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I Am MLA: Meredith I. Solomon, AHIP

Submitted by Meredith I. Solomon, AHIP; edited by JJ Pionke

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Institution: Countway Library of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA

Title: Outreach Officer

Brief description of responsibilities

I work with students, staff, and faculty to create programming, classes, and events as well as connect the Countway Library to the curriculum at Harvard Medical, Dental, and the School of Public Health.

Why is MLA important to you?

MLA has given me a professional home to learn new skills, learn what my colleagues are doing that my library may be able to emulate, as well as network and make friends.

Why did you become a librarian?

I fell into librarianship. It was not my first decision. My first health sciences–related job was as a paraprofessional in a small community hospital. As soon as I started, I knew that this was what I wanted to do!

What was your first library job or first professional position?

I was an undergraduate student at the University of South Florida–Tampa as a student worker in 1991.

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

Find colleagues to mentor you. This mentoring does not have to be in the formal sense. Seek out colleagues who you can talk to about your goals, direction, and professional plans. Step outside of your comfort zone, as MLA is a volunteer membership and one that is willing to help people move forward in all sorts of leadership positions within the organization and outside of it, too.

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

I enjoyed being chair of a section as I got to meet many of its members, but I also enjoyed chairing the Continuing Education Committee, as I got to see what our members have to offer their colleagues.

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

Advocating the value of health sciences libraries, especially hospital libraries. Libraries are non-revenue-producing entities in their institutions but are more valuable than many administrators feel they are.

Bucket list

Travel to Africa.

What do you do in your spare time?

Watch movies, spend time with family and friends, and do more recreational bike riding now that I have purchased a new bicycle.

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

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese.

Five words to describe you

Friendly, outspoken, truthful, caring, responsible.

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

I hate horror films. I love psychological thrillers, but I hate horror.

What are you most proud of?

Being accepted as a National Library of Medicine (NLM) associate fellow.

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