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Honoring Our Past

When you graduate from a school of librarianship, you feel ready to jump into a job. When you actually begin the job, you sometimes feel as though everyone else is talking about something you have never heard of before. Then you realize that you are beginning the next step in the continuing education that never ends. Robert Braude, AHIP, FMLA, has described how four librarians mentored him as he began his career. The article, “A Medical Librarian’s Progress,” was published in the April 1998 issue of the Bulletin of the Medical Library Association.

He described it this way, “After leaving my natural parents, Louise Darling became my mother and Brad Rogers my father. I had two aunts, Estelle Brodman and Bernice Hetzner.” These librarians became his professional parents. Braude outlined the way each of these individuals, who were established and widely recognized in the profession, mentored and encouraged him in an aspect of medical librarianship [1].

He reports the ways that the mentors treated him—showing by example the ways that they performed as library directors—and the ways that he learned. The mentors did not hesitate to correct Braude or to reject ideas that he proposed. He obviously took their lessons to heart for he developed a splendid and honored career.

There are many ideas about leadership to be found in this article, and even though our work is different today, it will interest any beginning librarian who is eager to learn and advance. Braude has been a very popular member of MLA and much involved in the discussions and activities of the association. In one area, he was certainly “The King”: MLA annual meetings often had music and dancing, and a long line of ladies would be waiting to get a dance with him. He was a marvelous dancer, and he would take you flying around the floor.

I am sorry you missed that sight of our own Fred Astaire.


  1.  Braude RM. A medical librarian’s progress. Bull Med Libr Assoc. 1998 Apr;86(2):157–65.

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