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I Am MLA: Tenley Sablatzky

Submitted by Tenley Sablatzky; edited by JJ Pionke
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Institution: Prairie View A&M University

Title: Medical Librarian, Undergraduate Medical Academy (UMA)

Brief description of responsibilities:

Solo librarian to the UMA. Assists pre-med students with research and teaching information literacy skills. Manages the UMA's physical and electronic collections.

Why is MLA important to you?

It's important to me to share knowledge between institutions in order to help the profession grow and adapt to emerging technologies and challenges as effectively as possible.

Why did you become a librarian?

I became a librarian because I saw the immediate need for people to have access to and be able to understand and evaluate information—particularly digital information.

What was your first library job or first professional position?

I started two part-time internships at the same time: one as a law library intern in a public library and the other as an intern in a small aerospace and science museum library. The first focused mainly on reference skills; the latter was mostly about digitally cataloging their materials.

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

It seems daunting at first to step into a leadership position, but it's actually not as hard as you think to do so. Start small: you don't need to step immediately into being the leader. Try to get involved as a secretary to a caucus you're interested in, or a domain hub rep. Take those small steps to get involved and see what the leadership roles involve, and then work your way into higher positions.

What has been the most interesting project you have worked on?

In the Medical Education Caucus, there is a task force designed to create an open-source digital repository of information literacy and health literacy resources for librarians. Seeing the process unfold from step to step, and looking back and seeing that we really have made progress, has been fantastic.

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

Disparities in access to digital information. Diversity of representation and ideas in the information science profession. Continuing to adapt librarianship to the digital world. Creating sustainable libraries.

Bucket list:

Travel to as many places as possible. Also, at some point get over my fear of really long books and finally read Infinite Jest (as well as many others).

What do you do in your spare time?

Play with my dog, Ralphie (I wish this site would allow me to put in a picture, but you'll just have to imagine the cutest dog you've ever seen in your life).

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

I have been reading a lot of lesser-known authors of the Harlem Renaissance period. Right now, I'm reading some of Zora Neale Hurston's short stories. I also just finished Schitt's Creek not long ago, and it's hilarious.

Five words to describe you:

Sarcastic. Creative. Introspective. Ambitious. Empathetic.

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

Before pursuing librarianship, I used to work on a Hawaiian cruise line.

What are you most proud of?

Completing my bachelor's degree. And my masters. But honestly, that first step to complete my bachelor’s was the hardest.


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