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I Am MLA: Stephanie M. Swanberg, AHIP

Submitted by Stephanie M. Swanberg; edited by Elizabeth Hinton.
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Institution: Michigan School of Psychology

Title: User Services Librarian

Brief description of responsibilities:

I work at a non-profit graduate school with master’s and doctoral-level programs in clinical psychology. As a small health sciences library, I wear many hats including leading our integrated information literacy instruction in both programs, providing reference and research consultation services, managing our ILL service, as well as the administrative work of overseeing daily library operations, budgeting, and strategic planning.

Why is MLA important to you?

MLA was the first professional organization I joined as a student in 2010. As a new librarian, I had wonderful mentors both at my institution and through MLA that coached me on how to navigate MLA, present and share my work through conferences, and gain leadership experience through committee work. Those early mentoring experiences were paramount to my professional development and growth as a health sciences librarian. MLA has truly become my professional home for education, networking, and service opportunities over the past 12 years!

What was your first library job or professional position?

I've volunteered or worked in libraries since 2003, but my first professional position was at the Oakland University William Beaumont (OUWB) School of Medicine in Rochester, Michigan where I joined as one of the inaugural medical librarians two months before the charter class of students started. I had 10 amazing years there where I built my professional librarian identity and discovered my passions!

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

I’ll pass along the same advice that I was given by a cherished mentor in MLA early in my career: When you’re new to the profession, be the person that says ‘yes’ and volunteers. People will begin to notice you and it leads to more leadership opportunities. Of course, the reverse becomes true later when you need to learn to say ‘no’ when you have too many competing responsibilities!

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

Open access and predatory publishing, anti-racism, and finding new ways to evolve our roles.

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

I'm an avid outdoor enthusiast and want to visit all of the U.S. national parks (and whatever international parks I can get to as well)! I'm about halfway through that bucket list item!

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

I'm typically hiking, birding, gardening, or cooking. Dehydrating food is my new hobby, and I've tried drying various fruits, vegetables, herbs, and tofu jerky, and I am dabbling in dehydrated meals.

Describe yourself in five words:

Enthusiastic, compassionate, collaborative, kind, geeky.
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