Monday – Library Day in the Life Project

This year I am participating in the Library Day in the Life Project.
I looked over the list of participants and thought my perspective as a biomedical librarian might be a nice addition to the other names.
I work part-time, so today was a day off for me, except for a bit of coverage of our e-reference service. I worked full time until 1999, when I left my job as Director of Libraries at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in NY to stay home and care for my daughters. I’ve been lucky since then that once my girls were in school, my skills were in demand and I could choose my own hours. I have been Reference & Education Librarian (part-time) at the Tompkins-McCaw Library for Health Sciences at Virginia Commonwealth University since 2007.
Anyway, today’s big excitement was that our SFX system does not seem to be working with Elsevier’s Science Direct. This is a major problem for our Library since there are so many Elsevier titles used in the sciences. Luckily we have a mechanism in place to report problems with our journal list, which I did when the first problem came through. When the second email came through I was able to pass on that it was more than an isolated problem. At this point, I also sent out a message to the reference librarians list and the service desk list so people would know that the link in our catalog was still working.
I also answered a few other questions about print holdings and donations and a purchase request.
What is really wonderful about all this is that I did it at home in my pjs, with my first coffee in hand. I can’t help but think back to my first library positions in 1986 – sending MEDLINE searches to NLM with a dumb terminal and not knowing if my spelling was correct until I hit the return key. And I couldn’t do that searching until I had a 3 day training course at CISTI in Ottawa (in winter, but that is another story). Even when I started at the CSHL library in 1993, I was using gopher to find things and the IT director installing Netscape was the second highlight of 1994 (after the birth of my second daughter).
So the library profession is really a wonderful, flexible, expanding field. In fact, last Friday I was accepted into the Graduate Certificate in Biomedical Informatics program at Oregon Health Sciences University with full-tuition assistance – through an NIH grant. In the field of health sciences librarianship, this is really an exciting advance – our database and searching skills being used for more than bibliographic data.

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