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I Am MLA: Layal Hneiny

Submitted by Layal Hneiny; edited by Elizabeth Hinton.
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Institution: University of South Dakota Wegner Library

Title: Health Sciences Librarian

Brief description of responsibilities:

Some of what I do at Wegner is: planning and developing instruction sessions and workshops for Wegner Library partner groups; updating and creating LibGuides and other online instructional tools; teaching in classes, workshops, and orientations for University of South Dakota (USD) faculty and staff, and Wegner partner groups; responding to student, faculty, staff, and administration’s reference, research, and information inquiries; collaborating with colleagues on reference and research inquiries; and establishing and developing liaison services for Wegner partner groups and USD programs.

Why is MLA important to you?

It is a stimulating way for me to always be abreast of changes in my profession. It is also a way to connect with all of the big minds in the health sciences librarian network.

Why did you become a librarian?

At first, working at the library was just a source of employment while pursuing my master's in Public Health, as it was the only vacant job at the American University of Beirut that fit my qualifications (I also received a discount of 60% on my tuition fees). But unintentionally, by helping those who were saving patients' lives, saving professionals time, and saving healthcare costs, I fell in love with the idea of being a health sciences librarian. I decided to attain my MLIS from the University in Pittsburgh (also through a scholarship given by the American University of Beirut).

What was your first library job or professional position?

Library assistant in the Serials and Electronics Resources Department.

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

The librarian is expected to be a book barista, IT personnel, a teacher, an HR specialist, a finance officer, a public health practitioner (by advocating for open access, open science, and open educational resources), and a gatekeeper, all while being underpaid.

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

Traveling to Egypt, Morocco, Indonesia, Japan, China, and Italy. Trying scuba diving and skydiving—although since becoming a mom, I am more hesitant to keep those on my to do list.

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

Unfortunately, I have a phobia of most animals.

What are you most proud of?

Being a mom, a daughter, a sister, and a good, genuine person in life.
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