Thursday, October 15, 2009
Applications being accepted for the Diversity Librarian Residency Program at the University of Tennessee Libraries
Diversity Librarian Residency Program
Appointment Rank: Research Assistant Professor
Available: Fall 2009
Come be a part of The University of Tennessee Libraries' two-year Diversity Librarian Resident Program. UT Libraries will select two librarians for a new cohort group in this successful career growth program. The purpose of the program is to attract recent library school graduates to a challenging and rewarding career in academic librarianship. Residents will work closely with librarians to develop skills and career plans, foster collegial relationships with university faculty, contribute in meaningful ways to the diversity and intercultural goals of the university, participate in library committees, and become involved with professional associations. Residents will have the opportunity to work in several areas of the library and take part in a variety of initiatives and projects. Priority areas include:
• Digital Initiatives
• Diversity and Ready for the World Initiatives
• Instructional Services
• Metadata and Resources Management
• Research Services subject specialists
• Special Collections & Archives
• Web 2.0, Library Systems
Mentoring: After orientation, residents will be asked to select one or more mentors. Candidates will receive guidance from a mentor with the goal of completing a specialized project during the second year of their residency.
Environment: The University of Tennessee is the state's flagship institution of higher education, offering comprehensive programs of undergraduate, graduate, and professional education; research; and public service throughout the state.
The University of Tennessee Libraries, with an annual budget of more than $16 million, employs over three hundred persons, including 40 librarians. UT Libraries is a member of the Association of Research Libraries, SOLINET, and the Center for Research Libraries.
Additional information about this position and the UT community is available at http://www.lib.utk.edu/employ/faculty/diversitylibrarian.html
Required Qualifications: A recent graduate degree from an ALA accredited master's program; ability to work effectively in a team environment; a commitment to advancing the Libraries' and University's diversity goals; excellent oral and written communication skills; demonstrated interest in scholarship and professional growth, strong service orientation; knowledge of issues and trends in academic libraries. Must have authorization to work in the United States for duration of the programs (2 years).
Preferred Qualification: Expertise in one of the priority areas.
Salary and Benefits: Two-year appointment as non-tenure track Research Assistant Professor at a minimum salary of $44,000. There is financial support for attending conferences, seminars, and workshops. Relocation assistance will be provided. Excellent benefits include 24 annual leave days; choice of state retirement plan or TIAA/CREF with nonrefundable contributions paid for the employee by the University; optional group health and life insurance plans. Tuition remission is available for all university employees and partial undergraduate tuition remission is available to dependent children and spouses of UT employees.
The Knoxville campus of the University of Tennessee is seeking candidates who have the ability to contribute in meaningful ways to the diversity and intercultural goals of the University. To find out more about the libraries' commitment to diversity, please visit: www.lib.utk.edu/diversity/
Application Procedure: Send cover letter addressing the above qualifications, a current resume, and the names, addresses, e-mail addresses, and telephone numbers of three recent references to: Elizabeth Greene, Library Personnel & Procurement, 1015 Volunteer Blvd., Knoxville, TN 37996-1000. Application materials may be sent via email attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org. Review of applications will begin October 27, 2009 and will continue until candidates are recommended for appointment. Finalists will be brought to Knoxville for interviews. Qualified spring and summer semester 2009 graduates are encouraged to apply.
All qualified applicants will receive equal consideration for employment without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, pregnancy, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, physical or mental disability, or covered veteran status.
Eligibility and other terms and conditions of employment benefits at The University of Tennessee are governed by laws and regulations of the State of Tennessee, and this non-discrimination statement is intended to be consistent with those laws and regulations.
In accordance with the requirements of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, The University of Tennessee affirmatively states that it does not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, or disability in its education programs and activities, and this policy extends to employment by the University.
Inquiries and charges of violation of Title VI (race, color, national origin), Title IX (sex), Section 504 (disability), ADA (disability), Age Discrimination in Employment Act (age), sexual orientation, or veteran status should be directed to the Office of Equity and Diversity (OED), 1840 Melrose Avenue, Knoxville, TN 37996-3560, telephone (865) 974-2498 (V/TTY available) or 974-2440. Requests for accommodation of a disability should be directed to the ADA Coordinator at the Office of Equity and Diversity.
See full vacancy announcement and further information at www.lib.ncsu.edu/jobs/epa.html
Apply online at https://jobs.ncsu.edu/
Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer
NC State welcomes all persons without regard to sexual orientation
Persons with disabilities requiring accommodations in the application and interview process please call (919) 515-3148.
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe
ACRL President 2010-2011
Please review this information before filling out the online volunteer form (a link is provided at the bottom of this page).
Listing of ACRL Committees and their charges
Deadline: The online volunteer form must be completed by December 1, 2009 for consideration for 2010-11 appointments.
Process: The ACRL vice-president is responsible for committee appointments at the division level for the year he or she serves as president. The ACRL Appointments Committee assists the vice-president in an advisory capacity. Appointments to committees linked to a coordinating committee will be made by the chair of the coordinating committee.
For editorial/advisory boards, the editors recommend the names of individuals to fill vacancies. The Publications Committee must approve the recommendation, and the president of ACRL makes the appointment.
Appointments: Appointments will be finalized following the 2010 ALA Midwinter Meeting.
Requirements of appointment: Certain criteria must be met in order to serve on an ACRL committee. This includes:
* membership in ALA and ACRL
* submitting a signed appointments acceptance form to ACRL
Additionally, committee members should be aware of ACRL's Conflict of Interest Policy, which can be seen in the ACRL Guide to Policies and Procedures, chapter 12.3.
Rewards of volunteering: Volunteers benefit by:
* building ties with academic and research librarians around the country,
* enhancing their leadership abilities through consensus building and project management,
* sharing their experience with colleagues,
* gaining additional expertise about a new area of academic librarianship or updating expertise in a current specialization, and
* advancing the work of the association and the profession.
ACRL structural changes: In 2005, the ACRL Board of Directors identified structural changes to the association intended to coordinate the work of units throughout the organization, reduce duplicative efforts, and allow the organization to conduct work more quickly and effectively. One such structural change was to link committees that have similar or related missions under the umbrella of a coordinating committee. A list of the coordinating committees and the committees they oversee is provided below.
For Immediate Release
October 5, 2009
Volunteer to serve on an ALA or Council committee for 2010 - 2011
CHICAGO—Roberta Stevens, American Library Association (ALA) president-elect, is encouraging members to volunteer for ALA and Council committees during the 2010-2011 appointment process. Stevens is chairing both the Committee on Appointments and Committee on Committees.
To volunteer for a committee, complete the online committee volunteer form at: http://www.ala.org/template.cfm?template=/CFApps/Committee/volunteerform/volunteerform2.cfm&group1=ALA
Serving on an ALA or Council committee provides members with leadership training, networking opportunities and experience in working on specific association topics. Stevens is seeking volunteers to serve on the following committees: Accreditation; American Libraries Advisory; Awards; Budget, Analysis and Review; Chapter Relations; Conference; Constitution and Bylaws; Council Orientation; Diversity; Education; Election; Human Resource Development and Recruitment Advisory; Information Technology Policy Advisory; Intellectual Freedom; International Relations; Legislation; Library Advocacy; Literacy; Literacy and Outreach Services Advisory; Membership; Membership Meetings; Organization; Policy Monitoring (current Council members only); Professional Ethics; Public and Cultural Programs Advisory; Public Awareness; Publishing; Research and Statistics; Resolutions; Rural, Native and Tribal Libraries of All Kinds; Scholarships and Study Grants; Status of Women in Librarianship; Training, Orientation and Leadership Development; Website Advisory; ALA-Children’s Book Council (Joint); ALA-Association of American of Museums (Joint); and ALA-Association of American Publishers (Joint).
Deadline for completing the ALA committee volunteer form is Friday, December 4, 2009.
For more information on the committee appointments process, contact Lois Ann Gregory-Wood, COC and COAppt. Staff Liaison (email@example.com).
Program Officer, Education & Scholarships
ALA, Human Resource Development & Recruitment (HRDR)
For Immediate Release
October 6, 2009
ALA 2010 Scholarship online application now available
CHICAGO - Scholarship money is available for future librarians.
ALA has more than $300,000 for students who are studying library science or school library media at the master's degree level. Scholarships typically range from $1,500 to $7,000 per student per year. The application and instructions are available on-line at www.ala.org/scholarships. The application deadline is March 1, 2010.
There are many types of scholarships available for the study of librarianship. These include scholarships for students who are interested in Children's Librarianship, Youth Librarianship, Federal Librarianship, new media and Library Automation. In addition, there are also scholarships available for minorities, persons with disabilities and for people who are already employed in libraries but do not have an MLS.
To be considered for one of these scholarships, applicants must attend a master’s program in library and information science that has been accredited by the ALA. Applicants interested in school library media must attend a program that meets ALA curriculum guidelines for the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). Complete guidelines and instructions are available on the website.
The scholarship process is open annually from October through March. For more information, visit www.ala.org/scholarships or call the ALA Scholarship Clearinghouse at (800) 545-2433, ext. 4279.
Friday, August 7, 2009
New York Public Library - New York, NY
Contact: Ms. Evelyn Frangakis
Chief Librarian for Preservation
Project Title: "IMLS Preservation Administration Fellowship"
New York Public Library, partnering with the libraries at Yale, Rutgers, and the University of Connecticut at Storrs, will implement a preservation administration fellowship program. This program is designed to give recently graduated preservation librarians an opportunity to put theory into practice while benefitting from the mentoring of experienced professionals. A total of eight fellows will spend nine-month residencies rotating through various preservation units such as collections care, conservation treatment, and audio and moving image preservation. Each fellow will be expected to identify, plan, and complete a major project that combines research and its practical application at his or her host institution.
- A 6- to 12-Week Internship Experience
- Mentoring Relationship
- Leadership Development
- Career Placement
Monday, August 3, 2009
Thursday, July 16, 2009
One-year paid internship available in the Phoenix area – funded via afederal grant.
The Library Development Division (LDD) provides support, consultingservices, training and grant funding to local libraries throughout thestate. (See www.lib.az.us/extension/index.cfm.) LDD is seeking an internto assist with LDD projects and administer the Books for Arizona LibrariesProgram. The program provides Arizona’s literacy groups and publiclibraries of all kinds (such as school, tribal, prison, rural) theopportunity to acquire quality, appropriate books from larger librarysystems’ books sales at no cost. (See www.lib.az.us/bazl.)
Applications are being accepted at www.azstatejobs.gov.
The American Library Association (ALA) is now accepting applications for the 2010 class of Emerging Leaders.
Applications can be found at http://www.ala.org/cfapps/emergingleaders/. The deadline to apply is July 31, 2009.
The program is designed to enable approximately 100 library workers to get on the fast track to ALA and professional leadership. Participants are given the opportunity to work on a variety of projects, network with peers and get an inside look into the ALA structure and activities.
For the first time since its establishment, the Emerging Leaders program will accept non-MLS library workers. Library support staff personnel are encouraged to apply to the program and will have an opportunity to be considered for sponsorship through the ALA Library Support Staff Interests Round Table.
An ALA division, round table, ethnic affiliate, state chapter or school library media affiliate will sponsor approximately one-third of the selected applicants. Each sponsor will contribute $1,000 toward expenses ($500 for each conference). Sponsorship is not required for participation in the program. Applicants can indicate on the application which groups they want to consider them for sponsorship. A list of sponsoring units is included as part of the online application. You can also check with your state association and/or state chapter to find out if they are participating and how to apply for their sponsorship.
No more than one person from any institution will be selected for participation in the program. In order to be eligible, applicants must meet the following criteria:
Be under 35 years of age or be a library worker of any age with fewer than 5 years experience working in a library.
Be able to attend both ALA conferences and work virtually in between each. Be prepared to commit to serve on either an ALA, division, chapter or round table committee, taskforce or workgroup, or in your state or local professional library organization upon completion of program.
Be an ALA member or join upon selection if not already a member.
Program information will be available and updated at: http://www.ala.org/cfapps/emergingleaders/.
For questions or more information regarding the program, contact Beatrice Calvin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries (AAHSL) is pleased to announce the 2009-2010 year of the leadership program jointly sponsored by the National Library of Medicine (NLM) and AAHSL. The NLM/AAHSL Leadership Fellows Program is focused on preparing emerging leaders for the position of library director in academic health sciences libraries.
“The partnership with NLM has demonstrated its value in encouraging and preparing the next generation of leaders of our libraries,” said AAHSL president Julia Sollenberger. “Its merit is recognized by institutions across the country as they recruit for director positions.”
Fellows will have the opportunity to develop their knowledge and skills in a variety of learning settings, including exposure to leadership in another environment. They will be paired with mentors who are academic health sciences library directors. In addition to the individual relationship with their mentors, fellows benefit from working collaboratively with other fellows and mentors. Experienced program faculty and mentors will provide content and facilitation for the cohort. The program takes advantage of flexible scheduling and an online learning community to minimize disruption to professional and personal schedules. The sponsors will provide financial support for up to five fellows and will underwrite travel and meeting expenses.
Thirty-five fellows have participated in the program since its inauguration in 2002. To date, thirteen fellows have assumed director positions.
“The program was key in securing my job as director and continues to sustain me,” noted Neville Prendergast, fellow, class of 2007-2008, and director at Tulane University. “It provided the learning environment to interact with my mentor and other leading directors very willing to share their ideas and experience. It places you in the position of ‘thinking like a director.’”
Chris Shaffer, fellow, class of 2006-2007, and university librarian at Oregon Health & Science University, said, “My mentor ‘opened the books’ to me and taught me about budgets of public and private universities. As a new director, I often turn to the other fellows in my cohort for advice and community, and I can get support from all the mentors who have participated in the program.”
Gary Freiburger, mentor, class of 2008-2009, and director at University of Arizona, stated, “My fellow’s visit to our library gave me a chance to see our operations through fresh eyes. As a mentor, I not only have the chance to rethink my assumptions, I also have the benefit of working with a cohort of directors who share information and experiences.”
The one-year program design is multi-faceted: three in-person leadership institutes; attendance at an Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) annual meeting; a yearlong fellow/mentor relationship; Web-based courses and discussions on issues related to library leadership; and a two-week site visit to the mentor’s home library (in one or two-week segments).
The program is designed to:
Introduce fellows to leadership theory and practical tools for implementing change at organizational and professional levels;
Introduce fellows to critical issues facing academic health sciences libraries;
Develop meaningful professional relationships between fellows and mentors that give fellows access to career guidance and support;
Expose fellows to another academic health sciences library and its institutional leadership under the guidance of their mentors;
Examine career development and provide models of directors to fellows;
Create a cohort of leaders who will draw upon each other for support throughout their careers;
Promote diversity in the leadership of the profession; and
Offer recognition to emerging leaders and enhance the competitive standing of fellows as they pursue director positions.
The NLM/AAHSL Leadership Fellows Program is currently accepting applications and nominations for the August 3, 2009, deadline for potential fellows and mentors for the 2009-2010 experience. Candidates for fellow should have a strong interest in pursuing a directorship in academic health sciences libraries, as well as a minimum of five years of department head level or higher responsibility, or equivalent experience, in an academic health sciences library, hospital library, or other library-related setting. Applications from qualified minority candidates are encouraged. Mentors should have at least five years’ experience as director of an academic health sciences library.
The program brochure, including information on program design, schedule, and application process, is available at http://data.memberclicks.com/site/aahsl/NLM-AAHSL-Leadership-Fellows-Program-2009-2010.pdf
For more information about the program, please contact Carolyn Lipscomb, Program Manager, AAHSL Future Leadership Committee, email@example.com.
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Day in the life of a Public Library Book Buyer!
I have the best job in my public library system: I select books for adults, in English and in Spanish for 27 libraries. I don’t supervise anyone but myself which is a freedom I greatly appreciate.
Everyday I receive requests from library staff & patrons and read reviews of forthcoming titles. I work to fill-in missing titles of favorite old series (for mystery & science fiction especially), classics and other titles that have been lost but are still loved. And, I eagerly unpack boxes of “advance reading” copies - uncorrected proofs - to see what’s going to be “hyped” by publishers in the coming months. I try to read my free e-mail newsletter, “Shelf Awareness: Daily Enlightenment for the Book Trade”, every day (http://www.shelf-awareness.com/). This publication is, “…dedicated to helping the people in stores, in libraries and on the Web buy, sell and lend books most wisely.” I like knowing what books will be on television and radio shows such as The Colbert Report or NPR and reading interviews with authors.
More often than you might think, my job also involves justifying my decisions to purchase a particular title (or not). My department receives complaints all the time regarding materials that people find offensive in one way or another and we do our best to respond promptly and courteously. I used to think this type of complaint mainly initiated with a patron. I was disappointed to discover that sometimes a person with an MLS, employed by the library, will try to limit access to an item that may have been selected to fill a patron’s request. So, sometimes my job is to educate staff about our selection criteria and policies and ideals regarding intellectual freedom.
Three people work in my department. There is also another selector for children’s and young adult materials and our supervisor. We have a six million dollar materials budget for a service area of one million people. Six dollars per patron, per year, does not stretch as far as we would like it to but we do the best we can. In addition to books, we purchase magazines, newspapers, downloadable media, dvds, music cds, books on cd and databases.
Helen the Librarian, Book Buyer
Pima County Public Library
Press Releases & Announcements
Initiative to Recruit a Diverse Workforce Call for Applications--Deadline August 31
For immediate release:
June 15, 2009
For more information, contact:
Mark A. Puente
Association of Research Libraries
Download a PDF of this release
Initiative to Recruit a Diverse Workforce Call for Applications
Deadline August 31
Washington DC—The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) is accepting applications for the Initiative to Recruit a Diverse Workforce (IRDW), a program designed to recruit LIS graduate students from traditionally underrepresented ethnic and racial backgrounds into careers in research libraries. The IRDW includes a stipend up to $10,000 over two years, leadership and career development training, and a formal mentorship program.
The IRDW is funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and ARL member libraries. This initiative reflects the commitment of ARL members to create a diverse research library community that will better meet the challenges of changing demographics in higher education and the emphasis of global perspectives in the academy.
Program Goal and Objectives
Attracting LIS graduate students from underrepresented groups to careers in research libraries, especially students with an educational background in applied and natural sciences or information technology*
Strengthening participants’ leadership skills via a Leadership Institute held in conjunction with the American Library Association (ALA) Midwinter Meeting
Developing a network of mentors who will guide and nurture the career development of the participants
* Candidates from all academic disciplines are encouraged to apply. Those without academic training in natural/applied sciences or information technology/computer science will be required to complete coursework that will better prepare the candidate to work in science librarianship or information technology.
Successful applicants will meet the following criteria:
Member of an underrepresented racial or ethnic group (Note: Racial and ethnic group membership is based on the categories outlined in the US Census. Racially and ethnically underrepresented groups include: American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Black or African American, Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, Hispanic or Latino.)
Acceptance into an ALA-accredited LIS graduate program
Interest in pursuing a career in a research library
All applicants are required to submit the following materials by Monday, August 31, 2009:
Applicant summary sheet
A 350-word essay describing what attracts you to a professional position in an ARL library
Two letters of reference
Official undergraduate and graduate school transcripts including your last academic semester completed
Copy of an official letter of acceptance from an ALA-accredited library/information school
For more details about the application process, see the complete Call for Applications http://www.arl.org/diversity/init/call.shtml.
For more information about the program, see the IRDW Web site http://www.arl.org/diversity/init/.
The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) is a nonprofit organization of 123 research libraries in North America. Its mission is to influence the changing environment of scholarly communication and the public policies that affect research libraries and the diverse communities they serve. ARL pursues this mission by advancing the goals of its member research libraries, providing leadership in public and information policy to the scholarly and higher education communities, fostering the exchange of ideas and expertise, and shaping a future environment that leverages its interests with those of allied organizations. ARL is on the Web at http://www.arl.org/.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Alma Ramos-McDermott working at Pollard Middle School in Needham, MA who is giving us an inside view to what it is like!
A day in the life of a Middle School librarian
I am a first year middle school librarian for over 1100 students in grades 6-8. My day is supposed to officially start at 7:25 am, but I am usually in the library by 6:45 a.m. Sometimes, I am greeted at the library door, or 5-10 minutes after I arrive, by a teacher or two looking for that “last minute” DVD or book that they absolutely need and forgot to get yesterday. They may also come to get the keys to the laptop cart they are using in their classroom or to find out if the daily newspaper has been delivered. Between the time I get there and the time the library “officially” opens to students, I may see 1-3 teachers.
In library school, we learned that teachers depend on us, but we weren’t told that it may be earlier in the day than we expected. However, as a former classroom teacher for 21 years and, since I’m there early to beat traffic, it feels good to help get their day organized. During that early morning time, I also work on book orders and check through my e-mails. Today, several teachers contacted me to schedule time for their classes in the library. I e-mailed them to arrange a time to meet with them and, at that time, we’ll discuss their lesson and how I can help their students learn important research and information literacy skills that go with their lesson. Also, since it’s the beginning of the month, I am looking for books on the online catalog that match themes related to the month that I can display in the library’s three display cases. I walk in and out of the shelves getting the books that I need to display.
At 7:25, the school doors open. Since the library faces the front door, many students stream into the library. Some need to return a book, others want to renew, some want to borrow, some need to use the computer, and the rest are there for the two 8th grade and one 6th grade class that use the library for Advisory classes, which takes the place of Homeroom. While all this activity takes place, I am busy checking out books and/or helping students to find what they need on the shelves or via the online catalog. When there’s a lull, I am in the stacks putting together a cart of books for a teacher who needs it in their classroom. Today, the cart is beginning to get filled with poetry books for a 6th grade class. On other days, the carts have held books on Biographies, Mysteries, Ancient Greece, Chemistry, Planets, Picture Books for a Theatre project and other topics.
Soon after 8:00 a.m. the bell rings for the end of Advisory, and I straighten up the tables/chairs, pick up papers, and/or log students out of the computers if they forgot. Today, my classes are in a teacher’s classroom, as a follow-up to a lesson that was done in the library last week. We school librarians need to be flexible, since teachers may change their mind at the last minute and decide they need to reschedule the planned lesson, or change locations. Today, the times for me to come were changed, as the teacher forgot that first period is a reading block.
Throughout the day, I take groups of students to the library to look for books that they need for their research. As students worked on their research project using laptops, I walked around the classroom reinforcing what I’d taught for those who needed extra help. There was a short 45 minute break between two of my four classes, so I used that time to finish the cart of books for the month’s theme, and finish decorating the library cases. I also returned several telephone messages and e-mails, and helped several students who came in seeking books.
Lunch is 22 minutes, but I spend 15 of those minutes looking up information to answer a teacher’s e-mail. I settle down for a quick bite, and then I’m off to my next set of classes. I rush out of the classroom at 2:08 to get to the library on time to set up for the afterschool center which begins at 2:10. Before I’m finished setting up, several students have already come in to use the library since the dismissal bell has rung. I wind up with 45 students. Some days I have 60, others 20. Each day varies.
I am supposed to stay until 2:40 pm, when a paid teacher comes in until 3:30 pm. Instead of leaving, I wind up continuing to help a student with a project on the computer. As I get ready to leave, someone else pleads for help with a Spanish assignment. Since I speak Spanish, and I feel badly for her, I help, and finally wind up leaving at 3:10 pm for my hour ride home.
Today, my day began at 6:45 and ended at 3:10 pm, and it’s been non-stop action all day. Library school taught me to be a librarian, but I’ve learned more each day than a textbook or professor could have ever shown me. My advice to you is: if you’re in library school studying to become a school librarian, take time to volunteer in a school library so you can get “on the job” training, and learn to “think on your feet.” Every day is different, and I learn something new every day. So will you.
I enjoy the variety of my job, and love helping teachers and students learn research skills and recommend books to read.
Monday, April 27, 2009
Our inaugral post was submitted by Siobhan Champ-Blackwell, Community Outreach Liaison for the National Network of Libraries of Medicine MidContinental Region (NN/LM MCR) and REFORMA Secretary, from Omaha, Nebraska:
When asked to explain the position of Community Outreach Liaison for the National Network of Libraries of Medicine MidContinental Region (NN/LM MCR), I feel the need to sit down and get ready for a long chat. So, pull up a chair, a cup of tea or a glass of wine, and join me as we explore the world of regional medical libraries, outreach and networking.
First, the NN/LM. There are eight regional medical libraries (RML) in the United States. You can find your RML at http://nnlm.gov/ . Just click on the map for your state and you are there. I work for the MidContinental Region, the big purple section in the middle of the country. http://nnlm.gov/mcr/
“The mission of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NN/LM) is to advance the progress of medicine and improve the public health by providing all U.S. health professionals with equal access to biomedical information and improving the public's access to information to enable them to make informed decisions about their health. The Program is coordinated by the National Library of Medicine and carried out through a nationwide network of health science libraries and information centers.” This is a pretty broad mission, and each RML carries it out in slightly different ways, depending on the geography of the region, the make-up of the population, etc.
At the NN/LM MCR, we use what we call the “distributed model”. The University of Utah holds the contract for the Regional Medical Library and subcontracts positions and special projects to seven libraries in the region. I work for Creighton University’s Health Sciences Library/Learning Resources Center through its subcontract with the University of Utah. Creighton’s HSL/LRC carries out the work of community outreach in the region through my office. Community Outreach focuses on improving access to health information around health disparities issues, especially in terms of minority health status. The other RMLs have a centralized model, where the NN/LM staff work mainly out of one medical library. For the NN/LM MCR the distributed model helps us to reach our frontier and rural geographic communities more efficiently.
You can see that this is a job that is bigger than one person or one office. In the NN/LM, we strive to assist libraries and community organizations to help us carry out our mission. We do this by providing classes, exhibiting at conferences, funding projects so they can reach their communities. Another successful strategy that I have used is to keep a blog “Bringing Health Information to the Community” http://nnlm.gov/mcr/bhic/ This blog is read daily by hundreds of national and international readers, made up of librarians and staff at public health departments and community organizations. And the readers of the BHIC blog forward postings onto others that they know would benefit from specific items, and so the word spreads.
It’s hard to describe a day in the life of an NN/LM librarian, because every day is different for all of us. I might be headed out for a three day trip to Denver to teach 12 hours of Continuing Education to public librarians, or driving to Kansas City to lead a “Café to Go” session, which brings librarians and community organizations together to find ways to partner with each other on health information projects. I may be teaching future healthcare providers at health sciences schools across the region on cultural competency resourcez. I may be in my office, blogging, answering email, developing classes. Or I might be taking notes at a REFORMA Board of Directors Meeting, fulfilling my role as Secretary of REFORMA. Networking, teaching, getting outside the library to where people are is a fun, exhausting and worthwhile way to spend time.
If you want to know more about being a medical librarian, see the resources the Medical Library Association has put together at http://mlanet.org/students/ I hope you consider this field. There is huge variety in what a medical librarian does and where s/he will end up – hospitals, corporations, non profits and public libraries are just some of the places that hire medical librarians. Feel free to contact me with any questions you might have, and be sure and contact your RML!