Guest Speakers

Guest Speaker Carolyn Dennison – October 28, 2014


Health Sciences Librarianship – Guest Speaker Carolyn Dennison

Her dream was to work in a presidential library but found options limited in Hawaii. Carolyn has an interesting history, she has two master degrees (History and MLIS) but has worked at Queen’s Medical Center and Hawaii Medical Library, Inc. She did a lot of reference as well as mediated searches, website development, and class instruction.

Important words: Recognize how you can contribute to the mission. Whether it be in a library or helping a patron find information, make sure you pay attention to your procedures and how you help and how your actions contribute to the mission.

For those interested in the medical health science librarianship, Carolyn brings up the Magnet Recognition Program. Please check it out!

In 2011, she left Queen’s to work the Science and Technology Department at the University of Hawaii at Manoa Hamilton Library. At the library, her duties entails:

  • Liaison to nursing, dental hygiene, and medical technology, for now. Assisting with accreditation self-study reports is example of how liaisons support their programs and patrons.
  • Embedded librarian with the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Program
    • Embedded in the program: gives presentations on searching databases; records presentations for course modules to reinforce concepts; grades students’ database searches using a rubric.
  • Systematic review on instructional methods
  • OneSearch Manoa usability study
  • Collection development
    (Whew, she’s really involved!)

During the presentation, Carolyn brought up her libguide on Evidence Based Practice. Very interesting!
Evidence Based Library and Information Practice is a free, open access journal that does research in libraries that applies it to library practice.

Did she have training for sciences? No! However there are some things that you can do.

  • Having some basic terminology for health issues would be beneficial
  • Borrowed books on medical terminology and made flash cards on health sciences to further immerse
  • PubMed is a free database to check out and use
  • Formal training: National Library of Medicine has an Associate Fellowship Program (2 year program)
  • Social media: #medlibs: Thursday tweet chats and MEDLIB-L list-serv

Medical Library Association have special interest groups (public service, technical service, cancer, etc.) runs MEDLIB-L and has networking and leadership opportunities. They offer webinars and the local chapter (Hawaii-Pacific Chapter) is held at the Medical Library in Kakaako. Not a member? No problem, you do not have to be a member to attend the webinars!

Challenges for current and future librarians involve:

  • Budget and the library as a place
    • Disappearing hospital libraries
  • Copyright issues
  • Scholarly communications
  • Constant change
    • Be flexible and adaptable

However there is hope for the future! You may use your expertise with data management and searching. Embedded or clinical librarians as mentioned before are useful for the health science field. Check out Sally Gore (@mandosally), a librarian as part of Team Science. There’s specialization where you can take courses and specialize through the Medical Library Association. Lastly, there is assessment. Do research and learn how to do research methodology and it can help your library and institution. In 2011, MLA surveyed what questions facing medical and health science libraries. They categorized it and asked for researcher feedback (“Out of these questions, what do you think health science researchers face…”). What are the top research that most health science libraries are facing? So for libraries and health science, the field is open! Interested? Here is the link to the published results of MLA survey:


Thank you Carolyn for speaking to us!

P.S. Here is Caroyln’s slideshow with her notes if anyone is interested in viewing: lis_ala-student-chap_201410

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