Newsletter of the Medical Library Group of Southern California and Arizona

New to MLGSCA – Kathryn Houk

Posted on | September 16, 2016 | No Comments

Kathryn Houk

Kathryn Houk

  1. How did you become interested in medical librarianship? It was roundabout. My first job was as a science librarian focusing in zoology (undergrad degree in biology), but I knew I wanted to be in Boston. My next position was as the liaison to the biomedical programs at an academic health sciences library, so I became a medical librarian due to my place of work. I love it now, and am happy I stumbled into the role!
  1. What is your current position? Health & Life Sciences librarian at San Diego State University. I serve the schools of Public Health, Exercise & Nutrition Sciences – including a doctoral of physical therapy program, Nursing, the department of biology, and the clinical psychology dual degree students and faculty.
  1. What do you enjoy most about your current position? As cheesy as it is, I love the graduate students and faculty that I work with the most. I feel incredibly lucky as a medical/health librarian to be seen as an expert and partner in the education of students.
  1. What do you think is the most interesting or challenging issue in librarianship today? This is a difficult question – I think there are many challenging issues, but I tend to really focus my musings on perception of our role. I think embracing change is really challenging for many of us, because change means effort to learn and try new things that might fail. We all KNOW librarianship is changing, but until we embrace and run towards that change, the outside perception of our role will be slow to change as well.
  1. Please provide a link that made you think (an article, video, blog post, other webpage, etc. that you found to be interesting or thought-provoking): If anybody doesn’t follow Humans of New York by now, I’d be surprised. I’m obsessed because it feels like the most honest and human thing on the internet today – heartbreaking and inspiring and funny. (

MLGSCA member publications

Posted on | September 7, 2016 | No Comments

Congratulations to three MLGSCA members who have publications in the Journal of the Medical Library Association:

Sue Espe, Health Science Librarian, Banner University Medical Center, is the author of the article “Health sciences librarians off the radar,” published in the July 2016 issue of the Journal of the Medical Library Association.

Bethany Myers, Research Informationist, and Bredny Rodriguez, Health and Life Sciences Informationist, at the UCLA Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library, are co-authors of the article “How do early career health sciences information professionals gain competencies?” published in the July 2016 issue of the Journal of the Medical Library Association.

Check these articles out!

Congratulations Sydni!

Posted on | September 2, 2016 | 1 Comment

Sydni Abrahamsen Sydni Abrahamsen is the MLGSCA First Time AHIP Award recipient. Sydni is a recent hire to the Patient & Health Education Library at Mayo Clinic, Scottsdale, AZ. From October 2006 to July 2016, Sydni worked at the Noble Science and Engineering Library on the Tempe Campus of Arizona State University (ASU).

“The AHIP membership shows employers and colleagues that you are dedicated to professional development and continuing education. The structure of having the AHIP competencies to refer to helps me to focus my continuing education on areas that need improvement. Renewal of the AHIP membership will keep me motivated to continually grow as a professional through conference attendance and professional contribution.”

As a relatively new member we hope that Sydni will become involved with MLGSCA as our chapter is only as strong as its members.

Congratulations Sydni Abrahamsen.

Apply for the First-Time AHIP Applicant Award

Posted on | July 13, 2016 | No Comments

Do you want to join AHIP, but can’t afford the application fee? Apply now for the MLGSCA First-Time AHIP Applicant Award! The deadline is July 31, 2016.

AHIP First-Time Applicant Award





Application Process:


How to avoid burnout

Posted on | July 6, 2016 | No Comments

Have you been irritable with coworkers and patrons lately? Do you find yourself running on empty and having to dredge up all your energy just to do the basics? Are you feeling critical and cynical about your job? It may just be a bad day…but it might be burnout.

The 5-Minute Librarian has an article explaining the signs of burnout and tips for combating it.

Have you ever been burnt out? How did you know? What has helped you get back on track? Share your comments below.

PubMed Turns 20

Posted on | July 6, 2016 | No Comments

Happy 20th anniversary to PubMed, which first appeared as an “experimental database” from the National Library of Medicine in 1996! Click here to read the initial press release about free MEDLINE or here watch the press conference where then-Vice President Al Gore first demonstrated PubMed.

Many changes and improvements have been made to the PubMed interface over the years. What’s your favorite? Your least favorite? Are there any old features you miss? Let us know in the comments.

MLGSCA Outstanding Health Sciences Library Paraprofessional of the Year Award

Posted on | June 16, 2016 | No Comments

On behalf of the Awards Committee:

Nomination deadline is July 1st:

The purpose of the MLGSCA Outstanding Health Sciences Library Paraprofessional of the Year Award is to honor an outstanding library paraprofessional in a health sciences library and to recognize the critical role and important contributions library paraprofessionals make to the development and evolution of modern health sciences libraries and librarianship.

Considerations/criteria for nominating a paraprofessional for this award include, but are not limited to, a paraprofessional that:

Nominations can be made by any MLGSCA member and sent to the Awards Committee chair. Please use the available formNomination deadline is July 1st.

Frequency and Number of Awards
The Outstanding Health Sciences Library Paraprofessional of the Year Award is given annually to one outstanding paraprofessional in a health sciences library.  If there are no suitable candidates nominated, the award is not given. The award is usually presented by the MLGSCA President during the Fall Meeting.

For more information, please contact:

Lisa A. Marks, MLS, AHIP
Director of Libraries
Instructor, Medical Education
College of Medicine
Phone (480) 301-4422
Fax (480) 301-7005

New to MLGSCA – Lee Luniewski

Posted on | June 14, 2016 | No Comments

Lee Luniewski

Lee Luniewski

  1. How did you become interested in medical librarianship? To be honest, I came upon medical librarianship by chance. As I enrolled in library school, I knew I needed to find a position within a library to give me the real-world experience. I thankfully applied and was hired on at local hospital library as a Medical Library Technician. It is through this positon, that I began to see the importance of having medical librarians in a hospital setting. Working with two amazing librarian co-workers allowed me to see that the work we do can truly have a positive impact on patients. I was hooked after that, and got a full time position with the same library.
  2. What is your current position? I am the Medical Librarian at Melisa Reasner McGuire Health Sciences Library at Scripps Mercy Hospital in San Diego, CA.
  3. What do you enjoy most about your current position? The diversity of my job duties. No two days are the same in a week for me, as I am always doing something new or different. One day I will be conducting literature search for physicians, and then the next day I will be cataloguing new books. This variety helps prevent me from burning-out on any one specific task. I also love conducting research for our patrons, as I find it thrilling to be track down information that may positively impact someone else’s life. Lately, I have been really interested in data, and have started collecting and analyzing data regarding out patrons and usage.
  4. What do you think is the most interesting or challenging issue in librarianship today? Expressing the value of the work we do to our administration and non-librarian colleagues. As librarians, we understand the value of what we do, but we now must find ways to show this value to our administration. At MLA ’16, this was one of the issues brought up by other hospital librarians. While there is not a simple solution to this issue, I feel that engaging administrators and showing real world data to them can help express the value of the library. While this may be a daunting challenge and troubling at times. I believe that we can thrive in this moment, and step outside of our comfort zones to face the challenges ahead.
  5. Please provide a link that made you think (an article, video, blog post, other webpage, etc. that you found to be interesting or thought-provoking): – A fun interesting futuristic view of medical libraries written in 2005 about where they will be in 2015. Now what will medical libraries be like in 10 more years?

MLGSCA First-Time AHIP Applicant Award

Posted on | May 25, 2016 | No Comments

AHIP First-Time Applicant Award


To encourage members of the MLGSCA Chapter to apply for membership in the Academy of Health Information Professionals (AHIP).

Participant will be reimbursed for the AHIP application fee ($200 Academy Member level or above, or $135 Provisional member level).

Current member of MLGSCA Chapter and of MLA (National) as of AHIP application.

First time applicant for AHIP membership at any level.

Completed AHIP documentation and payment submitted to the Medical Library Association and AHIP membership successfully awarded.

One award covering the application fee for AHIP membership will be available to MLGSCA members.

AHIP membership must have been awarded within the past 12 months of the application deadline. Applications must be received by July 31, 2016.

Application Process:
Submit the following via email to Kathleen Carlson (, AHIP Chapter Credentialing Liaison. Preferably as one PDF:

Letter of Application stating briefly why you are applying for AHIP membership and how it will assist your professional goals.

Copy of their letter of acceptance into the Academy of Health Information Professionals.

Proof of payment to MLA – AHIP

Proof of MLA membership

Proof of MLGSCA membership

Award winners are only eligible to win the award once.

The Awardee will be determined by a random drawing of all applications received that meet all the criteria. Each application will be numbered in order as it is received, and an Internet random number generator will be used to select the winning application.


Applications will be acknowledged upon receipt.

The Award winner will be randomly selected (all applications will be numbered based on the order in which they are received).

Award recipients will be acknowledged in the MLGSCA blog and at the Chapter’s Spring Meeting.

Kathleen Carlson, MLS, AHIP
UA College of Medicine – Phoenix
Phone: 602-827-2340

New to MLGSCA – Melissa Leigh Johnson

Posted on | May 23, 2016 | No Comments

Melissa L. Johnson

Melissa L. Johnson

1. How did you become interested in medical librarianship? During my MSLS studies, my focus was on academic libraries and technology. I saw some electives for medical reference, but I never even considered taking them because I had no medical background and without it, I didn’t think I would qualify for any medical librarian positions. Like many others, I fell into medical librarianship. I knew I wanted to work in an academic library, supporting students, faculty, and the furthering of knowledge (and the satiating of my own fathomless curiosity), and I enjoyed wonderful experiences working for four years in an integrated academic-public library.So, when I came across the announcement for my current position situated in a facility shared by two universities, I had no choice but to apply. I was immediately and deeply interested, especially concerning the quality control aspect of serving as a medical librarian, ensuring the availability, comprehension, and application of quality medical resources which would not only impact the immediate education of healthcare professionals, but also the quality of care that their patients would receive in the future.

2. What is your current position? In September 2015, I began serving the Phoenix Biomedical Campus (PBC) as a Health Sciences Librarian, supporting the students and faculty involved in Northern Arizona University (NAU)’s graduate programs (Doctor of Occupational Therapy, Doctor of Physical Therapy, Master of Physician Assistant Studies, and Master of Athletic Training). I am the sole NAU librarian on this campus, working alongside University of Arizona (UA) librarians, Kathleen Carlson and David Bickford.

Mainly, in addition to serving as a member of NAU’s Teaching, Learning, and Research Services librarians, I provide library instruction and ensure the availability of quality reference materials to support PBC students and faculty in their studies, teaching, and research.

3. What do you enjoy most about your current position? As a single librarian supporting an extended campus, I enjoy the extreme variability in the composition of my daily work. I get to experience nearly every aspect of academic librarianship from collection development, cataloguing, and web design to student consultations, supporting faculty research, and teaching, all constantly rotating in and out of my workflow.

Additionally, as necessitated by the frequently changing states of healthcare, education, and library science, I enjoy countless professional growth opportunities especially in the forms of online courses, conferences, and cross-institutional interactions with my colleagues.

These two aspects combine to create a work environment in which learning and collaboration are requisite and applauded, which serve my own interests and values exceedingly well.

4. What do you think is the most interesting or challenging issue in librarianship today? One challenging issue that I repeatedly encounter is the perception of librarianship, from both critical and public perspectives. Librarians take on varying roles as interpreters, guides, and to some as gatekeepers. At our core, we are often the middlemen between knowledge and its seekers, a powerful position indeed. The ethical constitution and soundness of this role must be ensured actively, from employment of librarians with diverse characteristics, backgrounds, knowledge, and experiences to the types of information we provide and the modes by which we make it accessible.

Accurate representation and promotion of what exactly it is that we do plays a role in this. It seems like the general public’s perception or understanding of libraries has not caught up with the actuality of libraries, which is due in great part to our own lack of interest, perceived or not, in self-promotion. It is likely that most of our own friends and families outside of Library Land are confused as to what it is we do, and cannot be counted on to accurately describe our responsibilities and goals. Convincing those not directly involved with libraries that we are needed and impactful, and ensuring that we are, despite our lack of diversity, is a huge challenge.

One solution may be for librarians to be more vocal, exacting, and inviting about the profession in order to attract a wider variety of potential librarians; this would help to ensure equal access to information for all from the inside out. A faculty member once shared with me that the care provided by a healthcare professional to a patient is most effective when the professional and the patient are the most similar. Perhaps this also rings true for information providers.

5. Please provide a link that made you think (an article, video, blog post, other webpage, etc. that you found to be interesting or thought-provoking): I learned that my knowledge of statistical analysis was lacking after failing to accurately interpret or explain the Analysis sections of PubMed articles. Feeling that this knowledge was needed in order to instruct students about how to critically evaluate information sources, I sought out a free continuing education course and was delighted to find one that perfectly fit my needs in Coursera’s 6-week online course, Understanding Clinical Research, taught by Dr. Juan Klopper from University of Cape Town.

This is a very well organized course divided up into easily digestible modules, taught using simple language and studies within open access articles as examples to reference. New sections begin monthly and although it is synchronous and taken with a cohort of students, you can be as socially involved and deadline dismissive as you want. Three weeks into the course, other projects demanded more of my attention, and I was delighted to be able to transfer my progress to the next 6-week offering, enabling me to actually finish the course.

I learned about various components of inferential statistics, including data types, measures of central tendency, sampling, p-values, data distribution, hypothesis testing, confidence intervals, non/parametric tests, categorical data comparison, and predictive values. Perhaps best of all, there was little to no mathematic manipulation involved; it was purposely focused on background, theory, and conceptual knowledge. I supplemented the course with free math-based statistical exercises provided by Khan Academy. I can recall using the knowledge I gained from this course during a conversation with two students to explain how randomization and blinding are applied in clinical trials using control groups.

Society of Teachers for Family Medicine Conference

Posted on | April 18, 2016 | No Comments

Tiffany Moxham received the MLGSCA Professional Development Award. Interested to see how she used it? Here is her account:

The MLGSCA professional development grant allowed me to present at the Society of Teacher’s for Family Medicine’s [STFM] Medical Student Education conference in Phoenix.   My topic, “Librarian outreach to support retention and reward of community preceptors” garnished more conversations, input and expansion ideas that I had envisioned.   One of the conference themes was the recruitment and retention of community preceptors so the offers of cooperation and connected integration were expansive.  The integration of outreach services into a variety of existing School of Medicine programs was specifically hardily greeted. I was particularly interested in the doctors’ candid expression of how they view librarians’ roles within medical schools and clinical settings.

Multiple sessions opened up ideas for future librarian support.   The area of nutrition in medical education is not a subject I would have thought about beyond teaching obesity, the food groups, and diet regimes.  In turns out that there are several innovative programs that bring healthy cooking and pragmatic nutrition guidance into medical education.   One of these programs shows medical students how to make meals that are affordable, quick, and healthy.  With obesity levels and related comorbidity at a high, these programs take our future doctors from lecturing to provision of pragmatic options. This also opens up community opportunities at all levels. On return, when I started to look into this I found that  locally one program teaches “at risk” teenagers healthy cooking habits, another places a farmer’s market outside of a hospital once a week.   These types of programs, when paired with medical students, also assist in creating connections and understand of the community outside the clinical setting.   Teaching with technology and new products are of course always a bedrock for librarians’ curriculum involvement. While a couple of new products were showcased, enhancement and novel use of existing products led this category.   This served as a timely reminder of the counter productivity of stockpiling and implementing new products and teaching tools without investing in training and development time.

Perhaps the most important part of attending STFM was being able to be a part of internal innovation that was being formulated during the conference.  Collaborating with my own faculty on ideas being newly formulated after each conference talk or poster session was priceless.  That these ideas could then immediately be reviewed by those from around the country is the center of why conference attendance can be so important. So thank you to the MLGSCA Awards Committee and all those who support MLGSCA for providing me with one of the Professional Development Grants this year.  In addition to the personal learning and collaboration the conference provided, I hope to share service improvements and new collaboration ideas beyond my own institution.

New to MLGSCA – Cari Lyle

Posted on | April 13, 2016 | No Comments

Cari Lyle

Cari Lyle

1. How did you become interested in medical librarianship? Medical librarianship was actually pretty new to me until I started at the Wilson Dental Library. I had taken classes in the history of medicine and had experience with archives and special collections, so I have approached the field from that perspective. Lately, I have become interested in the maintenance, conservation, and presentation of the history of medicine and specifically, dentistry.

2. What is your current position? I am currently the Technical Services Library Assistant at USC’s Wilson Dental Library.

3. What do you enjoy most about your current position? I thoroughly enjoy the flexibility and jack-of-trades nature of my position. I handle new books processing, donations, and missing book searches, but also get to work with our patrons. I have also been fortunate enough to assist with rare book and archives projects and recently created a display centered on important works and artifacts in dentistry.

4. What do you think is the most interesting or challenging issue in librarianship today? I am interested in the future of libraries. As an MLIS student, I envision what my future career will look like and what libraries will be like. In class and at my current position, I have had many conversations about space for computers, shelving for print collections, and study space; these are all part of this larger conversation about our role and what services we provide to our patrons. I don’t think this conversation is new nor is there a right answer; libraries are always evolving and adapting, but I do think this is an exciting and challenging time to get an MLIS.

5. Please provide a link that made you think (an article, video, blog post, other webpage, etc. that you found to be interesting or thought-provoking): My background is in American history, so I couldn’t help but be drawn to this article about “war libraries” from American Libraries Magazine earlier this year: The Library War Service: ALA’s book campaigns during World War I

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