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Hospital Librarian is Pleasantly Surprised

Our next submission in our library advocacy series for our contest to recognize National Medical Librarians Month comes from an anonymous hospital librarian. Remember, entries are due by October 31.

I am surprised.

Many of us know the worth of medical librarians. We know we provide valuable services for our patrons and our facilities. We also know how we can help others who don’t yet know about our services.

Some of us are not afraid to speak up to promote our services. And some of us are. That’s not the profession; that’s our individual personality or our own distinctive style.

I am surprised at the number of colleagues who told me that perhaps their supervisor or direct report doesn’t know it is Medical Librarians Month! As someone who is initially very shy, I learned firsthand the importance of speaking up in addition to letting my work results speak for itself.

For a long time, I was a solo librarian with a small medical library tucked away in the corner of a hospital basement. Time has taught me the value of speaking out proactively about library services. It is very easy to fall into the trap of “well, everyone knows about us.” There are typically numerous clinical staff changes over the course of a decade. Even if your library is part of an orientation program, chances are, not everyone knows about your library or implicitly understands your services. And if they knew about the library, they may not know it is Medical Librarians Month at this very moment!

I stand in awe of those librarians having fabulous promotional activities in their libraries. They do a fantastic job of promoting their services.

As I typically do each October, I quietly put up a reusable colorful sign indicating Medical Librarians’ month on the library exit door, changed our voicemail greeting to announce Medical Librarians Month, and add one short line to my email signature. I didn’t do an announcement for our hospital newsletter. Instead, this year, I nonchalantly cc’d my Administrator when I sent an email to my staff about how appreciative I am of them in recognition of Medical Librarians Month.

Later that same day my Administrator’s assistant called for us to schedule a lunch with him – for which we three librarians got to pick the restaurant. During the delightful experience of having lunch away from the facility, we had his undivided attention. What a perfect time to tell him what the library needed!

Instead, we asked about how things were going for him. We were treated to some great inside information regarding his personal workload along with a variety of Administration projects. It was very enlightening for us, and there were a few times we librarians discreetly winked at each other during the conversation knowing that we’ve got the skills to support him and some of the Administration projects. We’ve got our Administrator’s back.

All because of a simple cc on a short email. I am surprised … and pleased.

3 Responses to “Hospital Librarian is Pleasantly Surprised”

  1. Maryanne Blake Says:

    Good work, Anonymous Hospital Librarian. I especially like the part about asking the administrator “how things were going for him”. What a great tactic to learn how best to work for, and with, the person who holds your pursestrings. Bravo!

  2. Sheree West Says:

    Awesome! Obviously, you’re doing a great job. Which helps make the rest of us look good, because that administrator (and the others you’re serving) may be working for one of our facilities, one day!

  3. Susan Barnes Says:

    What a great story! And how astute of you to use that time learning about him. Very cagy, Anonymous!