Adventures of An Aspiring Librarian

Health Science Library Internship–Week 14

As I wrap up my internship with the Health Science Library at UNC-Chapel Hill, I can only be thankful for the time I have been given here. Everyone has just been so kind, helpful and patient as I’ve learned my way around the library building, processes, databases, and vocabulary. I’ve enjoyed every single minute of it.  Every project has been different and unique, and I definitely would say that I’ve met–indeed surpassed–my expectations for my learning goals for this field experience. Fran and all the librarians were wonderful and threw all they could at me….I’m grateful for this because I think I learned more because of it! I’m so glad that I chose this site for my field experience, and I’m so glad that the librarians accepted me as their intern, despite a crazy initial Skype interview from Copenhagen. Thank you for everything!

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Health Science Library Internship–Week 13

This week, I presented my findings on building renovations to the Health Science Library Library Council. I was very nervous before the meeting because I don’t usually find myself to be the center of attention in these official meetings. However, I had no reason to be nervous because everyone from the beginning was so nice and welcoming to me.

I made a comprehensive power point for this presentation, and carefully outlined what some health science libraries are currently doing to renovate and develop their spaces. Some libraries are getting rid of print collections, others are creating unique study spaces with walls made to look like cell plasma, and still others are adding entire clinical examination rooms to their top floors for medical students to utilize. Many also added more space for exhibits and displays. In general, libraries focused on the following changes:

-new study spaces (individual and group)

-collaboration areas

-quiet areas

-multipurpose areas

-centralized staff areas

-combined circ/reference desk

-medical/clinical training rooms

-many have goals of “barrier free interactions”

The Library Council asked lots of questions, and I tried to answer them as best I could. I really enjoyed the process of finding the information and presenting it to them…I think and hope that it will give them something to think about as they proceed in their quest to renovate the library.

Fatty Cell Wall study barriers at the Ische Health Center Library are just one neat renovation!

Fatty Cell Wall study barriers at the Ische Health Center Library are just one neat renovation!



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I’m happy to announce that I have officially walked with my class at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill! I’ll be completing my thesis this summer (and as such, will be officially graduating and receiving my diploma in August), but it’s a really exciting event nonetheless. My family came in from Florida to visit, and my Nana and Grandad came into town the day of graduation so that we could celebrate both Mother’s Day and my graduation! It was an exciting day overall! My parents even brought up my little dog, Fluffy, for the celebrations!

I’m so happy to be receiving my Masters in Library Science soon, and I have just had an incredible time in this program. I have learned so much and have been taught invaluable lessons from my professors, peers, and experiences with librarians out in the field. Internships like the Health Science Library one I am currently completing really have helped round out my experience and have taught me things that I know I wouldn’t have learned in the classroom setting. I’ve been able to put the theory to practice, have met incredible and dedicated librarians, and have just enjoyed every minute of my internships and my time at UNC-Chapel Hill. I’ve been interviewing for jobs, and am excited to see where my next adventure will lead!

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Health Science Library Internship–Week 12

This week, Fran assigned me the task of researching and examining what other health science libraries are working on in terms of renovations. The UNC-Chapel Hill Health Science Library is considering renovating parts of the library. They may move shelves, move collections, create new study spaces, etc. But first, they want to see what other health science libraries are doing with their public space, collections, and staff space. I was really excited to receive this assignment because Fran then asked if I might be willing to present the findings to the Health Science Library Library Council!

So, this week, I began my preliminary research for this project. I found a lot of information on public and academic libraries, but it appears that a lot of health science libraries are currently undergoing renovation. Some, of course, have already completed theirs, but with the changes in technology and patron needs, many libraries just finalized plans to renovate a few years ago. That being said, so far, I’ve found that I found that most libraries renovated in order to create room for new spaces (especially group collaborative work spaces) and technology centers (with new computers). Natural light, “one stop shop” circulation/reference desks, and more seating are components on which libraries wish to focus.

Below is an example of a renovated health science library. Note the modern furniture…that was a feature I noticed lots of libraries trending towards! I will continue to work on this as I prepare for the presentation.

Woodruff Health Center Library

Woodruff Health Center Library


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Health Science Library Internship–Week 11

This week, I met with Mellanye, the Liason Librarian for the School of Public Health. Mellanye often conducts consults to help patrons and researchers better understand their research. She teaches them how to search, how to narrow their searches, which databases work best for their topics, and other helpful research tips.

I had never sat in on a health information consult before…I am a huge people person, and I have always loved the reference and research side of librarianship, so needless to say, I was very excited about this opportunity!

Our client was a student interested in emergency medicine in developing countries (particularly in their hospitals). He was planning a research trip to Kenya, where he would assist in planning a new triage program to help improve patient outcomes.

Now, when I was sitting in the consult, I had never heard of triage, so I quickly researched it while Mellanye began to help the client. Triage is a medical term for assigning degrees of urgency to medical cases in order to decide the order of treatment.

Mellanye first narrowed down his research goals and location. We discovered the client wished to see whether or not triage improved the efficiency of a hospital, and if it in fact reduced a patient’s outcome and/or time in the hospital. The ultimate goal is a reduction in mortality. Since this is a large goal, we broke the research process down into pieces. Mellanye recommended using MESH terms to help the researcher narrow down his search results for “global health”. MESH terms are specific medical library controlled terms or vocabulary (otherwise known as subject headings) that, combined, can help narrow and define a search so that search results can be pointed and accurate. It should be noted the MESH terms work primarily with the database PubMed. Here is an example of how it works:

An example of narrowing MeSH terms

An example of narrowing MeSH terms


All in all, I think the client was quite happy with the results, as the more we searched and the more Mellanye recommended, the more specific and targeted results he uncovered. He scheduled another meeting with her to discuss what he finds in these results. Hopefully this will help his narrow and define his search even more. I really enjoyed this consult, and I learned SO much by observing how she interacted with the client and and how the search was conducted. I had never even heard of MESH terms before this, so this was an eye opener!

I love putting the theory and hypothetical situations of class into practice in real life scenarios.

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Health Science Library Internship–Week 10

Cherry blossoms in bloom outside the HSL

Cherry blossoms in bloom outside the HSL

This week I worked a lot on the social media aspect of the Health Science Library. The above photo is an Instagram photograph of the cherry blossom trees outside of the HSL. Anne, the HSL’s communications manager, was kind enough to give me access to the Health Science Library social media platforms, so I spent the week exploring the platforms and familiarizing myself with the differences between a personal page and a business page. Our followers are quite diverse and interesting, and it appears that we have the most followers on Facebook (which makes sense since the Instagram account was only just founded in February). I’m looking forward to helping Anne with marketing on these platforms. I’ve even got the idea for a potential thesis idea about it!

I also spent some time this week editing the jeopardy quiz for the Phlebotomy training sessions. It was great to gain feedback from the nurses and others who have seen the quiz!

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Health Science Library Internship–Week 9

One of the highlights of this week was when I attended a Health & Natural Sciences Team meeting in the Kenan Science Library. This was in a different building, and I accidentally ended up over at the Kenan Flagler Business School in the hopes of finding the library. Unfortunately, this was in the complete opposite direction of the Kenan Science Library, so I had to find my way back across campus and to the right meeting place! Thankfully, the librarians understood my confusion.

At the meeting, we discussed the research lifecycle, budget updates, and the web presence of the library. It was interesting to see how the patrons were similar to those found in the health science library, but of course different with their own research needs. I enjoyed meeting the librarians and seeing a different kind of special library.



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Health Science Library Internship–Week 8

This week was a lovely  Spring Break at UNC-CH. I chose to stay in Chapel Hill for the week instead of going home, as I luckily got out of class and was able to focus more on my field experience this week.

This week, I met with Anne Dudley, who is the Communications Manager for the UNC-CH Health Science Library. Anne runs the social media platforms for the HSL, and works carefully to market and promote the library and its services to patrons and others who may be interested. She helps with the public relations side of things, and always comes up with creative ways to reach the students and let them know about library services and events.

Facebook is becoming more and more popular as a way for students and libraries to connect!

Facebook is becoming more and more popular as a way for students and libraries to connect!

At this meeting with Anne and Fran, we discussed the following:

UNC Hospitals and IP Change

Social media content/policy

How to promote guides (new, revised, existing)

I love my HSL blog

Faculty recruitment materials

Scavenger hunts in fall

We covered a lot of information in the one meeting, and agreed to meet again to follow up and to broach items we hadn’t reached on our agenda just yet. Since I am interested in how marketing works at a health science library, Anne and Fran agreed to let me examine the HSL social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter). It’s so exciting to get this hands-on perspective!



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Health Science Library Internship–Week 7

This week, I dove into the world of library instruction and teaching. One of my learning objectives was to learn more about this, since I know it is a very important aspect of librarianship (particularly in academic libraries). I am a bit afraid of public speaking (and as such, teaching large groups), so I wanted to see what it was all about. Librarians can teach about searching and software. Furthermore, they can improve students’ research skills, teach patrons how to navigate a computer, and even instruct on creating bibliographies.

I attended an instruction meeting this week in Davis Library in place of Fran. Mr. Jonathan McMichael, the Undergraduate Experience Librarian at the UNC-CH Undergraduate Library, headed the meeting. Ironically, he recently was a guest speaker in my INLS 501 class (Information and Resource Services), so I was excited to see him speak in a professional meeting/professional capacity. In my class, he spoke about his philosophy towards teaching, which is as follows:

Aptitude x Prior knowledge x Experience
______________________________             x Skills x Motivation
Skills necessary x experience

Summed up, it essentially speaks to a student’s current aptitude and prior knowledge, as well as the skills necessary needed to do the job. The equation of this equals what you can teach them. Most powerfully, he said if the students have no motivation, then the entire equation sums up to 0.

In the meeting in Davis, he spoke of a desire to start a discussion group consisting of the instruction librarians from each library. The key question was: What is the role of a library as an educator on campus? Furthermore, he added, how can we work together to address the instruction needs of students and patrons?

The librarians who attended had some wonderful ideas and insights, and I attempted to contribute here and there with what I knew about the Health Science Library population. The librarians wanted to examine the research cycle, and hoped that they would be able to teach more students at times when they needed it most. Most importantly, they agreed at the end of the meeting that they wanted to create “teachable moments” with their students; these moments are moments in which students are READY and willing to learn something.

This meeting was very informative, and I feel like I learned a lot about the different types of library instruction in the various libraries across the UNC-CH campus. I’m so glad that Fran sent me in her place for this meeting so that I could learn. I took copious notes and sent them her way soon after the meeting ended.


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Health Science Library Internship–Week 6

This week, I used what I learned about Ref Works to create a group account that everyone working on the phlebotomy project could access.

I created the account and proceeded to compile all the articles that we have found so far. I added the citations for the articles to the database and shared it with Fran and others who could use it.

I also spent the week working with Laura to edit and review the phlebotomy powerpoint presentation. These slides will be shown at the phlebotomy training sessions. We carefully went through the slides, inserted the link to the jeopardy quiz, and reviewed the images and the content to make sure everything made sense. Once reviewed by Fran and others, I think it will be a great presentation, and I hope it will help the people learning how to perform phlebotomies.

Though the students will not be training to be registered phlebotomists, these traits would still be useful to have (Source:

Though the students will not be training to be registered phlebotomists, these traits would still be useful to have (Source:


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