Posts with category - Visiting Chicago

Ovid Party at the Hyatt

Social Butterfly, wrapping up the evening!

My third stop on Monday night was the Ovid party in the Hyatt.

And you know, a lot of parties have dancing. They pretty much all have drinks. They pretty much all have some manner of food.

But if you want a party where you know without doubt you can count on a live band full of energy, food and drink around the edges, and a crowd of dancing librarians in the center of the floor? You MUST go to the Ovid party. Just follow the music on whatever floor of the conference hotel has a big ballroom…you’ll find it.

The Ovid party was a great last stop of the night for me, because honestly I cannot stay up much longer, but it got me just the right amount of worn out. (I have to pack–I’m leaving tomorrow and will miss the closing reception! If any aspiring Social Butterfly wants to blog it, get it touch with me and I will post it for you. You could be famous. At least, as famous as I am.)

The music is loud, so this party is pretty terrible for conversation, but you don’t go to talk. You’ve had plenty of chances to talk. You go to this party if you want to have a couple of drinks and dance (or just boogie gently in your seat and watch your colleagues dance).

I could barely look at food by this point in the evening, but I did enjoy the classic Chicago deep dish pizza (also thin crust for those who prefer a little less dough), the fresh steamed veggies, and the caramel popcorn. There were, of course, also plentiful drinks at open bar stations around the ballroom: I think it’s fair to say no one went thirsty.

The band played a good mix of older and newer songs, all with admirable energy and enthusiasm, and the dance floor was packed the entire time I was there. (Yes, I danced. Perhaps you noticed my spirited moves set to “Footloose”? If not…you missed out.)

This was definitely at least one of the Places to Be on Monday night.

I have been uniformly pleased by the social events at MLA ’14 (sorry I missed Library School Reunion, the JAMA party, the Armadillo Ball, PEPID wine tasting, etc…I am only one woman!). I’ve had a lot of fun, met a lot of fellow librarians, and enjoyed my fair share of the food and drink that Chicago has to offer.

Thank you Ovid, and thank you, Chicago!

I have loved being your Social Butterfly for MLA’14…even if I am a bit worn out and ready to crawl back into my cocoon right now.

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JoVE Party at Gruen Galleries

Social Butterfly Take Two!

After leaving the AAAS event, I headed out to the Gruen Galleries, where JoVE (the Journal of Visualized Experiments, for those not in the know) was holding a party.

I loved this location! It was not exactly next door to the Hyatt, but it was worth the walk (I walked it in about 20 minutes: a cab would of course be quicker). The galleries are located in a former candy factory, so there’s lots of beautiful open space showcasing lovely abstract and landscape artworks. The old, creaky wood floors and exposed beams are very industrial-vintage-chic.

I got a fairly bad photo of the location:

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Perhaps this will convey a tiny snippet of the charm of the place. Or not. If it looks, bad, ignore that–it’s my lousy camera phone making everything look drab and gray.

In addition to circulating trays of appetizers (which I was unfortunately too full of candy and Cracker Jack from AAAS to really enjoy), there was a live jazz band setting a nice mood. They took a break at one point in the evening to allow Adam Ruben, a science comedian, to entertain us. (Sample math pun: “I wanted to know what percentage of alcohol was in my mouthwash, so I read the label, but it wasn’t listed. Apparently the proof was outside the text of this Scope.”) Apparently we were a reasonably geeky audience.

The JoVE folks were very charming and welcoming, and again, I loved the location even if it took a bit of effort to get there. This was a smaller party that was well worth the effort.

Many thanks, JoVE!

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AAAS Event at A Kerry Simon Kitchen

Social Butterfly blogger reporting for Monday!

The AAAS reception and panel has become a cherished tradition at MLA (at least for me, and I think for others considering the enthusiastic attendance), and I was excited to attend in Chicago. The event was held at Chuck’s A Kerry Simon Kitchen, which apparently is a local institution.

I was incredibly pleased to find that the appetizers at the reception were fresh salty pretzels and mustard, hot dogs, popcorn, Cracker Jack, and a variety of candy bars with Chicago connections, including Butterfingers, m&ms and Jelly Belly jelly beans. Seriously, I love candy. An entire party focused around candy is my kind of deal. They could have shown us the appetizers, thrown some journals at us, and shown us the door and I would have been happy. (Kind of puzzled, but happy.)

In this case, the event was actually focused around an informative panel of experts who spoke about scientific topics like Big Data and genomics. I will not attempt to relate the content, because that would add a sober, educational note to my otherwise flighty reports about social occasions, but I will say that I always enjoy this event because it’s nice to hear from people who are working directly with the information that we work so hard to store and make available. Hearing how researchers are working with data, as well as how libraries are managing challenges associated with its access and storage, is always fascinating.

Following the panel there was a “real food” reception for those who hadn’t filled up on pretzels and candy, and an opportunity to mingle and talk with other attendees. The Kerry Simon Kitchen location was faintly Gothic and glamorous, with dark paneled walls and high ceilings.

My main complaint regarding this event is that my Social Butterfly schedule was very full tonight, and so I had to leave early and I missed the sundae bar.

This is pretty much the lowlight of my day. I can only take comfort in the fact that I brought about 5 candy bars away with me for the plane ride tomorrow, so I will not lack for sugar.

Still…I missed the sundae bar! Truly a sad moment for me.

Other than that, I have no quibbles. As noted, I always enjoy the AAAS event, not only for the food, wine and conversation, but also for the chance to hear from researchers on various topics within the broad audience for Science journals.

Thank you, AAAS! I hope to see you again next year.

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McGraw-Hill at the Field Museum

What a party!

After splitting into teams of eight on the bus over, we charged headlong into the awesome Field Museum on an information scavenger hunt, following clues to various exhibits to answer 14 different questions. This got us looking at a lot of the cool things to see (albeit in a very narrow and hasty fashion), and let us find our way around the place.

There are a lot of very interesting exhibits, including fascinating materials on the histories of different native cultures and a lot of amazing, beautifully presented natural history displays.

The main bad thing about the evening was the fact that my team, Sue’s Clues–although obviously the most awesome team of all from any objective standpoint–was denied a place in the Winner’s Circle due to what I believe to be a combination of blatant favoritism, rampant cheating, bribery and corruption at the highest levels, and the fact that all of us were born under an evil star. Nevertheless, we know in our hearts that we were the best. We’ll always have those memories, team. Sue’s Clues Forever!

Crushing disappointment aside, it’s hard to find much fault with the party at the Field Museum. I felt bad that I didn’t get a picture of the sturgeon for you at the Aquarium on Saturday, so I took this one of Sue the T-Rex and the (ominously red-lit) elephants.


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(Question: Sue vs. two elephants–who wins? They’re actually pretty much the same size, Sue’s just farther away. And I know Sue’s a T-Rex and all, but there are two elephants and they look pretty fierce.)

I did not get a picture of the very classy tables set up for us, with floral centerpieces and linen napkins and nice china and all, but it was a lovely arrangement. The food was good, and the beverages plentiful and varied, with mixed drinks in addition to soda, juice, wine and beer.

I would note that the music was pretty loud, making conversation a bit of a challenge if you didn’t shout at each other, but this is pretty standard for events and restaurants (does everyone except me love music so loud you have to shout? Why is the music always so loud you have to shout?), so I don’t place any particular blame on the party’s organizers.

My only other complaint is that this party was scheduled at the same time as Library School Reunion, which I therefore had to miss. I’m so sorry, Dr. MacCall. You know we still love you!

It was a lot of fun to have the chance to visit this very cool location after hours, and I had a good time getting to know the other members of my team, so the scavenger hunt was a fun activity even if it was hideously rigged against us from the start.

Big thumbs up for this party. I would go again tomorrow if they had it twice, because we didn’t see half of what there was to see in the museum.

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Clinical Key at the Shedd Aquarium

Good news, everyone!

Your dedicated Social Butterfly blogger is checking in, fresh from the Clinical Key party at the Shedd Aquarium.

There was a great deal of mingling, facilitated by the brilliant orange cards of MLA Twitter Bingo. (Ask Marie Ascher or Beth Whipple for a card, and fill it out for awesome bragging rights. I’m @aettien, find me! Especially if you are on my card.) I personally talked to several people I would not otherwise have charged up to, even though I only signed one card and got no signatures for my own.

There was a brief introduction from Clinical Key staff, and then the crowd dispersed to the several different-themed food stations with plenty of light edibles (Sliders, Asian, Italian, crackers and cheese). A dessert stand of adorable mini cupcakes rounded out the meal, and abundant wine and beer were on hand to slake the thirsty crowd. I saw several intrepid librarians out on the dance floor doing the Electric Slide, even as I personally darted away to admire the bullfrogs.

Although many of the aquarium’s exhibits had gone to bed by the time the party came through, it was possible to see some lovely fish, frogs, and reptiles (including an impressively large anaconda), especially if you were willing to stare really hard through the glass into the dark water.

A highlight of the evening: I touched a sturgeon. Not something one does every day, right?

A sturgeon is a big, leathery-feeling fish that according to the aquarium employee standing nearby grows as large as it can in its habitat. In this case, there were a couple about as long as my leg, and several smaller ones that weren’t as interested in being touched. You don’t really think of fish as creatures to pet, but these two big ones would swim casually by under your fingers, and even nudge up against your hand, like large, hairless, underwater dogs. It was kind of awesome.

If you make it to the aquarium, definitely look for the sturgeons. It’s a bit of a hike from the Hyatt, but buses shuttled partygoers there and back during the evening, which was nice.

I saw a lot of people talking, dancing, eating, drinking, and looking at fish. That about sums up “awesome party” where I come from.  (At least, it does now.)

Nice work, Clinical Key!


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A Library Student at MLA ’14 – Pacing Myself

I have heard several of my medical librarian colleagues commenting on how it is necessary to pace yourself when attending the MLA Conference.

Yesterday I felt like I jumped into the deep end of the pool with a sink-or-swim attitude.  Today was no different, but I am learning to take the time to enjoy being here, while not being in a frenzy.  There is so much to see and do on the MLA Schedule and in Chicago, that it is tempting to try to do it all, see it all and understand it all.  Not possible.

Here’s my rule of thumb: when all three of your mobile devices shut down you should probably lie down too and take a rest while they are recharging.

When you wake up ask yourself what is possible to accomplish during MLA 14?  Here’s what I’m doing: making some connections, having some conversations, taking notes on Google Docs, gathering business cards and emails, and stopping by interesting Chicago places, if only for a moment.

Here’s my list of things that I’ve enjoyed so far, starting with a few tips on Chicago:

Food: I love Indian food and had a great lunch buffet at Gaylord Fine Indian Cuisine about a 20 minute walk north on Michigan Avenue at Walton Street.  The food was well done and there were plenty of vegetarian options.  About 10 people waited on me, but the buffet was only $13.95.  For dessert they had the best gulab jamun I have ever tasted.

Sightseeing:  My nephew who lives here in downtown Chicago said that if you want to view the city from the Hancock Tower, it is a better deal to go to the Signature Lounge on the 95th floor and buy a $10 drink than to pay the same money to go to the observation deck.  We went there last night and the views were awesome, as well as the Tanqueray and tonic!

If you find yourself up by Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine for a hands on CE class, stop by the Museum of Contemporary Art, just across the street.  Right now they have an exhibit of Zachary Cahill’s work which explores the “implications of art as a therapeutic exercise.”  I enjoyed a 30 minute art therapy session after my CE class this morning.

CE Courses:  Technology was the theme of my continuing education courses today.  At 7 am a group of MLA attendees gathered in the lobby and walked about 12 blocks (20 minutes) north along Michigan Avenue (not stopping to shop) to Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine.  There I attended CE202: Breaking an Electronic Health Record (EHR) System: a sandbox workshop by PJ Grier from NNLM/SEA.  Once again I was overwhelmed with excellent and idea-provoking information.  Wireless and personalized medicine (a la Dr. Eric Topol)?  The necessity of the librarian to advocate for a defined role in the Electronic Health Record? Meaningful Use 1, 2 and 3? HIMSS? Health Level Seven?  Took notes so I can read up on all this fascinating and important information!!!  Not to mention taking some time to explore a freely available sample EHR system in Practice Fusion.

Then a quick walk back to the Hyatt for CE501-Information at Your Fingertips: Tablet Technology by Emily Hurst of NNLM/SCR.  I did not know about all the mobile sites and mobile apps that the NLM makes available for us: Also going to spend some time looking at Bloomin’ Apps (iPad Apps to support Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy) and the Padagogy Wheel which “shows teachers that the pedagogy should drive the technology and not the other way around.”

So that is why I am now resting and reflecting on the day, while everything recharges.  (Good thing my Chromebook can recharge while I type!)  My second day at MLA ’14 is in the books, and I paced myself – didn’t go back for seconds at the Indian buffet – and satisfied myself with taking notes, knowing that I’ll have time when I get home to review it all at leisure.  Now, let me check my devices to see if they’re recharged yet . . .



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A Library Student at MLA ’14 – Jumping into the Deep End!

Hello, I am Don Pearson from Mount Carmel Health Sciences Library in Columbus, Ohio and I am blogging about the MLA ’14 from a Library Student Perspective.  I am just beginning the MLIS program at Kent State University, although I have been working in libraries for several years, and with computers for much longer.  Coming to this conference for the first time seems quite overwhelming, just as it is coming from Columbus, Ohio to big city Chicago.

My traveling companions and I arrived by car last night (Thursday) and experienced a very quick and painless parking and check-in experience at the Hyatt.  It is very large, beautiful, and modern. In fact, the MLA venue this year, the Hyatt Regency Chicago, with 2019 guest rooms is the largest hotel in Chicago (according to Chicago Business).  My companions and I marveled at the huge number of buttons in the elevator as we headed to our room on the 14th floor.  I realized that I hadn’t been in a building over 10 stories in more than a year.  But we’re OK, we parked our car, found our room, got some food and a good nights rest.

Speaking of food here are some good places we found last night and this morning.  All are within 2 blocks of the hotel.  Bockwinkel’s for groceries is right behind the hotel. Giordanos Pizza at 135 E. Lake Street is about 2 blocks away and really satisfied the need for Chicago deep dish.  The Corner Bakery at Michigan and Wacker  had great coffee and Apple Hand Pie.

I think from the beginning the theme of this conference for me is that I feel like I’ve jumped into the deep end of the pool.  Big city, big hotel, big conference, big ideas and lots of learning to do.  But so far so good and so far I’ve come up swimming.  I’m taking my lunch break on Friday to write this, while I think about statistics.  I’m in the middle of CE700 – Statistical Literacy for Medical Librarians: Swimming in a Sea of Conflicting Medical Claims.  I know less about research statistics than I know about medical librarianship, but I’m glad I took this class.  Even though much of this is going over my head, I was reassured by Steve Simon, one of the presenters, who said,

“The one who knows the least benefits the most from my class. You will learn more than anyone else.”

That is certainly true for me and I’ll hang on to this quote as a memento from this conference.  Even though I jumped into the deep end by even coming here, because I’m starting from zero, I think I will learn more than anyone else!



Don’t Forget to Pack

I am very excited to be a MLA Meeting Blogger again this year. My posts will reflect thoughts as a MLA Distinguished Member.

As many of you know I have retired after 22 years from the Weill Cornell Medical Library, and starting to wind down my participation in MLA. This year I am the Chair of the Hospital Libraries Section and next year I will be past Chair; after that not sure what my MLA future looks like,

As I have done in past years, here is a list of 10 things not to forget as you pack for MLA in Chicago.

1- Light jacket or favorite hoodie. If you can trust the weather people, forecast is for mid50s – low 70s.
2- Comfortable walking shoes or sneakers. The hotel is a nice but doable walk along the Miracle Mile to Water Tower Place. You may want to run along the Lake. You may want to participate in the YPB Health Walk very early Sunday morning..
3- Gym clothes. The hotel will have a 24 hour fitness center for your use. It is on the Blue Level of the West Tower. The CAM SIG and co sponsor Hospital Libraries Section is offering yoga early Sunday morning in the Buckingham room. Bring your mat or win a mat. You can always bring a bath towel from your room.
4- Business cards. Bring plenty to enter vendor contests in the Exhibit Hall and also to exchange with old or new colleagues.
5- Chargers for all your technology-laptop, tablet, phone, camera, etc.
6- Camera in your iPad or phone or your digital camera to record highlights of the meeting, Chicago and maybe selfies .
7- Reading light or flashlight. Your roommate may have different sleeping habits than you. With a light you may be able to read when he/she is sleeping in a dark room. Of course tablets or kindles or nooks or iPads provide their own light.
8- Your meeting scheduler that includes when you are taking a vendor class in the exhibit hall, meeting a colleague for breakfast, lunch, dinner, breaks or drinks.
9- Umbrella. Rain is not in the schedule, however, if we bring them, it will not rain.
10- Snacks. If you have room, you may want to pack your fiber bars, drink mix, nuts or what you may need when there is no time for breakfast or lunch.
Safe travels to Chicago

Helen-Ann Brown Epstein, AHIP

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Free Exhibit Highlights the Use of Big Data in Chicago

A special exhibit titled Chicago: City of Big Data and presented by the Chicago Architecture Foundation is currently on view downtown. Big data in the urban context encompasses everything from data collected by environmental sensors to messages on social media. This new exhibition explores the use of urban data for planning, architecture and services. You can explore interactive displays, recreated sections of the city and even get views into your own personal data. The exhibit features a number of interactive data-based activities using various large sets of data about Chicago’s urban environment and people. The centerpiece of the exhibit, located in CAF’s atrium, is the Chicago Model. It is the only accurate and up-to-date 3-D depiction of Chicago’s downtown. For the exhibit, the Chicago Model will be enhanced with new touch-screens, a colorful light installation, and an interactive digital model of the city.

Free to the public
Open 9am – 6:30pm daily
CAF Atrium Gallery
224 S. Michigan Ave.
Chicago IL 60604

[Thanks to Andrea Twiss-Brooks for providing this information!]

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Dine-Around Chicago!

MLA conference attendees who will be arriving in Chicago on Thursday, May 15 or Friday, May 16 are invited to join us for a Dine-Around. A Dine-Around is a casual dining experience with fellow MLA Conference attendees who want to enjoy a nice meal and interesting conversation. We have made reservations for groups of 8 (including the host) at several local restaurants. To sign up for a Dine-Around, visit the Hospitality Booth (across from the registration desk in the Hyatt). Hospitality Booth hours are 4:00-7:00 PM on Thursday and 7:00 AM – 7:00 PM on Friday. Signup sheets with the restaurant and the assigned host’s name will be available there.

All reservations are for 7:00 PM. Restaurants are within walking distance of the Hyatt, except for Greek Islands which is a short cab ride away. Diners should meet the hosts in the Hospitality Booth area at 6:30 PM; groups will walk/cab together to the restaurants. For more information on the menus and locations, please consult the list below.

For other dining options, don’t forget to consult the MLA ’14 Restaurant Guide:

Thursday Dine-Arounds

Friday Dine-Arounds:

[Thanks to Andrea Twiss-Brooks for providing this information!]

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