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I Am MLA: Tiffany Follin

Submitted by Tiffany Follin, AHIP
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Institution: Florida Atlantic University

Title: Medical Liaison & Outreach Librarian 

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

Tiffany Follin (she/her) is the primary medical library contact person for all off-campus clinical faculty, all residents, and FAU's COM community partners. In addition, she acts as a liaison between various parties and the library resources in resolving OpenAthens issues; offers reference and research services to CoM faculty, clinical faculty, students, residents, and staff; and offers assistance in gaining access to and learning resources such as QxMD Read.

Why is MLA important to you?

MLA has proven to be a valuable resource in continuing education and specialization certification ranging from attendance at the MLA annual conferences to AHIP credentialing. I especially appreciate the opportunities to present in both the MLA annual conference as well as chapter conferences where I get to learn about initiatives that may not be presented on the national level, or I may have missed due to non-attendance. MLA is a huge organization, and the buzz can be overwhelming; having the ability to balance large scale MLA participation with smaller scale and more intimate support circles of the MLA chapters have created the unique opportunity to create my own niche in the medical librarian world.

Why did you become a librarian?

I became a librarian because I reached a point where I needed to pursue a master’s degree to move beyond a job with limited growth opportunity paired with an unsatisfactory income. I found a Wikipedia list of all degrees available in the United States and noticed a Master of Library Information Studies was one option. The rest, as the say, was history. Roughly four years later, I found Medical Librarianship through a library assistant dean who saw the potential in me and thought I would pair well in the FAU Libraries’ senior medical librarian. She was right! I became a librarian as a means of escape and because of the lure of the library setting but I stayed because of the incredibly enriching opportunities that came with it and the growth that I have experienced from various side quests.

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

I was approached by the collection development librarian to see if I wanted to do an “unboxing” reel for our Libraries’ Instagram account. I agreed and suggested we could do something fun, and so we turned it into a storyline. We had so much fun I missed the weekly meeting with my department head! I felt guilty and proposed that we should turn it into a presentation with the result that this small and humble idea turned into a poster we presented at two national conferences, one regional chapter, and two lightning rounds at regional association meetings. Furthermore, we utilized our efforts with the reel as part of a larger-picture initiative that we presented as a talk at a national conference and a lightning round in a regional association meeting. In terms of content, it wasn’t so extreme to be considered “interesting” but what it taught me was that nothing is so small to be unimportant in this field. I spent so much time as a new librarian trying to find a way to be worthy of presenting and adding to the knowledge in medical librarianship, that when we came forward with this concept it turned out to be the most interesting results we’ve seen yet! 

What do you do in your spare time, for fun, or to relax?

I’m a mom to a 4.5 year old and a breast-fed 16 month old who room shares. I want to have a full night of uninterrupted sleep and wake up naturally past baby’s wake-up. Oh! And I would like to have unlimited budget for traveling because the mountains are calling my name. You know, the simple things in life.

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

Bluey! Yes, yes, I know it is marketed as a children’s show, but I promise you it is relatable to adults and teaches valuable lessons to anyone who has contact with children (parents, grandparents, aunts & uncles, every single member of the public that complains about children in public places—yup, them too.) It shows the exploration of both the simple and complex themes of life and relationships through imaginative play, with a running time of 7 minutes. My favorites are “Tickle Crabs,” “Baby Race,” and “Rain.” I’m also a Doctor Who fan and was delighted to finally have a chance to watch the 2023 four-part special episodes while sick recently.  

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

My second master’s is in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. 

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