In honor of National Medical Librarians Month we’re sharing brief profiles of rock star medical librarians.
In this month’s third installment, we bring you a librarian by day who rocks out at night, a long-time teacher and trainer, a curator of historical treasures, five purveyors of Southern rock (and protectors of copyright), and two local performers from here at NLM.
Take a moment and see why they’re all stars to us!
Gig: Health Informatics/Systems Librarian at Lake Health in Concord Township, Ohio
(By night: vocals, keyboards, acoustic guitar, bass, tambourine in a rock-n-roll band)
Three words: Fulfilling. Fast tempo. Challenging.
Greatest hit: Working on health informatics and systems projects, including implementing and maintaining patient and family laptop lending services in both of our hospitals; being project manager to implement, manage, and maintain the interactive television system. This particular project’s responsibilities include working with the electronic health records implementation team to transparently and seamlessly document in the electronic health record patient education videos viewed on the interactive television system, creating interactive patient requests through the television system such as requesting laptops, returning laptops, requesting food representative, and more! Performing clinical and administrative research. Oh, and I get to perform as a musician at some of the hospital functions!
Biggest misconception: People think we sit around and read books and journals! Yeah, right! People really have no idea of the work we do—everything from clinical research to corporate intelligence to program development to patient education to traditional library services (cataloging, circulation, acquisitions) to marketing to budgeting and finances to IT projects and the list goes on and on! And, we are only 1.5 librarians responsible for two hospitals, 14 off-site campuses, and numerous physician practices.
People who know me say I am the perfect librarian stereotype, quiet and reserved during the day, rock-n-roller at night!
Helen-Ann Brown Epstein
Gig: Virtual Health, Southern New Jersey
Three words: Invigorating. Worthwhile. Connective.
Greatest hit: As a practicing medical librarian, NLM trainer, vendor trainer, and library school professor, I have taught more than 5,000 people to search MEDLINE over my 40+-year career. My students and I have used our skills to influence patient care, make health care professionals better educated, and contribute to cutting-edge research. I have had the privilege of mentoring many of my students as we discovered how to fulfill information needs.
Biggest misconception: Many have been behind in their thinking about the sophistication of knowledge and skill it takes to be a medical librarian today. We have not forgotten our dedication to traditional library service, and even some of us still have print books and journals to checkout, but so many of us now have a busy, well-accessed virtual presence as well. Medical librarians continue to be careful listeners to hear what our customers really want and more, so today we translate the query to search the literature and then filter the millions of information resources that come to one’s fingertips to pass along only quality literature, much in full-text, for patient care, further education, and research.
Gig: NLM Associate Fellow
Three words: Changing. Exciting. Fun.
Greatest hit: I’ll never forget the first time I helped a patient while volunteering at a hospital health science library while I was in graduate school. A diabetic man came in looking for information on how to eat out as a diabetic. I found him some resources, and even pointed out few places where he could get more information in general. As he left, he thanked me, saying he never would have found the information so easily without my help. That was a great breakout hit.
Biggest misconception: The job is definitely not just sitting at a desk, waiting for people to come to you. It’s about thinking ahead, creating new tools and resources for people to use, and getting into a community to let them know about all the help and resources you can offer! That makes it an incredibly dynamic and diverse job, in my opinion.
Gig: University of Wisconsin-Madison, Ebling Library for the Health Sciences, Curator/Historical Librarian: Rare Books and Special Collections
Three words: Engaging. Sharing. Eye-opening.
Greatest hit: Collecting decades of medical, clinical, nursing, pharmaceutical, and public health advertising from nearly 100 years of de-accessioned journals. Next step? Discoverability via an online database.
Biggest misconception: That working in historical collections has no relevance to today’s practice of health care. In terms of technology, treatment, public health policy, society, economics, health care delivery, the transfer of knowledge. . .the heritage of health care delivery transcends boundaries. There is always something to learn from the past; whether cautionary or creative.
Steph Hendren, Peter Shipman, Gail Kouame, Natalie Logue, Ansley Stuart
Gig: Robert B. Greenblatt, MD Library at Augusta University
Three words: Connect. Discover. Collaborate.
Greatest hit: Having our Embedded Ecosystem paper accepted by the Journal of Academic Librarianship.
Biggest misconception: That we can get you any material at any time despite pesky things like copyright laws.
Gig: Online Content Specialist, NCBI Bookshelf
Three words: Global. Accessibility. Rewarding.
Greatest hit: Working with the fantastic interdisciplinary Bookshelf team, helping scientists from all over the world share their work through NCBI, and knowing that I’m part of a remarkable movement to promote open access and collaborative learning and research.
Biggest misconception: That librarians and archivists are technophobes! Family and friends are often surprised that most of my job is helping authors and editors navigate technical requirements for sharing their work. Modern librarianship and open access require constantly evolving digital know-how—many of us are experts in information as well as library science!
Next year, the annual meeting of the Midwest Chapter of the Medical Library Association will feature the theme “Shake, Rattle, and Roll.” The meeting, which will take place October 5-8, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio—two blocks from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame—will feature Dr. Patricia Flatley Brennan, NLM director.