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I Am MLA: Hilary Jasmin

Submitted by Hilary Jasmine; edited by Elizabeth Hinton.
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Institution: University of Tennessee Health Science Center

Title: Assistant Professor, Research & Learning Services Librarian

Brief description of responsibilities:

I am a dually appointed faculty member in our Health Sciences Library and in our College of Pharmacy, where I have been the librarian liaison since 2018. The bulk of my time goes to working with pharmacy faculty and students, whether that is teaching, providing reference services, or co-authoring on review projects.

Why is MLA important to you?

MLA provides me with a national opportunity to work with like-minded information professionals, and that opportunity is priceless. Through my membership I have been given leadership skills, opportunities to sharpen my technical skills, make "frolleagues," and discover all the many ways medical librarians can contribute to better healthcare.

Why did you become a librarian?

After undergrad, I still was unsure of what I wanted to pursue. I had a running joke with friends that if I could just get paid to write college students' research papers for them, I'd be content! When it occurred to me that maybe I needed to look into a more ethical research career path, I stumbled upon the work that academic librarians do on a daily basis. We aren't writing their papers for them... BUT we're empowering them with research skills, and I've found that just as rewarding!

What was your first library job or professional position?

I spent years working in restaurants; casual grills during undergrad, then fine dining when I moved to Memphis before my grad program. I started breaking into library roles in 2016, when I was selected for an Urban Fellows program with the City of Memphis, and I got to work in Cloud901, a teen learning lab in the Central Branch of Memphis Public Library! After that semester-long program, I started my grad degree while simultaneously beginning a role as a Circulation Assistant at Germantown Community Library. I remember getting the call from my current director that they wanted to offer me the role I'm in now--I was in the back of the library, pulling books out of the drop-off carts!

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

Don't feel like you have to be exactly like any leader you've had before. Your leadership style is as unique as your personality, so let yourself be "you" while learning the soft skills required of leaders! You can still be an introvert and lead with confidence.

As an aside: while in the MLA Rising Stars Program, we are doing a lot of reading. I HIGHLY recommend Dare to Lead by Brené Brown if you're interested in continuing your leadership development journey!

What is something you have on your “bucket list”?

As my friends and frolleagues are very aware, I am a huge birder. My favorite bird is the shoebill stork, and they are native to Central-Eastern Africa, specifically the wetlands of Tanzania and Zambia. My #1 bucket list item is to witness shoebills in their native habitat!

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

I consider myself "hobby-saturated," also known as, I can't stick to one hobby. I particularly enjoy jigsaw puzzles, knitting, reading speculative fiction, cross-stitching, baking, crosswords, gardening, and birdwatching. Also video games; currently all I can play is Disney Dreamlight Valley!

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

I really love The Adventure Zone, a tabletop RPG podcast. They just started a new season and I'm already excited about all the world-building! It's also spooky season as I write this, so I've been re-watching Over the Garden Wall to get into the autumnal spirit.
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