Seeking the Best—NLM’s Collection Development and Acquisition Section

When the National Library of Medicine needs to purchase new biomedical literature, chances are the Collection Development and Acquisitions Section is involved.

They select, order, and receive thousands of materials and resources, in both print and electronic formats.

And just like the Library’s collection, the Collection Development and Acquisitions Section is always evolving. This fall they’ll begin managing the review process for journals that apply to be indexed in MEDLINE.

Leading the section is its newest member, Julie Silverman. She wasn’t looking for a new job, but after hearing NLM Director Patricia Brennan and Associate Director for Library Operations Joyce Backus speak at the Medical Library Association’s 2018 meeting, Silverman says, “I knew that I had to be a part of such a dynamic team!”

As leader of the Collection Development and Acquisitions Section, located within the Technical Services Division, Silverman oversees a group of employees committed to the integrity of the collection and tenacious about seeing each task through.

Meet some of the members of this team below. If you like what you’ve read and want to join this team, there’s good news: Jobs will be posted later this summer.

headshot of Rosie Armstrong Rosie L. Armstrong
1. In a nutshell, what’s your background? Volunteer for the Aquaculture Information Center, National Agricultural Library, Beltsville, Maryland, where I gained experience processing ready-reference requests, preparing aquaculture information packets, and entering data in their Q&A database.

Library technician for Technical Services Division at the FDA Biosciences Library for five years. Processed serials, processed all claims, assisted with interlibrary loan and collection maintenance, and maintained the microfilm and microfiche collection.

2. What do you do at NLM? Library technician: Process serials, check in journals, manage standing orders, create preliminary bibliographic records, manage record components, process invoices, and tackle other projects as they occur.
3. What led you to NLM? Career advancement and wanting to work for NLM.
4. What excites you about your work? Knowing that the work I do is important and helps researchers, the public, and others.
6. Tell us something surprising about yourself. I like doing book reviews in a subject area of my expertise and interest. As a volunteer for the National Audubon Society in Bethesda, I published several book reviews on natural history-related subjects in the Audubon Naturalist News. I like to write short stories and poetry.


headshot of Marie Folk Marie Folk
1. In a nutshell, what’s your background? My undergraduate degree is in interdisciplinary studies with a concentration in education. I completed one year at the University of Maryland in Munich, West Germany. My MSLS is from the Catholic University of America, with a concentration in special collections. I have been an Army soldier, a substitute teacher, a postal worker, a Federal government secretary, and, of course, I’ve worked in libraries.
2. What do you do at NLM? I’m a library technician. I’ve checked in serials, standing orders, and monographs. I also research items to determine referrals, flag title changes, retrieve appropriate titles, process supplements, and more.
3. What led you to NLM? My interest in libraries began in high school. One of my teachers arranged an assignment at the local public library. After graduation, I worked at Perkins Library at Duke University. I was offered a permanent position, but I had already joined the Army. I met my husband on active military duty and lived in West Germany for three years. I operated the Bad Toelz American Elementary School media center solo! I was also employed at the Library of Congress in the early 1990s where we used card trays to receive our serials. Later I was on the team that began converting  records from print to electronic. This was exciting! Later, I worked at the Beaufort Elementary School media center in South Carolina. I joined NLM in 2000 because of its proximity to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
4. What excites you about your work? When processing foreign language materials, many times I can translate the months without a language translation table. I also appreciate the opportunity to work with colleagues from other countries. It’s a good feeling to help provide health information to users around the globe.
6. Tell us something surprising about yourself. I dabble in poetry, enjoy photography, and plan to write a book or two. I also give tours of the National Museum of African American History and Culture to family and friends. I have attended five presidential inaugurations.


headshot of Cheryl Fields Cheryl Fields
1. In a nutshell, what’s your background? When it was difficult to find social sciences teaching positions—because I could not coach football—I got a job in an academic library, which led me to an MS in library science. Since obtaining my degree, I have managed serials, acquisitions, and other activities associated with collection development and cataloging at Louisiana State University and Virginia Tech, before coming to NLM.
2. What do you do at NLM? As senior acquisitions librarian, I manage various procurement mechanisms (i.e., contracts, blanket purchase agreements) through which the literature is acquired or accessed for NLM’s collection, products, and services. Also, I provide some oversight and assistance with invoice workflows, and I am the go-to person for NLM institutional memberships.
3. What led you to NLM? Since a graduate school course in medical librarianship, I have been interested in serials, which is the primary format for medical publishing. My positions prior to NLM provided extensive experience with all aspects of serials management. Through my participation in a professional association, I learned of a vacancy at NLM and was pleased to be selected for a unit head position in what was then the Serial Records Section.
4. What excites you about your work? The opportunity to contribute to the NLM mission by building its collection of materials and information, which supports NLM products and services.
6. Tell us something surprising about yourself. I cannot remember when I could not read music, having studied piano, flute, and choral music from an early age. More recently, I have enjoyed playing English handbells.


headshot of Kristina Womack Kristina Womack
1. In a nutshell, what’s your background? I originally studied to be a teacher of English as a second/foreign language, but then got interested in libraries soon after that. Previous jobs were in web reference services and in cataloging. But collection development is probably my favorite area of librarianship.
2. What do you do at NLM? I am a selector for publications from German-speaking countries. My specialties include online-only materials and government documents. I am also involved in a lot of working groups and projects, for example, web archiving, LSTRC [Literature Selection Technical Review Committee] review, and PubMed Central journal review.
3. What led you to NLM? Before coming to NLM, I was working in a library where my duties included “a little bit of everything,” but I had already noticed that collection development was my favorite part of the job. One day, on one of my listservs, I saw a posting for a position at NLM that focused specifically on that area of librarianship and asked for language expertise in German. I almost felt as if that posting had been written just for me!
4. What excites you about your work? The most exciting part is knowing that the material I select for the NLM collection will be there for posterity! It will be preserved and will help present and future researchers in their work for the advancement of health and medical discoveries.
6. Tell us something surprising about yourself. In my free time, I love to salsa dance.


headshot of Julie Silverman Julie Silverman
1. In a nutshell, what’s your background? I have worked primarily in academic libraries since 1993, largely in the DC area. I moved to health sciences when I joined the University of Colorado faculty in 2009 and, again, when I returned to George Washington University in 2013. I have been with NLM since September 2018. I have a BA in anthropology from American University, an MLS from the University of Maryland, and an MBA from Michigan State.
2. What do you do at NLM? I am the head of Collection Development and Acquisitions Section, located within the Technical Services Division. My section is responsible for selecting, ordering, and receiving all material for NLM, as well as managing electronic access. As of this fall, we will also manage the review process for all journals that apply to be indexed in MEDLINE. This is a new initiative for CDAS and we are very excited to be a part of one of the flagship offerings!
3. What led you to NLM? Honestly, I was not actively searching for a job when my position opened, but when I heard Dr. Brennan and Joyce Backus speak at the Medical Library Association’s annual meeting in Atlanta, I knew that I had to be a part of such a dynamic team!
4. What excites you about your work? I go to work each day with a sense of purpose. I value health care and taking care of one’s health, so it gives me great satisfaction to be a part of the world’s largest repository of health information. When my son joined me on campus for Take Your Child to Work Day this year, he asked about the hearts on the sidewalks, so I told him about the healthy heart initiative. He replied, “NIH really cares about people, don’t they?” It gives me great pride to work at an organization that truly cares.
6. Tell us something surprising about yourself. I am an ultra-runner and I am currently training for a 50-mile race in the fall. Because of this, I drink a lot of coffee, and I usually have snacks handy!


headshot of Kimberly Santoro Kimberly Santoro
1. In a nutshell, what’s your background? I have a BA in psychology and Spanish studies from American University and an MLS from the University of Maryland. My part-time jobs in high school and college were working in libraries. After college, I started working in a special library dealing in FDA regulatory documents. All that eventually led me to library school.
2. What do you do at NLM? I am a selector and am responsible for collecting materials from Spain, France, Canada, Portugal, Italy, sub-Saharan Africa, and Latin America.
3. What led you to NLM? NLM was always on my radar, given its location near where I lived and also that two of my library school professors worked here. During my last year of library school, I monitored NLM’s job openings and shortly after I finished my MLS, the perfect one appeared for me, joining my various interests together.
4. What excites you about your work? I love playing with languages. Although I am strongest in Romance languages, especially Spanish and French, I like the occasional challenge of identifying the language of some random piece. It may be in some local African language where I need to look for clues to figure out whether it is appropriate for NLM’s collection. Other times I might sound out some Slavic title just to see what I still remember from my one year of college Russian.
6. Tell us something surprising about yourself. When I was little, I used to ride a sheep named Henry.


Jenny Yuan
1. In a nutshell, what’s your background? I have a BA in library science from Fujen Catholic University in Taiwan. After I came to the United States, I worked for a library contractor in cataloging. I worked with many different field catalogers and became knowledgeable and skilled in cataloging all types of materials. For more than 10 years, I performed work in preservation, binding, and serials. A position was available in the acquisitions department that I was fortunate to be selected for and was then able to apply all my acquired knowledge and skills. I enjoy my work every day.
2. What do you do at NLM? My jobs are processing the new materials (books, AV, journals) that are received; searching for and acquiring out-of-print titles from all over the world; using, tracing, and updating the government credit card expenses; reviewing daily the work of others; and communicating with vendors with order or invoice issues.
3. What led you to NLM? I started working with the contractor here at NLM. The work, environment, and people—it felt so familiar and I enjoyed working with NLM staff. Now I have worked for almost 20 years at NLM.
4. What excites you about your work? I like to have rules and regulations for everything, because then I have something to follow. In my work, I need to track the orders, record the status, update the information that I received, then report monthly. It’s routine work, clear, and for me easy to understand.
6. Tell us something surprising about yourself. For the past three years, I have traveled to Europe (Amsterdam, Zurich, Vienna, Prague) with my grandchild.


Tricia Feldman
1. In a nutshell, what’s your background? I received my MLS from Catholic University in 1977 and worked at the Department of Transportation Law Library. A few years later, my husband and I moved to Santa Barbara, California, where our three children were born. I was able to find a job in a medical library that was a part of the main hospital in Santa Barbara. It was the Reeves Medical Library, and it was beautiful—modeled after the medical library at Yale. We returned to Rockville in 1992 for my husband’s job.
2. What do you do at NLM? I am in Acquisitions Unit 1, where I work with serials, including ordering, invoicing, and maintaining journals for the NLM library collection. I also support the LSTRC process.
3. What led you to NLM? I enjoyed working in the medical library in California, and I wanted to get back into the federal government. When I was able to secure the position at NLM, I was thrilled. I had worked with the regional medical libraries while in California and knew that NLM provided critical information for libraries all over the world.
4. What excites you about your work? I feel that the journal information we make available through all of NLM’s products impacts the lives of everyone who uses them.
6. Tell us something surprising about yourself. The summer before my sister’s wedding, I made her wedding dress and all the bridesmaid dresses. They were very simple, and yet I know I could not do it again!


headshot of Lorretta J. Turnage Lorretta J. Turnage
1. In a nutshell, what’s your background? I have a bachelor’s degree in American studies from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and a master’s degree in library science from Atlanta University. I have always worked in special libraries, including the Library for the Maryland General Assembly and Coca Cola, which is based in Atlanta. I decided early on to have a library career, and I have done just that for the past 35 years and counting.
2. What do you do at NLM? I supervise Unit 2 of the Collection Development and Acquisitions Section, which consists of two librarians, one technical information specialist and six library technicians. Unit 2 is primarily responsible for ordering, receiving, and invoice processing for monographs, standing orders, and some electronic resources.
3. What led you to NLM? I found NLM by way of a course on special libraries that I took while in library school. I was informed about the NLM Associate Program and other activities happening at NLM. I worked for Coca Cola as a research librarian in Atlanta but decided to look for work near home. I took a job for the state of Maryland as a reference librarian at the Department of Legislative Reference, which was the support agency for the Maryland General Assembly. Needless to say, it was a very interesting job! As a state employee I recognized right away that the federal benefits and salary were better. I always had a goal to become a manager. I had the opportunity to apply for a unit supervisor position and was happy to have been selected.
4. What excites you about your work? Acquisitions work is a behind the scenes activity. I’m excited when staff, clients, or someone else requests a title and we already have it in the collection, which means we have identified the title, ordered the title, and received the title, which supports our mission to provide access to medical literature and resources. What is exciting about working at NLM is that there are many talented and knowledgeable colleagues. There are always projects to work on and no sooner than one “fire” is put out there is another “fire” starting.
6. Tell us something surprising about yourself. I love jazz, swimming, and shoes! My favorite jazz artist is John Coltrane, and I enjoy listening to the recorded music as well as attending live concerts that include his music. I was on the swim team while in high school, and while I can’t swim as fast as I could then I still swim my laps—slow-boat style. I love shopping and buying shoes and have recently started building a collection of fashionable athletic shoes.


headshot of Alma Amyx Alla Amyx
1. In a nutshell, what’s your background? I graduated from library school in Russia, majoring in bibliography and literature. I also have an MLS from the University of South Florida. Before NLM, I worked in public and university libraries.
2. What do you do at NLM? I maintain serials records in print and electronic format in the NLM catalog and other internal systems. I also work with vendors and publishers on issues related to acquiring, processing, and maintaining titles acquired for the NLM collection.
3. What led you to NLM? One of my previous library experiences was helping students and faculty from a nursing department of the university where I worked do their research. I also maintained serials records for the library including records of medical journals. I liked working with medicine and health-related subjects and resources, so, when the opportunity to work for the leading medical library on the world came to me, I didn’t want to miss my chance.
4. What excites you about your work? I am proud to be a part of the National Library of Medicine. I am impressed by the variety and quality of the resources offered to the world community, and I am excited to work together with my colleagues and contribute to our mutual success.
6. Tell us something surprising about yourself. I dance the Argentine tango.


headshot of Laura L. Wong Laura L. Wong
1. In a nutshell, what’s your background? I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and moved here in 1994 after completing my MLS and MA degrees at the University of California, Berkeley. I had always looked to build a career by combining library work with my Chinese and Japanese studies. A stint at the Library of Congress (1994 through 2007) and now at the National Library of Medicine have been perfect for me to do this. Most of my extended family is in California, but I’ve considered myself an East Coaster for quite some time now.
2. What do you do at NLM? I select serial and monograph materials in several Asian languages, as well as English materials from the US, the UK, and elsewhere. By being part of the process of evaluating serials for PubMed, I feel I am doing a small part to build research resources into the future. I also work closely with History of Medicine Division colleagues to identify some of the more interdisciplinary materials that shed light on how people have approached medical care and healing over the centuries.
3. What led you to NLM? I was quite happy doing acquisitions work at the Library of Congress, but the chance to expand into biomedical sciences was intriguing. Up to then, much of what I covered was humanities and social sciences. Asian Studies librarianship is specialized and small, and at NLM I can continue to promote that within the broader scope of medical librarianship.
4. What excites you about your work? As the saying goes, it’s amazing to learn something new every day. For me, this includes traditional systems of healing throughout the world, all that is happening in global health, and historical topics related to early botanical discoveries. I’ve learned that much in the magical world that J.K. Rowling has created was inspired by early knowledge and beliefs in books and manuscripts. I also try to keep up with how things like robotics or nanotechnologies will affect our lives—not in the future but even now! Also, NIH and NLM’s lectures provide excellent opportunities to learn the latest developments.
6. Tell us something surprising about yourself. Growing up in a small town and discovering the world, I love things from the past. It’s awesome to stand in places like Angkor Wat in Cambodia (a temple complex started in the 12th century) and the University of Vilnius in Lithuania (founded in 1579). Whenever traveling, I will seek out a museum or two.

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