Home > Librarianship > July in Medical Libraries

July in Medical Libraries

Just as with any public service job, there are seasons of business in libraries, and those vary with type of library.  Academic libraries see a drastic increase in use at the end of each semester.  Even the students who planned well still have finals to study for and last-minute research to do!  This month I’ve been enjoying seeing my public librarian friends preparing for and starting various summer reading programs.  Summers are a busy time for public libraries!  Kids are out of school, people are vacationing, and there’s the ever-present summer reading programs of course.  If I ever end up working in a public library, I know I’ll enjoy the summers as I love being busy at work, and I absolutely adore summer reading programs.

In my current medical library, however, all has been pretty quiet this month.  Why is that?  Well, hospitals operate on a different yearly schedule than other learning institutions.  Hospitals start new residents and medical students in July.  This means that by June most of the people in the hospital who will use the library the most are old hats at it.  They come in, sure, but they don’t need too much research help.  On the other hand, July…..

Well, there’s a reason your doctor friends advise you not to get sick in July.  July is when the new residents start.  They’re super-excited!  They’re super-busy!  It’s kind of like having a bunch of freshmen in your library, only freshmen who are on an insanely tight schedule and carry beepers they have yet to entirely figure out how to use and who often are so terrified of getting sued or are so diligent about being excellent doctors that they request research for evidence-based medicine for every single decision.  It’s busy as all heck, but to me, it’s also a lot of fun.  These young doctors are still so passionate about their work.  They desire so badly to make a difference.  They’re so profoundly grateful every time you help them, even if it’s just pointing them to a phone to call to see what that page was about.  Their passion and belief in their ability to change the world reignites my own.

So while you academic librarians enjoy your summer respite and public librarians rush around with everything summer reading, I’ll be gearing up for and teaching new residents all about how to find the evidence for practicing evidence-based medicine.

And where there’s wifi.

And what SafeBoot is.

And where they can sleep.

And where phones are for returning pages.

And where the residency training rooms are.

And enjoying every minute of it.

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