“Rock Star” Medical Librarians, Part 3

“I’m all for the ‘rock star’ librarian idea.”Dr. Patricia Flatley Brennan, Director, National Library of Medicine

It’s National Library Week, and we’re celebrating by posting pictures and profiles of medical librarians all week.

Be sure and check back tomorrow when we bring you more profiles.

headshot of Karen GutzmanKaren Gutzman

Current gig: Impact and Evaluation Librarian, Galter Health Sciences Library, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University

Three words on what it’s like to be on the library beat: Ambitious. Engaging. Promising.

Rock solid advice for wannabe medical librarians: As my library director wisely says, “We’re all just trying to get our work done.” So if you take time to understand the work people are trying to get done, then you’ll quickly find ways to support them.

Biggest misconception about being a medical librarian:  I think in general people equate librarians with accessing static knowledge, so with information easily and dynamically available on the internet, they wonder about the value of a librarian’s work. I have loads of good information about the value of medical librarianship.

headshot of Erin FosterErin D. Foster

Current gig: Data Services Librarian, Ruth Lilly Medical Library, Indiana University School of Medicine

Three words on what it’s like to be on the library beat: Dynamic. Invigorating. Varied.

Rock solid advice for wannabe medical librarians: Explore the field! Medical librarians exist across a spectrum. Find your niche.

Biggest misconception about being a medical librarian: That we work primarily with print materials.

headshot of Michael BalesMichael E. Bales

Current gig: Samuel J. Wood Library & C.V. Starr Biomedical Information Center at Weill Cornell Medicine. I am working to solve the problem of ambiguous author names in the literature, writing institutional policies for management of secure research data, and developing new methods for field-normalized citation impact assessment.)

Three words on what it’s like to be on the library beat: Fascinating. Challenging. Engaging.

Rock solid advice for wannabe medical librarians: Work to enhance your data literacy and medical knowledge. Use Peterson’s Guide to Graduate Education to research graduate schools. When doing research projects, arrange regular face-to-face meetings with mentors (prepare notes in advance). Be willing to find answers to problems that seem elusive.

Biggest misconception about being a medical librarian: Actual misconception I heard recently: our job essentially is to check out medical books. (Some of us do other things as well!)

headshot of MaShana DavisMaShana Davis

Current gig: Biomedical Librarian/Information Architect at NIH Library

Three words on what it’s like to be on the library beat: Awesome. Challenging (in a good way). Satisfying.

Rock solid advice for wannabe medical librarians: Don’t limit yourself. Continue to expand your knowledge. Make your skills transferable.

Biggest misconception about being a medical librarian: A personal misconception was that prior medical knowledge or experience was required. I quickly learned that having a natural curiosity to solve problems and a willingness to help were the top skills needed to do my job and that the science could be learned.

Another misconception, although not mine, is that librarians and libraries are boring and irrelevant. Definitely not true. We are ever-evolving and constantly reinventing ourselves and applying our skills to non-traditional areas such as 3D printing, mobile application development, data visualization, digital design, and more. As long as we continue expanding our knowledge and look to other industries for ideas, we’ll be relevant.

casual headshot of Lindsay AlcockLindsay Alcock

Current gig: Head of Public Services, Health Sciences Library, Memorial University of Newfoundland

Three words on what it’s like to be on the library beat: Energizing. Privileged. Challenging.

Rock solid advice for wannabe medical librarians: Find something that really turns your crank, preferably something new and emerging, and make it your area of expertise. At conferences, find a way to be involved as a presenter, instructor, facilitator, panelist, or volunteer. Remember that your colleagues are your biggest resource and your most important advocates.

Biggest misconception about being a medical librarian: Those not in the know think it is easy work. They don’t realize that medical librarians, as part of their daily jobs, are also business negotiators (think journal and book packages), expert locators of evidence, competent researchers, curriculum developers, teachers, program planners and evaluators, and policy makers who are savvy in technology and social media.

casual headshot of Stephen KiyoiStephen Kiyoi

Current gig: Director of the Library at Zuckerberg San Francisco General. I oversee research services, collections, archives, public services, and patient portal enrollment. I also lead grant-funded research on patient portals.

Three words on what it’s like to be on the library beat: Learning. Growing. Meaning.

Rock solid advice for wannabe medical librarians: Develop a deep curiosity and follow that curiosity into specific professional pursuits. Find other people who have done it before, and ask them the questions you want to know the answer to. You’ll learn a lot, and have a great time doing it!

Biggest misconception about being a medical librarian: Most people don’t know the category exists.

headshot of Tyler MosesTyler Moses

Current gig: Associate Fellow at the National Library of Medicine

Three words on what it’s like to be on the library beat: Innovative. Interdisciplinary collaboration. Evidence-based practice.

Rock solid advice for wannabe medical librarians: Be open to learning new things and embracing change.

Biggest misconception about being a medical librarian: Our predominate role is shelving books.


More rock star medical librarians?

Of course!

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