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Posts Tagged ‘public 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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The ALA’s “I Love My Librarian” Award Excludes Special Librarians

August 25, 2009 1 comment

When I first heard about the “I Love My Librarian” competition/award being administered by the ALA Public Information Office and Campaign for America’s Libraries, I was quite excited.  How wonderful for librarians to be honored and recognized!  Then I went and read the details of the award.

The public is being encouraged to nominate eligible librarians.  Who does that include?  Librarians possessing an MLS and working at a public, academic, or school library.  So…..all librarians except for ones working at special libraries.

What?!

Yes, I know the award is sponsored by a business, the Carnegie Corporation.  Who cares?  This is an exclusionary award.  This is not a case of recognizing a select group within a group.  If the award was just for public librarians, I’d be disappointed I couldn’t compete for the cash, but I’d understand.  This award though specifies every group within the group except one.  This is more like if every librarian was eligible for an award except for the Asian-American ones.  That is exclusionary.   This award is not recognizing a select group already recognized within the library community as a definable group.  This is recognizing every group except for one.

To those who would say that the ALA cannot control who is eligible because the award money is being provided by a business, I say, would that be an excuse if the award was for all librarians except for Asian-American ones?  Just because an award is being offered does not mean the ALA has to endorse it.  Perhaps the business was unaware of special librarians, a lot of the general public is.  The ALA could have alerted them to the fact and requested they change the eligibility requirements.

The ALA Public Information Office and Campaign for America’s Libraries claims to be the ALA’s “public awareness campaign that promotes the value of libraries and librarians.”  So apparently, according to them, special libraries and librarians are not valuable or worthy of being in the public awareness.  Nice to know we’re so appreciated by our own professional organization.