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The Accidental Health Sciences Librarian: New Book Provides Guidance in a Critical Library Niche

April 26, 2010, Medford, New Jersey—Information Today, Inc. (ITI) has announced the publication of The Accidental Health Sciences Librarian by Lisa A. Ennis and Nicole Mitchell.

The Accidental Science Health Sciences Librarian provides a starting point for accidental health sciences librarians in all library environments, from solo hospital librarians to librarians working for large federal departments,” the authors write in the book’s Introduction. “This isn’t intended to be a comprehensive text book (there are plenty of those) or a step-by-step manual (there are plenty of ‘how-to’ books already). Instead, we want to impart a broad overview of the field … written in a casual, easy-to-read style.”

Sparked by an aging baby boomer population, the dizzying pace of breakthroughs in medical research, and an unprecedented proliferation of health information, many librarians are discovering career opportunities in health sciences librarianship—an area of librarianship in which few, if any, have an academic background or coursework. In the new book, Ennis and Mitchell offer guidance on a wide range of critical resources, tools, and functions, covering essential topics such as HIPAA and MeSH and sharing a wealth of expert tips and advice.

“[This] is a must-read for all those interested in a profession that will enable them to grow and be rewarded by serving others,” according to Jean P. Shipman, 2006–2007 President of the Medical Library Association. Writing in the Foreword to the book, Shipman adds, “It should be promoted by library school educators and become a part of library school student’s required reading. … highly recommended for inclusion in the K–12 guidance counseling collections and for those who help to direct students with their career options.”

Barbara Shearer, Director of the Charlotte Edwards Maguire Medical Library, called The Accidental Health Sciences Librarian, “a skillfully organized, readable book, a pleasing mixture of reference material, personal stories, and links to quality internet sources.” Shearer said, “Though I’ve been a librarian for thirty years, I found new insights and information about working in a profession that is continually being both tested and blessed by changes brought about by new technologies.”

The Accidental Health Sciences Librarian includes the following chapters:

1. Health Sciences Librarianship
2. Putting the Medical in Health Sciences Librarianship
3. It’s All About the People
4. Technology
5. Databases and Resources
6. Resources and Networking

Based in part on an online survey with over 300 respondents, the book’s four appendices feature the survey questionnaire, selected survey responses, a round up of key health sciences library associations, and a recommended reading list. In addition, the book includes a glossary, an index, and a list of all websites mentioned in the book, organized by chapter, which the authors are maintaining and updating online as a reader bonus at ahslbook.wordpress.com.

About the Authors

Lisa A. Ennis is a graduate of the University of Tennessee’s School of Information Sciences and is currently the systems librarian at Lister Hill Library of The Health Sciences at the University of Alabama in Birmingham. Nicole Mitchell has an MLIS from Georgia College & State University and works at the Lister Hill Library of The Health Sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham as a reference librarian and liaison to the School of Optometry.

The Accidental Health Sciences Librarian (232 pp/softbound/$29.50/ISBN 978-1-57387-395-6) is published by Information Today, Inc. It is available in bookstores and direct from the publisher. To order, call (800) 300-9868 [outside the U.S., call (609) 654-6266]; fax (609) 654-4309; email [email protected]; or visit the ITI website at www.infotoday.com.

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