Back Stage with More Librarian Rock Stars

As we continue celebrating National Medical Librarians Month, we’re thrilled to introduce you to even more rock star medical librarians. One librarian hit the road, sharing her expertise in South Africa; another manages two medical libraries; and a third librarian describes her work as stimulating, collaborative, and research-oriented. We’re also featuring two bands–one with members all over the country and one based in Richmond, Virginia.

Read on.

Rock on.

casual headshot of Cynthia BeelerCynthia J. Beeler (née Vaughn)

Gig: Preston Medical Library, University of Tennessee Graduate School of Medicine, Knoxville

Three words: Fascinating. Curious. Challenging.

Greatest hit: Completing the NLM Associate Fellowship Program as a new graduate, and later traveling to South Africa to teach librarians about consumer health resources.

Biggest misconception: A lot of people don’t realize this is a real career! They don’t realize that librarians are integrated into health care and are essential for finding answers for everyone.

montage of solo and group photosKaiser Permanente Health Sciences Librarians

Gig: We are a network of 30+ solo medical librarians at Kaiser Permanente locations across the country.

Three words: Collaborative, Evolving, Gratifying

Greatest hit: Celebrating our anniversary! The very first Kaiser hospital included a small one-room medical library; this year we are marking more than seven decades of continuous librarian services to Kaiser Permanente employees.

Biggest misconception: That health care providers don’t need our services in the digital age. Last year we responded to nearly 19,000 patron requests, circulated 12,000 books and other materials, and delivered more than 860 training sessions to 9,000+ employees. We supported nursing leadership efforts to attain Magnet status and assisted countless employees studying for advanced degrees. We received an outpouring of positive feedback that examinations were passed, promotions earned, and patient care improved because of our librarians.

casual headshot of Gabrielle BarrGabrielle Barr

Gig: NLM Associate Fellow

Three words: Stimulating. Collaborative. Research-Oriented.

Greatest hit: The best part of being a librarian is helping people find the resources they need and showing them everything the library can offer them.

Biggest misconception: Librarians are not needed with computers and other types of technologies.

casual headshot of Karly VeselyKarly Vesely

Gig: Health Sciences Librarian at Kootenai Health in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

Three words: Fun! Rewarding! Investigative!

Greatest hit: Rather than one particular accomplishment, I would say my “greatest hit” as a medical librarian is my general ability to adapt to emerging technologies.

Biggest misconception: I think a lot of people outside the library world would be surprised that in the last week alone I’ve—

  • completed nine literature search requests;
  • set up and presented trials of several online nursing resources;
  • met one-on-one with a couple of physicians for medical staff orientation;
  • had a booth at the new employee resource fair;
  • helped facilitate a physician focus group;
  • met one-on-one with a nurse to teach her more about literature searching;
  • worked with our communications department on the library’s new website and on updating physician handouts;
  • discussed a potential writing and publishing class to help nurses with the publication process; and
  • much more!

headshot of Caralee Witteveen-LaneCaralee Witteveen-Lane

Gig: Manager of Mercy Health West Michigan Regional Hospital Libraries

Three words: New every day!

Greatest hit: Managing two medical libraries, each at half-time where there once was a full-time librarian, and leaving both with increased materials budget and staffing!

Biggest misconception: It’s all free on the internet!

group photoSkull & Books

Steve Barkley, John Cyrus, Dana Ladd, Talicia Tarver, Jessica Johnson, Karen Gau, Emily Hurst, Erica Brody, Teresa L. Knott, Rachel Koenig, Jodi Koste, Shirley Thomas, Margaret Kidd

Gig: VCU Libraries, Tompkins-McCaw Library for the Health Sciences, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia

Three words: Dynamic. Spirited. Ever-evolving.

Greatest hit: Hey, I just met you / And this is crazy / But I can help you (with your research) / So call me maybe

Biggest misconception: Librarians sit around waiting for our communities to come into the library instead of being proactive, engaged, and actively present in the academic, clinical, and research missions of our organizations. Our library band is actively engaged in the academic research and educational aspects of the schools and hospital we support. We also work within the community to engage patients and practitioners. We are constantly forming super groups with other faculty and frequently making special guest appearances in classrooms and laboratories.


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