A.T. Still U. of the Health Sciences
1. How are you effectively marketing your library and library holdings among your patrons? What tips can you share with your colleagues that you found to be successful?
Effectively marketing the Library, like marketing anything, is a process involving knowing your target audience and their needs, developing the “products and services” to most effectively meet these needs and “selling” these products and services. In applying this process in my Library, I have tried to think strategically and use this to guide my tactical/operational planning. ATSU is a medical university focused on the quality of its clinical education. The need to effectively use evidence in clinical practice is well understood in the shift to an evidence-based model of practice. Therefore, the strategic goal I identified for my current library is to assist the University in preparing clinicians to deliver high quality care partly through accessing and using evidence in their future practice. This drives everything we do in the Library.
For example, it is clear that to accomplish this, it is important to work closely with our faculty to incorporate use of evidence into their courses so that locating and using evidence/information becomes second nature for our students. It also guides our collection building and our focus to better integrate the array of digital resources we make available to our students and faculty to try and improve their ability to find the most relevant sources and evidence to answer their questions. We try to couple this with a strong commitment in the Library to a high level of service, so that our patrons want to use the Library and its resources rather than feel like they have to. In addition, I make sure to frequently “walk the halls” to visit and talk to faculty, as academic health sciences libraries can no longer wait for our patrons to come to us.
None of the ideas are particularly original but the long-term goals; our commitment to service and outreach have built a Library with strong relationships; and support from our academic community.
2. If you weren’t a medical librarian, what would you be?
What I like about being a librarian is being able to help my patrons and rarely having to tell them no or be negative with them. The library should be a positive, helpful resource that finds ways to assist rather than having to say no very often and it is my goal to make my libraries like this. I also would not like a job where I sat at a desk every day doing the same or similar things for much of the day. Knowing myself when I was preparing to leave the US Navy 40 years ago, I looked at possible career choices and discovered that being a librarian matched me well and I still have not changed my mind. So if I wasn’t a medical librarian, I would want to be a public (which I did for 2 years in the early 90’s) or academic librarian.
3. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
This is not as simple a question as it might sound. As I am probably within 5 years of retirement, it is something I sometimes think about. I like living in the United States, but also like being able to travel to other countries so I want a good airport nearby. In the plus 20 years I have spent in Arizona having moved here from the Southeast, I have found that I like the laidback lifestyle of the West. I like having good access to the arts, good food and to major league baseball, so I prefer a large but not overwhelming city. I also like moderate weather not desiring much snow or extreme heat, so that Arizona is near perfect 8 months of the year. So when I retire I would like to live where I live, but spend significant parts of the “hot” four months in other parts of this country and neat places in other countries.
4. If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why?
If I could have a superpower, I would like to be super empathic, so that I could have a clear sense of what the person I am dealing with is feeling as we interact. I would like this for two reasons. The first is to make me more effective in dealing with patrons, colleagues and friends. Just think how much more effective I could be in the “reference interview”! Secondly, I could be better to figure out the correct answer when my wife asks me questions, such as do I like what she is wearing, should she buy this dress or which restaurant we want to eat at!
We’re always looking for new Medical Librarians of the Month!
If you’d like to be considered, answer the same questions as Michael above and send them to email@example.com. Please also include your name, institution, city, state and a photo of yourself. Good luck!
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