Interview with Karen Keesing, MLA’s Hawaii-Pacific Chapter Chair Elect

Lauren Hays

Lauren Hays

May 28, 2024

Below is the substance of my recent interview with Karen Keesing, the Chair Elect of the Hawaii Pacific Chapter of the Medical Library Association.

Please introduce yourself to our readers.

Aloha! My name is Karen Keesing. I am the Chair Elect of the Hawaii Pacific Chapter of the Medical Library Association. I am also the Project Manager for the Hawaii Library Telehealth Access Project with the Hawaii State Public Library System (HSPLS), and our partners, the Hawaii State Department of Health and the Pacific Basin Telehealth Resource Center (PBTRC). I have been a Librarian since 2003.

What would you like to share about the Hawaii-Pacific Chapter of MLA?

We are fairly small, but cover a huge area, which includes American Samoa, Guam, Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, and the Northern Marianas. The Hawaii-Pacific Chapter was established in 1969. The group later changed its name to the Medical Library Group of Hawaii in 1971, and then in 1995, we changed the name again to the Hawaii-Pacific Chapter of the Medical Library Association.

Why are you involved with the chapter?

I am involved with the chapter because I want to foster cooperation and resource sharing (where allowed) between our chapter members. Besides, I am an extrovert and love to meet people. Our members are just amazing and are always striving to improve and share their knowledge on tight budgets.

How does the chapter support its members?

We support our members by offering trainings and classes, holding monthly meetings, holding Holiday luncheons, and our Annual Meeting.

What topics is the Hawaii-Pacific Chapter of MLA discussing?

We are currently discussing a few items. We have been busy planning our Annual Meeting, which will happen next month. We are also looking at updating our website, and going through our archives—doing some inventory and adopting digitization guidelines to make sure our archives are accessible. Lastly, we are planning the NNLM Native Voices traveling display. We are unique in that since no roads connect the islands, most of our displays must be shipped in by boat from the mainland or flown in by plane—neither of which is inexpensive to do.

How does the chapter interface with the Medical Library Association?

We interface with the Medical Library Association (MLA) by providing our Annual Report and keeping abreast of any new information or programs MLA offers.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

Just that if anyone is planning to visit the islands, we will always encourage you to reach out and let us know!

Lauren Hays

Lauren Hays

Dr. Lauren Hays is an Assistant Professor of Instructional Technology at the University of Central Missouri, and a frequent presenter and interviewer on topics related to libraries and librarianship. Please read Lauren’s other posts relevant to special librarians. Take a look at Lucidea’s powerful integrated library systems, SydneyEnterprise, and GeniePlus, used daily by innovative special librarians in libraries of all types, sizes and budgets.

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