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I Am MLA: Laura N. Haygood

Submitted by Laura N. Haygood; edited by JJ Pionke.
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Institution: The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth

Title: Research and Education Librarian

Brief description of responsibilities:

I provide education and research support to the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine and the UNTHSC College of Pharmacy. This includes instruction, mediated searching, reference, systematic review support, and collection development.

Why is MLA important to you?

MLA is important to me due to the community. I have found so much value in connecting with other medical librarians, whether it be for mentorship, knowledge sharing, or even research collaboration. Everyone has different knowledge and experiences to share, and it is wonderful having so many librarians I can reach out to with questions and requests for guidance.

Why did you become a librarian?

I became a librarian because I wanted to connect people with the information they need. Growing up, it never occurred to me that librarianship was a career I could pursue, even though I spent my recesses volunteering in my elementary school library. In college, I met my best friend’s mother, who was a school librarian, and she inspired me to consider librarianship as a vocation. I briefly considered school librarianship but quickly discovered that academic was the route for me. By the time I started my MLIS, over a decade later, I was interested in pursuing academic medical librarianship.

What was your first library job or first professional position?

My first library job was a student assistant position in my high school library. To this day, I don’t know how librarianship didn’t occur to me as a potential job until college. In my first professional position, I worked with nursing students at a large state university.

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

The most interesting project I've worked on was an archival exhibit on the history of the nursing college at my previous university. The nursing college traces its roots back to the late nineteenth century. This project was quite different from the work I generally did as a liaison librarian and learning the history of nursing in the area was fascinating.

What do you do in your spare time?

In my spare time, I love to knit. I find it difficult to watch TV or a movie now without something to occupy my hands. A relatively new hobby that I enjoy is running. Running centers me and does wonders for my mental health. And finally, I love to read. Thanks to audiobooks, I can read while running or knitting!

Five words to describe you:

I had to ask friends to help me with this one. The five words that best describe me are determined, thoughtful, intelligent, sincere, and productive.

What are you most proud of?

I am most proud of finishing my bachelor’s degree and earning my MLIS. I had a ten-year gap in my education due to illness and am proud that I managed to return to school and earn my degrees. This experience contributed to my desire to pursue medical librarianship.

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