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I Am MLA: Ellen M. Aaronson, AHIP

Submitted by Ellen M. Aaronson, AHIP; edited by JJ Pionke

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Institution: Mayo Clinic Libraries, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN

Title: Librarian

Brief description of responsibilities

Perform literature searches remotely; provide expertise in database searching; assist systematic review team.

Why is MLA important to you?

MLA is important to me as it is my professional home. The support I have received professionally, personally, and financially has been invaluable during my career. I am stimulated by my interactions with colleagues; continually engaged by working on committees, task forces, and projects; educated through webinars and classes; supported by colleagues who have become good friends; and have benefited from MLA’s financial assistance.

Why did you become a librarian?

Two reasons really. First, I had worked in libraries during high school, got my bachelor’s of arts (BA) in English, and figured it just made sense to pursue something I had experience and interest in. Secondly, I found that detective work suited me! I felt a great deal of satisfaction then, and still do, when I am able to use my mental analytics to sift through an information request and provide focused answers.

What was your first library job or first professional position?

My first library job was as a library aid at a neighborhood branch of the Los Angeles Public Library. I shelved books, cleaned up the library, and answered the “clicker,” which was the call from the reference desk for one of us to retrieve “magazines” from the stacks when requested by a patron.

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

Be kind and be a good listener. The best leaders are those who can help guide their teams by setting reasonable goals, encouraging input from all team members, staying organized and on task, and being part of the team, not solely the leader. Good leaders can establish their positions by being direct, fair-minded, and transparent, but also by listening and having empathy for all colleagues.

Bucket list

Hiking the slot canyons in Arizona, visiting the fjords in Norway, hiking through Cinque Terre, Italy. (I guess that’s three things because I can’t decide which one I want to do first!)

What do you do in your spare time?

I am a cyclist and enjoy riding with my husband, as well as our weekly riding group. I also love to hike, ski, snowshoe, read, and spend time with family and friends.

Five words to describe you

Loyal, friendly, dependable, resourceful, loving.

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