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I Am MLA: Elizabeth Blake

Submitted by Elizabeth Blake; 
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Institution: University of Pennsylvania

Title: Eugene Garfield Resident for Science Librarianship

Brief description of responsibilities:

The Garfield Resident is involved in day-to-day responsibilities in physical and health sciences librarianship, including reference, instruction, and outreach as well as engaging in opportunities to participate in specialized library initiatives such as bioinformatics, research data, and knowledge management, data visualization, systematic reviews, to name a few. The Garfield Resident will work with colleagues across the Penn Libraries system and contribute to both committee work and library projects as assigned.

Why is MLA important to you?

MLA is important because it is an organization of health professionals and medical librarians that I can relate to, ask for guidance, and check past and current trends in medical/health science librarianship while starting a career as a medical librarian.

Why did you become a librarian?

After I graduated with my bachelors, I didn't know what to do after that. I took a career assessment test (Strong Interest Inventory) to see what career would fit me best. My first career was a Pharmacist, and my second one was a Health Information Specialist. At the time, I was working at a public librarian and I enjoyed working as a library assistant. Also, I always wanted to work in the healthcare setting and this was a way to work in healthcare without being a healthcare professional.

What was your first library job or professional position?

My first professional position was being Head of Technical Services at a public library at the Delaware County Library System in Chester, Pennsylvania. 

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

You don't have to be a manager to be a leader. Don't be a copycat of someone else, be your authentic self. Be a leader for the right reason and not just for recognition, power, and money.

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

The most exciting project I have worked on is creating a bibliometric report for the Center of  Biostatistics, Epidemiology, and Informatics for the university. 

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

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in medical and academic librarianship.

What is something you have on your "bucket list"?

To travel to Finland. I was born there. Traveling to Switzerland, Germany for Christmas. Going to Legoland in Denmark.

What do you do in your spare time, for fun, or to relax?

Cooking, playing Solitaire, and reading.

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

Beyonce- Renaissance Album, Harry Styles- Harry's House, Daily Rituals Women at Work by Mason Currey.
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