Reading about the passing of Donald A. B. Lindberg, former director of the National Library of Medicine (NLM), is a reminder of the commitment to our profession we share. The NLM remembrance noted:
Don was incredibly well read, in medicine and beyond. A discussion about one of NLM’s many products and services would inevitably be informed by insight from the latest book he was reading, about history, sailing, or the latest medical breakthrough. His thirst for knowledge made him ideally suited to lead the largest biomedical library in the world.
I hope you took a moment to read his MLA Oral History. It reminded me how everything we do is a building block preparing for us the next level of work. Every day, we seek to learn and grow, to better ourselves, our workplaces, and our society. Striving for continual learning is mentioned by another leader in medical librarianship, Estelle Brodman:
I find learning a great joy and a great pleasure, and I don’t understand people who don’t get any pleasure of something new and different and exciting which they had not thought of before, or they don’t get any feeling of satisfaction out of following an argument to its logical conclusion or examining something from various points of view and trying to get a rounded picture of a phenomenon. …[Others] think of learning as something they are required to do, and I think of learning as something I want to do. 
Students are arriving back at many campuses, hospitals are hosting a new class of residents, and we are gearing up to help them all learn what they need to continue along their chosen path. I hope you will follow in the footsteps of Brodman and have a “prepared mind” as referenced in her Journal of the Medical Library Association obituary.
According to an old adage, chance favors a prepared mind. Brodman’s life and career give testament to that premise. She relished searching for excellence and probing for solutions to new and interesting problems .
Let’s look for solutions in the present by learning from the past.
- Messerle J. Estelle Brodman, AHIP, FMLA, 1914–2007 [obituary]. J Med Libr Assoc. 2010 Jan;98(1):6–8. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3163/1536-5050.98.1.004.