September 06, 2005

New Role for Liz Fine

lizfine.jpgThe Bio-Medical Library is pleased to announce the hiring of our newest reference and instruction librarian, Liz Fine. Liz received her Masters degree in Library and Information Science from the College of St. Catherine/Dominican University in May of 2005. She started working as a librarian on July 1, 2005.

While Liz is new to the library as a librarian she is not new to the staff. She started working at the Bio-Medical Library in September of 2001 for the Biomedical Information Service (BIS) as a Library Assistant II. Liz had a variety of job responsibilities when working for BIS. She supervised student employees, helped keep the document delivery service running smoothly and worked on citation clarification.

Eventually she started working at the Reference Desk, worked chat reference shifts, attended an occasional Morning Report and started doing bibliographic database searches, primarily on MEDLINE, for BIS. In April of 2005 she took over sole responsibility for conducting literature searches for BIS. She has also served on the Bio-Medical Library's website design committee and the Biomed Improving Public Service (BIPS) committee.

Liz's current responsibilities include transitioning to the role of liaison to the School of Nursing, staffing the Reference Desk, teaching classes on database searching and electronic resources, and conducting Reference Consultations with clients, particularly for the School of Nursing. She also continues to maintain her responsibility for BIS literature searches.

Liz is interested in exploring electronic tools such as virtual office hours that enhance communication options for distance learning and has a general interest in the issue of scholarly communication. She's looking forward to developing new ways to liaison with the School of Nursing such as making house calls to offices and classes and having a Satellite Reference Desk near the Outside-In or the CHIP student center over the lunch hour.

Liz was born in Rhode Island and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Classics from Colby College in Maine. Liz moved to Minnesota because her now-husband Jared was attending Graduate School in Fisheries at the University of Minnesota. He is in the process of finishing up his doctoral dissertation on the sea lamprey, a parasitic exotic fish in the Great Lakes. While Liz and Jared are "east coast kids" they love living in Minnesota. Says Liz, "We even say pop instead of soda now without thinking about it, but I still love the New England Patriots." When you see how many times the Patriots have won the Super Bowl compared to how many times the Minnesota Vikings have, it is not hard to see why Liz maintains her loyalty!

--Del Reed

Posted by biomednews at 12:02 PM

August 25, 2005

Knowledge Management Presentation by Library Director

Linda Watson, new director of the Health Science Libraries, presented a talk
entitled "The Library Role in Knowledge Management" at the August 11th
meeting of the Academic Health Center's E-Applications Group.

For more information, please view her

Posted by biomednews at 09:59 AM

June 06, 2005

University Libraries Announce Hiring of New Director

Linda Watson.jpgThe University Libraries are pleased to announce that Linda Watson has been selected as Director of the Health Science Libraries, starting August 1, 2005.

Ms. Watson comes to this position from the University of Virginia, where since 1990 she has been the Associate Dean and Director of the Claude Moore Health Sciences Library in Charlottesville. Prior to her work in Virginia, Ms. Watson has also served in management positions at the Houston Academy of Medicine/Texas Medical Center Library and at the National Library of Medicine in Bethesda, Maryland.

Ms. Watson’s record of professional service includes chairing the committee on scholarly communication for the Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries, and service on the PubMed Central National Advisory Committee. She is also a recent former president of the Medical Library Association.

She publishes and presents on a wide variety of topics including scholarly communication, open access publishing, and library outreach projects that enhance access to health information.

The Real Diehl posed some questions to Ms. Watson about her new position:

What inspired you to apply for the position?

“The broad scope and potential of the position attracted me right away. And during every interview with AHC leadership, I found an eagerness to engage the Health Sciences Libraries in strategic thinking – about curriculum and physical spaces to name just two important issues. It seemed to be a very collaborative and energetic environment where new and innovative ideas can thrive.”

What do you hope to accomplish in your first twelve months on the job?

“In my first twelve months, I expect to spend time learning from library staff of course, and interacting with all the health professions represented both in Twin Cities and throughout the state where students train to get a sense of how we can help them achieve their short and long term goals. I'd like to position staff as essential partners (and leaders) in curriculum enhancement, knowledge discovery and knowledge management, evidence-based patient care, and community outreach.”

Can you outline some future challenges for academic health sciences libraries?

“There are a number of grand challenges for the profession of librarianship as well as the health professions. I anticipate working with colleagues throughout the University Libraries system to develop new ways to harness information technologies which support scholarly work, and to influence new models of scientific publication. What will the library of the future look like? It's for us to help invent that future. I also see much potential in the University's growing partnerships with the Mayo Clinic, including a medical informatics training grant from the National Library of Medicine.”

Any other thoughts about moving to Minnesota after living in Virginia for 15 years?

“My husband and I are looking forward to exploring a new part of the country. And we are both huge sports fans, so are anticipating lots of outings to Big 10 and professional events. I love the outdoors, so finding a home right next to a trail head makes my dog and me very happy!”

by Lisa McGuire

Posted by biomednews at 02:36 PM

March 04, 2005

Candidate Visits for Health Sciences Libraries Director

AHC deans and faculty are invited to attend four upcoming interview sessions for the position of Director of Health Science Libraries. Each candidate will give a presentation on the topic, "A Vision of Health Science Libraries in the Research University," followed by a question/answer session. The presentations will be every Monday morning in March. Each candidate's resume is on the Libraries website.

March 7: Jeanette McCray, Deputy Director, University of Arizona Health Sciences Library
Presentation and questions: 9:30-10:30 a.m., 555 Diehl Hall

March 14: Gary Byrd, Director, Health Sciences Library, University at Buffalo (SUNY)
Presentation and questions: 9:30-10:30 a.m., 555 Diehl Hall

March 21: Jane Blumenthal, Associate Dean and Director, Dahlgren Memorial Library, Georgetown University Medical Center
Presentation and questions: 9:30-10:30 a.m., 555 Diehl Hall

March 28: Linda Watson, Assistant Dean for Knowledge Management and Medical Center Librarian, Claude Moore Health Sciences Library, University of Virginia
Presentation and questions: 9:30-10:30 a.m., 555 Diehl Hall

Posted by biomednews at 10:50 AM

September 15, 2004

Chad Fennell Joins Bio-Med Staff

chadfennell.jpgThe Bio-Medical Library is excited to have a new librarian, Chad Fennell, join its staff! Chad comes to the library from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he completed his M.S. in Library and Information Science. Chad's responsibilities at the library will include reference and instruction, and he will be the library's web site coordinator.

Chad comes with a strong background in web design in an educational context. He was a graduate assistant with the University Library at Illinois, performing interactive site design for an information literacy initiative. Says Chad, "My work at the University of Illinois consisted primarily of creating web-based applications, database maintenance and web site design for the Undergraduate and Main libraries. I brought an interest and some experience in database design with me to the U of I, and I learned to make database content interactive via web scripting as a graduate student in library school."

Chad has big plans for his work over the next year. "In regards to web development, I hope that those of us involved (directly or indirectly) in web development at the Bio-Medical Library will produce online tools, content and services that directly address the daily needs of our user populations through research and collaboration...there will be opportunities for Bio-Med to lead the way in creating new, innovative web services for our patrons. In terms of “traditional” library services, I look forward to providing the best service that I can to our patrons through instruction, reference, collection development and liaison outreach. The staff here has been extremely generous in sharing their valuable insights...this will be a year of intense learning as well."

The work comes with its dangers, judging from what Chad had to say about his previous experience: "You could say that I became a little addicted to scripting and to creating dynamic web systems in general, as I would often program into the wee hours of the morning without noticing the hours that had passed since I began." We promise to seek treatment for Chad if his addiction gets the better of him. Now that he's settled in Minneapolis, Chad hopes to get a dog -- perhaps that will help temper those late night coding sessions.

Posted by biomednews at 08:13 AM

August 06, 2004

Kathy Robbins Retires from the Bio-Medical Library

kathyrobbins8-4-04.jpgKathy Robbins retired from the Bio-Medical Library after 15 years of extraordinary service on August 6, 2004. During her tenure at the Bio-Medical Library, Kathy has been a reference librarian and Coordinator of Reference Desk Services, has been responsible for collection development and faculty liaison to the Medical School departments of Neuroscience, Physiology and Pharmacology, and has actively participated in the Library’s instructional program.

Kathy began her career as a librarian at the Bio-Medical Library in 1989, after earning her MLIS from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. Prior to becoming a librarian, Kathy was a forest pathologist for the U.S. Forest Service. Kathy earned a Ph.D. in Forest Pathology from Duke University.

Kathy intends to embark on a third career of volunteerism, political action and doing all of those things one wants to do in life that work interferes with. Please join me in congratulating Kathy and wishing her well in her new adventures.

- Jim Beattie

Posted by biomednews at 04:52 PM

July 16, 2004

Health Sciences Library Assistants Continue their Education, Preparing for Professional Library Careers

libraryasstslunch.jpgStudents utilize libraries to learn about their chosen fields of study, but for eight U of M health sciences library assistants, the library itself has become the focus of their studies. Bio-Medical Library workers Ashley Halverson, Bob Johnson, Nicole Theis-Mahon, and Deb Werner; Biomedical Information Service (BIS) employees Liz Fine and Emily Nolan; and Veterinary Medical Library assistants Elizabeth Hunt and Heather Bryan are working towards master’s degrees in library science while preparing for future library careers.

As students, their positions in the University Libraries system provide opportunities to enhance their skills, explore career options and complement classroom learning. “Any exposure to working in a library is a huge advantage,” says Jim Beattie, Bio-Med's Head of Reference. Kathy Robbins, also a Bio-Med reference librarian, noted the mutual benefits of employing library students, saying, “We foster professional development which will lead to improved service to patrons both now and in the future.” The students agree, and commented about the skills they have developed, their interests in libraries, and their post-graduation plans.

Ashley Halverson, a serials worker at Bio-Med, pursued librarianship out of a love of sharing learning with others. At Bio-Med, she has gained experience at many levels of the library, which she credits with boosting her confidence and enhancing her resume. Ashley says her library coworkers have given her “role models to follow in professionalism and levels of excellence.” After completing her degree, Ashley hopes to work as a youth services librarian, or manage a small or rural library.

After realizing that following in the footsteps of Woody Allen’s character in “Manhattan Murder Mystery” was not a viable career option for him, Bio-Med reference and access services worker Bob Johnson looked into library science. His position at Bio-Med has shown him how important and skillful health sciences librarians can be, and he is constantly learning from his coworkers. Says Bob, “It is good to see what experts look like.” Bob hopes to one day work at a James Joyce museum in Dublin, Ireland.

Serials employee Nicole Theis-Mahon became interested in libraries when her husband worked in one – and realized she enjoyed it, too. Opportunities at Bio-Med, such as working the reference desk and seeing the inner workings of a library, have helped prepare Nicole for the job market. She calls coworkers and librarians “very supportive” and credits them with expanding her education. Nicole hopes to work in an archive or college library after earning her degree.

Although career assessment tests suggested she become a mime (!), Deb Werner, a Bio-Med acquisitions and cataloging worker, opted for the many possibilities of librarianship instead. Although Deb is unsure of what sort of library she wants to work in, her biology background and her current experience in a health sciences library will be extremely beneficial if she pursues medical librarianship. Deb says coworkers and librarians have been wonderful, providing support and learning opportunities.

Liz Fine, a BIS employee, was drawn to librarianship because of its combination of learning and teaching. Working at BIS has exposed her to real world duties and issues faced by academic librarians. Coworkers have helped her education; says Liz, “They have offered many opportunities for me to develop new skills that give me an extremely valuable head start on my future career.” After library school, Liz hopes to work as a reference librarian in an academic library.

After working at Bio-Med as an undergraduate, BIS employee Emily Nolan realized she wanted to pursue the library field professionally. Daily exposure to library operations has taught her skills that will be valuable while pursuing her degree. Of her colleagues, Emily says, “All have encouraged me to pursue librarianship and have actively looked for opportunities to teach me new skills.” Emily plans to attend library school and explore a variety of career opportunities in libraries.

Education, learning, free public access to information, and the social responsibility of libraries attracted Vet Med serials and reference assistant Elizabeth Hunt to the field. Through her jobs at Bio-Med and Vet Med, she has gained technical, reference, and circulation experience. “Coworkers and librarians have been very encouraging,” says Elizabeth. After finishing library school, Elizabeth would like to work in an urban public library or alternative library, and gain experience as a museum or special collections archivist.

Heather Bryan, a temporary assistant at the Vet Med and Magrath Libraries, worked in the campus library as an undergraduate student, and decided that "librarianship offered the three criteria I was looking for in my ideal career – the opportunity for continuous and diverse learning, to solve problems, and to help people." Of her experiences working in the University of Wisconsin and University of Minnesota libraries, she says, "my coworkers and the librarians are better than any textbook I had as an undergraduate. They are personable and knowledgeable, and always willing to explain vocabulary, system functions, methods of organization, and offer professional advice." Heather begins library school this fall. In the long term, she hopes to work as a reference librarian in an academic setting. She is also interested in helping set up libraries in Latin America through various international organizations, to help spread the benefits of libraries to those who do not currently have them.

Many of these budding librarians are currently gaining additional training in reference services and are helping to man the Bio-Med and Vet Med Reference Desks, with the help of Bio-Med's Beattie, Robbins, and Del Reed. Says Robbins, "I think that the best way to learn about reference is to do it, and to see others do it. By working with experienced reference staff, it is possible for new staff to try techniques and get feedback on how to handle questions." Beattie adds of this mentoring relationship, "It helps you to keep learning and forces you to re-examine how you do things. It functions as an opportunity to refresh your skills and to examine whether the way you and the library are doing something is still necessary."

Posted by biomednews at 03:53 PM

July 06, 2004

Science and Engineering Hires Two New Librarians

The Science and Engineering Library recently welcomed two new librarians to its staff. Kristi Jensen, a physics and astronomy librarian, and Meghan Lafferty, a chemistry and chemical engineering librarian, joined the staff early this summer.

kristijensen.jpegKristi Jensen comes to the University of Minnesota from Penn State, where she worked as an earth sciences librarian. Previously, she completed a residency program at the University of Michigan, focusing on the engineering and map libraries. Her educational background includes a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, and a master’s degree in library science from Emporia State University in Emporia, Kansas.

In her position at the U of M, Kristi plans on getting to know the library collection and resources, and is looking forward to building relationships with the physics and astronomy departments and faculty. She hopes to continue research and publishing on patron use and need of technology. “I’m very excited to be in the Twin Cities, and at the U of M,” said Kristi.

meghanlafferty.jpegMeghan Lafferty joins the staff from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she recently completed her master’s degree in library science and worked as a graduate assistant in the chemistry library. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, and studied chemistry as a graduate student at the University of Georgia in Athens.

At the U of M, Meghan hopes to build strong connections with the chemistry and chemical engineering departments, as well as other academic units that use chemistry resources, such as pharmacy. She plans to continue her work on instruction, and invites readers to a SciFinder Scholar workshop on Monday, July 26th at the Science and Engineering Library (register at

Posted by biomednews at 04:35 PM

June 18, 2004

Bio-Med Librarian Presents at U of M/University of Puerto Rico Seminar

puerto rico photo.gifAs information specialists, the knowledge and services provided by librarians have a reach extending beyond the borders of the University of Minnesota. In the case of Cindy Gruwell, a Bio-Medical reference librarian, they travel all the way to Puerto Rico.

Gruwell partnered with U of M faculty Dr. Brad Benson, M.D., and Dr. James Nixon, M.D. to present University of Minnesota/University of Puerto Rico: Practice-Based Learning Collaborative, a continuing medical education course, in San Juan, Puerto Rico on May 8, 2004. Attended by nearly 60 UPR medical faculty members, the seminar detailed how to incorporate practice-based learning into the UPR medical residency program.

“This was really a collaboration to improve educational standards,” said Gruwell of the partnership. “It allowed us to combine our expertise at finding and using information tools with their expertise at reading and interpreting the literature.” Examples of tools covered in the presentation include database searching to pinpoint relevant material, and the use of personal digital assistant software for point-of-care reference. “The audience was already experienced,” said Gruwell, “We just showed them the structure of the tools.”

Dr. Benson was contacted by Dr. Yolanda Gomez, UPR Assistant Dean for Graduate Medical Education, after an accreditation review showed less strength in practice-based learning than the university desired. The day-long seminar was organized in a month, complete with a blog created by Gruwell including resources in English and Spanish.

The success of the seminar left both universities with hopes of future collaboration. Gruwell praised the U of M and UPR faculty, saying, “Everyone was a pleasure to work with. The atmosphere was very positive, and everyone was eager to learn.”

-Heather Bryan, Veterinary Medical Library

Posted by biomednews at 08:57 AM

March 17, 2004

Bio-Med's Haudy Kazemi Wins U Libraries Outstanding Student Employee Award

The Friends of the University of Minnesota Library recently announced the winners of the 2004 Outstanding Student Employee Award. One of this year's award winners is Bio-Med's own Haudy Kazemi. Please join us in congratulating Haudy!

Haudy has worked on the Bio-Med Library's staff for three years. He has made major contributions to critical technical projects in the Computing Services Department, and has also been active in providing prompt, flexible, and friendly technical support to our Library staff and patrons.

Computing Services staff member Chacko Kuruvilla had to say of the award, "Recognition of Haudy's special contributions to the Computing Services Department was long overdue, and seeing him win the 'Best Student Award' for 2004 has been a source of enormous pleasure for all of us here at Bio-Med. The award is a wonderful way to thank Haudy for his resourcefulness and good will on the job. Awards like this are also a general nod to the many bright and capable student workers who have worked (and currently work) at the Bio-Medical library and at the University Libraries in general."

Steve Irons, also of Computing Services, added, "Haudy has consistently provided the highest level of performance possible. The ripple effect of his skills and his willingness to tackle the stickiest of problems have had an enormous effect on the library." Steve added, "Additionally, he has been an inspiration to other student workers, who often come to him for technical advice, when they encounter an insurmountable obstacle...I'm glad to see that people are recognizing his work by nominating him."

Haudy is majoring in biology and minoring in computer science. He plans to attend graduate school to study health informatics once he completes his bachelor's work.

The Libraries' Outstanding Student Employee Award is presented in recognition of the vital, high quality work that student employees perform in the University Libraries. Also winning the award this year is Ryan Stoer of Wilson Library. Ryan and Haudy will each receive $250 and a $50 gift certificate to the University Bookstore. They will also by honored guests at the Friends of the Library Annual Meeting on April 28, 2004.

Posted by biomednews at 05:03 PM