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“Librarians are True Doctors” Reflections on the Arizona Adult Services Summit

By Yamila El-Khayat, Outreach Services Librarian, Arizona Health Sciences Library

I recently came back from attending the Arizona State Library Summit, “Adult Services for the 21st Century Summit: Living Longer, Living Better” which gives public librarians a space to learn about community resources and also attend sessions by various speakers. The event took place in the heart of Phoenix, our state’s capital city. The conference drew approximately 71 participants from all around Arizona. This two-day event had a theme centered on health information.

The event kicked off with a keynote speaker, Dr. Paul Nussbaum, a neuropsychologist. Now, you may ask yourself what a neuropsychologist was doing at a library conference—I sure did. Although this is not what we envision when we think of keynote speakers at library conferences, he was the perfect fit. Dr. Nussbaum really inspired each and every one of the participants to continue with the work we do as librarians. He spoke to us about the brain as one of the most precious organs we have, and the most difficult to understand. He mentioned that the cure to almost anything can be found there, but as humans we aren’t yet at the point where we could fully understand the brain’s function. He said something that stood out to me and continually comes to my mind about the work we do as librarians, “physicians are doctors because they study the science behind the problem, but the true doctors are librarians because they work to keep people’s brain’s stimulated, one of the most important things to do in life.”

The conference had many great speakers. Other topics covered were health literacy, information toolkits, staying connected, financial issues for seniors and adult storytelling. The second day included an opportunity to visit the exhibits. I hosted an exhibit focusing on NNLM/PSR and the Arizona Health Sciences Library. Other exhibits included Adult Education Services, Arizona State Braille and Talking Book Library, Arizona Memory Project, Department of Economic Security, Office of the Arizona Attorney General, United Way, Arizona Humanities Council, and an investment company.

The event closed with talks about oral histories and adult storytelling and the importance of conserving these. All participants of the conference then received a copy of the book written by Dr. Paul Nussbaum, “Save Your Brain: 5 Things You Must Do to Keep Your Mind Young and Sharp.”

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