Ruth Holst will retire as associate director of the Greater Midwest Region of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine on April 30, 2014, after 12 years of distinguished service to the membership of the National Network and the GMR.
As the associate director, Ruth effectively administered the GMR office, budget, programs, awards, and communications. She also leaves a legacy of innovation, strategic thinking, and collaboration as a leader in her field.
Ruth joined the GMR in July 2002 during the second year of the NN/LM 2001-2006 contract and was instrumental in writing and shepherding the GMR and the Library of the Health Sciences through the process of submitting the next two contract proposals (2006-2011 and 2011-2016).
Under Ruth’s leadership, the GMR enhanced network and outreach services to librarians, health care professionals, and health consumers through educational programming, project funding, and collaboration with other professional organizations. In particular, Ruth planned and implemented several forward-looking GMR symposia, including EHRs and Librarians (December 2010); Using Mobile Technologies at the Bedside (December 2011); and Research for Better Patient Outcomes: What Librarians Should Know (November 2012). She expanded programming directed to hospital librarians through letters to hospital administrators and workshops on knowledge management in clinical settings. Ruth advocated for additional funding for the GMR’s designated outreach libraries during 2006-2011, which resulted in significant growth in the number of outreach activities conducted across the region.
Ruth promoted GMR and NN/LM partnerships with MLA by co-sponsoring the MLA Institute on Web-based Instruction held in 2006 and repeated in 2008 and facilitating the MLA-NLM joint effort to create the Disaster Information Specialization program. She served on the NLM Long Range Planning Panel 2: NLM Health Information for the Underserved and Diverse Populations in the 21st Century (2005-2006). She chaired the NN/LM Hospital Internet Access Task Force (2003-2005) and co-chaired the NN/LM Community College Task Force (2012-2014), which expanded the impact of the National Network.
During the time that she was associate director, Ruth continued to influence the progress of health sciences librarianship by chairing the MLA Expert Search Task Force 2001-2004 and editing the JMLA Symposium on Expert Searching for the January 2005 issue. She was also the primary author of “Vital Pathways for hospital librarians: present and future roles” (JMLA Oct 2009). She became an MLA Fellow in 2002 and MLA President in 2010-2011.
This brief account of Ruth’s accomplishments during the past decade not only confirms that she is a remarkable woman, it documents that she will leave behind big shoes to fill when she retires next year.