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I Am MLA: Jess Callaway

Submitted by Jess Callawayedited by JJ Pionke.
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Institution: Shepherd Center

Title: Clinical Research Librarian

Brief description of responsibilities:

I work with clinical research on all types of projects for our patient population. Right now, all of my focus is on a campus-wide health literacy initiative!

Why is MLA important to you?

I'm not sure I would have been able to do this job without MLA and all the wonderful people I've met through the process. Accepting my first (official) librarianship role at the start of COVID-19 was a nightmare, and the support from my colleagues has been a solid foundation for helping me learn to walk, so to speak.

Why did you become a librarian?

I've always worked in health care in some fashion. I love it. I can't picture myself doing anything else, ever. So when I finished my undergrad (in literature theory) I started creeping around the hospital I was in at the time trying to “find” myself. And that's when I found the library. Boom. Best of both worlds for me. The rest is history.

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

Be creative. Anything is possible with the right wording and the right partners. Every no is an opportunity for a yes somewhere else.

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

I am increasingly concerned about the neutrality of librarians and how this impacts our clients. I feel as if the saying “every library should have something to piss everyone off” is outdated and horribly privileged. I am intrigued at the current fast pace in which libraries are evolving and would like to see more librarians step outside of the library.

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

Okay. Hang with me here for a moment. There is this anime called Cells at Work! It's on Netflix. I think my partner had just as much fun watching me geek out over it as I did watching it. I have never before in my life seen such a well-done biological representation of our bodies in anything, ever. Science nerds, please watch it. Then email me. Because I absolutely need to talk about it more.

Five words to describe you:

Excitable, wonky, punk rock, curious, adaptable

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

I wrote my undergrad thesis on the homoerotic nature of the Captain America comics. A lot of my friends call me Cap because of this.

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