EBM and Clinical Support Librarians@UCHC

A blog for medical students, faculty and librarians about their use of evidence based medicine, clinical literature, Web 2.0, sources and search strategies

Other Stuff, Video: Librarians and their Profession


Is librarianship a profession? Yes.

Those of us who went to graduate school (while working a full-time day job) to obtain a Master of Library & Information Science degree can tell you this: If you are a library professional, sooner or later, someone will say these things to you:

  • “Wow… do you mean, being a librarian is (like) a real job for you?!”
  • “How many people did you shush today?”
  • “You’re a librarian? You must really like to read!”
  • “I don’t need to go to the library anymore – I just look it up on Google“.
  • “Copyright? What is copyright?”
  • “You have my dream job… I’d like to just sit at the front desk and read all day long, too”.
  • “You had to get a masters degree for that? Why?”
  • “Why do people need librarians, now that everything is on the internet?”
  • “Why do people need librarians, now that everything is on Google?”
  • “Just stop spending money on journals… haven’t you ever heard of Google Scholar?”
  • “Do you work year-round?”
  • “I looked this up already on Google but didn’t find anything… so that means, there’s nothing available on [my subject], right?”
  • “If I found it on the Internet then that means I don’t have to give attribution… right?”
  • “I searched this on PubMed but I got 13,202 hits… that is too many, so then I just gave up”.
  • “Where are the bathrooms?”
  • “I only want stuff that is online… if it isn’t online, I don’t want to go and find it”.
  • And my all-time favorite response to a library survey question: “Get some better looking librarians in this library”. 😉

Please visit this great site done by a graduate student at Rutgers University entitled “Find Your Inner Librarian” – which is an entertaining mashup about being a librarian, in specific libraries – and is also a handsome recruiting video for attracting new talent to the profession: click here to view it.

What librarians in this academic-medical library actually do all day includes:

  • Planning, selecting and creating access to a comprehensive clinical collection – in both electronic and real (print) formats – which distills the latest technical knowledge base for clinical medicine, allied health, public health or epidemiology, researchers, pharmacy, nursing staff, hospital administrators, dentists, physicians, grant-seekers, poison-control staff and 1600 graduate students in medicine, dentistry, biomedicine, public health.
  • Training clinicians and students to search highly-complex databases so that they can locate current treatment options, evidence-based guidelines, find comparisons or options for providing the best care for their patients.
  • Provide expert search services to locate clinical information for those (above) who have no time to search themselves. And then email the citations and selected full-text journal literature to our users.
  • Orienting in-coming residents, new employees, graduate students, community faculty, students from other academic institutions including area high schools, about the wealth of options for searching our journals, databases, textbooks and audio-visuals while on-site.
  • Information & Education Service Librarians are formal instructors for the School of Medicine, and design and instruct a variety of graduate level, for-credit courses including Health Informatics, Principals of Clinical & Translational Research and Evidence Based Medicine Literature/Strategies.
  • Staffing a library which is open 94 hours weekly. (Students also have access to group study rooms which are open 24 x 7).
  • Annually evaluating and selecting new subscription journals, databases, print or electronic textbooks which meet the learning or patient care needs of a wide range of library users, including the general public who are welcome in this library.
  • Instructional design and delivery for a group of core database classes – taught monthly – for Medline (PubMed), Scopus, Web of Science/Journal Citation Reports, EndNote and EndNote Web, RefWorks, Medical PDA Sources, Pharmacology, Psychiatry Sources and Social Networking Tools.
  • Precepting problem-based learning courses for first or second year medical students.
  • Outreach Training sessions to all new nursing staff on-site.
  • Librarians are members of Committees including Nursing Education, Copyright, Clinical Clerkship Year (Home Week), Primary Care/Resident Training, Medical School Electives.
  • Meeting (by appointment) with grant-seekers, researchers, students or clinicians who need personalized, hands-on training in searching or accessing any of the above knowledge sources.

That’s some of the work of our profession, and of what we do. Librarianship is truly a noble service profession…. and it has been a wonderful, durable and challenging learning curve for this blogger!


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