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Prescription for success

Posted Dec. 18, 2014
By Juliet Nader Smith, first year M.M.C. student
Reprinted from InterCom


Dr. Feili Tu-Keefner is addressing the increasing need for health and science information with a new textbook. To prepare students, she has collaborated with a colleague to publish a textbook for library and information science courses.

A School of Library and Information Science associate professor, Dr. Tu-Keefner specializes in teaching health science librarianship courses. She says the idea for Health Librarianship: An Introduction began with a discussion with long-time colleague Dr. Jefrey Huber, director and professor at the School of Library and Information Science at the University of Kentucky.

“Our vision was to create a textbook that makes sure the entry level student can function as an expert when they walk out of the educational program. We also wanted to produce a book that is current enough and also can help librarians with their professional development and continuing education,” Dr. Tu-Keefner says.

She says it is important for students who want to work in libraries at hospitals and healthcare facilities to be readily able to help the public with healthcare research and information. She adds that knowledge about health advancements and resources is important for every type of librarian, whether he or she works for a school, government agency, hospital
or business.

Dr. Tu-Keefner says the plan for the textbook started from a conversation with Dr. Huber three years ago. They had kept in touch after meeting at Texas Women’s University where she was getting her Ph.D. and was his graduate assistant. She says the book project was time-consuming with months of brainstorming and editing. Topics include health environment, public services, health librarian management and administration, special populations, government, technical and outreach services.

Dr. Tu-Keefner will be teaching from her book in a new course, Health Science Library Services, in the spring semester, and wants eventually to have it adopted by other universities’ library science programs.

Dr. Tu-Keefner has developed several health librarianship-related courses, including a class in information retrieval in an electronic environment. She also created an internship class for students to get experience in specific areas in their career interests. Patrick McLaughlin, MLIS ‘08, interned in the libraries for Men’s Health magazine and the  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and was a National Library of Medicine Associate Fellow at the National Institute of Health, the world’s largest medical library. He is now a technical information specialist at the National Library. Julie Gaines, MLIS ‘03, was also a National Library of Medicine Associate Fellow and now is the head of the Medical Partnership Campus Library at the University of Georgia.