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I Am MLA: Jessica Diaz

Submitted by Jessica Diaz; edited by Jackson Hoch

Become an “I Am MLA” ambassador today by completing the I Am MLA profile form.

Institution: Medical University of South Carolina

Title: Research and Education Informationist

Brief description of what you do/your responsibilities at your institution.

I provide research and knowledge management services to students and teaching, clinical, and research faculty from the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) College of Medicine. My services include helping find information, teaching and education, research advice, and working with MUSC students, faculty, and staff in the health sciences.

Why is MLA important to you?

In library school, I did not have the option of taking courses specific to health sciences librarianship. The Medical Library Association (MLA) offered a great deal of opportunities for me to not only learn about the profession but also to increase my knowledge in key skills and network with those already in the field. I joined a task force as a student and had a great mentor who helped me navigate the hiring process. I would not have been able to get where I am without the strong community and learning opportunities provided by MLA - which is why I am looking forward to the opportunity to make a positive impact on this community through my future contributions.

Why did you become a librarian?

I graduated undergrad during the start of the pandemic and had been in a pre-law track all 4 years. Since the summer of my graduation was filled with so much uncertainty, I decided to take the time to re-evaluate my career goals. I realized I had decided to pursue law for all the wrong reasons and began to explore other career options. I took personality tests and skills assessments, researched career options that matched these results, and saw "librarian" as an option. After reading a description of what it entailed, I immediately fell in love with the idea and even more so when I asked for help and information from such a welcoming community.

What was your first library job or first professional position?

I was a part-time librarian and part-time career and transfer coordinator at a small private college.

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

Libraries need to be more diverse when it comes to race, ethnicity, and disability. By hiring a diverse staff, we can make sure that everyone in our community gets the help they need, no matter who they are. I appreciate the great work that was done by MLA’s DEI Committee’s Diversity and Inclusion Task Force (DITF).

What is something you have on your bucket list?

When it comes to trying new things, I am a very anxious person. However, I know that this is no way to live, so I would like to overcome this fear and experience new foods, cultures, traditions, and maybe even learn new languages!

Describe yourself in 5 words:

Persistent, open-minded, resourceful, friendly, and optimistic.

What are you most proud of?

Being a first-generation grad! As one of the first people to graduate high school and obtain a college degree, I was able to encourage younger family members to pursue higher education. When I first considered going to college, it felt like an impossible dream. Now, I am happy to see younger generations in my family view it as a real option.


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