I know the last post was a personal update, but I wanted to let people know why I had not posted in awhile.

If you have ever been interested in medical librarianship, but have not had the opportunity to shadow a medical librarian…this is your chance! This post will be a mini-tour + eShadowing opportunity all rolled into one.

A little about where I work:

“The mission of the A.R. Dykes Library of the Health Sciences staff is to work collaboratively with individuals and organizations seeking high quality health information within the University of Kansas Medical Center and throughout the state of Kansas.”

The library itself follows five (5) strategic initiatives, these include:
1. Instruction Plan
2. Collection Development Plan
3. Intellectual Property Use and Protection Plan
4. Collaboration and Outreach Plan
5. Facility Plan

Each of these initiatives is critical to the success of the library and they have been implemented via programs the library hosts, training staff receives and excellent communication from administration.

The library serves not only the medical and educational communities of the University of Kansas Medical Center, but also the community itself. The library is public access during certain hours and patrons are welcome to use computers when available. Since the location is in a very urban environment, we serve a diverse group of patrons.

You didn’t come here for all that, did you? You want to see the good stuff. Well, allow me to take you on a small mini-tour of my office/reference area and I have also included some pictures of the library (downloaded from our Sharepoint, taken in 2006). Some of the interior pictures show older layouts. The stacks are no longer downstairs, as they have all been moved to the 2nd floor.


Street Side Lobby

Library Interior (2006):
Main Floor

Stacks are now on 2nd floor

Testing Center Computers

Atrium Area

Reference Area (where I work):
Reference Area
Reference Side

My Little Cubicle


What I see everyday

Like the mini-tour? I will try to update my Flickr stream with new pictures as often as I can. The building itself is really beautiful and I like the layout. There are two elevators in the building that will take you to the second floor, but I enjoy walking up the spiral stairway in the middle.

So, on to the eShadowing? Right this way….

The library opens at 7:30, but I don’t start until 8:30. The drive to work isn’t bad, but the parking is awful. I have been walking from the parking lot to work everyday instead of taking the shuttle, but on days when the weather was bad I did take advantage of the employee shuttle system. So a breakdown of a typical day (so far) would be:

8:30-8:45- I get to the library, check my calendar (We use Outlook) and email. Normally I have a few meetings scheduled. The library has a lot of separate entities within itself that we deal with. I have taken an interest in the subject guides (LibGuides), outreach, small app identification taskforce and professional development (Kansas City Local Library Exchange).

9:00-10:45- I spend time at the public services desk where I: answer reference questions (e.g., “How do I access this article on PubMed?,” “Can you help me find articles about _____?,” “What journals are open access?,” etc..), sign people in to use the public computers, aid patrons in locating the proper materials (e.g., “I need to find books related to autism research in public schools.,” “I can’t find this book in your stacks.,” etc..), field questions via phone, help at the Pager Warehouse desk (e.g., “I lost my pager and need a new one.,” “How do I set my pager to page forwarding?,” etc..), provide directions to places around campus and assist in general circulation duties. I do not have to shelve books here, as we have student workers who deal with all of the shelving and checking-in of books.

11:00-12:00- I may attend a “Lunch ‘n’ Learn” which is where a group of us sits in on a webinar over lunch or discusses a particular program the library may be dealing with. A few days ago I attended “OCLC/” and “RML Open Access” webinars with several of my coworkers. Yesterday, we had a “Lunch ‘n’ Learn” where we discussed LibGuides. We talked about how to promote them, what other subject guides patrons/students would be interested in and what we should be doing going forward.

12:00-1:25- If I haven’t already taken my lunch, I may take it at this time. The “Lunch ‘n’ Learn” could be at this time as well. If not, I may spend more time helping at the public service desk (providing “refulation” as it’s called here) or working on a solo project. Currently, I have been compiling a list of web tools and mobile apps that we could be promoting. Another project has been an ongoing one regarding the Kansas City Local Library Exchange. Working with a coworker, I have been creating a flowchart to use in our promotional materials and also an internal work-flow chart for us.

1:30-3:30- The afternoons are busy, so I tend to migrate out to the public service desk. I work on projects from there and provide more in-depth reference to patrons (e.g., law firms needing reference help, physicians wanting access to O2 resources for research, etc..)

3:45-4:45- This last hour or so, I begin to wind down. I wrap up projects, get clarification about issues I may be having or check through my task list to see if I can complete anything else before I head home.

4:50-5:00- Walk from Dykes to the parking lot and head home.

Since this is only my first few weeks, I haven’t had too many projects to get my hands dirty with. I’m chomping at the bit to start some more complicated tasks, but I also understand the importance of learning the public service desk tasks. Hopefully in the future there will be enough time for me to complete both the public service tasks and personal projects I look forward to taking on!

If you have any questions or would like me to continue to do some eShadowing (as I work my way deeper into the labyrinth that is medical librarianship), please feel free to email me at aroundthestacks [at] gmail [dot] com.

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