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July 10, 2013 / Christian M.

Recap of NRC Library Internship

In June I completed an internship with the National Resource Center on ADHD (NRC), which is a program of the non-profit organization, Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD). The NRC serves as the nation’s clearinghouse for science-based information about all aspects of ADHD. The NRC Library is the only library in the nation dedicated exclusively to resources on ADHD.

My projects included:

Cataloging: The library uses Inmagic Genie software for their catalog, and it lists all the materials owned by the NRC Library, and also serves as an index to a variety of journal articles, webpages, blog posts, and other resources about ADHD and related issues. If the resource is freely available online, then a link would be included in the catalog record. Most of what I cataloged were journal articles. I entered all the information except for the subject headings (the librarian would handle that). If the article came from a journal (or other source) that we already had in the catalog, then I would duplicate a record with the same source information, and then I just changed the title, author, date, abstract, etc. 

Selecting News Articles: The library sends out a weekly email, “ADHD in the News“, that shares major stories in the media containing new developments about ADHD and related disorders. I was responsible for finding and compiling relevant articles from the past week. Then the librarian would make the final decision on which ones to include in the email. This email was geared towards consumers, so I had to make sure the articles were written for the layperson and not just doctors/researchers.

Writing Selection Guidelines: During my interview for the NLM Associate Fellowship, I met with the NLM Associate Director for Library Operations, Joyce Backus. While discussing my responsibilities at the NRC, Ms. Backus asked if there were written criteria for selecting the news articles. There were not, and after talking to my internship supervisor we agreed that would be a good last project. I am the first intern that the NRC Library has had. The guidelines will be helpful for future interns to be able to continue with the work I have been doing.  You can read the guidelines here.

My keepsakes -- a magnet & 2 pens. :)

My keepsakes — a magnet & 2 pens. 🙂

Reflections:
When I first sought out this internship, I was looking for experience with consumer health resources and a different perspective from my previous internship in an academic library. I had hoped to be able to provide some reference services to gain experience with handling consumer health questions. However, this library doesn’t receive visitors very often. Most people use the NRC’s website or call the organization’s health information specialists.

What I did gain from this internship is a refresher in cataloging, improved skills in discerning evidence-based resources, an increase in knowledge about ADHD, experience in writing a selection policy, and an inside look at the role of a solo librarian (which my internship supervisor is) and how a library can support a non-profit organization. I had my own desk, computer, and email account while I was there. It was a very quiet environment, which provided a nice balance to my full-time job which is very heavy in customer interaction. I enjoyed my time at the NRC, and like my other internship, this experience confirmed that I’m on the right track with my interest in providing health information services.

Other posts about this internship:

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4 Comments

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  1. ivyinthreesteps / Jul 11 2013 9:46 am

    This was an amazing article! Thank you for sharing your internship experiences. If you don’t mind me asking, I’m a rising senior hoping to apply to graduate schools for the MLIS, and I’ve been thinking of going into health librarianship. I apologize if you mention this somewhere else on your blog, but do you know of any resources for learning more about health librarianship or internships related to health librarianship?

    • LibGirl09 / Jul 11 2013 11:23 am

      Glad you enjoyed the read! You can start with the Medical Library Association. They have a webpage of resources for students: http://www.mlanet.org/students/ .

      Also, I would suggest doing some informational interviews. Contact local medical librarians and ask if they would be willing to answer some questions and/or let you spend a day (or just a few hours) shadowing them at work. This is also a good way to find out about potential internship opportunities.

      Most medical libraries want their interns to be current library school students. There may be some opportunities out there for undergrads. I don’t know. I usually find out about internship opportunities through my library school listserv. You can also search the “I Need A Library Job” website: http://inalj.com/ .

      Here is a good article “So You Want to Be A Medical Librarian: http://letterstoayounglibrarian.blogspot.com/2012/03/so-you-want-to-be-medical-librarian-by.html

      I should write a separate post on this topic. Hope this helps!

      • ivyinthreesteps / Jul 21 2013 4:43 pm

        I’m sorry this is so late, but I just wanted to say thank you so much for all of this helpful information! I plan to visit the NLM in October as part of my college’s career services program, so hopefully they will help me to understand a bit more about some of the other opportunities they offered. Good luck on your fellowship at NLM, and thank you for taking the time to write me a response!

      • LibGirl09 / Jul 24 2013 2:15 pm

        You’re welcome!

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