and beneath the new library’s main floor, a basement five stories deep that can hold 3.5 million books, periodicals and other items. When any of items are requested, they are retrieved by a computer-linked mechanical retrieval system. While other institutions may have opted for remote and offsite storage solutions for older or lesser used materials, the University of Chicago went a different route. What some call a “futuristic” Helmut Jahn designed structure, the Mansueto Library is connected by a bridge pathway to, and rises up from the lawn west of the Regenstein Library that was built in 1970. ( John Crerar Library, the science library, is down the street at 5730 South Ellis). Look for announcements about possible organized tours of the facility during the course of the MLA annual meeting. Otherwise, access for visiting users must be arranged through the ID & Privileges Office (773-702-8782) at Regenstein during office hours

National Hellenic Museum
Location: 333 South Halsted Street

As medical historians know, medicine has roots in ancient Greece. The National Hellenic Museum, until 2009 known as the Hellenic Museum and Cultural Center, moved to its present spacious facility in 2011. The building houses not only exhibit floors, but also a gift shop, a library, and an oral history center. Chicago has one of the world’s largest Greek populations and the museum is the first and only major museum in the country dedicated to the Greek journey, from ancient times to the modern Greek American experience.

Pritzker Military Library 
Location: 104 South Michigan Avenue

In its new building across the street from Millennium Park and the Art Institute of Chicago since early 2011, the Pritzker Military Library is open to the public with speakers, live events and a collection of books, films, and gallery exhibits. All tell the story of the Citizen Soldier in American military history. The library is open to the public, though only members can check out books. It was founded in 2003 by Colonel Jennifer Pritzker IL ARNG (Ret.), (then known as James Pritzker), a military veteran and military history buff, as well as a member of the philanthropic and well-known Chicago-based Pritzker family.  As the library’s website describes, “The library’s holdings swelled from about 9,000 books originally — mostly the Pritzker family’s private collection — to more than 50,000 books, artifacts and videos.”  The library occupies three floors of a restored Holabird and Roche building. One of its named collections is the James Wengert Military Medical Collection.



Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago
Location: 225 East Chicago Avenue

A name change from Children’s Memorial Hospital occurred when the respected pediatrics hospital moved in June 2012 from Lincoln Park to its current location in the Streeterville neighborhood. The new address positions the hospital closer to Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine and the school’s other affiliated hospitals- Northwestern Memorial Hospital, with its nearby Prentice Women’s Hospital, as well as Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (currently undergoing its own building project). The hospital is built vertically and the public spaces and corridors feature sculptures, a portion of a fire engine as a play area for children, and several corners that have covered balconies where long-term patients can take a breath of fresh (city) air. Located in the hospital are a small library for clinical staff and a consumer education library for patients and their families. Note that the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago Research Center Halsted facility and its Pritzker Research Library remain in the Lincoln Park neighborhood.


Another visit to Chicago may be warranted…
More coming to McCormick Place

In August 2013, Mayor Emanuel and city officials broke ground on the Cermak-McCormick Place CTA Green Line “L” stop. Expected to open by the end of 2014, this new train stop will feature a fully-covered platform, LED lighting and located just two blocks from the campus. In September 2013, the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority announced the selection of internationally-renowned architecture firm Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects to design a 10,000-seat event center at McCormick Place, scheduled for completion in the fall of 2016, that will host general sessions for large conventions and trade shows and DePaul University basketball. A new hotel, the Marriott Marquis, to be connected by a bridge to the West Building of McCormick Place, is scheduled for completion in late 2016.

Maggie Daley Garden

Chicagoans are looking forward to the opening of Maggie Daley Park, named in honor of Chicago’s beloved first lady who died of metastatic breast cancer in November 2011. Construction began October 2012, phase two began a year later, and the Garden is slated to open in 2015. Originally called the North Grant Park renovation project, the plan is to reinvigorate the 20 acres of land, three discrete landscapes along the northern edge of Grant Park. It will transform the sites of Daley Bicentennial Plaza into a single continuous public landscape that will operate at a variety of scales, serve a growing residential community, and join Millennium Park.

No Comments

MLA 2014 Bloggers Announced, and a Limited Opportunity for More Participants!

Please join us in congratulating and thanking the following MLA members who have been selected as bloggers for the 2014 conference, “Building Our Information Future:”

Distinguished Member – Helen-Ann Brown Epstein
Early Riser – Elizabeth Laera
First Timer – Kerry Dhakal
NLM Activities – Neyda Gilman
Plenary Sessions – Rachel Harrison, Kelly Thormodson
Posters – Amanda McNeil, Elizabeth Stellrecht
Section Programs – Kate Flewelling, Elizabeth Moreton, Virginia Pannabecker
Social Butterfly – A’Lynn Ettien
SIG coverage (Molecular Biology) – Margaret Henderson
SIG coverage (New Member) – Keith Engwall

We still have some areas of coverage that could use additional bloggers, therefore applications have been reopened. Topics available include:

  • Exhibits – Provide information of use from the Exhibit Hall, including important products and changes.
  • Library Student – Posts from the perspective of a current library science student; could include topics such as the intersection of what you are seeing at MLA with what you’re learning at school, the job market and Recruitment Center, or other topics of interest to future medical librarians.
  • Lifelong Learner – Posts on what you’re learning at the meeting; at least one post must be on a CE course taken at the 2014 Annual Meeting.
  • MLA Activities Blogger – Posts on official MLA activities; at least one post must be on an MLA Business Meeting (non-section).
  • Plenary Session Blogger – Posts reporting on the content of Plenary Sessions (in coordination with other Plenary bloggers).
  • Poster Blogger – Reports on posters of interest (in coordination with other Poster bloggers).
  • Section Blogger – Posts on section sponsored programs, papers and posters by section members or relevant to the Section focus, business meetings, incoming/outgoing officers, and other activities. Applicants should indicate their desired section; preference will be given to current or past section members (in coordination with other Section bloggers).
  • SIG Blogger – Posts reporting on Special Interest Group activities, including sponsored programs, papers and posters by SIG members or relevant to the SIG focus, SIG meetings, and other activities. Applicants should indicate their desired SIG; preference will be given to current or past SIG members.

To volunteer, please complete the application at before midnight Pacific on 3/1/2014. Selected bloggers will be notified after this date.

No Comments