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I Am MLA: Matthew N. Noe

Submitted by Matthew N. Noe; edited by JJ Pionke

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

Title: Lead Collection & Knowledge Management Librarian

Brief description of responsibilities

My primary responsibility is management of the library’s monograph collections, including outreach to determine needs, selection and purchase of materials, and promotion of library resources.

Why is MLA important to you?

MLA was my first introduction to professional organizations when I entered the profession and continues to be a valuable place for coming together with like-minded folks to network, learn, and share!

Why did you become a librarian?

I was drawn to librarianship because I think that information should be free and what better place to have that philosophical battle than in libraries? I’m also always learning—yes, primarily through reading—and we’re a profession that encourages broad, lifelong learning.

What was your first library job or first professional position?

My first library job was as an intern during my first semester of graduate school at the University of Kentucky Medical School Library. It ultimately set me on the path I’m on now—in more ways than one!

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

Librarianship has long had problems adequately addressing equity—from access to information, to whose voices we collect, to who works in the profession—and we’re at a time today where if we don’t take dramatic action to address our shortcomings, we risk truly, actually becoming too far behind to recover.

What do you do in your spare time?

I spend most of my time reading—everything from superhero comics to labor history. I’ve also become a bit of a vinyl collector in the last few years. You’ll often find me replaying Pokemon games over and over as well!

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

I’ve been rewatching Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra, and I cannot recommend them enough.

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

Given that my professional career is basically built on my work with comics, you might be surprised to know that I wasn’t an avid comic reader until 2013.

Additional comment

The most important things we all must do today are to listen to those who are speaking and to be kind whenever possible.

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