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I Am MLA: Brian L. Baker

Submitted by Brian L. Baker, MLS, JD; edited by JJ Pionke.
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Institution: Valley Children's Healthcare

Title: Library Services Program Manager

Brief description of responsibilities:

I oversee the Medical Library. I serve on the Institutional Review Board, as well as the Medical Education committees. I work closely with our Research and Graduate Medical Education Departments. I am starting to delve into data curation as well. Hopefully this old dog can learn some new tricks.

Why is MLA important to you?

I believe it is important to be active and involved in your professional organization, so I can make management/administration understand that they need to better support our librarians and rage against the decline in librarian positions across industries.

Why did you become a librarian?

I enjoy helping people solve puzzles, and I discovered that I was good at understanding how knowledge (first law, then medicine) fits together and how to find answers.

What was your first library job or first professional position?

My first library job was as a messenger for a law firm library. My first professional librarian job—less than two weeks after getting my MLS—was as director of the Fairfax County Public Law Library—at that time in the courthouse building.

What is your advice to someone taking on a new role in leadership in MLA or in some other capacity?

First, learn budgeting—government and industry—and keep monies in the columns they were designed for. Do not be afraid of machinery. You can fix a broken copier or printer. Finally, be humble, and treat EVERY person you work with, above and below, with respect. It will be returned.

What has been the most interesting project you have worked on?

Renovating a good-sized academic law library as the final step to receive full American Bar Association accreditation.

What do you consider to be the most pressing issues or trends in librarianship?

Awareness of the need for librarians across industries. The push of data curation into librarianship.

Bucket list:

I have been to 49 states—most more than once. The remaining state, Alaska, is on my bucket list.

What do you do in your spare time?

Swim, read, listen to music—live or vinyl.

What is the best thing you’ve read/watched/listened to recently?

Prince's Welcome 2 America. Carl Hiaasen's Squeeze Me. Netflix's Sexy Beasts.

Five words to describe you:

Friendly, kind, smart, gregarious, and naughty.

Is there anything about you that others might be surprised to know?

I've been around the block a number of times and done a lot of different things, from furniture moving, delivery, and sales, to prison librarianship.

What are you most proud of?

That I survived being laid off and underemployed for over four years in the Great Recession.                     

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