60+ Articles Every Librarian Should Read- New and Improved

During my time in graduate school, I curated a list of articles to help both newly initiated and seasoned librarians. The list was generated from discussions with classmates, colleagues, professors, and my own interests at the time. I recently went back and read some of the articles on the original list and, while still relevant, a lot of the information contained in the articles needed a refresh.

This list was developed using similar techniques (talking with colleagues, friends, and even individuals outside of the library profession) and I also drew on current events for inspiration.

I am no longer “in the profession” but I still consider myself a librarian-at-large who is passionate about making the profession more than just story-time’s and read-a-likes. The library profession is definitely in need of an update, at least in terms of marketing, and librarians are now more important than ever. In an age of “fake news,” decreased privacy, and increased screen-time, a librarians job has shifted to that of information navigator and curator.

As always, I welcome additions to this list and love collaborating with those both in and out of the library!

Bibliometrics

Digital Literacy

Diversity and Cultural Competence

Fake News and Digital Navigation

Healthcare and Medical Education

  • Clifton, S., Jo, P., Longo, J. M., & Malone, T. (2017). Cultivating a community of practice: the evolution of a health information specialists program for public librarians. Journal of the Medical Library Association: JMLA, 105(3), 254–261. https://doi.org/10.5195/jmla.2017.83
  • Epstein, B. A. (2017). Health sciences libraries in the United States: new directions. Health Information and Libraries Journal, 34(4), 307–311. https://doi.org/10.1111/hir.12199
  • Spencer, A. J., & Eldredge, J. D. (2018). Roles for librarians in systematic reviews: a scoping review. Journal of the Medical Library Association: JMLA, 106(1), 46–56. https://doi.org/10.5195/jmla.2018.82
  • Townsend, W. A., Anderson, P. F., Ginier, E. C., MacEachern, M. P., Saylor, K. M., Shipman, B. L., & Smith, J. E. (2017). A competency framework for librarians involved in systematic reviews. Journal of the Medical Library Association, 105(3), 268–275. https://doi.org/10.5195/jmla.2017.189

Information Literacy/Instruction

Leadership

MLIS/MLS Education

  • Conklin, J. L. (2017). Developing librarian competencies for the digital age, edited by Jeffrey G. Coghill and Roger G. Russell. Medical Reference Services Quarterly, 36(3), 307–308. https://doi.org/10.1080/02763869.2017.1332278
  • Kovar-Gough, I. (2017). Taking chances: a new librarian and curriculum redesign. Medical Reference Services Quarterly, 36(2), 129–137. https://doi.org/10.1080/02763869.2017.1293973
  • Shahbazi, R., & Hedayati, A. (2016). Identifying digital librarian competencies according to the analysis of newly emerging IT-based LIS jobs in 2013. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 42(5), 542–550. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.acalib.2016.06.014
  • Worthington, B. (2017). Towards a better understanding of opportunities for performance training within the MLS curriculum: issues for enhancing education of children’s librarians. Journal of Education for Library & Information Science, 58(4), 202–218. https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1159391

Political Landscape

Public Libraries

  • Giesler, M. A. (2017). A place to call home?: A qualitative exploration of public librarians’ response to homelessness. Journal of Access Services, 14(4), 188–214. https://doi.org/10.1080/15367967.2017.1395704
  • Ireland, S. (2017). Information literacy and instruction: for your information: using information literacy in public libraries. Reference & User Services Quarterly, 57(1), 12–16. https://doi.org/10.5860/rusq.57.1.6436

School Libraries

Staff and Personal Development

Technical

TEDx Talks

The Future of Libraries

Misc

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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…

 

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.