“Rock Star” Medical Librarians, Part 2

This week, we’re posting pictures and profiles of medical librarians.

It’s in response to a recent blog post by the Director of the National Library of Medicine Dr. Patricia Flatley Brennan, who wrote, “I’m all for the ‘rock star’ librarian idea.”

We are, too.

So, please check back every day this week. Tomorrow, we’re featuring a person who could be considered a “king of rock” in the world of medical librarians. Then on Thursday and Friday, look for more profiles of current librarians.

headshot of Don JasonDon Jason

Current gig: Clinical Informationist, Donald C. Harrison Health Sciences Library, University of Cincinnati

Three words on what it’s like to be on the library beat: Exciting. Intriguing. Empowering.

Rock solid advice for wannabe medical librarians: Diversify your skill set. Learning video, audio, and web editing skills can add to a librarian’s portfolio. Gaining a new skill is never a waste of time!

Biggest misconception about being a medical librarian: Many members of the medical community are unaware that medical librarians engage in research. The field of medical librarianship has peer-reviewed journals that publish librarian-led research. There are numerous conferences where librarians and other medical professionals share ideas, collaborate, and innovate. These conferences feature poster presentations and podium presentations filled with the research activities of librarians. Medical librarians are well-versed in the scientific method and have experience with qualitative and quantitative research. They also understand the importance of the institutional review board. Every medical librarian must raise awareness of librarian-led research!

headshot of Kristina BurgessKristen Burgess

Current gig: University of Cincinnati. I am currently working as a Special Advisor to the Senior Associate Dean for Libraries with a focus on strategic initiatives and projects. I was previously the Assistant Director for Research and Informatics until I had two adorable little girls and decided to spend more time with them.

Three words on what it’s like to be on the library beat: Fabulous learning environment.

Rock solid advice for wannabe medical librarians: Follow your interests and skills. There are plenty of fascinating jobs within the field of medical librarianship beyond traditional librarianship, and there are so many ways to continue learning and get involved in new areas.

Biggest misconception about being a medical librarian: We only work with books and journals. Journals are certainly a huge part of being a librarian but there is so much more now—data, informatics, makerspaces, translational research, teaching, mentoring…the list goes on and on!

casual headshot of Yani YanceyYani L. Yancey

Current gig: Digital Communications Division, US Department of Health and Human Services

Three words on what it’s like to be on the library beat: Creative. Resourceful. Adaptive.

Rock solid advice for wannabe medical librarians: Apply for the NLM Associate Fellowship Program! And talk to people already in the field. Don’t know any? Check the National Network of Libraries of Medicine member directory for a medical library near you and get in touch. Librarians are always happy to share information.

Biggest misconception about being a medical librarian: That it only means working in a traditional library setting. You could be working with a clinician team in a hospital, harnessing data to improve health outcomes, shaping public policy, or helping researchers at a pharmaceutical company, to name just a few examples.

If you’re not still rocking as a librarian, what are you doing now? I shifted to digital communications after my fellowship. I was with NLM’s Office of Communications and Public Liaison until 2015, when I moved to the HHS Office of Public Affairs in DC. I was recently promoted to senior product owner for HHS.gov. I’m still an information professional using my librarian skills to connect users to information, but now I work with content strategy, user experience, Drupal, and Agile project management.

headshot of Kris AlpiKris Alpi

Current gig: Director, William Rand Kenan, Jr. Library of Veterinary Medicine at North Carolina State University.

Three words on what it’s like to be on the library beat: Unpredictable. Stimulating. Inspiring.

Rock solid advice for wannabe medical librarians: Curiosity about everything keeps you fresh.

Biggest misconception about being a medical librarian: That I am as organized as the collections I manage.

Casual headshot of Anna RippleAnna Ripple

Current gig: Cognitive Sciences Branch, Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications, National Library of Medicine

Three words on what it’s like to be on the library beat: Multimodal pharmacovigilance including MEDLINE.

Rock solid advice for wannabe medical librarians: Seek out nontraditional opportunities.

Biggest misconception about being a medical librarian: That medical librarians are quiet.

headshot of Kristina ElliottKristina Elliott

Current gig: Information Specialist Contractor with ClinicalTrials.gov (NCBI/NLM).

Three words on what it’s like to be on the library beat: Weird. Wonkish. Wonderful.

Rock solid advice for wannabe medical librarians: Never turn down an opportunity just because you haven’t done it before. If opportunities aren’t coming your way, remember life’s a hustle.

Biggest misconception about being a medical librarian: We do more than help people find information. Many medical librarians are actively improving the quality of the medical literature.

casual headshot of Candace NortonCandace Norton

Current gig: Associate Fellow at the National Library of Medicine

Three words on what it’s like to be on the library beat: Fascinating. Thought-provoking. Stimulating.

Rock solid advice for wannabe medical librarians: Get involved! Connect with professional associations, attend trainings, and ask questions. Everyone in the field has been so responsive whenever I’ve reached out. Librarianship is in a constant, persistent state of evolution and growth, and continued engagement with training and learning opportunities is essential.

Biggest misconception about being a medical librarian: There are two themes of misconception I encounter. The first is that my role is no longer necessary since everything is available on the internet. This is a challenge for all librarians, but gets extra sticky for medical librarians in helping users evaluate legitimate health information resources from the junk. Second, that while medical librarians are well-trained information professionals, shouldn’t they really have some clinical training to do their work in these settings? I think this is a powerful opportunity for emphasizing the collaborative potential of diverse research and patient care teams. Librarians are trained to look at problems and issues differently and can provide a very complementary and valuable skill set.


More rock star medical librarians?

Of course!

We’ll be featuring some of the profession’s rock stars all this week.

If you’d like to participate in the next round of rock star medical librarians, please send us a photo and very brief answers to these questions:

  • Name as you’d like it to appear in print.
  • Current gig (where you work).
  • Three words on what it’s like to be on the library beat.
  • Rock solid advice for wannabe medical librarians.
  • Biggest misconception about being a medical librarian.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s