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I Am MLA: Tamara M. Nelson, AHIP

Submitted by Tamara M. Nelson, AHIP; edited by JJ Pionke

Institution: University of Tennessee Health Science Center–Memphis (UTHSC)

Title: Senior Research & Learning Services Librarian

Brief description of responsibilities

At UTHSC, I serve as the liaison to the College of Medicine and manage the information services desk.

Why is MLA important to you?

MLA provides me the opportunity to serve in various capacities in caucuses and committees. This allows me to network with health sciences librarians from across the country. Through these interactions, I have grown professionally as a librarian, leader, and MLA member.

Why did you become a librarian?

My first librarian position was as an undergrad student worker at the circulation desk at my university. It was there that I learned librarianship was a viable career option. The library school was located in the library, and an African American librarian who was taking summer courses approached me at the desk and encouraged me to become a librarian because of the lack of diversity in the profession.

What was your first library job or first professional position?

My first professional library position was as a high school librarian. I enjoyed it for the most part but didn’t feel fulfilled or that I was living up to my abilities as an information professional.

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

My advice would be “don’t be afraid to lead.” MLA provides resources and support to ensure your success in any role you choose to serve in the organization. Take every opportunity to grow and to serve. It will be worth it.

Bucket list

I want to travel the world! I had plans to travel to London this summer, but then came COVID-19.....so #London2021!

What do you do in your spare time?

I enjoy cooking, watching makeup tutorials, shopping, and having spa days with my sister.

Five words to describe you

Compassionate, hard-working, committed, faithful, and a lifelong learner

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