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Region 4 News June 21st, 2024
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Faces of NNLM Region 4: George Strawley

Posted in: #CC/Academic List, #Health Interest List, #Health Sciences List, #Public/K-12 List, All Members

For National Medical Librarians Month, we will be shining a light on George Strawley, Engagement Specialist for NNLM Region 4. Below is an interview with Mr. Strawley about his experience being a medical librarian.

Can you give us the elevator speech rundown of your medical librarian career?

I do not consider myself a medical librarian. Rather, I am a librarian with experience in both the public and community college settings who now tries to make things easier for librarians of all types when it comes to health information. My current role is library engagement specialist with Region 4 of NNLM, where I focus on providing training, funding and professional networking connections to hospital, health sciences, K-12 and public librarians. I get inspiration from my medical-librarian colleagues at the University of Utah’s Spencer S. Eccles Health Sciences Library.

What are your research interests or top work activities?

My interests tend to focus on consumer health and health literacy topics. I especially enjoy the opportunities to work with libraries on funded awards that bring out the best in their creative ideas.

What is your favorite librarian tool?

When researching communities and their health needs, I like to dip into the community health needs assessments that hospitals and other health care organizations all over the country are required to file. You can often mine them for information about the pressing health issues in a community or the goals of public health officials and the people they work with. Communities display varying levels of commitment to these reports, but a thoroughly done one is a great way to find the background information you need for a health program or some local research on the social determinants of health.

What do you think are the most important challenges that medical librarians face?

Like many librarians, medical librarians are unsung heroes. I wish I had a dime for every time a patron, student, faculty member or administrator has expressed surprise at what a librarian was capable of doing for them. So I would say the biggest challenge has been and remains getting the word out.

Please tell us about an interaction with a library user that gave you a lot of satisfaction.

When I was working directly with students, I used to get a big kick out of older students who were coming back to school after spending time in the working world. They would start out the fall quite nervous, especially about whatever changes in technology they missed while earning a living. They usually required lots of coaching and hand-holding in the beginning, but they took their work seriously, stood up to the challenges and were a steady presence in the library. By the spring, it was like they had never left school. It is an honor to serve students like that.



Contact us at:
Network of the National Library of Medicine/NNLM Region 4
University of Utah
Spencer S. Eccles Health Sciences Library
10 North 1900 East
Salt Lake City, UT 84112-5890
Phone: 801-587-3650
This project has been funded in whole or in part with Federal funds from the Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Library of Medicine, under cooperative agreement number UG4LM012344 with the University of Utah Spencer S. Eccles Health Sciences Library.

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