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!


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


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


TEDx Talks

The Future of Libraries



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…


Medical Librarians and Coursera

Courses through the Medical Library Association are expensive. The American Library Association workshops are not only expensive, but are also rarely relevant to medical libraries. When it comes down to it, professional development courses for medical librarians can be difficult to come by (especially when you’re on a budget). While browsing Coursera the other day, I happened upon several courses that I thought might be useful to those of us in the academic health science and medical library field. I created a list of the courses “for future reference” and to have a curated list in one place. As more courses are added, I will try to update this list!

Coursera Courses:


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/Firstsearch.org/WorldCat” 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.