But…why?

That is the response I get from many librarians when I tell them I’m interested in medical librarianship. Health sciences, medical and hospital libraries are the red-headed step children of the library world, apparently.

I began to notice a trend during the first semester of library school. When I would tell the other MLS students what I was interested in pursuing, they all seemed so surprised. It made me wonder what it was about medical librarianship that caused such a strong reaction. Maybe it’s the science and technology that is off-putting. I know that it’s hard to get a lot of English majors excited about data analysis, informatics, and databases.

While working in the public library, my basic work week included: cutting out a million + 1 construction paper stars for a preschool story time craft, perusing Pinterest for teen program ideas, creating interactive displays for my public patrons and general collection management/public services duties. I excelled in whatever I worked on, but it wasn’t necessarily challenging. Even if I had planned for 25 kids and 75 showed up, or someone challenged a YA book because of content, I never felt particularly overwhelmed. Even though by all standards, I was swamped with work, it was “fun” work.

The work that I do now is immensely more challenging and I actually go home at the end of the day with questions to be answered by Google (or more specialized databases). I no longer make crafts, rarely do I get to make a display, and the “advisory” lists I create are now literature reviews for clinicians.  Instead of reading books entitled ttyl, I’m picking up Health Informatics for Medical Librarians.

While a good majority of my classmates are taking “Designing and Implementing Programs for Children and Young Adults,” or “Resources and Services for Early Learners,” I decided to delve into the more technical world of library science. There are a few brave people who are following the same path, but when I talk to the vast majority of my classmates they appear to be interested in public libraries or just general “academic libraries.” Few are interested in health science libraries, and even fewer want to work in a medical/clinical environment.

So, to get to the point, why not medical librarianship? Because for most, it’s not seen as “fun.” Unless you already have an interest in the health sciences, it’s not an easy transition from children’s programming to literature searches.

I should know, I did it.

Thankfully, my background in the health sciences and my passion for medicine gave me a leg-up. However, for many would-be-librarians, the prospect of searching for the effects of ivermectin on geohelminth frequency, or using PubChem to resource bioactivity data for 2-tert0butylhydroquinone is not only daunting, but down right uninteresting.

What can we do to change the way future librarians look at medical librarianship? Marketing! Many of the library students I talked to didn’t actually know what my job entailed. When I started to explain to them that I was able to utilize emerging technologies in instructional sessions, interface with clinicians through electronic media, research elusive zebra diseases, and even create some dynamic displays that promote subsets of medical literature they became increasingly interested in medical librarianship as a potential field.

“But Aroundthestacks, why do you want more competition for those already coveted positions?!”, you may ask.

Because I want to see information professionals working with health professionals to provide the best possible care! I don’t want medical librarianship to be a last resort for unemployed MLS grads. Instead I want courses taught within MLS/MLIS programs that prepare students for work in healthcare. Without the proper preparation, new grads will be faced with unfamiliar medical terminology, over complicated scientific databases, and a dim view of the role librarians have in healthcare as a whole.

I want LIS students to be excited about medical librarianship! I want them to see how valuable they can be to medical professionals, researchers, and medical students. I want a new generation of physicians who are comfortable searching the literature and utilizing evidence-based medicine in their practices. Librarians can complement physicians, especially when helping them to navigate the murky waters of medical literature and they have to be able to see that this partnership can work, but that has to start in graduate school…

 

World Book Night US: April 23, 2014

After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.

-Phillip Pullman

 

Applications to participate in World Book Night are now open! This is very exciting, as I have participated in WBN for the last two years and loved it. The first year, though I wasn’t an official giver, I helped a friend hand out The Kite Runner at homeless shelters around the Kansas City Area. This last year, I handed out Good Omens to library patrons, homeless patrons and hospital patients. I made little notes on the books…

Hey, I just met you. And this crazy! But take me home and read me, maybe?

 

I don’t mean to brag, but I’m kind of a great read…

 

You should spend the weekend curled up with me.

 

…and I also printed off a little blurb about what World Book Night is, how they can get involved and where they can mail a review of the book! I was able to hand out all but two of the books. The last two I stuck on our “Free Book Shelf” in the library. The shelf is utilized by members of the community, as well as the patients of the hospital. 

The books chosen for 2014 are all fantastic! I’m super excited that Where’d You Go, Bernadette? is on the list, since I LOVED that book. They even have Spanish language, large print and juvenile/YA books to choose from. My top three picks were:

  1. Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
  2. Same Difference by Derek Kirk Kim
  3. The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell

Any of those would be fabulous books to hand out, and if I had a choice I would have taken a bunch of different titles to hand out! 

So think of this post as a reminder if you have participated in WBN, an introduction to WBN if you have never heard of it, or a plea to donate if you can’t hand out books. 

Finding the Unfindable

I have a new obsession. Yes, it is library-related. It happened a few weeks ago when I was reading a book at work. I noticed a citation for a conference poster and it got me thinking about the materials that aren’t readily available. I traced the poster back and then read up on searching for conference proceedings. It was then that my new love appeared.

Grey literature.

What is grey literature? According to the ICGL Luxembourg definition and Wiki:

Information produced on all levels of government, academia, business and industry in electronic and print formats not controlled by commercial publishing i.e., where publishing is not the primary activity of the producing body. –ICGL

Gray literature…refers to informally published written material (such as reports) that may be difficult to trace via conventional channels such as published journals and monographs because it is not published commercially or is not widely accessible –Wiki

This includes materials such as reports, clinical trials, conference proceedings, posters/slide presentations, reviews, social network data and preprints. The list really does go on though…

Image

 

So why is grey/gray literature important? As an academic health science librarian, my patron base tends to be on the up-and-up when it comes to information literacy. Years of medical school, nursing school, and the hard sciences have honed their search abilities and the questions they come to me with are the questions they have already tried to answer. Simply searching Google or Pubmed doesn’t help, since they have already tried both (plus a few others) before coming to the library. Most of the researchers who visit the reference desk need to find a single piece of elusive data or a conference paper about a rare disease that was presented at a conference in India, in 1984.

This is where knowledge of the “grey areas” really helps. Knowing what databases are available to you can reduce the number of searches you perform, which will ultimately save you time.

The more I read about grey literature, the greater my obsession with it grew. Soon it was boiling over and I needed to create something that would allow me to organize all of the knowledge I had recently acquired. I decided to create a LibGuide about Grey Literature in the Health Sciences. It hasn’t been as popular as my other LibGuides, but it is in its infancy. I’m going to be adding more pages about searching for visual material (posters, images, videos, etc..), but I am learning about this as I go. I have even convinced my library school team to do a “review of methods” and literature review based on the question, “How has the Internet and open access publishing affect grey literature?”

So exciting!

GreyLine

The “spectrum” of research.

2012/2013 Big Changes

I am sitting at my AMAZING new job, eating cherry Poptarts (which happen to be my least favorite) for lunch. Why am I eating Poptarts for lunch you ask…..

It’s a long story. One that starts back in September of 2012 when I applied for a job at KU Medical Center’s Dykes Library. Since I started in library world, I have pushed myself to become a medical librarian. I adore the idea of melding two of my great loves and pursuing a profession that aligns with my interests. By the end of October, I was feeling a little disappointed. Two interviews and tour later, I had not received a call-back about the position. Then, in late November during a survival program I was hosting for teens, I got the call.

I was ecstatic! I was finally on my way to becoming a medical librarian.

As soon as I was off work, I began looking at apartments/houses. Thankfully a friend of mine in Kansas had a room available in her house and offered to let me stay with her. So far that aspect of my move has gone really well and I love going to work everyday.

So now I’m in Kansas, working at the fantastic KU Medical Center, I love my co-workers (though I miss my TRL co-workers too 😦 ) and I like where I’m staying.

Back to the Poptarts though…

While carrying groceries in on ice covered steps I slipped and face-planted. I busted my lip, broke THREE teeth and I’m incredibly sore. Thankfully, I was able to see an emergency dentist on New Year’s Eve, but it cost me big time. Right now I have a temporary crown and I go back on Jan 8th to have my permanent crown put on. Thus, I can only eat soft foods and that is why I’m eating Poptarts for lunch.

Though I must say that 2012 was a less than stellar year, I do have a few things that I am incredibly thankful for:

1. My wonderful new job
2. The love and support of my friends and family
3. Meeting a really fantastic guy
4. A cozy place to live with a fun roommate

I can say without a doubt, however, that 2012 will go down in my record book as the worst year so far. I hope to keep it that way and not repeat this year again.

Spring Has Sprung Story Time

Before this nasty bit of hot weather, we had a few weeks of glorious spring weather. In celebration of the birds singing and the flowers blooming, I decided we would make spring tree boughs.

The kids loved the craft, especially since they got to use glue and “shiny things.” I thought the craft turned out wonderful, with each of the kids creating a different picture. A few of them made fields of sequin flowers, some made a single branch and a couple made an entire tree.

I chose two wonderful books about spring to read to the kids. The first one is called And Then It’s Spring by Julie Fogliano. I have never read any of her other books, but this one has definitely gotten my attention!

It’s a beautiful book about a boy who plants a garden while there is still “brown” around. Brown grass. Brown leaves. Brown weather. He wonders why his garden isn’t growing throughout the seasons…

And Then It’s Spring…and it’s green all around.

I would definitely recommend this book. The prose is poignant and the illustrations are gorgeous. The story might hit home with adults a bit more than preschool children, but the kids were very attentive and asked questions about the illustrations. Any book that promotes discussion among pre-readers is ok in my book!


The second book that I read was It’s Spring by Samantha Berger. It is a board book, but the rhyming prose is just too cute. The kids had me read it to them twice! The second time they tried to say it with me, which I thought was adorable. The kids really liked the little rabbit and the rhyming goes something like:

” The robin told the rabbit…
The rabbit told the deer…
The deer told the duck…
Then all the birds began to sing
To tell the bears, “Wake up, it’s spring!”

Then it was on to the crafts. The kids sat at different tables and started creating their spring scenes!

The kids getting down to business with their pictures.

I just used some left over blue printer paper, crayons and each child had a small cup of sequins and pieces of tissue paper.

You can see in the picture that each of them created something unique and different! A few of the kids were a bit older and they always seem to try and replicate the example that I give them.

Though I always try to use glue sticks, the sequins don’t really work well with anything beside white glue. The younger kids were THRILLED to get to use the white glue and it was good practice for them since most will be going into kindergarten shortly.

Having a few older kids at this story time was great. They were a big help with the younger ones!

The table of older kids really liked the craft too. I let them do several pictures since they were getting so into it. The creativity of all the kids was really astounding! Even though I had just shown them a picture of a fairly mundane tree bough, their trees had curly branches, sequin birds and falling leaves.

One of the little girls picked out all the pink, clear and white sequins. Her entire tree branch matched the little pink dress she was wearing and when I asked her what her favorite color was she pointed to the pink sequin bird she had made.

I will definitely do this craft again! Maybe a Christmas tree?

After story time, the kids and their parents picked their books for the next two weeks. I always love to see the way the kids interact with their parents when choosing books. It’s wonderful to see the kids so excited to read!

Holiday Gifts for the Literary Critics in Your Life

It’s that time of year again. The time when you put on a smiling face in public, but are barely keeping sane behind closed doors. It’s time to get into the holiday spirit! This time each year, we are all making our lists and forgetting to check them twice (which means a run to the mall the night before). Thankfully, you have me. The few of your who do read this blog will be happy to know that I have done the work for you and compiled a list of gifts for all the bookworms in your life!
For the Librarian:

Book shelf necklace
Librarian Love
Librarian Action Figure
Librarians Love Buttons
Handmade Book Page Wreath
Vintage Book Handbag

For the Future Author:

Typewriter of the Future
Describers Dictionary
Oscar Wilde Action Figure
USA Literary Map
A subscription to writersmarket.com

For the YA Book Lover:

Teen Ink subscription
The Hunger Games Collectors Edition
“I’m with the banned” tote
Inheritance by Christopher Paolini
Harry Potter Poster

For the Avid Reader:

eReader Covers
Nook Simple Touch
Out of Print T-shirt
Literary Quote Tote
Jane Austen for President Travel Mug

For the Little Bookworms:

Doodle Cook by Herve Tullet
LEGO Star Wars Character Encyclopedia by DK Publishing
The Lion and The Mouse by Jerry Pinkney
Yummy: Eight Favorite Fairy Tales by Lucy Cousins
V.Reader by VTech

Literary Stocking Stuffers:

Upcycled Book Earrings
Handmade Bookmarks
Mockingjay Pin
Literary Lites
Mini Journals

>I Feel Like a Filthy Traitor

>I have been eyeing a Barnes and Noble Nook for some time now. Every time I see a commercial on television or receive a B&N email, it renews my eReader fervor. I have become completely convinced that I must have one. I do, however, feel like this makes me a terrible librarian. I keep fighting to keep my beloved books stocked on library shelves and yet I feel the need to venture over to the dark side, the side of eBooks.

I feel like this begs the question. Does it make someone less of an advocate for “physical literacy” if they own an eReader? Is it ok for me to have an eReader as long as it jives with our libraries current Overdrive system? Am I really a dirty traitor?