Newsletter of the Medical Library Group of Southern California and Arizona

I am MLGSCA: Zemirah G. (Lee) Ngow

Posted on October 5, 2023 by Membership | 2 Comments

Name: Zemirah G. (Lee) Ngow, MLIS, AHIP
Institution: University of California, San Diego
Title: Collection Strategist for Life & Health Sciences & Liaison Librarian

Brief description of what you do/your responsibilities at your institution.

I’m responsible for collections in the life & health sciences at UCSD Library. I also currently liaise with our new PA Program, Psychiatry, and Bioinformatics, and assist with our systematic review service.

Why is MLGSCA important to you?

I’ve always felt the importance of developing and contributing to a community of like-minded professionals who can share common challenges, triumphs, and to be able to discuss pressing issues that immediately affect the work we do. The first half of my career I focused heavily on instruction, but have reached a stage in my professional life where I find myself really wanting to get deeper into the issues that affect medical/health information–teaching, learning, and scholarship. I feel so lucky to have found my life’s calling as a librarian focused on issues in the life and health sciences and am very thankful to have found this group. I find that the many varied opportunities for networking and continuing education here have been most valuable to my professional growth, and I embrace the cares and concerns we bring forward that are so unique to our profession.

Why did you become a librarian?

My mom was a thesis shy of graduating to become a full-fledged librarian in the Philippines before she decided to marry my dad and move here back in the 70s. She always told me I should become a Librarian, but because mom told me to do it, it automatically was NOT cool, although I always had it in the back of my mind. I used to work for the County of San Diego and would see the postings for County Librarian positions and took a leap of faith one day and decided to just go back to school… libraries have always been a safe space for my three kids and I when I was a stay at home mom. So originally, I went to school to go into Youth Librarianship in Public Libraries before falling in love with the instruction, reference, research, and outreach component of Academic Libraries… et viola–The rest is history!

What is your advice to someone new to medical librarianship?

Whether you’re a solo hospital librarian or lost-in-the-crowd at a larger academic institution or find yourself in someplace between–no one else will really ever understand the unique challenges we face in our little specialty area of librarianship BUT another medical librarian. Find a professional group (like MLGSCA!) to get the help, support, advice, and network you’ll need to arrive and thrive in your new roles. Volunteer for everything you have time for and be open to exploring all the new opportunities that come your way because they will open doors to many other exciting adventures.

What do you consider to be the most pressing issues or trends in librarianship?

I have transformative agreements and the hidden gatchas involving open-access agreements on my mind because that seems like all I seem to be working on these days. Today, my answer to this question involves the whole of availability of scholarship and information-seeking behavior in the users who consume this information. Our scholars, researchers, and librarians are facing real challenges in curating, managing, collecting, and disseminating vetted evidence-based knowledge/information. Librarians these days, especially in health for medical/clinical settings, have evolved from bibliographers to having to become jacks and janes of all things with regard to the information we collect, curate, and organize to the teaching of finding and using of potentially complicated resources, to working with our researchers and authors to move our knowledge markers forward.

What is something you have on your bucket list?

To vacation in a resort where I can stay in an overwater bungalow!

Describe yourself in five words.

Grounded, Compassionate, Family-Oriented, Ambivert

What do you do in your spare time for fun, or to relax?

I play video games–depending on my mood, I’ll farm crops, or level up skill trees in a survival landscape, or mow down disease ridden zombies and renegade factions! I also love to bake and dig around yard sales or thrift stores for those hidden treasures I didn’t know I needed to have!

What are you most proud of?

I’m most proud of my kids. Despite the challenges we’ve all had as a family over the last decade or so, they’ve all grown into beautiful, compassionate, skilled, and intelligent people I’m so blessed to get to have in my life. I can’t wait to see how their lives continue to develop and the wonderful people they’re going to grow up to become.


2 Responses to “I am MLGSCA: Zemirah G. (Lee) Ngow”

  1. Karen O'Grady
    October 11th, 2023 @ 11:23 am

    Thank you for sharing yourself with us Zem! So glad to have you here in San Diego!

  2. Jennifer Silverman
    October 11th, 2023 @ 1:53 pm

    I have known Zem since she was in library school! (10+ years ago) I knew even back then that she would be a great librarian. I hope you all get a chance to meet her and/or work with her in the future.

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